I'm having an intermittent starting problem on my 1988 Chevy van based RV

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Dog-Father, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Dog-Father

    Dog-Father Junior Member

    I'm having intermittent starting problems with my GM van based RV. It has the 5.7L V8 w/EFI, with 55K miles on it.

    The starter motor was first replaced in 2003, just after I bought the RV used. Then it went bad again in 2005. This time, the starter and ignition switch was replaced with new AC Delco parts, to be sure they would last a while.

    At least, I paid extra to get new parts. So, I hope that new AC parts were used in the repair.

    The alternator was replaced a few yrs back as well, and the dash guage shows the alternator to be
    working fine.

    The RV seems to have plenty of battery power to start, but when you turn the key, it like tries to
    turnover but can't. After a while, if you keep trying it will start.

    This problem is getting worse and I feel I can no longer trust my RV to start.

    I had this same problem about 6 months ago and the battery was replaced. This did fix the problem, at least for a while. But my RV is doing about the same thing again now.

    I did not leave the lights on, and I did not find any drain, on the electrical system. I have not used it a
    lot since the battery was replaced, but enough to keep the battery charged. In other words, it has not
    just been sitting, unused for a long period of time. I go some place at least twice a week.

    It has been fairly cool here in FL, the last couple of weeks. Most of my trips are less than 15 miles. So, I would not think heat (affecting the starter motor) is the problem, or a part of the problem. Unless during the summer, some damage took place, and it is now just showing up.

    My understand is that GM tends to have problems with heat, from an exhaust pipe damaging the starter
    or solenoid. I just doubt this is the cause of the problem. I have a feeling it's a problem in the
    steering column, like the ignition switch, but no way to be sure.

    Any ideas on what the problem might be, or how to fix it, once and for all.

    Doug FL
  2. Check the Ground terminal from the battery to body-then to frame.-one ground is beside battery.
    To prove/check-attach jumper from neg of Battery direct to motor-then try to start?
  3. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    I know you said its not heat related but does this only happen after it has been driven or cold startup. Is the battery heavy enough or have enough crank amps? Have you checked timing? A lot of this model had problems with the centrifical advance system in the dist. A good tech can diaganois this. Carbon could be a problem.
  4. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Have you checked the starter solenoid, that can be the xact symptoms you describe. Cure new solenoid or rotate contacts 90 degrees.

  5. Dog-Father

    Dog-Father Junior Member

    I have a strong feeling it is the solenoid. Damaged by heat or just gotten old, either way looks like I need to replace that.
  6. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    You don't have to guess or have a "feeling" about it. Put a volt meter on the starter wire connection (the big wire). If it's getting the same voltage (or close) as the battery voltage while cranking, then the solenoid ISN'T the problem.

    If it isn't getting the same voltage as the battery, then go back up the line to the battery side of the solenoid. What's the voltage there while cranking? If it is the same as the battery, then the problem is the solenoid. The solenoid shouldn't have a high voltage across the two big terminals. (If you can get to them.) It's a big switch with lots of current through it, and it will eventually develop bad contacts but not very often.

    At least by doing this you will determine if you have starter, solenoid, battery or connection problems. Do it and get back to us before you start spending a lot of money guessing.
  7. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Solenoid on Chev is on the starter so I don't think that test applies. It engages the starter and the bendix at the starter.

  8. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    I am a chevy man, and I just don't know. Hell just sell and buy a new one, problem solved.

Share This Page