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Old 12-03-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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1996 30' Cutter Bus
El Paso , Texas
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Electrical short

I just drove 600 miles in our 1996 Airstream Cutter Bus (Ford F53 Super Duty Chassis), and as I arrived I noticed my speedometer and odometer were dead and then I noticed my outside marker lights were off. After stopping and checking, I found my taillights were off, all outside marker lights were off. The only working things were my headlights and my brake lights.

I found a blown fuse in the under dash fuse box ( number 5 -20amp) and replaced it. As soon as I pulled on the headlight switch, the fuse blew again. I did this again and the fuse blew a third time. So, obviously I have an electrical short, but I don't know where to begin looking. The electrical box in the front of the engine also has fuses, but they are all okay.

I am 600 miles away from home and would love to fix this before I start home tomorrow. Any ideas?

David
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgmelp
...I noticed my speedometer and odometer were dead and then I noticed my outside marker lights were off. After stopping and checking, I found my taillights were off, all outside marker lights were off. The only working things were my headlights and my brake lights.

I found a blown fuse in the under dash fuse box ( number 5 -20amp) and replaced it. As soon as I pulled on the headlight switch, the fuse blew again. I did this again and the fuse blew a third time. ...
David
From what you tell us, fuse #5 protects the circuit for the tail/dash/marker lights and maybe something else. The key point I'm seeing is that the fuse doesn't blow until you turn on the switch for the lights.

Do you have a toad connected? If so, disconnect the cable and try another fuse to see if the short is in the coach or the car. If not, inspect the 7-way socket for physical damage. See if the cable going to the connector is exposed under the coach and may have been damaged by some road debris.

Do you recall working on anything after the last time you know the lights worked? My thought here is something was opened/closed or moved where a wire for these lights got pinched.

From here on it gets harder. It could be any lamp socket or the light switch itself, or anything connected to that circuit that is energized when the tail lights are on.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:31 PM   #3
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Unplug the trailer and repeat the fuse replacement. It is time to divide and conquer.

-thomas
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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Airstream is not well known for their wiring. It's hard to believe that all those systems were tied to one fuse, but "The American Masters Of Darkness" could have struck again, and it could be a grounding (short) problem. Now that I think a little more, go to a NAPA or such place, see if you can get a fresh dash headlight switch. Airstream is infamous for tying all sorts of things to the same circuit, much like their friends across the sea, Lucas.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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1996 30' Cutter Bus
El Paso , Texas
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Thank you to all of you who responded...the repeated reference to the "toad", though we're not towing a vehicle, got me thinking. I checked the plug in the rear of the motorhome, and found the cover had been forced loose and a wire was loose and shorting out. I separated it and everything works. Thank you!

David
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgmelp
... I checked the plug in the rear of the motorhome, and found the cover had been forced loose and a wire was loose and shorting out. I separated it and everything works. Thank you!

David
Hooray! It's always good to hear of a successful outcome.
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