This thing has become a nightmare !!!

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Scoundrel

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Jan 6, 2006
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Corona, California
Unfortunately I am the typical first time buyer and made every mistake you can when purchasing a used RV. I?ve spent nearly $4000 in repairs and I haven?t even got it out of the driveway. My wife is really trying to be supportive but you can see the look on her face she is starting to think I made a huge mistake?.... :mad:


The only good thing is I can fix nearly anything myself except when it comes to electrical wiring. Which brings me to me next problem on my list, the dash panel lights. For the first couple of weeks they worked fine and then one evening I was working on replacing the headlights. I went in to turn the lights on and I noticed the dash panel lights wouldn?t go on. I know the normal routine of checking fuses ( we won?t go into how long it took me to find them) and all the fuses were good. I turned the pull knob of the switch to the right and left thinking the dimmer may have been turned off but that wasn?t the problem because it had no effect on the dash lights. So if the fuses are good is it the push/pull light switch that went bad? And if so where do I get a replacement, at the Chevy dealer or Fleetwood dealer? ???



     
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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438
Scoundrel,

Unplug the switch and take it with you to a national auto parts store, like Autozone,they should be able to match it up with the correct one. If memory serves me right the dash lights are all on, one printed circuit board,you should be able to pull one of the bulbs out and look to see if the bulb itself is burnt.
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
The black plastic knob doesn't appear to come off without breaking it. As far as the individual dash lights, I pulled them and they all were check to be good. I did notice however that one of the lights/plug was missing from its hole. I assumed it was always that way. If its because it's not there then it had to have happened in the last few days which means its somewhere on the floor. I'll check.... In the mean time I'll remove the switch and replace it and see if that corrects the problem. If I can't find the light then that will become another problem part to find..... :-\

   
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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438
Scoundrel said:
The black plastic knob doesn't appear to come off without breaking it...... :-\

Should be a small clip on the base of the knob, pull the knob out and feel the bottom(base) takes an angled tool,I used a fish hook to release it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At my Silver Springs FL home
Headlamps and dash lights are usually separately powered even though they are controlled through the same switch. Usually a big circuit breaker for headlamps and a small fuse for the dash lights.  The dimmer control may have failed, but it seems suspicious that the dash stopped working while you changed headlamps. If you can figure out which wire powers the dash lights, you could try to bypass the switch to see if that's it. Use a fused wire to bypass, though, in case there is a short somewhere n the dash light circuit.
 

Karl

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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Also, if you didn't already do so, check the fuses with an ohmmeter. Those automotive fuses may LOOK good when, in fact, they aren't. The dash lights usually will be connected in parallel and connect to the headlight switch with one spade connector for the hot side and another going to some ground point (maybe to the switch, but unlikely). Follow them back and make sure they're securely connected. Do this with all connections to the headlight switch. It is not uncommon for a dash panel to have empty holes as they may be common to several different vehicles; some with different gauge placements. If there's no connector for it, don't worry about it.
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
I'll look at all the options. I just purchased a Multimeter. Now.....I need to read the manual to learn how to use it. That should take a couple of weeks..... ::)
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
Karl said:
Don,

Main thing to remember about multimeters is to have a supply of spare fuses... for when you have it set to read current and accidently put it across a voltage source. :)

I t hink I totalled one of my multimeters (Naturally the best one) doing that.... Will send in for repair as it's worth repairing, when I get back

Heck, not only do I carry spare fuses... I carry spare meters... I have 4 in this rig ranging in purchase price from a dollar, yes a dollar, to about 150 list (I paid way less)
 

Chet18013

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Mar 5, 2005
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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
Same thing happen to me last spring. Turned out the whole switch had to be replaced to fix it. Most of the MH's use a st'd Chevy switch.  In the body of the switch -behind the dash- there is a hole to insert a small screw driver which releases a spring that holes the shaft that the knob is on and the whole shaft puts out through the dash. Really very simple--when you know about it. It drove me crazy until I found it.

