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Old 01-16-2008, 02:21 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Lafayette , Louisiana
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 12
345 will not crank

It started when I came home to dead engine battery that was fine 24hrs. prior. I decided the draw was a radio the PO had installed that would not shut off. The faceplate was hot to touch when key was off. So, I used the toggle in the glovebox to "jump" the engine and took a ride to get gas. Turned engine off to gas up and it re-started like it had a full charge.
Altenator is good.

Got home and decided the radio had to go. Disconnected the front ant then had to open that side of dash to get to the wires and pull out the radio.No problemo.

While I'm this far I decide to have a look at that headlight switch to see if I can figure out why my clearance lights are not working. Removed screws on the other side of dash and took a gander. Starting to feel a little over my head. I don't see anything obvious with the switch or wires and decide it best to concede. Replace dash and turn key. All gauges light up but no turnover. No noise, no nothing. I surmise the battery has run dead again, and attempt the "jump". Nothing. Noticed the ignition switch was loose in the bracket, but coul not get it to tighten. Re-remove dash on L side and fiddle with the ignition switch wires. After a couple minutes, Vrooom! After a couple hours went back outside to check battery. The switch was loose in bracket and the motor would not turnover. All enginge gages illuminate but no contact with the starter. My gut tells me it's something near the switch since moving them earlier re-established contact and allowed me to crank. It also will not let me crank from the coach batts. I will assure it is in park(from another thread)and aside from that I'm lost.

Any ideas will be appreciated. I've had the MH 5 days and it has been trying. Power steering hose replaced, flat front air bags, no clearance lights, no high beams, ignition, rear pressure gage or light, and heaven knows what I have yet to discover. Maybe a touch of buyers remorse.

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Old 01-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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1984 31' Airstream310
New Holland , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,081
CC, I am so sorry about your mishaps! The good thing that comes from all of this is the knowledge that those systems you have fixed or replaced are newly done, and hopefully you won't have to question the reliability of them after that.


"Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?"

1984 310 Limited Motor Home "The Rockin' A"
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:24 PM   #3
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1984 31' Airstream310
Dunsmuir , California
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,336
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I recently went through a lot of trouble over what turned out to be an intermittently bad ignition switch.

Also on my rig power to the starter relay is protected by in-line circuit breaker, if yours is too, I'd suggest that you test both sides for power when you are having one of your no-crank episodes.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion - The Dalai Lama

1984 310 Limited Motorhome
Courtesy Parking (W/S/E/Wi-Fi) on I-5 in Northern California, 70 miles from Oregon border
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
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2008 30' Classic
Pagosa Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 116

I'm not familiar with the 345, but most ignition switches have elongated slots to properly adjust the ign. sw. prior to tightening the retaining screws. If not properly adjusted, the engine will not crank/start.

It also sounds like you may have a significant draw on your battery. Using a volt meter or test light in-line between the battery & cable, you can pull fuses one at a time to see which circuit has an abnormal draw.
Good luck!
Larry & Sandy
08 Classic 30
05 GMC K2500 Duramax
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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2005 25' International CCD
Leesburg , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 292
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not sure about your ignition problems but i do understand your buyers remorse. my rig at the moment looks more like a man cave than the family home away from home. could it be the array of tools on every available surface. i found the high beam switch while exploring floor wires around the steering column. on my 345 this switch is to the left of the column. what else is a left foot to do!?

i've also found that with the dog house cover removed and you're leaning over with arms squeezing through the tightly packed front area components to replace a v belt, that an old cushion on top makes the experience all the more rewarding.

happy camping
what, 8mpg!! worth it for all the looks of approval you get for being on with such a classic
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:29 AM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,861
Images: 4
cajun...keep your chin up. These old beauties do require some hand holding at first. I spent a lot of time under mine before it was "kick the tires light the fires" ready.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:06 PM   #7
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Elkmont , Alabama
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 29
Same problem 280

I have an intermittent starting problem also. I have replaced the starter and the ignition switch. It started like the switch was the problem and then it seems once it has been started a couple of times it won't start.

Is there a breaker that is tripping or something?

I have also checked adjusted the neutral switch. I jumped it, nothing. I checked the voltage and it had 4 volts. Oh yeah, batt is hot.

What does the solenoid on top of the engine do?

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