Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-26-2003, 10:00 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
NASCAR345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 13
Question Electrical Problem

Hello to all,
I'm a new member and I hope this gets through. Last year we found an internet '87 345 with only 26k miles. We took the plung and went from being ground campers (tent) to the "good life". Well it has only 26k, but, it does have 15 years of neglect and amatuer repairs. By the time we drove it back from Tulsa to Greenville, SC. We had spent $500 to get the generator and A/C working in Birmingham, Al. and lots of stress about our investment. Things are better now, but, it is about $1000 of repairs before each trip. Had to completely rebuild the brake system including rear rotors and calipers and new master cylinder before going to Daytona. Recored radiator, waterpump, fan clutch, thermostat, new thermo switch and relay for the electric cooling fans, and all the belts and hoses before going to Bristol. A lot of the cooling repairs were preventive after taking the nose apart and not wanting to back there for a while. Fortunately, I restore old cars for a hobby so I only had to pay for parts. I'm really excited about finding this site. After reading about the solutions for water heaters and furnaces I'm going to dive into them this weekend.

My unresolved problems:
1. when driving in rain with everthing on, lights, defroster, wipers, radio (gotta have tunes) my charging system won't keep up. It has a new heavy duty alternator, the one required by A/S, and 3 new batteries (fortunately,just installed before we bought it). To counter the problem, I had to run the generator to get home. Yes the belts are tight, connections clean, etc.. I've traced everything down to the battery box and on the back side is what looks like a Ford type starter solenoid. Does anyone know what it's function is and if it has any effect to the engine charging system? The manual wasn't much help.

2. I have the A&E hydraulic leveling system. I have a leaking cylinder and cannot find one. A&E quit producing them. Anyone know of a secret source? Local hydraulic shop said it was not rebuildable either.

Oh, I was able to get all the parts so far at my local NAPA store. Tried the others, Autozone, etc. NAPA costs a little more, but, all the parts are U. S. made and either heavy or severe duty. Worth the $. Radiators are no longer available, however, local shop recored it with a 6 row as opposed to the original 4 row. It wasn't cheap, but, we're stayin' cool!

We look forward to getting to a rally and meeting some of you,

Jonesy
__________________

__________________
NASCAR345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2003, 11:04 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
Welcome! I'm fairly new here myself but a GREAT bunch of folks here. They have helped me emencly in the short period of time I have been here.
Well General automotive is something I can handle so let me make some recomendations on where to start on that and leave thepure Airstream motor coach stuff to the more knowledgable.

Well electrical I know a little about. Load test all the batteries. One bad battery when ganged together drags them all down and puts a hell of a load on the system. The solonoid may be a continious duty that mearly looks like a Ford. It may be there to seperate the batteires. Batteires that are not purfectly matched will fight each other. I'm a trailer guy so that's more of a guess and hopefully one of the guy's with a simular unit will pipe in and clarify the function A/S intended.

As for the ram....FInd another hydraulic shop. While that ram may not be rebuildable they should be able to find another ram with simular ratings and mounting. That shop should have pointed that out.
Only big issue is if it's a pair of rams then you might have to replace both to keep them equal depending on how the system is plumb. If they operate independent of each other then it won't matter as long as the stroke and the weight capacitiy is the same or close to the same.

Alternator: .....Chain rebuild alterantors are problematic. Might take it to a shop that specializes in alternators and have them test the output and have them check the load the RV is dawing. I have more than once walked into a chain part store and tell them what I have and found the replacment thier computer called for was the wrong one. I assume this has a GM style alternator. a 65 amp looks identical to a 90 amp except for the cooling fan. 65 amper usualy have a stamped steel fan and the 90's have a plastic turbine style that moves more air for better cooling.
You might concider a upgrade as well. Look at alternators for Semi's. Will take making a custom bracket but you can't argue with 200 amp output either. I mess with 4x4's and a lot of my buddies are getting those to handle heavy winching. These high rated alteranotrs in the standard GM cases just don't seem to last. It's the brighter the light the faster it burns out syndrome. The housing is simply too small to disipate the heat and have larger enough windings and diodes to handle the higher amps for any decent amount of time.
With your restoration back ground you know what to expect. Sitting is bad for stuff like seals. Coolant has a use life of 2-5 years MAX and then the chemicals that are in it to protect the cooling system are used up. After that the coolant becomes accidic and starts eating at the cooling system. Same with brake fluid. 2 years is about it's service life and after that the system should be bleed till it runs clear with new fluid. Same reasons, it becomes acidic from absobing moisture from the air. Starts rotting the lines and seals from the inside out. Boiling point is also lowered so the brakes are more prone to fade.