Be sure and disconnect the battery before you go poking around behind the dash. It's to easy to cause a short and really do some damage.  Better still go to a NAPA autoparts store and ask the counter person to show you how to take the shaft out of a Chevy truck light switch.

Chet18013
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
I was becoming more and more frustrated trying to find the way to remove the shaft. I was just about ready to cut it when I reached under where the switch was and was feeling around for anything that seemed like a way to remove the shaft when suddenly it came out! What happened was I was resting my hand on the shaft and my other hand pushed a spring loaded button the the switch which was a release button for the shaft......boy did I feel silly...almost as silly as I felt when it took me 3 hours to figure out how to lift the dash up....I know what your thinking...don't ask..... :-[

I found a place on the net that will sell the switch for $21.00 but before I get it I'll check the neighborhood NAPA.

Thanks for the ideas.

PS..I'll be back with another problem shortly I'm sure....
 

dsl4us

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Dec 4, 2005
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Mid-Michigan
The big chain stores, autozone/advanced auto etc, are a riot tryiing to get motorhome parts for. All I needed was a 12v lift pump, typical hi-perf aftermarket automotive style. Original was a Carter pump that looking in the 100GPH range. Took it in and showed them what I wanted, typical year/make/model story.
Went kinda like this:
Year/make? '92 GeorgieBoy
Chassis?  Oshkosh.
No not model, what chassis? Oshkosh!
No, Ford/chevy/dodge! NO, OSHKOSH!
After 1/2hr dealing with 3 counter people saying I'd have to go to a big truck store since this wasn't a typical auto part I asked them to hand me that Holley box on the shelf behind them. It said 12V electric fuel pump! Holley red model, 5-7psi, 96GPH. None of the 3 even knew it was there.
 

Scoundrel

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I stopped going to the big chain stores because they hire kids that can find their .....with both hands....even with a manual.

I do however go to Pepboys but only when Jerry is working. He is an elderly gentleman who used to build race cars and has forgotten more then any of the other employees will ever learn!! When I go in to Pepboys I always look for him and he can look at what ever part I have in my hand and without asking anything tell me what it was off of and nearly what year.......Old guys rule! ;D
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
I replaced the switch with a direct OEM replacement. It had no effect on the dash lights.....I checked the 5amp fuse for the instrument panel lights and the tester indicated it was good. I don't understand why it would be good one day and the next not.... ???

 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
OK I replaced the fuse for instrument panel lights with no effect. I purchased a new headlight switch and replaced it as well with no effect. I still have no exterior running lights and no instrument panel lights.

I pulled off the switch again and checked continuity from the positive wire to the place where the yellow wire goes (headlights) When I pulled out the pull knob all the way the meter indicated continuity. When pushed in is showed no continuity. When I checked from the positive wire to the post that the green wire goes (instrument lights) I found no continuity when the knob was pulled out any position.

I assumed the switch was bad so I went and got a replacement with the same results. I don't believe it is a switch problem, more like I'm not sure what to check and when.

I have ordered a chassis book and it should be here in a few weeks. Hopefully the wiring diagram will help my locate the problem.
 

Karl

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Rather than check for continuity, set the meter to measure voltage (15 volt scale or whatever is slightly higher than 12 volts), then connect the black lead to a good chassis ground and measure those connections for the presence of 12 volts. If you can see 12 volts at the switch connections, your problem is closer to the lights. Trace forward from there. There is usually a large bulkhead connector that connects a whole bunch of wires from the inside thru the bulkhead to the engine compartment. Make sure the wires are properly seated in it. Also try removing it and reseating it. There's usually a screw near the center of the connector that holds it in place. Check for corrosion. Measure for 12 volts at one or more of the running lights. If you see 12 volts there, your problem is a bad ground. If all that fails, report back and we'll try some other things.

Good luck! :D

Added: The connector may have clips on the side holding it in place, either separately or with the center screw also.
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
UPDATE!

I found that the fuse marked "Tail LPS" which is a 20a fuse keeps blowing. I pulled the light switch out with wiring harness attached and replaced the fuse. When I pulled the knob to turn on just the running lights the fuse popped again. Now maybe this will help in analyzing the problem.....maybe...you think?

