A Quick Task – Chapter 2:

I have a collection of cute sayings that I am likely to quote when the moment is right. I found several “right moments” on Monday last. The sayings that I repeated several times and still couldn’t find answers for were these:

“When you are absolutely certain that everything is exactly right, and it still doesn’t work then something that you are absolutely certain about is most certainly wrong.”

“Go to the last thing you changed and change it back.”

In the aftermath of this fiasco we found a simple truth. Starting a diesel takes enormous quantities of power. In fact two, count them two, group 31 batteries. When that starter solenoid snaps closed probably over a thousand watts of energy flows. Jay and I kept coming back to the wires connecting the batteries to the coach circuits. We counted them, we looked for missing wires dangling under the coach. Alas we did not remove them, clean them and smear them with conductive grease.
Even when we got the coach to Cummins Northwest, their technician drilled me on where the individual wires were connected. He also looked for the missing wire. Then he buried his nose in the computer looking for the solution to the mysterious “Start Enable Device…unknown failure” Even my VMSpc program was reading this code 237-11. He gave up because none of the evening techs were trained on the “Carbon Pile” instrument to test the starter with.
Two days later they were able to assign someone to our coach. This person removed the wires and found a bit of corrosion. He or she cleaned the wire terminals, spread some conductive grease and reassembled the wiring.
How right I was with my sayings. How dumb can you be not to follow through. Yes, my face is red.
So friends out there in the Blog-O-Sphere. Here my new saying, (actually my dad’s).

“Yah, Ve getten too late schmart and too soon oldt! Uh Huh.”

So repeat after me when you are addressing the tech installing your new batteries:
“Please label the wires as you take them off.”
“Please clean all cable ends. Replace any that are badly corroded”
“Please reassemble with a thin film of conductive grease.”

Batteries and the Cables

Batteries and the Cables

For those of you with insatiable curiosity here is what was happening.
The contact at the battery post was sufficient to show full voltage when we turned on the headlights and ran the fuel lift pump. As soon as the solenoid engaged the voltage dropped suddenly to about half of the nominal 12 volts. Instantly the computer aborted the start attempt to protect the starter motor. Using the jumper from the house batteries did not help because that cable comes to the second battery positive post. The high resistance was between the first battery positive post and the starter.
So at the end of the day I am just a teensy bit smarter. Remember, “Common Sense is a compilation of a lifetime of common mistakes.”
Perhaps our Canadian Friend, Red Green” says it best when he advises, “Keep your stick on the ice!” I am not sure of what that refers to in Hockey, but I suspect it has to do with keeping focused on the problem at hand and don’t go skylarking at the score board or the pretty girls in the stands.

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