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Old 03-16-2010, 08:58 AM   #1
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1977 20' Argosy 20
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Smile New battery Argosy still will not start?

I have read lots of the threads and have gotten some ideas, but I still have questions. I hope my questions aren't redundant to too dumb!

I went out to start my 1977 Argosy 20' motorhome (The Peanut, Argosy 20' - 1977 Argosy 20' Photo Gallery) and nothing happened.

I replaced the engine battery with one that seems equivalent to the old battery. The engine now tries to start, but will not turn over.

What would be the first thing the check? Distributor cap, spark plugs? I am not a mechanic, but I am handy so I would like to see if I can find the problem myself.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:19 AM   #2
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Tiffany.

If by "equivalent" if you mean the same size, it may not be the same power.
Very important to have a proper battery with good wires and clean connections both at the battery and starter.

Is the starter cranking the engine at speed.... but it's not starting?
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:33 AM   #3
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1977 20' Argosy 20
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Smile New battery and er, er, er, er, er

Hi,

I wrote down the battery model, CCA, and CA and took them to the auto parts store. The auto parts man helped me pick a battery that is a 78 with a higher CCA and CA than my old battery. Could higher CCA and CA cause the engine to not turn over?

When I try to turn over the Argosy I hear a click and then er, er, er, er, er like the engine is trying, but it never starts. I can send a video of the noise if that would be better than my written sound effect.

Thanks for helping me!
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:46 AM   #4
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Tiff,

Good move on taking the old specs with you.

If the connections are good at the battery then I would check them at the starter. If the connections are good there you may have to remove the starter for testing.
Did you have the slow crank symptoms before the no start?
Any click clicks...before changing the battery?
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #5
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Hi,

Thanks! I redo old houses so taking a bad part at least gets me a new part even if I need to figure out how to make it work!

I am reading the manual to try and find the starter. No luck yet. Once I discover its location I will try to get it out to take to the auto parts man for testing or if the manual is detailed enough I ill try and see if I can test with my multimeter.

Tiffany
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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Be sure the connection of the ground cable to the MH is clean and tight
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
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Hi,

One question I didn't answer of Robert's that is probably really important.

The Argosy sat over the winter and being new to older engines we kept the shore batteries charged, but did not keep the engine battery charged. It was a wet, chilly (I know, I know, it's relative) Florida winter. Could the sitting and weather have rotted something that would cause the issue?

Once we resolve the issue the plan is to drive the Argosy to the grocery store at least once a month.

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #8
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A lot of times it's just loose or corroded connections at the battery or starter, or the ground strap could be loose. Trace your negative battery cable to where it bolts to the frame or chassis and make sure its tight, and when you find the starter check all electrical connections. In a few vehicles I have had the starter solenoid went on the fritz, and sometimes a firm tap on the side of the solenoid with a light hammer or even a large screwdriver can knock the crud loose and allow you to get running again. If you do this the first thing you should do if it starts is drive it to a shop where they can test the starter and alternator.
Judging from your written sound effects, I think you have a bad connection. The engine should spin pretty fast with a fresh battery in it.
Best of luck,

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffany_m1 View Post
Hi,

Thanks for all your help!
Your going in a good direction now...ain't this place great!!!

If you have a set of jumper cables...try connecting the neg from the battery to a good ground on the engine..worth a try.

Good luck!!
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
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This place is great! I have lurked a lot in the past, but this is the first time I have asked questions. I can't wait until this afternoon when I can go out and try all these suggestions!
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:16 PM   #11
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Hi,
Just to add a couple of idea to the things that have already been suggested. I have been driving old stuff all my life. I always try to start simple stuff first. Have you tried jumping the MH with another vehicle? Maybe the new battery is not completely charged.

Did you clean the battery cable end that connect to the battery, with a wire brush until they were shiny, before you hooked up the new battery?

Is the rubber coating on the battery cables brittle, cracked or missing? Can you see any green?