Karl, I pulled all the plugs you recommended and cleaned them, even some I had no idea where they went. However the single large plug that attaches to the fire wall, I don't see how to pull it. It doesn't appear to be one that is meant to remove. There is a large black box attached to the steering column that had several large plugs attached to it so I removed them, cleaned and replaced them. I'm beginning to think it has little to do with one of those plugs....
 

Karl

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O.k. Don, Now we're getting somewhere!

You may have one of three conditions: 1) one or more (but probably just one) of the lamps may have burned out and shorted instead of opening up as they usually do. Remove and measure the resistance of each bulb. If it a type 1141, it will have just one center electrode. Measure from there to the brass outer sleeve. If it's a dual filament bulb like an 1157 (combination stop/tail lamp), it will have two electrodes on the base. Measure from each one to the brass outer sleeve. Make a list and write down the readings you get - it may be used in a later step if this doesn't turn up the problem. The reading for an individual filament should be NO LESS than .4, that's point four ohms. If it reads 0 (zero) ohms, it's shorted and needs to be replaced. Leave each bulb out of the socket for the time being (remembering where it came from), and continue with the other bulbs. If you've found one or more shorted bulbs, you could replace them with new ones now, replace the fuse, and try them.

But wait - as long as we've got them all out, let's go to step 2) and check for a short in the wiring. At any one of the sockets, measure the resistance between the inner connector(s), the ones that go to the base of the lamp, and the outer shell. You should not get ANY reading or a very high one. Infinity. Open. A zero or near zero reading means a short, or you haven't removed and tested all the lamps in the circuit. Make sure you have, and retest for a high reading at the socket. Still near zero? You;ve gogt a short in the wiring and will need to trace it back from the socket(s) to find it. Not an easy job, but chances are better than 50/50 that it's a wire running under or near the frame that has had the insulation worn through and is shorted. Start with those lamps first.

If the first two steps don't locate the problem, chances are the previous owner added additional lights or replaced the original lights with the wrong ones, and now the whole string of them is drawing too much current for a 20 amp fuse. The running lights should probably be 1003's or 1141's. If possible, check an owners' manual to see what should go where. Replace the fuse with a new one, and put the lamps back in their sockets. If you find any lights that were added by the previous owner, don't put bulbs back in those for now. When you've replace all the others, try it. If they work now without blowing the fuse, you may try replacing the rest of the bulbs and see if it now blows the fuse. When you do these tests, you need to switch the lights off first, because incandescent lamps use more power when they are first turned on than when they are warm. If you merely plug them in one at a time with the lights on, you won't get a true picture of the starting current draw.
 

Scoundrel

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Corona, California
Karl,

You are good... ;D. It was in fact a bad left turn single bulb. The left turn signal worked so I didn't even consider the bulb could still be bad. However, I went ahead and removed the cover as suggested and low and behold the glass portion of the bulb would twist in the bulb socket causing a short. I tool the bulb out and then replaced the 20a fuse. Then I turned on the lights and no POP! So I replaced the bulb and everything came back on, The instrument lights, all the running lights and the tail lights. I would have never thought a single bulb could have caused so much trouble.

Feeling real good with myself I went in the coach and started looking for the city water inlet. Found it behind a drawer in the bathroom as one of you suggested in an earlier post. Now really feeling good I decided to check all the other electrical plugs in the coach to make sure there were no other surprises.....Well guess what! more then half the interior lights didn?t work. Naturally I went directly to the bulbs?lol... nevertheless they were all good. I thought to myself ?NOW WHAT :mad:? Well I thought let me check the fuse box for the house lights even thou some of the lights work. Would you know it?a blown fuse. I had just checked all of these fuses not more then 2 days ago and all of them were in good working order. I replaced the fuse and all the lights came on. Don?t ask me what happened. I?ll just keep my fingers crossed nothing else electrical goes wrong?

Thank you all so much for your help. 
 
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