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PostPosted: June 20th, 2015, 11:55 am 
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This is just normal ford stuff, but I couldn't find a picture or anything on the Internet for where the starter relay was.
You have to take the chassis battery out and the relay is mounted to the passenger side fender wall near the head light.

I replaced the starter also. The old one already had " remanufactured" sticker on it, which makes me wonder.. Why would a vehicle with 90k miles already have gone through 2 starters. I grew up with a '83 f150 and saw the same type parts used there. Come on ford.. 2 decades later and you're still using the same parts that break too often?
Grrr.. Rant over.


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 Post subject: Bad Starter?
PostPosted: January 13th, 2017, 10:27 am 
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Location: Northern Virginia
I wanted to go to the store today and haven't used the Chinook in about a week. When I turned the ignition on I heard a distinctive "crack" noise and it wouldn't turn over. Cab lights and headlights are strong. Popped the hood and the battery reads 13.5v. Could this be a starter-issue? I'm not mechanically inclined but can try and figure things out.

I'm posting here because of Manitou's pictures and him replacing the parts. If I have a starter problem, can I assume this is where my starter is located? I would like to try changing it myself not only to save money but to not have to worry about a tow. Thankfully, it's in my driveway.

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PostPosted: January 14th, 2017, 9:04 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I might be wrong about this (Ford engine/chassis repair not being my strong point), but I think Manitou is just showing a relay, not the actual starter.

I *think* the starter is under the van a bit aft of the front axle. And maybe something there for you to check based on what I found.

I tend to lie around underneath the rig from time to time (in this case I think I was planning out my new/larger wire run from start to house batteries). While down there, I look around to see if anything looks amiss. In winter of 2014/2015 I was looking around and saw this delightful little number...

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This is factory Ford wiring, and you can see the huge split in the negative cable with a nice bunch of green wiring inside it. I figured out that these were essentially the Ford start battery cables (the corresponding positive looked fine). My first thought was to just get new battery cables, but then when looking into it I found out that it's no longer "just" cables, but is instead a complete "harness" and would be rather involved to remove/replace. Also the rest of it looked fine.

Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning it here is that I think the "thing" with the two gold canisters (one small, one large) that these two wires go to is the starter. If you follow down roughly where the passenger side exhaust runs, you'll see it sort of just aft of the front wheels. To the passenger side of center (as I remember it - it's raining now so I'm not going out to check).

I didn't have any starting problems ever, and I can't tell how much this affected things because as a part of the whole project (new wire from start to house battery, removing recalled Surepower 1315, etc.), I also replaced the start battery. After this ugly negative wire was fixed, and the new start battery was in, it DID turn over and start really really fast, but I can't be sure what caused the difference. And before that I wouldn't say I ever thought there was a problem -- just that after it started like "crazy fast."

But maybe something to look at? A problem like this with your wire could cause a starting issue even if the battery was good.

For some reason I don't have any photos of the "after," but what I did was splice on a new section of marine grade wire, and then put on a new lug. I also improved that nasty bend that caused the split (or contributed to it). As I remember it I pre-bent the lug slightly to effect that. Then I put heat shrink over the connections. I have a big crimper and used FTZ lugs and dual wall heat shrink, so I felt it was better than new, even spliced. If I remember correctly it was 4AWG wire, but I don't remember the stud size for the ring terminal (easy to check thought if removing the old one).

Getting under there with the giant crimper handle "wings," plus holding all the parts and pieces in place while making the crimps was fun (not!). Good times :mrgreen:

In the next post are a few more shots that sort of shows where this was (sort of...).

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Last edited by Blue~Go on January 14th, 2017, 9:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: January 14th, 2017, 9:17 am 
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Here you can see the wire loomed pair of "battery harness" cables coming back. The positive connection looked fine.

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Another view of the compromised negative cable.

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Somewhat of an overview showing the negative cable and some of the undercarriage.

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PostPosted: January 14th, 2017, 12:46 pm 
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Blue~Go's pics are helpful to identify the starter and solenoid. The large gold "cannister" is the starter motor itself and the smaller one is the solenoid that gets energized when you turn the key to complete the heavy-duty circuit that carries the large starting current.

Concerning Skillet's problem - always check the simplest things first. Based on this I would guess a most likely culprit is #2 in the basic troubleshooting checklist below.

1. Battery voltage good - fully charged ~ 12.7V at rest
2. Battery cable connections clean and tight - no fuzzy white corrosion on terminals
3. Starter / solenoid connections (shown in Blue~Go's pictures) clean and tight

Beyond that your battery may be near end of life (5 years +) and unable to deliver sufficient cranking power, even if lights are good. A load test would help diagnose this condition. My '02 Concourse has an overhead "Vehicle Boost Start" switch to use house batteries for starting, so you could try that.

Cheers,

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PostPosted: January 14th, 2017, 1:59 pm 
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So that is the starter/solenoid. Glad I wasn't totally off base. Thanks for confirming.

My first suspicion is, like yours, always that "oomph" isn't getting through somehow. Poor connections, etc. Plus those are usually the easiest/cheapest/least parts intensive to check and correct. Then move on to other items on the list.

Even though I never had any no-start issues, I can't think that that hunk of corroded wire on the negative cable was doing me any favors. Since I wasn't solving a particular problem, I didn't do one variable at a time and it just so happened that correcting that wire was done at the same time as putting in a new (and much better) start battery. She did come to life in a very very sprightly way after that though -- like instead of a turnover or two, it was "ZING!" and started :D

BTW, if you bought your rig used (and haven't already done so), might check the start battery size. My rig was owned by one careful old fellow, stored in a warehouse, and generally very clean and shiny. BUT, just before the sale, obviously the batteries were all dead, and the grandsons put in some common, cheese-o batteries just to sell it for Grampa: one measly Group 27 flooded house battery -- which was fine by me as I knew I'd be replacing that whole system -- and, unbeknownst to me, a completely wrong sized start battery. They used a common Group 24, where the Ford takes a specific Group 65 size. I wasn't really familiar with Group 65. The Group 24 worked, but wasn't good (too tall, could contact (fiberglass) hood, low CCA, etc. I replaced it with an Odyssey AGM Group 65 (not that AGM is necessary, but Group 65 kind of is).

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PostPosted: January 21st, 2017, 1:04 pm 
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Location: Northern Virginia
Today is the 1st day I've had a free moment to address the issue. Thanks to the responses I can see that the starter will be quite buried and looking under the hood, looks like a moderate pain (at least for me). Underneath, it looks like I'd have to remove a plastic shield to access it, or at least see it. Contemplating all of that, I sat in the rv and started searching Youtube and found a video that has found my problem. I have a bad ignition switch. Per the video, if I jiggle the key while trying to start it, it will start if the switch is bad. Or is it the lock cylinder? Both? Mine started right up. Now I need to find out how easy it is for me to replace. More searching! Between suggestions here and Youtube I'm happy because I'm not very mechanically inclined and I would normally just have it towed and lose a bunch of money.

The video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cewQT0Ko6X0

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PostPosted: January 21st, 2017, 3:13 pm 
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Sounds like some good sleuthing. And as you say, so satisfying.

Just in case it wasn't clear (and I can certainly see how it might not have been, by my photos), the starter is actually under the rig, not under the hood (which, being that we have vans, probably makes it roomier!). It's actually a ways back from where you'd think it would be. In other words, to see it, shimmy under the passenger side of the Chinook on your back under where the original furnace was (to avoid the running board) and then look up and a bit forward.

Of course now you may not have to, but just for the record.

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