Follow the negative cable to were it bolts to the frame. Is the connection tight? Is there any green anywhere on the cables or connections? Green is a sign of corrosion. If so, clean the connection with a wire brush or replace the cable if needed.

Follow the positive cable from the battery down. It connects to the solenoid. The solenoid is either mounted top of the starter or on the firewall. If it is mounted on the firewall another cable will leave the solenoid and go to the starter. As before look for loose or green connections.

I hope this helps. Good luck, Bill
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:56 PM   #12
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To back up a little "The engine now tries to start, but will not turn over."
What do you mean, turns and will not fire or turns too slow"
If the engine is turning fast enough from the starter, check spark first at the plugs. Air and fuel are the only things left after that.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:44 AM   #13
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Fuel? zz
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:20 AM   #14
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Hi,

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I was able to get the Argosy started with starter fluid in the carburetor. The engine will run, but it is making a loud clunking noise. We aren't sure if the problem is the gas or maybe a problem with a spark plug? We are working on the motorhome every night to try and figure out the problem. Tonight my plan is to siphon some gas and check if the color and smell are off.

Tiffany
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:55 AM   #15
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Tiff,

Glad you got it started!! Is the engine running smooth or is it shaking or bucking like it has a mis-fire?

If the noise sounds like it is coming from low and towards the rear of the motor it may be a cracked flex plate,(the plate is attached to the front of the transmission, the starter engages a gear on the outer edge of the plate).
It usually is a rattling sound that will change or go away with engine speed.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:19 AM   #16
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This could be as simple as old fuel. If it sat all winter with no fuel preservative added it could be just crappy fuel. That will make it run terrible once you got it started. I would look at getting some fresh fuel and cleaning the carb, as it could be all gummed up.
Tom
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:37 AM   #17
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Congratulations, on getting it running. I not sure what your clucking noise sounds like from here. But, a 77 should have vacuum advance. The vacuum advance is on the side of the distributor and advances the timing as the motor speeds up. There is a vacuum line (small black rubber hose) that runs from the bottom of the carburetor to the vacuum advance on the side of the distributor. As vehicles get older the rubber lines will crack or loose there tension. Look at the line for cracks and if it is long enough, cut an inch or so off of each end and hook it up again. If the Vacuum advance does not advance the timing, the motor will run very rough and make quite a bit of noise.

You were not sure what where the starter was eairlier, so if you follow the spark plug wires up from the motor, they will all meet at the distributor. The vacuum advance is coned shape and will come off of the metal base below the black plastic cap. Good luck, I'm rooting for you from a distance.
Bill
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:58 PM   #18
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Smile I think it has bad gas

Hi,

Thanks for the help and encouragement!

Today we siphoned a little gas out of the Argosy and it is pretty dark. We tried to siphon the Toyota next, for comparison, but couldn't get the siphoning tube far enough into the tank so instead we went to the gas station and put a little gas in a gas can to see what new gas looks like and it is very different. I have an analogy, but I probably shouldn't share it.

I have been told that old gas can be used in a gas mower (mine is one of those rechargeable babies or I would be in business!) so I have called a friend's daughter's boyfriend to see if he can use it in for his landscaping business. I am waiting to hear back. If Mr. Landscaper does want the gas I will be draining the Argosy and making trips to the dump starting tomorrow.

Tiffany
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:24 PM   #19
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A common problem with old gas is water condensation. You can get fuel dryer from STP to help evaporate the water out of the fuel, but I still wouldn't use it in the Arrrg.
It may make it useable in a mower or tiller though.

Happy Friday!

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Old 03-19-2010, 07:45 PM   #20
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The loud clunking bothers me--a lot. It could be a stuck intake valve, a worn cam lobe, a cracked or broken flywheel, loose torque converter bolts, or even a connecting rod bearing. Then again, it could be just some really bad gas causing some really bad preignition.
After you dump the old gas and put fresh gas in the tank, please tell us if it runs better, and if that noise goes away.
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