Once you get through the painfull catch up with the neglect it should level out. Just make a point to drive the thing ever few weeks and it tends to help prevent degridation.

So what stuff you like to resore? I have a 70 Pontiac LeMans sport converitble sitting in my garage waiting for me to restore it.
__________________

__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 11:04 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
wb13798's Avatar
 
2004 28' Classic
Currently Looking...
huntsville , Alabama
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 866
Images: 1
electrical problem
on the left fire wall in front is a battery isolator. i would check that and if i remember the origional altenator that came with the air stream was a 70 amp. that is what i had in my unit . cant get that one any more go to a 90 amp will fit with out any modifications. need to change the isolator to 90 amp also. dont need a hi output altenator your wiring will not take the 200 amps. before your next trip get the batteries load checked to be sure they are ok. the day before you go on your trip put a battery charger on the coach batteries.and make sure they are fully charged. i m sure you will see a difference.
try camping world for the hydrolic a&e jack call the store number and ask for parts. if your are from jackson missippi and all else fails go see billie or eric pollard on 80 west the airstream dealer. if they dont have one i bet they will find one. lol
al
__________________
wb13798 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 11:08 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
wb13798's Avatar
 
2004 28' Classic
Currently Looking...
huntsville , Alabama
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 866
Images: 1
dont know where i got that you were from missippi. there is a airstream dealer in sc go to airstream.com and got dealer locater and it will provide the required info.
al
__________________
wb13798 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 11:57 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
Quote:
Originally posted by wb13798
electrical problem
dont need a hi output altenator your wiring will not take the 200 amps. before your next trip get the batteries load checked to be sure they are ok.
Well 200 amps sounds like a lot but you need to understand how alterntors are rated. The amp rating is peak at a certain rpm. GM puts the same alternator on lots of different vehicles. Their alternators may not peak till 3500 rpm of engine speed depending on the pully sizes it's running. So if your cruising at 2,000 rpm your alternator may only be able to put out 60% of what it's rated. A 90 amp alterantor would only able to produce 50 amps or so at that engine speed.
That's where a Semi alternator comes in. Big Diesels red line about 3500 rpm. There alternators ar built for lower engine speeds. So at 2,000 RPM cruise you are getting plenty of power. The only wiring that would need upgrading is between the batteries and the alternator. I'm sure that Airstream has specified the rest of the wiring to what the accessories are going to need in terms of amperage. Even though you have the potential for 200 amps if whats hooked to it only needs 10 amps then all the wire will see is 10 amps.
Upgrading the wiring to the battery is going to alow a faster charge up of the batteries if you were say running on the inverter all night and pulled the batteries down in charge. That gets back into the problem of the battery isolator may not be up to the task. All those isolators are is a pair of Diodes. All a diode does is allow electricity to flow only one dirrection. It's a electrical check valve.
www.painlesswiring.com sells a deal that instead of using a isolator they use a continuous duty 200 amp solonoid. Shut the vehicle off and the solonoid turns off and effectivly you get the same result as the Isolator was providing, you keep the batteires seperate. When your chaging it doesn't matter because your charge voltage will be higher then the battery voltage so the battereis are not fighting each other. It's only when your not in a charge condition that you need to worry about seperating the batteries.
Now a side gain with the painless product is if the main battery for the engine is dead you can flip a switch and jump start off the aux batteries.
Now don't try to use a Ford solonide to do the same thing. Those solonoids are rated for short use through a starting cycle and will not handle a continious load. There are solonoinds that are cheaper then the Painless one that are capable of a longer duty cycle. www.warn.com will have the part numbers but again I'm not sure they would stand up to a 500 mile ride down the road running all that gear for that long.
__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 12:30 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
LOST , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,193
Battery isolator

The isolator will also drop the voltage over a volt, this isn't going to help keep the batteries charged with a lot of draw. Check your ground frame to block also, the tend to get pretty cruddy over time.

