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Old 03-14-2021, 12:50 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Richmond, VA
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: International/Amtran
Engine: DT466 w/Alison 3060
Rated Cap: 11 window
Relays, batteries and buzzing...oh my

Hello all,

So I finally got around to getting to the point to start up the bus and turn it around and whatnot and now I'm having a visit by an electrical ghost. I am burning the candle at both ends to get it finished up ASAP and this has brought me to a standstill. I really need some advice!

So I have installed 2 brand new batteries (properly grounded and setup exactly like it was when I last ran it/drove it).

Whenever I go to start the bus the relays just buzzed and whined, I assumed the relays were bad, tested them and they were fine, but I replace them just to be sure. With the new relays in I still get the same buzzing sound from the ignition coil relay #2.

I even get the same buzzing from the horn relay when I try to honk the horn.

I believe its a ground issue but I cannot find where it would be! I have grounded the panel the same way as before....from the firewall to the panel which holds all the electrical; stock location, wire and setup.

It seems all the relays are experiencing the same problem but I cannot find where or what it is...The fuse panel itself has a plastic housing and is installed on the metal panel that is grounded. I will do my best to upload some pics/videos of the problem. I tried to upload a video but it wouldn't take my .mov so I'll try to figure it out and reply.

Any and all help/advice is greatly appreciated! I cannot find anyone willing to come help diagnose the problem so I am working on tracing wires and trying to figure it out the best I can.

Thanks!

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Old 03-14-2021, 12:54 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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https://youtu.be/v_7Sp5LGjg0


https://youtu.be/X4kxXczHGoE
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Old 03-14-2021, 01:39 PM   #3
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This may sound silly, but make sure the batteries are fully charged. I've seen instances where they came from the store lacking a full charge...

John
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:02 PM   #4
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are all buzzers going off or just a specific buzzer?
an air pressure buz is normal until up to the minimum.
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:09 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
This may sound silly, but make sure the batteries are fully charged. I've seen instances where they came from the store lacking a full charge...

John
I did not check this but I'm going to now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
are all buzzers going off or just a specific buzzer?
an air pressure buz is normal until up to the minimum.
The buzzing is coming from the relay which will not even send signal/power to the starter to try to turn the motor over. All i get from turning the key is buzzing from the relay.

I have been tracing down all the grounds and they look good. I was hoping to find a stupid mistake somewhere but I havent yet. I also didn't mess with any of the chassis wiring so this has got to be something simple and silly.

I was just thinking that the only thing I can think of that is different electrical wise is I finally hooked up my solar/inverter system but those have been off the whole time I have been trying to start the bus. Sigh....
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:16 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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The batteries are fully charged, both showing 12.5V

I am getting full power all the way to the relays...just not sending power or shorting to ground. The ground issue is really what I think it is because all of the relays are presenting the same issue. BUT i have been checking and rechecking them...and nothing out of the ordinary or looks funny.

I have been using the horn as a tester bc the wiring is simple and direct and the button is right there. I am wondering how I can add another ground and see if that will prove the theory either way. Where would you try to add one?

I have traced all the way from the frame to starter, starter to the firewall, under the hood to inside the firewall to the main ground for the panel, that mounts to the fuse/relay panel.

Im at a loss here. p
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docmurphy View Post
The batteries are fully charged, both showing 12.5V
Im at a loss here. p
I just looked at the video, and it really sounds like a low battery to me. The batteries may show 12.5V, but it is possible they don't have enough juice to do anything requiring more amps... Do you have a good charger you could stick on them overnight to top them off with a nice charge?

Another thing I was thinking - is it possible that any of the wiring is corroded inside the insulation? I have also seen connections that looked OK, but was all corroded behind the insulation near the lugs...

As far as the main ground from the starter and battery to the frame - have you done anything with them? remove the lug, scuff them up and re-connect?

hoping that maybe something will come up and have an "AH-HAA!" moment!

John
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Old 03-14-2021, 03:18 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
I just looked at the video, and it really sounds like a low battery to me. The batteries may show 12.5V, but it is possible they don't have enough juice to do anything requiring more amps... Do you have a good charger you could stick on them overnight to top them off with a nice charge?

Another thing I was thinking - is it possible that any of the wiring is corroded inside the insulation? I have also seen connections that looked OK, but was all corroded behind the insulation near the lugs...

As far as the main ground from the starter and battery to the frame - have you done anything with them? remove the lug, scuff them up and re-connect?

hoping that maybe something will come up and have an "AH-HAA!" moment!

John
I have not done anything to the main grounds on the bus. I am planning on doing that as I run out of things to isolate.

I thought I found it when I looked at the "main" 10-12 gauge wire that also attaches to the battery. It had an old dry rotted connection. I jumped it to the battery and the horn honked! Then I cut out the connection, hardwirded it with a new connection and the horn worked. Then I plugged everything back in: the 2 ignition relays, the ignition, the instrument cluster and the trans....

I prayed and turned the key...the starter kicks with a ca-chunk and that was it.

Now I'm back to the relays buzzing after trying to start it.

Is it possible that my starter is bad? Could that be causing the lack of power and the relays and whatnot? I think I should try to jump the starter but I'm not sure exactly which poles to cross...

I hope this isn't the solution because the budget is tight but then again...I have to get this thing on the road!

Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2021, 03:33 PM   #9
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DOC.
have you cut any internai wires
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Old 03-14-2021, 04:54 PM   #10
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It doesn't seem to me the starter is bad, as it wouldn't give you issues when it wasn't doing anything. When my starter went out, everything worked as it should, it just wouldn't crank. If the starter moved a bit, then fizzled out, that really points me towards lack of power and back to the suggestion of putting a charger on the batteries for a bit.
Especially since you were able to get the horn going after re-doing that connection.

John
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Old 03-14-2021, 04:57 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
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Also, when you plugged everything thing in after the horn worked, did you get the 'gauge sweep' on the instrument panel as well as the 'warn engine' light doing its self test with the key on, before rurning it to start?

John
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Old 03-14-2021, 07:13 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
Also, when you plugged everything thing in after the horn worked, did you get the 'gauge sweep' on the instrument panel as well as the 'warn engine' light doing its self test with the key on, before rurning it to start?

John
So I solved the issue... I was getting intermittent signal on the trans read out and got the instrument cluster to do one seep through as it should but then it stopped. Turns out...it was a GROUND! Its always a damn ground!

On the negative battery terminal there is another 10 or 12 gauge wire that had a waterproof terminal/connection that was basically dry rotted and was causing the jumpy ground. I rewired it and cleaned the battery terminals really well while I was in there and boom...running like a champ again!!

Now onto the oil change that I was initially trying to do!!

Thank you for being so awesome and asking questions to help out. I love having a sounding board to bounce ideas and problems off of...talking to myself gets old!

Cheers!
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Old 03-14-2021, 08:39 PM   #13
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YES!!!! ANCE:
That's great to hear. I love it when stuff works out. Fantastic.

Keep us updated on the progress and enjoy the victory!


John
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