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Carol
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« on: August 20, 2014, 01:14:45 pm »

Posting this just in case there are any electricity gurus out there who might have insight into an extraordinarily odd problem going on with my electrical system (cab, not house).  So far, Kermit from PC, the towing people, the RV shop, and the Ford technicians that I've spoken to on the phone have all been flummoxed by what my vehicle is doing.  To a person, they say they have never heard of anything like this.

After being parked for a few hours while I was visiting a friend, I entered the vehicle and heard the headlight-on beeping sound...  I went up front and the instrument panel lights were all blinking randomly (brights, turn-signals, anti-theft light, etc.)... even the radio would turn on by itself.  On the outside, the headlights were on, and the turn signals were randomly going on and off.  If we turned the headlights on, they actually would turn off, and vise versa.  When I tried to crank the engine, I got absolutely nothing.  Except the first tow-guy had success when he tried to crank the engine at the same time as turning the headlight switch on, then it did crank right up.  But that only worked a couple of times.

The RV shop disconnected half of the circuit board and got the engine to crank fine.  But driving it that way would mean having no lights or blinkers.  Plus, when I actually did try to drive it (they wanted me to go elsewhere because the problem was too hard for them), it turned out that the parking brake light was on, so it refused to come out of park.  If you reconnect those fuses so that the vehicle can be moved, then you end up going down the road with all the lights and blinkers going on and off all crazy-like.  Hardly legal or wise.

It is being towed today to a Ford dealership that will run diagnostics on it and hopefully locate and kill the gremlins, but they can't look at it for a week.

Guess I am posting this just in case anyone out there has had a similar experience or is knowledgable enough to give me some useful tips or ideas as I talk to technicians and repair people.

Good news is my doggie and I were visiting a friend when this happened and we are safe and sound as a guest in their home while our house-on-wheels is being exorcized.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2014, 03:00:47 pm »

Armchair mechanics can never be taken seriously, but since you asked.....

Start with the obvious, simple, easy to inspect things, then go deeper if nothing is found.

After a quick general inspection of the easy stuff, I would electrically disconnect the house from the chassis.  Doing that might be as simple as turning off every circuit breaker and pulling out every fuse in the RV fuse panel in back.  I would also disconnect the two house batteries and insulate each battery cable so neither touches battery terminals, each other, or any other metal.  You might have to disconnect all the way forward at the battery isolator located under the hood up front.  If the chassis works fine again, then I would say the wiring is related to the house.  If the chassis is still messed up, then it is likely a Ford problem, assuming Phoenix did not damage anything chassis related.

Another circuit to isolate is the rear hitch connector & cabling.  Make sure nothing is plugged in there and that cable is not damaged in any way.  Phoenix would have installed it and it might have gotten damaged during the construction of the rig.  I understand the rear hitch cable is a separate part that can be unplugged from the chassis, somewhere in the area of the rear axle.

It does sound like you are getting back-voltage into the chassis in strange ways.  It could be a short somewhere, a power distribution panel connection come loose & touching other wires, or something simply wired incorrectly.  A simple wood screw could be piercing through a wad of wires.  That could create wild electrical behavior.

The idea here is to isolate the house from the chassis, and then reintroduce one circuit at a time to determine which circuit is making the chassis go bonkers.  If you can narrow the trouble circuit down to one, then you know where to look for a problem.  If it's a number of circuits, then you need to inspect for damage where they travel as a group, or a common feed to them.  
A professional repairman will likely follow something similar to what I have outlined.

Mind you I am not an expert here.  Just sharing how I would go about trouble shooting it.

Something inside me wants to say that it just might be related to the rear hitch wiring or the PC modified wiring behind the kick panel just to the left of the driver's left foot.  Phoenix reworks some chassis wiring there for the running board lights.  They install an in-line fuse there.  Pull that hidden fuse and see if all is well.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 03:39:45 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2014, 04:37:24 pm »

Check the rear hitch plug for a small wire jumping two pins. The kids like to jump them as it makes the electrical system go nuts. Just something to check.
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Carol
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 07:13:51 pm »

Thanks fellas.  I spoke to the Ford dealership where it was towed to today and passed along the gist of what you said.  They sound pretty competent to me, and deal with RV's a fair amount, so my hopes are intact.  Smile
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Carol
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 05:11:03 pm »

 (cheer)Brief and positive (yay) update:  Ford replaced the Junction box (another name for the entire fuse panel) up behind the panel next to the driver's left leg, and everything is working normally.  They checked for moisture and found none, so are just chalking it up to a bad part.  Everything will be covered under their warranty.

I must say, I am grateful to have had a place to stay while this was all going on, but boy am I eager to hit the road again!  I missed my little house SO MUCH!!!
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2014, 06:29:28 pm »

 Glad you got it fixed and can get back on the road. ThumbsUp
Thank you for the follow up.
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Tom Hanlon
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2014, 07:23:32 pm »

Carol, thanks for posting the update.  I was just wondering today if your problem had been solved.  I'm so sorry to hear how long it took Ford to work on your problem, but very happy it is fixed.  Were the costs (including the towing) covered by Ford warrantee or Phoenix?
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Carol
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2014, 08:09:30 pm »

Thanks!
And Ann, everything will be covered by Ford since it was their part, their problem.  That's two tows and some time at a local RV shop in addition to their own work. 
I'm happy that it was clear-cut that way, since if turned out to be something to do with the house side, as well, the warranty issue may have gotten a bit muddied.
Have a happy, safe Labor Day weekend!
Carol
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 11:07:14 pm »

I am very happy to read your problem is 100% resolved along with all expenses covered.  I am surprised the distribution panel was faulty by Ford.  I never heard of such a warranty problem with a vehicle.  I would have thought the problem was somehow related to the conversion.  Again, I am glad all is well.  Now you can get on with enjoying that new home of yours.  Smile
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Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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