John
__________________
74Argosy24MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 12:51 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 184
Images: 55
Be sure to check your battery cables. A cursory visual inspection is not enough. Check the resistance with an ohm meter. I had a cable corrode from the inside out on my 99 suburban. Until I tracked down the problem, all sorts of weird things happened-including slow power windows, slow wipers, etc.

Your batteries are probably getting drawn down because they aren't being charged properly under normal operating conditions-due to a bad cable.


Good Luck!

Tripp

PS. As a fellow car nut, you KNOW that spending money on these things is a labor of love!! LOL
__________________
Tripp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 07:53 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
NASCAR345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 13
Thanks guys,
Some really good info. I did a visual inspection on the cables. but did not ohm out the links. Since the batteries are less than a year old and have maintained a charge for weeks after I put my trickle charger on them I didn't think a load test was necessary. I didn't think about an unequal balance between them. I'll get them load tested this weekend. The isolator seems like the logical place to begin if all else checks out. I forgot to mention about the trip to Daytona, we were at the track for 4 days running the gen the whole time due to heat and humidity. when we were ready to leave, the engine battery was so weak I had to jump it. If the isolator is not working correctly, then maybe I was running the unit off the engine battery alone and the deep cycles were just dead weight. (sorry, bad pun)
My toys...... '59 MGA, '70 &'71 MGB roadsters, '72 Chevy trucks, a Cheyenne super, a Blazer CST, and a K10 4x4., and a couple of old bikes '67 HD Electra Glide original, '69 Triumph Trophy, and a Honda mini trail 70, it goes every where the 345 goes. I'm looking for another one for my wife. I'm into old stuff, i guess that is why I love the classic A/S look.
Oh, I found a VW rail buggy the weekend after we got the 345, that is our toad. It has an aluminum skin covering the rails and matches the "Silver Bullet" perfectly.

Special thanks to wb13798 for helping me to get it right for posting this thread. Karma points to all.

I'll keep you posted as to what I discover.

Thanks again,
Jonesy
__________________
NASCAR345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 08:29 PM   #9
Airstream Driver
 
PeterH-Airstreamer's Avatar

 
1997 30' Excella
1983 31' Airstream310
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,375
Images: 51
Quote:
Originally posted by NASCAR345
....... I forgot to mention about the trip to Daytona, we were at the track for 4 days running the gen the whole time due to heat and humidity. when we were ready to leave, the engine battery was so weak I had to jump it. .....
There is your clue. The genset is not connected to your coach batteries.
With the genset running, the coach batteries get charged by the power converter and the motor battery gets charged by the 1 amp internal battery charger of the generator.
Having a weak motor battery after running the genset would point to a bad cell in the battery and/or corroded battery cables.
__________________
1990 29' Excella Trailer
1996 Airstream B190
1997 30' Excella Trailer
AIR #13
PeterH-Airstreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 09:34 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
87MH's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Generator drawing down battery

...or a bad charging system on the generator.....
__________________
Dennis

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
87MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2003, 10:00 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
dinoburb's Avatar
 
1982 34' Limited
Tidewater , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 186
Alternator Info

I have read the information concerning alternators with some interest. I have recently upgraded my 1982 Suburban 3/4 ton, 454 engined vehicle to a 130amp alternator. This replaced the original 63amp delco which was not able to keep up with dual a/c, wipers, lights, etc when the truck was at idle. There are many places where you can get bad info or simply well meaning but incorrect information, however, I found one place that gave me straight talk and the equipment has proven to be as advertised. The folks at Wrangler UNDERSTAND alternators and how the work. Contact them for some very good and sobering information. Like urban legends, there are many myths about alternators that Wrangler will clear up for you. Their address is:

http://www.wranglernw.com/

By the way, my alternator, at engine idle (800 rpm), puts out 80amps (hot) and 120amps (hot) at cruise speed. Please remember engine speed is not alternator speed, the alternator is overdriven in relation to the engine, by design, to compensate for the reduced output of the alternator at slower speeds.

