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  #1  
Old 04-29-2013, 10:14 PM
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getbuck911 getbuck911 is offline
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1997 Ford E350 Shuttle Bus Batt. Issues

Hello All! I havent been on this site in a while! Basically I have a project vehicle now and its almost paid off and I am getting to work!

Its a 1997 Ford E350 Shuttle Bus. Converted by StarTrans. It has 185,000 on it and runs and starts like a top. It has a high amp alt.
Click the image to open in full size.

Basically it has a 2nd battery under the passenger side. Since I bought it, it has never held a charge. It is extremely hard to access so I don't think I could even get it out if I wanted to.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
I have tried using a batt charger and it didnt ever do anything. Doesnt charge off the alt. One day I randomly fired it up and boom! I had interior lights, and my rear heater worked, and so did my rear AC. the first time any of that has worked. I ran it for a few minutes and as soon as I shut it off none of that stuff has worked again. It has a batt guage on it that only worked for those brief few minutes. Heres a few photos.


Heres the positive terminal on the main battery. The red wire running off of it goes to my amplifier.
Click the image to open in full size.


And above the bus door is this big ol' box of fun.... dont even know where to start with this.......
Click the image to open in full size.



And over on the drivers side of the engine compartment is this. Its just for the handicap ramp correct? (It has been removed). It had a blown 20amp fuse in it. What is it for? Should I get a new fuse for it? Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.




So then there is the dash. Still not sure what all of these do. The switch on the very left I put in and isnt wired to anything.
Click the image to open in full size.


And heres this. Not wired to anything and I dont see a plug. Is it tucked up under the dash or something maybe?
Click the image to open in full size.



And last but not least. On the back these 3 lights I assume were hooked up to the hazard lights. But when I do brakes, turn signals, and hazards and none of these three light up. I really appreciate the help guys!


Click the image to open in full size.
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2013, 06:17 AM
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Have you contacted StarTrans for a schematic to their added-on systems? I'm sure they'd be glad to sell you any replacement parts if it comes to that.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:41 AM
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I tried contacting startrans and they said they couldn't find it and didn't reply again:P
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:02 PM
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Then you need to find a good Auto Electric guy and do it Old School ( read wire by wire ) .....Clean up the crap you don't need and be done with it....
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:36 AM
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Believe it or not most of your issues could be easily fixed by someone familiar with those sorts of electrical systems. I'm thinking a bus mechanic?

Without a schematic its almost impossible to know what the intended operation was designed to do, how it would function when working properly. Since StarTrans is of no help someone dealing with wheel chair lift vans or other type vehicle add-on would be a good place to start looking for help.

Wish I could be more help but the schematic is just that important. You could also post this in the Electrical Systems Forum too---lots of talented, experienced guys there too. Electrical Systems/Wiring - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:20 AM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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Your coach power problems sound just like my Bus's problems. I found the charging wire from the chassis power box (driver side under brake master cylinder) was intermittant going to the coach battery. One day I had no power at all, stuck with doors open , I beat the living snot out of that box and it still working so far! Must be a bad connection or relay, but where it's located, NOT going to be easy fix...

As the coach battery is bad(will not hold a charge) I cannot open the doors with out the engine runnig. I am going to rewire my bus with better wires(bigger gauge wire) and rid that factory chassis power feed. I'll use a RV solenoid or a battery isolator diode to charge the coach battery.

Good luck with Startrans for any info. I needed info on the rear Carrier AC unit on how much R134 it takes. Never heard back from them....

Over all its a wonder how the coach(startrans) electrical system works with under size wires going to high amp motors and stuffed in places where problems could occure.

Here's my dashboard. its diffrent mounting than yours. I like my setup, at least I have a factory radio location still.
Click the image to open in full size.

This is after I installed a F-series tach cluster in it.
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2013, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddiec1564 View Post
Your coach power problems sound just like my Bus's problems. I found the charging wire from the chassis power box (driver side under brake master cylinder) was intermittant going to the coach battery. One day I had no power at all, stuck with doors open , I beat the living snot out of that box and it still working so far! Must be a bad connection or relay, but where it's located, NOT going to be easy fix...

As the coach battery is bad(will not hold a charge) I cannot open the doors with out the engine runnig. I am going to rewire my bus with better wires(bigger gauge wire) and rid that factory chassis power feed. I'll use a RV solenoid or a battery isolator diode to charge the coach battery.

Good luck with Startrans for any info. I needed info on the rear Carrier AC unit on how much R134 it takes. Never heard back from them....

Over all its a wonder how the coach(startrans) electrical system works with under size wires going to high amp motors and stuffed in places where problems could occure.

Here's my dashboard. its different mounting than yours. I like my setup, at least I have a factory radio location still.
Yeah, I like your dash setup more. its a pain to have to look and reach above you to change songs.


