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Old 05-15-2020, 11:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Covington, Louisiana
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Year: 1995
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Engine: 7.3 L powerstroke diesel
Original bus wiring messed up mess

So we had an accident with a wire brush on an angle grinder snagging a bunch of wires that went to the taillights. Now we are even more confused than we were before about the electrical.
We replaced both of the batteries a couple months ago but we have issues with the batteries dying and bus not starting without a jump. We believe that may be because of wires that went to different things not being disconnected properly.
I couldn't find another thread similar to this so hopefully someone will have some advice for us.
We are at a standstill with our conversion because of the electrical. Please help😬
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:51 AM   #2
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Ouch.

What kind of bus? You might get lucky to find circuit numbers imprinted on the wires. If you don’t, you can get yourself a volt meter or multimeter. Connect ground to ground and sit there testing each wire while someone turns switches on and off.

If you suspect a parasitic drain is draining your batteries, get them charged back up then do this test

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Old 05-15-2020, 02:01 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
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start with basics

There is this book.... read all of it. Yes I know it is about a different kind of vehicle, but just about everything in it is relatable to work on a bus.

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot author is John Muir first edition is 1967 and by the way if you find a first edition..... keep it safe... not many survive still.

read all of this book I think you will learn more than you know. Start with the chapter called the "the spaghetti system"

william
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:18 PM   #4
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the wire colors and or colors and stripes should be straight forward enough to be able to get them back together before worrying about charging the batteries again or at least get some wire nuts on the ends of those wires before charging and figuring out what goes where.
if its draining the system then it means you have a hot wire grounding out somewhere.
and you have already learned that grinders dont belong around electrical wiring unless the grinder is unplugged ? they might get along for a little while?
12v test probe and a multimeter will be your friends but if your not color blind and have good light then the wire colors and wire colors with stripes and some manufacturers have numbers on the wire but you might have to go back a foot or so in both directions in the bundle to find them.
post what bus you have and someone here might have the wiring diagram to share.hope NO one got hurt when the wire jumped out and snagged the grinder.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:35 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1999
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I feel for you and your wiring pain! I have much wiring pain going on too. Generally colors are what you need to look for, as already mentioned. However, there are only so many colors under the sun, and many get used over and over in these buses. Prime example; All my clearance lights around the top of my bus are connected through one circuit using a green wire. The right turn blinker circuit also uses the same color green wire. You need to get a decent quality multi meter (not the free one from Harbor Freight, but you don't need a $600 Fluke) and learn how to use it (YouTube) Life will be so much better if you do.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:56 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Covington, Louisiana
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Year: 1995
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Engine: 7.3 L powerstroke diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I feel for you and your wiring pain! I have much wiring pain going on too. Generally colors are what you need to look for, as already mentioned. However, there are only so many colors under the sun, and many get used over and over in these buses. Prime example; All my clearance lights around the top of my bus are connected through one circuit using a green wire. The right turn blinker circuit also uses the same color green wire. You need to get a decent quality multi meter (not the free one from Harbor Freight, but you don't need a $600 Fluke) and learn how to use it (YouTube) Life will be so much better if you do.
I appreciate your understanding of our frustration. Our issue with trying to match the colors was that there was paint of all different colors nearly covering the entire visible wire. Yesterday we muscled the courage to tackle it by having the bus running and basically touching wires together until it worked properly. We h
Officially have our rear lights functioning as they should! Now we are going through and cutting out wires that aren't needed, starting the bus after every wire disconnected.
We purchased a $40ish multimeter from an auto parts store. Haven't opened it or tried to learn how to use it yet but probably should.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:01 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Ouch.

What kind of bus? You might get lucky to find circuit numbers imprinted on the wires. If you don’t, you can get yourself a volt meter or multimeter. Connect ground to ground and sit there testing each wire while someone turns switches on and off.

If you suspect a parasitic drain is draining your batteries, get them charged back up then do this test

We've got a 1995 thomas international 7.3L.
We got the wires reconnected via process of trail and error with the bus running. And we found a wire that was hot and was touching the bare metal of the bus (pretty positive that's what was draining our batteries, bus has started fine since reconnecting all of those wires)
Now we are sorting through the wires leading to the back of the bus and eliminating what we won't use.
The electrical task is seeming a bit less daunting!
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:24 PM   #8
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For the record ... the "free" Harbor Freight volt meters are nice if you like to dabble with electronics. They even have a place you can plug in your transistors to see if they are working and what type they are. For bus work, they should be fine since you usually only need to know if a wire is connected to +12 or ground.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:22 PM   #9
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Just as a heads up. Your arc and spark technique could result in a damaged computer.
Jack
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:10 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
For the record ... the "free" Harbor Freight volt meters are nice if you like to dabble with electronics. They even have a place you can plug in your transistors to see if they are working and what type they are. For bus work, they should be fine since you usually only need to know if a wire is connected to +12 or ground.
I'm not knocking them completely, I have 3-4 of them laying around. I won't let my kids borrow my nice one! However, I think the only meters I have blown are the freebies. Something a bit nicer is just better to work with.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:35 AM   #11
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Nothing like a Fluke!
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:01 AM   #12
Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by Native View Post
Nothing like a Fluke!
I agree, but nothing hurts the tool budget more than dropping a grand on a DVOM!
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:40 PM   #13
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I agree, but nothing hurts the tool budget more than dropping a grand on a DVOM!
I totally agree.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:46 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Gardiner, Ny
Posts: 10
Year: 2005
Engine: Caterpillar C7
Contact Thomas to see if they have all the manuals for your bus.

I have a 2005 Thomas HDX and contacted them about getting access to their online resources.

They didn't have them for my year, but sent me PDFs and ftp links to everything. Several different manuals for electrical, body, engine, .... and hundreds of pages.

I needed to do some electrical troubleshooting and the drawings made it soooo much easier.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:00 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 36
I have an international bus and my wires under the shielding have little numbers printed on them... which is good cuz the wires are all the same color in some spots. So I had to put 2 pairs of reading glasses on and use a magnifier but low and behold the wires all had #'s printed on their little casing every 3' ...so I could connect them to the right spot.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerboo_n_wilnil View Post
We've got a 1995 thomas international 7.3L.
We got the wires reconnected via process of trail and error with the bus running. And we found a wire that was hot and was touching the bare metal of the bus (pretty positive that's what was draining our batteries, bus has started fine since reconnecting all of those wires)
Now we are sorting through the wires leading to the back of the bus and eliminating what we won't use.
The electrical task is seeming a bit less daunting!
You should consider taking some of the advice regarding getting a meter and learning how to use it. It's good advice. Trial and error may have gotten you taillights, but it can also get you a fire or damaged electronics or fried alternator.
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