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PostPosted: July 9th, 2017, 4:30 pm 
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Joined: October 26th, 2016, 8:01 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Bend, OR
Looking for help from the group.

I have a 2003 Concourse. The generator starter and rear steps stopped working at the same time. After some searching on this forum and other places, I think both are powered by the chassis battery (not the house battery because the rear steps worked even when the house batteries were disconnected).

My guess is that a fuse or circuit breaker failed somewhere between the chassis battery and the generator/rear step. I found a couple of old posts on the topic: one commenter said the circuit breaker is located on the firewall just rear to the chassis battery. I don't see it there. Could it be somewhere else? Ideas?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

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2003 Chinook Concourse


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2017, 9:32 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1914
Location: 1999 Concourse
I think that a while before 2003 the generator start line was moved from the start battery to the house bank. If memory serves, my year ('99) or maybe 2000 was the last year for generator starting from Ford start (chassis) battery.

My guess as to why your step worked even with the house bank turned "off" is that... that switch doesn't really turn everything of as wired by Chinook. It leaves a few things on such as certain detectors and very likely the steps. I guess that's why it's a "store" switch and not a "battery (off) switch."

I think the breakers in your year might be a bit different than mine but have you looked at the wiring diagram from the 2003 manual? (I don't have electric steps, and my generator was started by the house battery originally.)

Another guess: If your house bank is low on charge, then there might not be enough oomph to start the generator or run the steps? There might be a fair bit of voltage drop in those circuits. (Maybe it's not low on charge though.)

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 5:15 am 
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Joined: October 26th, 2016, 8:01 pm
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Location: Bend, OR
Thanks B-G, for the feedback.

The rear steps worked even when the house batteries were completely disconnected. The electrical schematics are not very helpful because the lack of detail. In other words, they do not appear to show the wiring to the generator to charge the starter, only the output from the generator.

I may try the tedious work of tracing the 12 V wiring back to the engine compartment to see if I can find the circuit breaker.

There is a 100 amp circuit breaker in the generator compartment, but I'm pretty sure that this is on the output from the generator to the house batteries.

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 7:06 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
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Location: Marysville, WA
My manual references an 80 AMP breaker for the generator on the passenger side firewall.

I'm no electrical guy but on my 2004 Premier the electric step is somehow affected by the ignition circuit.

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 8:10 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Okay, I'm surprised a 2004 would have the gen start breaker on the firewall. I remembered the electrical diagrams showing that having moved. Or maybe they moved it but didn't change the diagram. I was lazy last night, but I'll take a look now.

On my oft-mentioned buddy's other-brand Class C, the electric step is triggered by the ignition. So if the step is out, and you start the vehicle's engine (Ford E-450), the step retracts so you can drive away. Likewise, once you stop the vehicle, the first time the door is opened the step automatically extends so you don't walk out into space if you are exiting the rig. I don't know if the Chinook works this way, but on his the step gets its power from the house bank, but there is a wire tying into the ignition somehow (it's under the hood, labelled, and runs over to the big fuse box in the forward corner under the hood).

So okay, on the 1998 Concourse and Premier manual DC diagram, it shows the gen start wire running up to the Ford battery, and the 80 amp breaker. Mine was just like that, breaker on the firewall (and with that crazy long run of 6AWG wire, far, far beyond the recommendations by Onan for voltage drop). Here is a copy of that diagram. I have highlighted the path of the positive cable in red, and the components in green (clicking on it should enlarge it). Edited to add: As kdarling rightfully pointed out, I drew the arrows in the opposite direction that power would normally flow. This power we're talking about only flows from the battery to the generator starter and not the other way. I was just highlighting the path, and my editor doesn't have a feature that is just a line, so I have to use an arrow as a line. But duh, I should have made the arrows go the other way for clarity. I was focusing on the two different paths Chinook used.

Attachment:
Gen start wiring 1998.png
Gen start wiring 1998.png [ 294.58 KiB | Viewed 290 times ]


And here is the same drawing from the 2000 manual. You can see they moved the gen start positive cable to the house bank (much shorter run, so that's good, although it's still undersized by Onan spec, which may show up as hard starting in cold weather). They don't show the fusing (breaker), but I would hope there is one. It should be as close to the house bank as possible on the positive line.

Attachment:
gen start wiring 2000.png
gen start wiring 2000.png [ 228.21 KiB | Viewed 290 times ]


There is no DC electrical diagram shown in the 2004 manual that I can see. Only the AC diagram (generator starts via DC power). Since the 1998 manual shows it starting via the Ford battery, and since my 1999 does that too, and then since the 2000 manual shows it starting on the house bank (which Onan recommends anyway), I conclude it was moved for the 2000 model year. I can't see why they would have moved it back, but since the diagram doesn't appear in the newer manuals, I can't see anything about it.

(I have a paper copy of the 1999 manual, but have not digitized it and it's not with me right now. But I have a real, live 1999 to look at :D)

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Last edited by Blue~Go on July 18th, 2017, 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 8:57 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
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Location: Marysville, WA
Blue~Go wrote:

On my oft-mentioned buddy's other-brand Class C, the electric step is triggered by the ignition. So if the step is out, and you start the vehicle's engine (Ford E-450), the step retracts so you can drive away. Likewise, once you stop the vehicle, the first time the door is opened the step automatically extends so you don't walk out into space if you are exiting the rig.


This is exactly how my electric step functions.

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 10:05 am 
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Joined: October 26th, 2016, 8:01 pm
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Location: Bend, OR
OK now I'm going to show my ignorance. The three electrical components in the attached photographs were all found near the passenger side firewall under the hood. Are any of these three a circuit breaker?


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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 10:44 am 
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Location: Marysville, WA
This is a 100 amp breaker I found to the left of the generator which connects to the solenoid. It appears to have a reset button but I'll leave confirmation of that to someone with better knowledge. I didn't find one on the firewall as indicated in my manual.

Image

Image

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PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 1:18 pm 
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Location: Bend, OR
I have a similar breaker at that location. I am assuming that that is the circuit breaker between the generator output and the house batteries, and not the breaker that sits between the chassis batteries and the generator starter. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2017, 10:46 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2016, 9:25 pm
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I have a 2004, the photo of the breaker is the one with the red push button and the writing on it that says HI-AMP, located beside the generator. In your photo it does not appear to be tripped, when it trips a small arm will pop down near that red push button. To reset it you simply push that small arm back up in position. To test it you simply press in on the red button and the small arm will pop down. I cant tell for certain because the one image isnt clear enough... but is the plastic housing on that breaker melting? It looks like from the images that the corners of the plastic housing have been hot and are melting or is it just an illusion from dirt and lighting?


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