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Old 11-03-2002, 02:50 PM   #1
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Angry Help!! Engine Won't Start!!

Every single time I go to start my 370le, it won't start! My battery goes dead (BOTH BATTERIES) and then . . . nothing.

I have deep-charged the auto battery, then tried starting it - it took a loooooong time (cranking the engine over and over) before it would FINALLY start. Then I drove it home. Plugged it up to my house and tried starting it the next day - NOTHING. The engine cranks and sounds like it is trying to turn over, but can't get that extra "push" it needs. Then it starts to get weaker and weaker sounding until it just freezes up, then the batteries (BOTH) drain completely down to nothing. So right now I can't even get it started. My neighbor is trying to jump start it with his truck - but NOTHING.

What is going on? I just had this airstream serviced by a mechanic who "says" he went over everything mechanically (new carbuerator, new alternator) and he did not mention to me anything about having trouble starting the coach.

I am at my wit's end!

Any ideas or suggestions?

-Emily
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Old 11-03-2002, 03:06 PM   #2
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Can you smell gas (flooded)?
Is it getting gas? Is it getting spark? Are the batteries good enough to hold a charge to start it (how long will they crank it)? With 2 batteries dead it will take some time to charge them before you can jump it, even with a big alternator.

John
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Old 11-03-2002, 03:52 PM   #3
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Emily,
have your rear electrical fuel pump checked, if you haven't done it already.
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Old 11-03-2002, 04:07 PM   #4
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Yes, I can smell gas - but it seemed to me that I need to pump in a lot of gas (the engine actually started after I put in a lot of gas about an hour ago with a big "BANG" - backfire? -) but I immediately shut it off because the bang scared the crap out of me. Then it wouldn't start again. I am aware of flooding the engine, but felt I needed to try something different, so more gas went in . . .

Peter, yes - I did ask to have the rear fuel pump checked out - first thing I asked the mechanic to do - but then again, there were a lot of subsequent items to do so I don't know if he forgot (I'll have to call him tomorrow on the fuel pump).

The auto battery is practically brand new (maufactured in FEB 2002). I deep-charged it overnight and it registered "fully charged" this morning.

Both batteries measured fully charged before I tried to start the engine. Then they just completely drained.

I will let you know about that fuel pump tomorrow. Hopefully it will start tonight as I have CC&R's homeowner rules and can only have it here one overnight at a time - today will be going on my second!

Wish me luck . . .
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Old 11-03-2002, 04:18 PM   #5
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Fuel pump

Peter,

I did research quite a while ago (before I took physical possession of my 370le) on the Ford 460 engines and discovered, through an article on the RVer's OPEN FORUM website, that people had a lot of problems with the fuel pump in regards to the Ford 460 engine.

That article led me to specifically request that the mechanic check out the fuel pump - hopefully he did.

Thanks so much John & Peter for your ideas and suggestions!
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Old 11-03-2002, 10:34 PM   #6
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Now what?

Okay. We got it to start . . . buuuuut, as soon as it turns over, it quits. Immediately.

We noticed three wires (green, yellow, red) kind of above and to the left of the distributor cap that are very loose, in fact the green one is jerry-rigged (sp?) so that it is barely connected to a metal cap (the copper-colored wires are wrapped around a metal cap) and that in turn is barely connected to where it's supposed to go. We also discovered that when this green wire is removed from its connection, then the engine won't turn over and sounds like it did before (never kicking in and running the battery down). When the green wire is connected back on, then the engine turns over but quits immediately - almost as if there is no gas to it (but when I pump the gas pedal, I smell gas and can "see" it) so I don't think it is not getting the fuel.

Any help would be appreciated . . .

-Emily
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Old 11-03-2002, 11:29 PM   #7
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If you have a 460, it sounds like the coil has gone. Definately not the "brain" or you wouldn't run at all. When they go "they go"! My coil went and it did just about the same thing. The "bang", to me, says electronics not fuel starvation. Oscar
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Old 11-04-2002, 01:13 AM   #8
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Thanks, Oscar! I'll have the coil checked out as well, then.


When you say "electronics" - what do you mean by that?
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Old 11-04-2002, 07:24 AM   #9
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Carb or fuel injection? If it is not running and you pump the accelerator will gas squirt out? 89 Ford I would have thought would be fuel injection and electronic ignition. The wiring should have also had connectors. Is there any way you can post a picture of the top of you engine with no air cleaner on it?

John
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Old 11-04-2002, 09:29 AM   #10
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It has a carbuerator. Yes, gas does pour out when I pump the accelerator. I will try to post pictures - I have a digital camera but don't know how to upload onto the computer yet.
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Old 11-04-2002, 10:34 AM   #11
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Electronics....

Ignition module, coil, distributor. I had this happen to me once, check the distributor gear at the bottom of the shaft. The shear pin that holds the gear inplace may have bent or sheared, knocking the timing out. Oscar
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Old 11-04-2002, 11:58 AM   #12
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Gas pours out when you pump the accelerator or 2 streams? Point or electronic igniton distributor? When it starts and you let the key go from cranking back to the regular ignition position does it stop immediately?

John
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Old 11-04-2002, 06:37 PM   #13
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I am not sure about 2 streams (I think so). Not sure about the distributor. When it turns over - it just stops immediately - without going back to regular position.

I found out a vacuum hose is disconnected as well as a black wire - don't know where these go to.

I have a call in to the mechanic - he is out of town and has yet to call me back. Meanwhile, I am dodging the HOA.

Also - it's leaking oil onto the street - GRRRRRRRRRRREAT.

Ahhhhh, the joys of owning a used airstream (but I still think it's worth it - am I crazy or what?).
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Old 11-04-2002, 06:53 PM   #14
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Ahhhhh, the joys of owning a used airstream (but I still think it's worth it - am I crazy or what?).
You're not crazy, it's more like an illness. Think Mad Cow Disease - it's in your brain.

Let me quote Brett, "The medical term for the Airstream disease: Bauxite-itus, just like any other addiction more exposure is necessary to satify the craving. BTW it is incurable, once you have it you are hooked!"

Welcome to the club, you've come to the right place. At least you're among friends (or at least others contaminated with the same disease).
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