Talk to Chris at Wrangler for the straight info. Lots of good electrical supplies available there as well. Their catalog is available online in PDF format as well.

Take care,
Sean
__________________
Old trucks and old trailers . . . a comfortable combination!
AIR 1446
W5CDR
A-6E All Weather Attack Driver, BUFF
USN Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Ret.
'91 Suburban R-2500 w/BBC
'78 Honda GL-1000
'72 Triumph T-100R Daytona
dinoburb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2003, 01:47 AM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 30
NASCAR, You asked in your first post about the solenoid at the batteries and mentioned in your last post about having to jump the engine battery. If your unit is set up like mine, the solenoid is for jumping and there is a button in the glove compartment that, when pushed, puts all the batteries to work in starting the engine.

I had the same program and carried the trusty jumper cables, only to find in reading the owners manual about the secret push button in the glove compartment.

P.S. Don't tell anyone I actually read my manual -- it'll spoil my reputation.

Jim
__________________
Bronze Dancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2003, 09:52 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
NASCAR345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 13
Question Diagnostic Feedback

Well, it finally stopped raining and I was able to start diagnosing the electrical system. So, I would like to respond to all the ideas that have been provided. Here is what I have found so far.

Battery cables,
all good and was surprised to find that several were new. checked with ohm meter. disconnected the braided grounds and cleaned.....'cause they lokked like they could use it and coated the ends with di-electric grease.

Batteries-Initial voltage check,
coach batteries - 12.6 volts each
engine battery - 10.8 volts

Test... connected to shore power for 24 hours, to bring to full charge, load tested all batteries...... tested good at 12.6v.

and now the new problems...........

I disconnected the shore power and started the onan to check inverter for charging to batteries....... it is working, too. But, there's always a but, it was getting dark so I plugged in a light to the outside plug and no power. I turned off the onan and plugged in the shore power and it worked. Unplugged again and started the onan and no 110v at any circuit, inverter still working and batteries are charging. While reading the manual, (all else had failed) I learned about the 2 relays to control voltage. 1 is for the a/c, and the other is for switching from shore to gen power. According to the manual, the shore/gen relay is located at the cord reel. Well, not on mine! It goes into the floor never to be seen again. We have the island queen and there are no signs of it in the closet, bathroom, or even under the bed. Does anyone have an idea where it is? I'm thinking that if the relay is not operating properly, it could be a part of the problem.

Other idea, If the engine charging system is working, could the isolator be causing a current problem if it is not working correctly? has anyone tested one of these before? if so, please share the proceedure.

Good news!
After reading several other threads about different problems, I was able to get my front heater working by cracking loose the gas line and allowing it to "flow" for about a minute retighting the fitting and starting the furnace and, TA DA, IT WORKS!

Still pluggin' away
Jonesy
__________________
NASCAR345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2003, 10:20 PM   #14
Airstream Driver
 
PeterH-Airstreamer's Avatar

 
1997 30' Excella
1983 31' Airstream310
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,375
Images: 51
Isolator

Quote:
Originally posted by NASCAR345

Other idea, If the engine charging system is working, could the isolator be causing a current problem if it is not working correctly? has anyone tested one of these before? if so, please share the proceedure.

with ignition off:
terminal A (alternator)=~0 volt
terminal 1 and 2 should read slightly different voltage, corresponding with the voltage in the coach/motor battery
The same voltage all across the three terminals would indicate bad isolator.
__________________

__________________
1990 29' Excella Trailer
1996 Airstream B190
1997 30' Excella Trailer
AIR #13
PeterH-Airstreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
electrical problem ALANSD Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 23 09-13-2015 08:20 PM
HELP! Electrical problem FranceyS Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 08-03-2010 03:57 PM
electrical problem kent osborn 1966 - 1968 Safari 3 09-27-2003 06:30 AM
AC electrical problem lbf78SvgnInt31 Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 2 07-26-2003 07:44 PM
Electrical problem resolved davidz71 Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 5 08-12-2002 09:21 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.