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Let me tell you about my week


Brad & Jacolyn

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Hi guys,

Last week was a good example of 'Pack your sense of humor' when you start out on the road. We left Colorado Springs last Sunday heading for a wedding. We pulled over to get something to eat in Gunnison, Co before going to our park 12 miles down the road. We got parked on main street and turned off the key. The engine started to shut off, sputtered and started again. Now the truck is running and the key is turned off. Next the dash started displaying messages. I saw messages and pictures and things I have never seen before. Plus the engine is still running. When the low voltage lite up the DID and started counting down the voltage I unhooked the battery cables to shut down. I let things set for 30 min. and then hooked up the cables again hoping against hope that something would reset. It did not and the dash is all lite up now. Time to call Coachnet. Did I mention that it is Sunday?? The wreaker came and towed me to the campground 12 miles away. Now we are to long to get into a site so we had to unhook in the driveway and the owner hooked onto the rig and towed it into our spot and the wreaker driver parked the Volvo over in the field and we will start again on Monday morning.

 

It is now Monday and Coachnet sends out the same company to tow us to Fruita, Co about 130 miles away. Not many services up in these mountains. There is a different driver this time. Away she goes. About 4 hours later I get a call from the Volvo dealer and he tells me that things will takes longer than expected because the tow truck driver punched a hole in our oil pan but don't worry he will be paying for it. So I guess we will be getting an oil change also and since it has been 10K since the last one I told them to change the filters before putting in the new oil.

 

Fast forward 2 days. A new oil pan came in the next morning by UPS but they have to fight changing it for over 8 hours. Apparently there is something special or a special procedure that has to be followed for a Volvo D12 engine. By the time they got things changed and back together the tow company had a $2300 bill.

 

Now they can start on the original problem. Turned out to be a fuseable link broke and was backfeeding through the ground circuit (or so I was told). After they replaced that the old girl fired right up and works again.

 

Needless to say we did not get to the wedding. We were supposed to be in that park for 4 days but ended up being there for 6 days. We are now back in Colorado Springs and heading for Denver tomorrow. Then on to the Rally. See everyone there.

 

Brad

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Bummer of a week for sure.....

 

Electrical gremlins are so...........sometimes cheap at the initial point of failure (Fuse Link) but......... the issues that grow-on-the-side can really ratchet-up costs and downtime............who would imagine that a fuse-link would cost you a oil pan??

 

In the stone age........trucks were powered by diesel or gas...........now we seem to have electrical-electronic-trucks......with a little diesel on the side...........

 

Drive on.........(Keep a eye on the voltage........)

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Now they can start on the original problem. Turned out to be a fuseable link broke and was backfeeding through the ground circuit (or so I was told). After they replaced that the old girl fired right up and works again.

 

 

Brad

Brad - so sorry to hear about all your problems. I'm glad to hear they have been resolved and you are back on the road.

 

What caught my eye was the above statement by Volvo techs that current/voltage was backfeeding through the ground circuit. In order for this to happen the ground circuit would have to be faulty with a high resistance to ground. Besides replacing the fuseable link, the faulty ground would also need to be corrected. It is also possible a faulty ground would cause higher than rated currents in the fuseable link, causing it to fail. I write this only to warn you that the true problem may not have been corrected if the cause of your shutdown was indeed a backfeed on a ground circuit. Of course, that could have only been an assumption by the techs like anything electrical that doesn't work must have a short :).

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It is funny the strange diagnostic problems an electrical issue will create. When we had our problem with an electrical grounding issue, the first signs I noticed were the radio quit working, and the tach would suddenly start creeping up (even though the cruise was set, and engine RPM was not changing).

About 80 miles later (in downtown Montrose), the truck just quit at a light. Took me about 10 hours to track that one down.

 

Glad you are up and running again.

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Brad - so sorry to hear about all your problems. I'm glad to hear they have been resolved and you are back on the road.

 

What caught my eye was the above statement by Volvo techs that current/voltage was backfeeding through the ground circuit. In order for this to happen the ground circuit would have to be faulty with a high resistance to ground. Besides replacing the fuseable link, the faulty ground would also need to be corrected. It is also possible a faulty ground would cause higher than rated currents in the fuseable link, causing it to fail. I write this only to warn you that the true problem may not have been corrected if the cause of your shutdown was indeed a backfeed on a ground circuit. Of course, that could have only been an assumption by the techs like anything electrical that doesn't work must have a short :).

RandyA. i was thinking the same thing....

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Great point regarding elec grounds......

 

My heavy elec-geek guy is Huston Walters and has only about 50 years into heavy equipment electrical rework and repair.........

 

The FIRST thing that Huston does when he starts a job is.............Clean the grounds PERIOD...........about 40 years ago I would kid Huston that he was a "old-lady" that obsessed with grounds..........Huston would smile and would say "Ok Enstine just go out and try to repar a DC electrical system that has a deffective ground and let me know how much hair you pull out..........before you finally give-in and correct the ground issues".

 

I have lost count of how many times Huston has fixed the most MAJOR electrical issues by simply correcting the ground issues that others were too busy to consider.

 

Defective grounding issues often cause many items to backfeed and fail and then if the ground issues are not corrected you have other failures as well.

 

Correcting grounding issues seems too simple to try but it has sure kept Huston a wealthy man for +50 years.........

 

Drive on...........(Keep well ............grounded)

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Huston is a smart man.

 

Bad ground on a low voltage DC system can drive you crazy and damage components.

 

Bad ground on a 120+ Volt AC system can get you killed.

 

Not many folks truly understand "Ground" and the role it plays in an electrical circuit. Ground loops especially.

 

Before I retired I noted that an increasing number of my younger students1 were not interested in learning theory, making measurements, calculations or troubleshooting. All they wanted to know was what part to replace. Troubleshooting takes time and thought - something many in our instant gratification mind-set younger society shy's away from. I hope Brad's problem is truly resolved.

 

1Younger being recently out of High School. Students with at least 10 years of real life behind them were more inclined to learn theory and develop thinking skills.

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All they wanted to know was what part to replace.

Sounds like you have been to a Volvo dealer for service ...... :rolleyes:

 

I had my nephew, 21yo, doing some work for me last year. Before mowing one day I told him it was time for a P/M on the tractor and I wanted him to start with changing the oil in both the engine and gear box. I think he was about to ask "where" he was to take the tractor for said work when he noticed the oil, filters and supplies in the back of my P/U. I still wound up in the dirt, under the tractor showing him how but at least he learned something new. The following week he asked if it was basically the same to change the oil in his car. The following day as the work day ended he asked if I would stick around in case he had any questions as he was going to change his own oil for the first time in his car. Thank god he was willing to learn new things.

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Electrical problems are the single biggest item of concern to me trying to run a 15 year old tractor with 1.6 million miles in otr service. You just have to inspect, then inspect again. Bad grounds on a truck with electronics like ecms and mini computers all over the place are a multi headed monster. There is a reason for a seperate ground circuit serving nearly every powered one.

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