Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mysterious stalling and dead battery

I had a little trouble on the way home last night. But I should back up and walk you through it.

Last Friday, going down the highway and then slowing down, Big blue stalled. I was able to start him on the fly and keep going, thinking that perhaps something was up with the timing - something I want to learn how to adjust this coming weekend.

On Sunday, a big work day on Big Blue, it stalled on our beach run once more. Again, it stalled while letting off the gas after being in 4th gear for a while.

Monday morning, I was feeling around the dash, trying to find where the bulb goes in to light up the instrument cluster, and I touched the wire that lights up the generator light and it went flickered off. I'm thinking that I knocked something but can get to it later (still never found the bulb for the panel). But then I couldn't check the generator from then on out by the idiot light.

Then, yesterday, coming home and getting off the highway, after running the headlights and the wipers because of some light rain, Big Blue stalled again. Again, I started it on the fly, moving the timing check procedure to the top of my list. At the next light, Big Blue stalled again and I couldn't get it going on the fly, so used to momentum to pull over. The battery was completely dead (although my lights didn't look any dimmer).

Big Blue has a VDO gauge to check the volts in the battery (voltometer?) which read nothing (but sometimes it does that anyway). I called EP who drove the few miles from our home and jumped Big Blue, who started right up. I drove it home and went over everything in the engine compartment to make sure nothing in the electrical system was loose. I tightened a few things and began to wonder if I could drive Blue in the morning.

So today, I woke up early, started Big Blue up and drove the 20+ miles to work without any incident. The volt gauge reads strong now. When I got to work, I cut the engine, waited a minute, and fired him back up without problem.

I'm hoping that something was loose and I got it by going through everything. But that makes 2 "breakdowns" in a week (last week was the wheel bearing).

Here are pictures of the recovery effort:

EP saving the day until...

... we realized that the hybrid has the battery in the back.

Started right up on the jump and drove since then without trouble.



Sounds to me like you may have some faulty wiring leading to or from the alternator. I think it would be wise to just do a complete re-wiring of the bus, especially if you plan on installing some additional electrical sources such as an audio system.

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