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Workhorse Engine Quits while driving


acckac

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I have a Winnebago Adventurer, Gas Engine, Workhorse 8.1. There is a bundle of wires under the steering column that are loose or something because the engine quits while driving down the road. I have to cruise to a stop then push the bundle up and start the engine again. Very scary. I read somewhere that it has something to do withe the tilt wheel cutting the wires. Has anyone had this problem or knows of it? FYI my husband just passed away and I am trying to do this on my own and my first time out on the road (I'm full time, but haven't driven it yet) this begins to happen. It makes sense to me about the tilt wheel since my husband never tilted the wheel. He always kept it in the up position. I have to tilt it to drive and put it up to get out.

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First let me offer my condolences to you in your loss. It is one of those things which all of us must face in time and we share your grief.

 

I don't think that this is something which you can repair yourself, as it probably is internal to that wire harness and will require some serious work to correct. In poking around the old RV forums I have found several threads about wire harness related problems from the Workhorse steering column and with several different problems, including the engine quits, turn signals stop working, and the problem seems to have been due to the harness being pulled too tightly. Some threads indicate that the harness can be repaired, while some have had theirs replaced with one that isn't pulled so tightly. I'd not drive with it this way as you loose power steering and power braking if the engine stops at a bad time.

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Enjoyinglife I agree with Kirk that you should not drive it till it is fixed. You may be able to some simple checks yourself.

 

With vehicle not running, see if you can see where the wires are going yo and from under the dash to the steering wheel. Move the tilt steering wheel through its full range of motion and watch to see if the wires get bound up at a point and become loose or disconnected. It may be as simple as moving the wires to get additional slack for movement with the tilt wheel but at the same time you may need to secure the wires going up the column to make sure they cannot come disconnected.

 

Then try it with the engine running (not moving) and wiggling the wires to see if you can cause the engine to die. This may help you understand where the issue is.

 

If you can take pictures of the steering column and the wires and post them here that may help shed some light.

 

One reason why you may need to get a pro out is if a wire is actually broken and needs to be repaired correctly and that may need the steering column to be disassembled. A bad connection can lead to a fire.

 

Where about are you located? Maybe someone nearby can assist.

 

Dave

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File an incident report with the NTSB. They are the ones to determine if a recall is required. This is a vehicle manufacturer fault, not a motor home fault. The rolling chassis comes with the dash and steering column installed. The motor home is built around it.

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At one time on a few units 2004/2005 as I recall - there was an issue with the wire harness rubbing on a sharp edge under/around the steering column and chaffing through the insulation. To inspect for the problem I had to remove the steering column shroud. It required the removal of six or so screws. It wasn't difficult to do. With the shroud off you could see if the harness was rubbing on any edges or not. That fault usually involved smoke and heat as I recall.

If you are showing an service engine light, one thing you might want to do is have someone put a code reader in the OBD receptacle and see if there are any codes listed. There are other things than can cause symptoms similar to what you are seeing. Many are associated with the fly by wire accelerator system. In that case turning the engine off and waiting 60 seconds or so will reset the system and it will run fine again until the fault reoccurs.

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I had a National Dolphin that went into the shop due to the same type of issue, although it was on a Ford chassis. The shop that was diagnosing it got lost as it would occur randomly but the engine didnt always shut off. He even connected his laptop to see what the ECM was doing. It was determined that the ECM needed to be repaired. So, $1000 later, a rebuilt and flashed ECM and the exact same problem continued.

I picked up the coach after he gave up. Got it home, parked it till later that day, and it wouldnt even start, no click, no nothing. I called the guy and he came out with some tools and we started to do some trouble shooting. As we were under the hood, (we had left the key in the on position) I grabbed the bundle of wires coming from the fuse panel. It was plugged into the back side of the fuse box and with all that vibration, it seems that the spade connectors had become loose. While I held the wire harness, he went inside and it started right up. He hooked up his laptop and we got consistent data monitoring. I moved the coach to my yard, and began the tedious task of cleaning, sanding and spreading out the spade connectors. It was a TASK. But with patience we never had that problem again.

It was the second vehicle that I have had this happen. Both fixes were the same.

Sometimes keeping good notes of what exactly happens when the engine quits will help a technician to sort out a difficult issue like yours

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We had a similar problem on our Phaeton last fall. Ended up being the main power cable from batteries in the rear of the chassis to the firewall. A 10 year old cable end crimp was loose under the shrink tubing at the primary power stud connection to the electrical system. Electrical system shut down twice for a "second" while driving across Ohio, shut down completely when in campground for the that night. Sat there for 5 days, trying different offered solutions from Tiffin, Freightliner, Coachnet, our mechanic via long distance and a local RV technician on site. Must have checked all the cable connections from batteries forward 15 times with a volt meter. Relays, disconnects, fuses, circuit breakers were by-passed at different times....turned out to be a 99¢ cable lug.

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