RV will not start

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Kirk

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Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
979
Location
Full-time , Escapee
My RV is a 2001 National Islander.
That would make it a diesel, I assume? It would be helpful if we knew for sure what chassis and engine you have.
We have run the generator for a bit in hopes it would charge the batteries,
There are different batteries for the chassis and for the coach and it would be the coach batteries that supply power to start the generator. For the generator to charge the batteries would take several hours of running but most motorhome generators do not charge the chassis battery anyway.
Yes, the starter won't crank. I
Once you start any engine it will take at least 10 to 20 minutes to replace the charge you take out while starting it. With a diesel, that requires more power so you probably need at least a half hour to recharge and that assumes that your battery is in near new condition. If the battery is getting older or if the electrolyte is low that would mean even longer. The using battery boost means that you were using both the chassis battery and the coach batteries to crank the engine and so you probably now have both discharged. I suggest you use jumper cables to the chassis battery from a running vehicle that has a good battery. Allow it to run for at least 15 minutes connected before you try to start the diesel.

Since you just bought a motorhome that is now 20 years old, it would be a good idea to remove the batteries and take them somewhere to have them load tested so that you will know their condition. If the seller kept them plugged into electricity all of the time, that was probably because the batteries were old and getting weak and it was the only what to be sure that it would start.
 

Tboone

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Posts
12
Location
USA
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.
Thank you. This is a Crank-no start condition.
 

Tboone

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Posts
12
Location
USA
That would make it a diesel, I assume? It would be helpful if we knew for sure what chassis and engine you have.

There are different batteries for the chassis and for the coach and it would be the coach batteries that supply power to start the generator. For the generator to charge the batteries would take several hours of running but most motorhome generators do not charge the chassis battery anyway.

Once you start any engine it will take at least 10 to 20 minutes to replace the charge you take out while starting it. With a diesel, that requires more power so you probably need at least a half hour to recharge and that assumes that your battery is in near new condition. If the battery is getting older or if the electrolyte is low that would mean even longer. The using battery boost means that you were using both the chassis battery and the coach batteries to crank the engine and so you probably now have both discharged. I suggest you use jumper cables to the chassis battery from a running vehicle that has a good battery. Allow it to run for at least 15 minutes connected before you try to start the diesel.

Since you just bought a motorhome that is now 20 years old, it would be a good idea to remove the batteries and take them somewhere to have them load tested so that you will know their condition. If the seller kept them plugged into electricity all of the time, that was probably because the batteries were old and getting weak and it was the only what to be sure that it would start.
Thank you so much. Helpful information. Learning, learning, learning!!
 

Kirk

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Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
979
Location
Full-time , Escapee
Is there anyone on here in the DFW area that could help us?
Yes there are but it sounds like you may need to have it towed to the shop. There are several good diesel shops in the metro area. I would make sure that your batteries are good before I went to the expense of having it towed.
 

NSRV

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Sep 5, 2021
Posts
68
Location
West Virginia
This is a Cummins 330 turbo diesel.
Aaaaah okay this changes some things, since its a diesel. (Also saw your post confirming crank no-start)

Check your glow plugs and circuit, it's probably not a glow plug issue but if the diesel isn't getting warmed up enough it won't fire up. Diesel has to be hot in order to ignite under compression.

Make sure that the supply fuel pump in the tank is working, also make sure the high pressure fuel pump isn't shot. Check that your fuel filters/fuel-water separators aren't plugged or dirty. Bleed the fuel system. If it has air in the injector lines it will be extremely difficult to start, also on some of the Cummins engines there is a check ball valve in the fuel system that can fail. If this check ball valve fails then the fuel rail will drain the fuel back into the line and tank allowing air to get into the fuel lines.

It's a bit controversial, but try a shot of ether. Just open the air filter housing and do a quick shot of ether/starting fluid into the intake tube and try to start the rig. If it fires up and stays running then the issue may be internal in the engine or the glow plugs or glow plug circuit is faulty, again IDK if its really this issue considering that its not winter. (Ether/Starting fluid is extremely harsh and should be used sparingly and ONLY for testing purposes in this case, not as a regular starting method.)

Again, a bit of a controversial test, but plug in the block heater (for shits and giggles) and let it sit for an hour or so, then try to start it. If it starts after having the block heated it could possibly be a glow plug issue OR there could be internal compression loss in the cylinders, due to normal wear and tear. (Meaning compression is no longer efficient enough to compress the diesel fuel properly and the fuel naturally heats up under compression)
 

Maple Mobile

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Sep 20, 2021
Posts
1
Location
Greensboro, NC
Yes there are but it sounds like you may need to have it towed to the shop. There are several good diesel shops in the metro area. I would make sure that your batteries are good before I went to the expense of having it towed.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I really appreciate you

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
Hi,
I have a 2001 Islander I would be glad to share experiences with mine have owned it almost 2 yrs. Love it. feel free to contact me. Maybe I can be of some help.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Posts
5,351
Location
Cedar City, UT
This is not a Ford diesel so no glow plugs,, it's a Cummins and most likely a fuel solenoid problem..>>>Dan ( It will not start with out fuel..)
 
Last edited:

Krazeehorse33

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Posts
101
Location
Kenton Ohio
Another option would be to pull the engine battery and take it to your local automotive repair shop where they can charge it up on the bench then load test it. This will require that you leave it with them for the the day. If I were a betting man I would say you have a worn out battery.
 
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