Starting problems, 7.3l diesel ambulance e series conversion

Discussion in 'Domestics' started by nickb2, May 9, 2017.

  1. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    MAKE:Ford
    MODEL:e 350
    YEAR:1998
    MILES:???
    ENGINE:7.3l
    DESCRIBE ISSUE....

    This one I need help with.

    The ambulance is now reinvented for a mobile mechanic truck.

    Frame rail battery is non existent as it was converted to an ambo. There is a slide out tray for the Vanner isolator and invertor which are still there and AC/DC equipment which are no longer needed and has been long since removed but all high current and low current cables are right there and the isolator looks great. But the only cables I have going to the tray for the batteries are chassis ground so my meter says.

    This was a job I inherited the other day and I am lost as I have never delved into ambo conversion systems before, but I have done some research and now I am confused after doing some volt meter tests.

    I will take picture tomorrow if I can, but will try to describe my issue here anyway with my shyte french to english.


    So, the old ambo was pulled out of a snow bank after having sat there for many years. Someone removed the auxiliary battery system and tried to start the engine. No go. They came to me and asked for a new starter which I ordered for them, which THEY installed. No start, just click.

    Ok, I said bring it to me and I will take over. I first noticed a new battery. It was for a small truck/automobile and it was dead. So I charged it and bang the truck turned over in a new york minute once the glow plugs had chance to warm up.

    I told client, you need a deep cycle marine battery for an RV or something to that effect. So off he went. Three days later, (today) come back, says it doing the click thing again.

    Ok, I go out to where it's stalled, notice he still has the small CCA bat in there. So I try to jump it with the srvice truck which is only a f350 1995 with a 5.8l. No go, just click.

    So I dive into the puddle of mud and slush underneath to check for BAT+ on starter as I obviously know the relay is getting signal. At this point I go back and get a marine battery for RV and tractor. Now it turns over but smokes comes off my red bat+ jumper cable.

    I say, we are going to stop this before something melts.

    I think, either the main bat+ cable is way to resistive, or the new/rebuilt starter is defective.

    But I also want this ambo to go back to dual battery system, but the Vanner isolator and the way it is hooked up is leaving me perplexed. I should have two pos leads and just ground the aux 1 and aux 2 batteries to chassis.

    @ -30c this diesel will never start with only one battery, let alone a automotive one.

    What should I look for here in regards to the vanner isolator kit in place which looks and feel very professionally installed and I want to KEEP that setup for sure.

    First on my to do list tomorrow is to remove the bat+ and neg cables from battery to starter and chassis ground and either make new ones with 2 gauge wire for ground and 2 gauge for + starter wire/cable and order a new starter as I think he toasted that one. It must be drawing wicked amp to smoke my jumper cables that much. I know, I made them myself.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  2. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    BTW, this is somewhat personal to me, as I may want to buy this truck as I can see it as a cool thing to have as all the AC cabling is there for a 110v welder and compressor and LED lighting and such. All the receptacles are nicely placed and all that really needs to be done is to remove the grey fibreglass shyte finish of the rear and redo that in stainless and that rear compartment will be bullet proof and use the existent shelving that was there for medical supplies and just convert it for tooling.
     
  3. billr

    billr wrench Staff Member

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    Does this have a built-in inverter, how many kW output? I thought you had an AC/DC clamp-on current meter, not so? If you do replace the starter, my gut-feeling is this is an application where you do not one of those geared PM types. The old series-field types have a lot more torque at low speeds, good to get that big beast rotating when the oil is real cold.
     
  4. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    Thx for the response.

    I would like to say 'no' to the built in inverter, but I don't know what that means. Everything is specialized for medical purposes. It has a 'vanner' add on invertor. I think my french got in the way again. I wrote 'isolator' and I think I typed as such. As for the isolator, here is the aftermarket specs of the system and the ID #'s.

    The one installed is an aftermarket 'Vanner' widely used for such purposes as professional ambulance conversions. The ID # I took off the Vanner unit is as follows. 51-140 schotkky system for voltage drop. Also, I would like to mention it has a 'boost' option like most dual battery systems of this type.

    See pdf.
     

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    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  5. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    Stock uses a stupid ford system, meaning a two relay system. One relay telling the other relay to start/crank. Useless really relay.

    Here is a stock wiring of what I mean. Screenshot (96).png
     
  6. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    As for the inverter, I think it is a 3200watt or 3600watt with a surge rating of 6400watts or so. I will post picture soon of actual set-up. But it looks awfully like this one. See snapshot below. Screenshot (97).png
     
  7. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    What do you mean by a geared 'PM' type?
     
  8. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    I assume PM means permanent magnet gear reduction 'maybe'??. I will have to remove it to be sure, as I sold it to him without opening the box. I am assuming it is a standard throw 7.3l powerstroke starter of this era.
     
  9. nickb2

    nickb2 Wrench. I help when I can

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    Like I said, I was in the mud and slush. SO I felt for the biggest cable and got bat+, then I felt for the small starter feed circuit/ignition start feed and got signal when asked to start/crank.

    This was a very fast in the mud/slush diagnostic, yet I was soakedtothe bones anyways so I went ahead and jumper-ed anyway with my big fat jumper cables. Smoke came off them and I called it quits, but when I saw the extent of the 'vanner' equipment on board, I knew the stuff was worth more than the truck itself.

    As said before, pictures will follow, as this powerstroke runs great, frame and everything else is near factory.

    I would put a few grand forward just to convert it full time for mobile mechanic use as it was supposed to be after it's retirement as an ambo.

    It has 160k km's or so on it, so I figure it can do at least more than half that again to be paid for again.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  10. billr

    billr wrench Staff Member

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    Yes, "geared PM" is a permanent-magnet motor driving through a gear reduction. Those are cheaper to build, probably more efficient, and quite a bit lighter; so are becoming quite common (maybe universal?) now. However, the old series-field motors can produce much more torque at low rpm, when they first engage the engine. Series-field motors can be geared, of course, just not necessary.

    I see the confusion, Vanner makes both "isolators" and "inverters", and it sounds like both are in that beast. I think you understand now, the inverter provides AC power from a DC input.
     
  11. dabunk

    dabunk wrench

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    We run fleets of these and all the 7.3 use dual batteries for the starter. Most of our vans have one under the hood and another under on the frame. That engine requires lots of amps. Once you have both batteries installed do an amp draw at the starter should not draw more than 150 to 200 amp draw on start. These are pigs for bad grounds so start there. Once there check back and we can walk you through it. Some of these had dual alternators as well cause they were elec piggies. Do you have dual alt's?
     
  12. jd

    jd Hero Member

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    In the old Motorcraft starters, the Field Windings would short out. Somehow, they'd expand and spread out. Draw amps like crazy but NOT do any cranking. This happened to me on an older Ford van chassis with the gas 460 V8. Dunno if this 7.3 uses a starter built on the same concept. For the gas motors, the starters would mount interchangeably. BUT the Diameter of the Field Housing went UP according to the displacement of the engine it was assigned to.
     

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