Could you possibly put up a few photos of how your bus is set up? (powerbox, 2nd battery location). I would really appreciate it!
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddiec1564 View Post
Good luck with Startrans for any info. I needed info on the rear Carrier AC unit on how much R134 it takes. Never heard back from them....
After many many emails I finally got them to send me a few schematics for a 1996 bus and i am not sure if its the same. if you want i could email them to you
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:52 AM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getbuck911 View Post
After many many emails I finally got them to send me a few schematics for a 1996 bus and i am not sure if its the same. if you want i could email them to you

Yes, that will be helpfull. Send me a PM

I'll get some photos on my bus and of where the chassis power box is located.
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  #10  
Old 05-08-2013, 10:50 AM
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Getbuck,

A couple of thoughts;

The battery under the curb side. Is it mounted to the frame rail? I've got a Turtle Top converted E350 that has one there. It charges off of the alternator, but is wired with a relay such that it isn't a "starting" battery. It powers all of the accessories like the rear heat/air, lights, etc., and on mine, the electric curbside door opener and my backup alarm. I can tell when that battery is getting weak when the bus is first started, the door won't operate and the backup alarm sounds weak. Then they start working once that battery has built up some juice. It has a relay that sends current to the battery once the bus is running. I think it is activated by alternator output. The point is, if that battery is bad, it is going to put a lot of strain on your alternator. It is a pain to replace, but do it anyway.

I've got a '96 E350 that has a second, smaller "accessory" battery under the hood. It is of similar circuitry design in that isn't in the starting circuit. It powers the trailer circuits. We were having issues with our trailer lighting. That battery was internally shorted and killing everything. About 3 years later, we had similar problems, and since the only lighting that we needed were the running lights, we bypassed that battery rather than replacing it again ($150 - 175 for an Interstate). No problems since. IF we were running a trailer that utilized the trailer accessory power circuit for lighting, sound system, etc. then keeping that battery functional would be important.

The Buss Hi-Amp unit that you photographed is a circuit breaker. What is wired into it, I don't know. I've got one like that on my F350 for my liftgate, so I would assume it is for your wheelchair lift. But, it could be for all of the stuff; lighting, heat/air, wheelchair lift, etc. in back. It could be part of that rear battery circuit as well.

The 20A fuse coming off of the rear circuit relay looks more like a power take-off for something else...perhaps for the high idle controller or something similar. Hard to say with out tracing it.

I DON'T like the ground wires that appear to be sitting right on top of that relay's positive terminal post...that just looks like short waiting to happen.

Do you have ANY power on that rear terminal block about the bus door?

Bruce
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2013, 01:51 PM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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On my 95 chassis(96 titled) I only have the aux battery on the pass side. That charging relay shows in Ford's schematics but I cannot find it. I though it was inside the Powerbox located under the brake master cylinder. After digging the cover off, it was not there! Ever since I owned the bus, there was a charging problem to the aux battery. Well last sunday it finaly dumped out and would not charge the aux battery at all.

I did a quick bypass wire from the main battery though a knife switch to the aux battery. That made a big time change on how the aux battery is being charged. I now can run the rear AC and have amperage to spare!!

I'm going to do a total rewire of the coach electrical systems so I know what I have.
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  #12  
Old 07-18-2013, 11:32 AM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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I finaly got around to rewire my bus. I totaly removed the aux battery from the front pass side and made up a new battery box under the steps. What made it nice was the steps were all metal! I just added frame work to support the MUCH better battery from the steps to the frame.

Just found where that factory aux battery is located on my bus. It was right under the main battery tray. The only way to properly get to it is via the headlight opening!!!! What a stupid way Ford did.

Anyway, that junk is all gone and where the aux bat was located I put the new charging solenoid there. I got to get a new alt belt as the old one is glazed badly and few more battery terminals to run the charge wire directly to the alternator. I should get much better charging as I have eliminated probly 4' of what looks like 8ga wire with about 3' of 4ga wire!

I did finaly find info about the Carrier AC systems, I posted in this forum. They are PDF files so some may not be able to read them.

Here's the link:

http://www.transportaircon.carrier.c...US-en/T299.pdf

Let me know if that link doesn't work and you need that file. I'll try emailing it.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:36 PM
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Don't bother with startrans. Call Davey Coach. Parts service and likely factory startrans wiring diagrams. They are in Sedalia CO. +1 (303) 683-9500
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:37 AM
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Look for a battery separator that wont connect the batteries unless there is sufficient charge available. Kind of like what's above the oil fill cap. Since somebody was in there removing the wheelchair lift I figure its a case of undo what was done last like what the guy disconnected keeping from getting fried by a few hundred amps. Clean all the connections to the right of the 6th picture with the oil filler cap. Since things did work one time I'm thinking loose ground wire floating around after the ramp removed or the relay handling when the battery is in line with the system.

If there is a local guy that sells the big batteries to wheelchair oriented vehicles and such try asking him for suggestion when talking prices on batteries or asking him if the battery is the problem causing lights not to work. Try to act innocent instead of like you just want free advice. Those batteries might be reconditionable.

I'd track down relays and fuses. There might be a swing down for the batteries so that a tray slides out with the batteries.

Oh yah. my van running 2 batteries and an internal generator has a switch for running the batteries in parallel. Might figure out if you have and arrangement like that and check if the relay works. If the big batteries are dead don't hold the switch just a short click so you don't fry your battery. Check water levels and try a long charge since deep cycles take longer to charge as far as I know.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:26 AM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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Update, my aux battery charging gremlin showed back up again.... Turns out it is the factory side failing. I aint going to figure that out, I am going to find a "run only" key switch power under the dash and operate the aux charge solenoid that way.

Other than that, with the bigger better battery I have much more power to the rear AC blowers. Still got to get those photos....
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:26 AM
 
 
 
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