Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
Post Reply
User avatar
jcliff
Posts: 282
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:56 am
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Lamplighter Village
Location: Sollitt, Illinois

Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by jcliff » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:10 pm

I'm at a loss on this and so is my RV guy. I have a '71 Sportscoach. She's stored in Reno and only goes out once a year, just to the Burn and back, this will her 8th year. My RV Daddy runs her once a month, she's been running great for several years with no big issues. But, for the last two years all of her lights have worked fine for the whole trip up until I hit Gate line 2 years ago, and Gerlach last year. Both times the headlights haven't worked after I turned the engine off. The engine has started back up fine, all of the other lights are fine, but no headlights. The problem is that she starts to overheat if she has to sit and idle, so I have to shut her down sometimes when waiting for the Gate line to pulse. For 2 years I've driven from Gate and Greeters to my Village with no headlights. Any idea what this could be and how to correct it?

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Jackass » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:21 pm

I'd look real close like at the headlight switch and it's electrical plug and wires, also there could be a breaker somewhere in there for the headlights that's weak... Triple check all wires and terminals that connect to the positive side battery terminal and there could be a few wires that are fusible links getting voltage at the positive cable down on the starter too.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Token
Posts: 4572
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Token » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm

Is it thermal? I.e. only after the rig gets to normal running temperature and is “hot” does a restart cause failure in the lights?

I’m wondering if there is some kind of ignition relay that cuts the lights during starter cranking that gets stuck once warmed up.

That would fit the rather strange symptom.

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Jackass » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:53 pm

That's why I was thinking fusible links at the starter, close to tons of intense heat.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3747
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Canoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:11 pm

Token wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm
... some kind of ignition relay that cuts the lights during starter cranking that gets stuck once warmed up.
Possibly combined with the headlight switch runs a headlight relay, instead of the lights directly.

Long shot. I've seen weird symptoms when the battery ground cable connection to the body/frame gets corroded.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
motskyroonmatick
Posts: 1963
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:37 am
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: B.R.C. Welding&Repair
Location: Aurora Oregon

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by motskyroonmatick » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:21 am

Replace your head light switch and the high low button switch on the floor. Make sure the contacts are relatively clean when reassembling. Switch is corroded leading to intermittent failure. The next mode of failure is head lights going out while you are driving. I successfully got one headlight to work when this happened to me by unplugging the other headlight. The current then was not enough to cause the resistance to build up causing the circuit to open in the corroded switch. Please replace the switches. New headlight fuse at the same time.
Black Rock City Welding & Repair. The Night Time Warming Station. iGNiTE! Bar.

Card Carrying Member BRCCP.

When you pass the 4th "bridge out!" sign; the flaming death is all yours.-Knowmad-

User avatar
XPTom
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:22 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: Shipwreck Tiki Lounge

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by XPTom » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:09 pm

thermal breaker.png
Does your 1971 have ye olde thermal breaker like this? Hot temps under hood can make a weak one even weaker... There is a simple bimetallic strip inside that opens when hot and closes when your mechanic trouble shoots it later in cooler temps.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Jackass » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:34 pm

XPTom wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:09 pm
thermal breaker.png

Does your 1971 have ye olde thermal breaker like this? Hot temps under hood can make a weak one even weaker... There is a simple bimetallic strip inside that opens when hot and closes when your mechanic trouble shoots it later in cooler temps.
That's exactly the kind I was referring to!

A faulty one of these can leave you scratching your head while chasing your own tail.

Link this thread to your RV daddy in Reno and tell him to get after it, time is ticking...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8369
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:46 pm

You might wanna look into why it overheats when idling, that’s not right.
The three biggest things that put old RVs on the side of the road are old tires, transmissions, and overheating.
If you don’t take care of those three, Life Lessons are in your future.

The early-70s Sportscoach is a cool rig.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
Popeye
Posts: 749
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:39 pm
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Beaverton
Location: Where the east wind blows

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Popeye » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:26 pm

For the overheating problem, get a can of spray condenser cleaner- I just saw them at Home Depot. Spray the radiator fins and wash out with a hose. You don't want to use a pressure washer. Check your fan belt tension and that the fan is not covered in gunk.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

User avatar
jcliff
Posts: 282
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:56 am
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Lamplighter Village
Location: Sollitt, Illinois

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by jcliff » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:57 pm

Token wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:29 pm
Is it thermal? I.e. only after the rig gets to normal running temperature and is “hot” does a restart cause failure in the lights?

I’m wondering if there is some kind of ignition relay that cuts the lights during starter cranking that gets stuck once warmed up.

That would fit the rather strange symptom.
Sorry for the delay in responding! Yeah, this sums it up. Headlights only go out when she's running hot. I sent the thread replies to my RV guy in Reno. Not sure what he'll be able to figure out before this Wednesday! Just in case I got 2 high-powered tactical flashlights! We'll tape em' down in front if needed!

Thanks for the suggestions and I'll follow-up with what we come up with!

User avatar
XPTom
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:22 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: Shipwreck Tiki Lounge

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by XPTom » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:54 am

Bump...… any luck with our guesses?
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Jackass » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:16 am

Yeah, what happened?
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Jackass » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:01 pm

jcliff wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:57 pm

Sorry for the delay in responding! Yeah, this sums it up. Headlights only go out when she's running hot. I sent the thread replies to my RV guy in Reno. Not sure what he'll be able to figure out before this Wednesday! Just in case I got 2 high-powered tactical flashlights! We'll tape em' down in front if needed!

Thanks for the suggestions and I'll follow-up with what we come up with!
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10324
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by unjonharley » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:26 pm

Old motor homes are notoriously a peace of shit, that breakdown in traffic.. How many can't make it back to Gerlach .. Do you really need the drama of a pile of junk .. It's a camping trip, get a tent ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8369
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Old Motorhome Issue - Any Idea What This Could Be?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:51 pm

Oh can it you old grouch... my old motorhome... oh wait, it broke down and died in Oregon on the way to ‘08 and that was the last time I saw it..

Never mind.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

Post Reply

Return to “Bikes & Transportation”