RV will not start

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Tboone

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Aug 23, 2021
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USA
Can someone please help me. I would like to know the cause why my RV engine wont start when left ideal for just a few days. Thanks
 

Rene T

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Farmington NH
It could be a thousands things but with no information at all from you, we have no place to start.
Like what size and make of motor, what year is the MH, does it turn over, do you have gas, has it rained, has the fuel or air filter ever been changed. I could go on and on. So please give us something to go on.
 

darsben

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If it does not turn over because of low battery then the Battery may not be holding a charge or you have a parasitic drain (something that draws power even when key is off).
There should be a switch somewhere on the rig to completely disconnect the battery. Do you know where it is?
If so then charge the battery for awhile and turn off the switch. Return a few days later and if the home starts that is pretty indicative of a power drain. if you remember to turn off the switch when you turn off the motor then your problem is solved
Otherwise more details please
 

Tboone

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Aug 23, 2021
Posts
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USA
It could be a thousands things but with no information at all from you, we have no place to start.
Like what size and make of motor, what year is the MH, does it turn over, do you have gas, has it rained, has the fuel or air filter ever been changed. I could go on and on. So please give us something to go on.
Thank you so much for responding so quickly. We are new owners and know very little! My RV is a 2001 National Islander. When we got the RV, it had been connected to electricity via extension cord at a residential home. There were never any problems with the RV engine starting. Since then, we have moved the RV, however we do not have an electrical source. We have gone over at random times 2/3 days at ta time to start the engine. Most of the time it starts. A couple days ago, we used the battery boost to start the engine. Yesterday, it would not start, but it does turn over. It wants to start, but maybe there just isn't enough battery power to start it? Thanks so much!
 

Tboone

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Aug 23, 2021
Posts
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USA
If it does not turn over because of low battery then the Battery may not be holding a charge or you have a parasitic drain (something that draws power even when key is off).
There should be a switch somewhere on the rig to completely disconnect the battery. Do you know where it is?
If so then charge the battery for awhile and turn off the switch. Return a few days later and if the home starts that is pretty indicative of a power drain. if you remember to turn off the switch when you turn off the motor then your problem is solved
Otherwise more details please
Thank you. I do know where the main switch is on the outside of the rv to shut off all the power, however I did notice that the clock on the radio is still illuminated. I honestly do not know which batteries go to what. We are still learning. There is power...the lights come on, etc., and the engine turns over. It has not been connected to power though. We have run the generator for a bit in hopes it would charge the batteries, but again - we just don't know. Thank you kindly for your response.
 

NSRV

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Sep 5, 2021
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West Virginia
Start with the basics. Does it have gas? Is the battery properly charged? Rodent damage to wiring harness?

If those are okay, next step is verify engine is getting fuel and spark, inspect intake tubing and make sure all the important sensors and components are still plugged in.

It should be extremely obvious what's wrong if you do these steps. Once you find the irregularity trace it back to the source and you've found your problem.

Just basics... If the basics don't work then you're going to have to get more in depth with the diagnostics.
 

John From Detroit

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25,409
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Davison Michigan
Won't start covers a host of things
Do you mean the starter wont't crank it. That could be as simple as a dead battery. Or a dirty battery connection.

Cranks but no VAROOM.. Now that's a tad more complex.
One thing you can try with most MODERN RV's is this
Turn key to on, count to 10 turn to start. IF that makes a difference it's diagnostic to a smaller range of issues.... Odds are it won't help.
 

Tboone

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Aug 23, 2021
Posts
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Location
USA
Won't start covers a host of things
Do you mean the starter wont't crank it. That could be as simple as a dead battery. Or a dirty battery connection.

Cranks but no VAROOM.. Now that's a tad more complex.
One thing you can try with most MODERN RV's is this
Turn key to on, count to 10 turn to start. IF that makes a difference it's diagnostic to a smaller range of issues.... Odds are it won't help.
Yes, the starter won't crank. I will try the count suggestion.
Thanks
 

Utclmjmpr

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Cedar City, UT
You probably have no way to determine how old the start battery is ,, is there any way to get an extension cord to the RV and let it charge overnight??.. This battery may be toast and in need of replacement,, if that is needed then you will have to learn something about your systems or you will be plagued with problems that will be expensive..>>>Dan
 

darsben

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Central NY in summer beautiful Casa Grande AZ in w
Most motor homes of that era usually have one starting battery (12 Volt) and two 6 volt batteries for running the stuff in the home part of the rig the 6 volt batteries are wired in such a way as to produce 12 volts. Usually the power converter will charge the house batteries when you are connected to shore power or running the generator but does not charge the starting battery
Therefore the only way to charge the starting battery is running the engine or with a battery charger
 

Utclmjmpr

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When you were "going over to start the engine", you were really just running the start battery down,, the fact that you had to use a "booster" to start it the last time verified that fact.. That is a bad habit because you were taking more out of the battery, than you were putting back in, each time you did this.. Never start the engine unless you intend to run and drive the unit for 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb..>>>Dan
 

Arch Hoagland

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Clovis California
As a new owner you need to add a voltmeter to the tools you carry.

Measuring engine battery and house battery voltages will be necessary from time to time.

Ah yes...the learning curve begins!
 

NSRV

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West Virginia
Won't start covers a host of things
Do you mean the starter wont't crank it. That could be as simple as a dead battery. Or a dirty battery connection.
This.

In the automotive industry we have two scenarios that involve not starting. First is called "no crank condition" meaning the starter is not engaging and motor is not turning over. Second is called "Crank no start condition" meaning the starter engages and turns the motor but it won't start up and run.

@OP: Which issue is yours? This will help immensely. The basics I addressed earlier are for a crank no start condition. IF your issue is actually the no crank condition, then that's a little simpler, could be a battery issue, starter issue or ignition issue. If your motorhome requires registered chip keys it could be a key issue as well.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Does this RV have the ford V10 engine , or the Cummins 330 diesel engine??.There is a huge difference in this answer and it will make a huge difference in the approach to the problem..
With your lack of knowledge, you cannot appreciate or understand the LONG TIME it takes to charge a "bank" of batteries,( particularly if they are older) The generator will start much easier than the main engine and use less energy to do so,, but will take HOURS to properly recharge the batteries.. Always remember that batteries DO NOT CREATE POWER, they only store power,( and for a sort time), You have to continue to replace what you take out.>>>Dan
 
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John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Yes, the starter won't crank. I will try the count suggestion.
Thanks
Well the count is only if it cranks but no varoom
If the starter wont' crank then the list is short
Dead battery (Been there)
Bad ignition switch (Very very rare)
Bad pilot relay (Been there)
Bad starter solenoid (Likewise)
Bad starter
Bad conneciton (Been there too)

IN the bad battery/connection sometimes the BOOST switch or EMERGENCY START which parallel the house and starter batteries will help.

Bad pilot relay.. I "CLICK" and not other changes indicates a bad pilot relay.. This relay may be on your main chassis fuse block. mine failed, i fixed it.

CLUNK but no crank is starter or stater solenoid (often one assembly)

Clatter is dead battery

Bad connection.. it clunked and the dash went dead.

THe fact you said it does not start after sitting a few days... Suggests dead battery.
 

TheBar

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MS
Folks, to eliminate confusion read all the original poster's comments and replies before you post. He says it still turns over after he ran the engine battery dead, had to use the battery boost, but now the house batteries are almost dead.

Jump start it and let it run 30 minutes.
 
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