Thursday, December 22, 2016

Maintenance issues.

I'm always amazed at what you can learn from the Internet. It all comes down to using the right words in the search criteria.

My motorhome, a Winnebago Explorer 2784, on a Workhorse P-32 coach chassis was exhibiting several problems that started happening all about the same time:
- transmission shuttle shifting (erratic gear changing when none was required)
- ABS brake indicator coming on randomly then going out
- the engine faltering occasionally whilst starting or driving down the highway.

My first mistake: Looking at the individual systems instead of a holistic view. I thought it would be logical to take the vehicle to the different specialist starting with the transmission and then the brake guy. Neither used their scan tool to check for electronic trouble codes. A thousand or so kms later and the issues were coming back with a vengeance.

So back to the auto transmission specialist and this time they read and clear half a dozen trouble codes using the scan tool. Some of the codes supported their diagnosis of speed sensor failure. A move forward I thought. But again the vehicle did not fail whilst they test drove so I was asked to test drive the motorhome with the manager on board to see that I was happy. Well, initially all was good but almost back to the workshop and the motorhome just stopped like the ignition had been turned off. It was decided collectively that we needed an auto-electrician. It took the auto-elec less than half an hour to bypass the ignition switch with a simple toggle switch. Discussions with him regarding the wider issues suggested the switch was the culprit. The switch appears to not have been providing stable voltage and current to the main computer, all the time anyway.

So I go on-line looking to source a new switch from the states. During the search, I come across details of what it means when multiple codes come up on the scan tool, the codes as in my exact case. The ignition switch! There is even an aftermarket wiring/relay kit available that stops the excessive current from going through said switch and cooking it. Damn, a known problem! Well, known in the states anyway where these vehicles are far more common.

The moral of this story? What, besides buyer beware when buying an exotic vehicle that has limited support in this country. Don't ignore anything. Don't expect others to look beyond the obvious. Do your homework. Ask questions, ask the Google God.

The offending ignition switch.