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 08 Blue Bird (CAT C7) Burning Up Starters
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Kid Grimy
New Member

8 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  05:44:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kid Grimy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Our 2008 Blue Bird was placed in service in 2009 and ran fine for about a year. Then it started burning up starters. Right now the starters are lasting about 2 months. I thought is was either a ground issue or an after market starter issue. I picked up a CAT starter and checked all of the grounds (batteries to frame, alternator to chassis, and grounds inside dog box) OK. My BB dealer suggested checking the ground from the frame rail to the engine. I could not find this ground wire so I made up a short 1/0 gauge cable and connected it from the frame rail to a bolt on the transmission. The new CAT starter burned up after 2 months. We are running the original equipment alternator (Leece Neville) and checked its output on 2-12 OK.

In our 600 + bus fleet we have about 30 of these 2008 Blue Bird Visions with the C7 CAT and this bus is the only one giving us this problem. I think we bought one Friday bus in the group. Any ideas?

IBTMech
Top Member

USA
973 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  11:45:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit IBTMech's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Check for the starter switch or an intermediate solenoid sticking on.

If it doesn't fit, FORCE it.
If it breaks, well, it needed replacing anyway.
Pullin' wrenches for 45 years.
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Mechan1c
Top Member

USA
674 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  12:13:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Start with the battery condition, then start checking voltage drop at all the usual places.
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Mechan1c
Top Member

USA
674 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  12:29:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also, what part of the starter is baked??
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  2:02:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mechan1c

Also, what part of the starter is baked??


That's my question. Are the windings actually burning up or are you loosing a bearing?

Bryan
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IBTMech
Top Member

USA
973 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  2:58:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit IBTMech's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've seen many starters cook due to sticking solenoids or ignition switches. Obviously, it's not the one on the starter since it's been changed out more than once.

Any time I see a totally cooked starter, not worn out but burned up, I change the switch and any intermediate solenoid(s), which most HD systems usually have, as standard procedure. They're way cheaper than another starter.

Those heavy duty Delcos and Leece Nevilles can take quite a lot of over and under voltage situations but running on after the engine has started will burn them up in short order.

If it doesn't fit, FORCE it.
If it breaks, well, it needed replacing anyway.
Pullin' wrenches for 45 years.
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Mechan1c
Top Member

USA
674 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2012 :  4:53:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I never replace a burned up starter without a mechanic's explaination about the original failure; a battery condition check, voltage drops at the cables, switch, solenoids, and the ground. Even check the amp draw. Something made it fail. Low voltage/excessive resistance is your enemy. We don't have very many starter failures; when you do, it's time to get out the disciplined troubleshooting routine.

Edited by - Mechan1c on 03/28/2012 4:54:37 PM
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

245 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2012 :  7:40:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The starting systems on the 08 Visions are prone to failure due to complexity. The ignition switch triggers the multiplex module, which triggers a relay about 10 inches above the multiplex, which triggers the starter solinoid. There are some units that have another relay on the top of the starter to activate the starter solinoid.
I thought the starters on these units had overheat protection...
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

245 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2012 :  7:46:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
These units had a wiring recall.Make sure it has been completed on this unit. The wiring feeding the start circuit was undersized and cables have to be moved to achieve proper voltage to the starter. There was also a recall on the 07 Visions for the same thing.
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Kid Grimy
New Member

8 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2012 :  04:05:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kid Grimy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Many thanks for all your help. Our starter vendor called and said that we had a wiring issue with the bus so maybe the recall was not completed on this one. He said that the wirings were burned. Our techs seem to change out batteries as often as we've changed the starters so I'm not expecting a problem there. I've checked all connections and they are clean and tight. I'll check voltage drops and the starter switch. I thought of intermideate solenoids but I don't know where they are. I've got a 2008 book so I'll have to give it some additional research on the diagrams. We put a new starter and alternator (HD Delco) on it and rolled the bus. If the old Leece Neville was the problem then "Problem Solved" . . . if not then we should see her back in about 2 months. Can you guys help on the location of these intermediate solenoids?
Again, Many thanks for all your help - I'll keep after it!
Kid Grimy
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Mechan1c
Top Member

USA
674 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2012 :  10:09:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am Vision-free(blind maybe?), so I don't know where they are on your bus. Usually if you follow the control wire(red on my buses) that signals the starter-mounted solenoid, backwards you will find a relay/solenoid (mine are magnetic-core White-Rodgers). They can stick, have burned contacts ect...
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Brian Cutlip
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2013 :  07:49:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Brian Cutlip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Can you give me the part number for the Leece Neville and the HD Delco you used. I'll try and help you locate the intermediate solenoids if you have a number on them?
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Tb4020
Senior Member

United States
65 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2013 :  08:46:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We were having starter issues with our 08 Visions they wouldn't start when they were hot without a shot of ether. Cat told us that the Leece gear reduction starter just met minimum cranking speed when new after a little drag and a hot motor they didn't spin fast enough to turn on the fuel. We switched to an MT type starter and problem solved. I know thats not your issue but it may help. There are a couple bulletins about jumper cable routing and lug orientation that may help good luck! P.S. There is a 70 amp start relay under the PDU cover.
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offroadwolf1
Active Member

33 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2013 :  12:37:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another thing to look at is what is the cranking time before it starts. Does it seem longer then your other buses? And if its a speed issue during cranking, whats the engine rpm when its cranking? Does it seem hard to start in the mornings after sitting over night or in the afternoon run?
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busman53725
New Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2013 :  6:34:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit busman53725's Homepage  Reply with Quote
in the pdu replace the starter-ign relays. had a int that had a sticking relay.hth
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