I parked my 89 Southwind, with a p30 chassis, 3 weeks ago.  Went out to start it and there was nothing.  The batteries are fully charged, but the dash does not ight up with the key in the on position and the starter does not engage when the key is turned to the start position.  Also the dash lights do not come on when the head light switch is pulled out.  Any and all suggestions on what to check for will be  appreciated.

Tags: dash, dead, ignition, lights, no, on, starting

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sounds like your batteries are flat to me

Are you sure the batteries are fully charged? Do the headlights come on when you turn them on?

yes, the headlights do turn on

No expert here, but I'd suspect two different problems.  First, I'd try to start the vehicle by making sure it's in neutral with emergency on and with something like an old screwdriver  with a plastic or wood handle, turn the key to the on position then crawl under the vehicle and jump the contacts on the starter with the screwdriver.   Often times a quick contact will then allow the vehicle to be started with the key.  If nothing happens then there is either no positive or no ground to the starter.  Once you you get it running you can address the dash.

 I'm here to help and keep people safe best I can and NOT argue, however with all due respect Id like to issue a warning regarding a person who isn't sure what they are doing to crawl under an RV with a screwdriver to try and jump a starter or solenoid!!

 On many starters like GM and others use, there is a huge hot battery cable on the solenoids big main input stud. If you take a screwdriver or any conductive metallic tool and touch that and any other part gets to frame ground WHICH EASILY AND OFTEN HAPPENS upside down and half in the dark, you will get a tremendous amount of heat and arcing and can be severely burned or start a fire around the oil and grease YIKES 

 There are two different ways you might jump a starter, the starter itself or just hot wire/engage the solenoid. Its really dangerous to jump the big cable to the starter itself (by passing solenoid) because that can draw several hundred amps and doing that with a screwdriver and just touched together electrical connection can produce a lot of arcing and carbon and heat. ALSO on GM type of starter solenoids the output of the solenoid (Big battery cable is on input) goes to a small double  copper strip and it or the screw in the end is hard to get at without also touching frame ground. The safer way is to just jump the solenoids small activation terminal. That can take place between the hot big input post and the teeny terminal on the solenoid.

 I just cant tell from here where he is loosing power that feeds the dash and/or the starter solenoid activation etc, but if a person doesn't know what he's doing Id be reluctant to tell him to crawl under an RV with a screwdriver and make contact with the big hot battery cable and anything else cuz its so easy to get it against frame ground (can be hazardous) and even if he were to get it in the right location and NOT touch frame ground there can still be sparks and a person naturally flinches and then for sure a connection from hot to frame is gonna take place and make things hazardous again (heat, sparks, oil or gas all around) . IT JUST ISNT A SAFE



 This is to help and NOT beat up on any posters and is ONLY one mans opinion feel free to take or leave it at your own risk.

 Keep safe yall    John T  Retired Electrical Engineer

John, thank you for your reply to Richard.  I would not try such a stunt because: 1. one cannot even get to the starter without dropping the header and 2. even it I could get to the starter I would not use a screw driver, I would use a heavy wire and jumper to the activation terminals.  So far I am still cleaning wire connections.  The batteries are, and were, clean but I cleaned them anyway.  It is the ground connections and the wire connections that are taking time to get cleaned.  After I have them cleaned I will start trouble shooting with the easiest part, the ignition switch, which I suspect is the problem from the various reading I have done on the electrical systems of the P30 chassis.

I misread your original post. If you have headlights, hazards, etc. but no cranking then I would suspect the ignition switch as well. The dash illumination not coming on with the headlights is not likely related - there's a 5A fuse for those and as far as I know there's nothing else on that circuit. The dash WARNING lights not coming on is definitely a symptom of a bad ignition switch. 

Or it could be no power to the switch.

True - someone on the rv.net site was having a similar problem with his P30. He found a blown ignition fuse. Not sure what year it was though.

  Id hang a battery charger on it a while and then see what happens. Also insure the battery cables are tight and clean. Its odd that allllllllllll those devices stopped working.

 John T

Thank you for all the answers, however here is an update:  batteries on chargers all night, one on chassis battery & another one on coach batteries. This morning they both show fully charged.  Turn key to on position no dash trouble lights and volt meter in dash is flat.  Turned on  headlights and they do not come on. Generator fires up just fine.  And all the fuses are OK, plus I pushed on all wiring that I could find, and all are tight.  Is there a solenoid that controls power to the dash?

Like John T said, check the connections at the battery. It would be unusual for everything to fail at once. The circuits are fed with fusable links and fuses. A total loss has to be a bad connection on a major feed - like at the battery, or where the ground cable meets the frame, etc.




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