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Old 08-26-2021, 06:13 AM   #1
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2015 Seneca Won't Crank (Occasionally)

Hello All,

Been a while since I have been here. Hoping you all can help me out.

I have a 2015 Seneca FS, and this past weekend when trying to leave the racetrack, I turned the key to ON to let the Intake Heater do it's magic (sirens and buzzers doing their normal thing, dash lights look normal), but when I went to start with the key, nothing happened. The dash stayed lit, but the buzzers turned off as long as I was holding the key in the START position, and starter made no attempt to crank.

Checking on my scan gauge, I have 12.4V so, not a battery thing.

Tried several more times with the same result. Finally on about the 5th try, the starter engaged, and the truck started with it's normal vigor and speed. Battery only dropped to 11.0 during the starting, so the batteries seem good, IMO.

Got home with no issues. But once home, I tried to start it again and the same thing happened. Seems about 50% of the time the starter engages and spins over like a normal startup and the rest, just nothing.

Checked at the starter, has good voltage when it cranks, but seems to have 0 when the key doesn't work (which makes sense). But I have no idea where to go from there.

Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Worst case, does anyone know how to "hot wire" one of these things??
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Old 08-26-2021, 01:26 PM   #2
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First off I would check the ground strap to the engine. Can the contact points with sand paper or Emery cloth. The second cause may be the starter. Typically the starter current flows thru the brushes to ground. If the brushes are worn down the spring pressure holding the brushes against the comutator diminishes which can lead to arcing which will cause a carbon buildup. This carbon buildup needs to be cleaned up and new brushes installed to return the starter to its original condition..

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-26-2021, 02:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuddenRush View Post
Hello All,

Been a while since I have been here. Hoping you all can help me out.

I have a 2015 Seneca FS, and this past weekend when trying to leave the racetrack, I turned the key to ON to let the Intake Heater do it's magic (sirens and buzzers doing their normal thing, dash lights look normal), but when I went to start with the key, nothing happened. The dash stayed lit, but the buzzers turned off as long as I was holding the key in the START position, and starter made no attempt to crank

Checking on my scan gauge, I have 12.4V so, not a battery thing.

Tried several more times with the same result. Finally on about the 5th try, the starter engaged, and the truck started with it's normal vigor and speed. Battery only dropped to 11.0 during the starting, so the batteries seem good, IMO.

Got home with no issues. But once home, I tried to start it again and the same thing happened. Seems about 50% of the time the starter engages and spins over like a normal startup and the rest, just nothing.

Checked at the starter, has good voltage when it cranks, but seems to have 0 when the key doesn't work (which makes sense). But I have no idea where to go from there.

Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Worst case, does anyone know how to "hot wire" one of these things??
I think there is a solenoid on the firewall for the starter. You may check that first.
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:03 PM   #4
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Check to see if you have voltage on the lead going from the starter relay to the starter with the switch in the start position. If you do not check for voltage from switch at the starter relay. If no voltage there may be switch problem. If you have voltage from switch may be relay. Do you know how to jump across the two post (input from battery and output to starter) on the relay? Bumping the post and you will hear the starter.
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Old 08-26-2021, 06:21 PM   #5
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I had a intermittent problem like that with my last PSD. We would stop at a rest area and it would not crank. Sit there for an hour or so and it would crank up as normal. Only when towing.
My garage kept it a whole day checking everything and gave up. After it happened again they told me the only suggestion was to replace the starter that was 2 years old. They did not like to throw parts at a problem.

I told them to go for it and they replaced it with a NAPA starter. It never failed again.
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Old 08-26-2021, 07:21 PM   #6
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I have heard of a another Freightliner Seneca having similar trouble, it turned out the ignition switch itself has an intermittent problem. When it went for repair the Freightliner dealer commented to them about the big ring of keys, it was suspected that several years of bouncing down the road with a pound of keys hanging from it caused the switch to go bad. Could it? I suppose it could, we all know how bad roads seem to be everywhere. But a new ignition switch solved the problem.
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Old 08-27-2021, 06:00 AM   #7
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We had this same thing happen to us. I had noticed over the previous several weeks that sometimes, the starter would not work. Then one day in the campground we were at, it would not start at all. Tried jumping it and it did not help. Eventually, had to have it towed to Cummins. The tech looked at it and determined the starter had gone bad. The starter was getting hot when attempting to start, but would not turn over. They replaced the starter and all was fine again. We were able to stay overnight at the Cummins facility and were on our way again the next day. Of course, the bill was around 1000 dollars
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Old 08-30-2021, 06:34 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone.

I'll be taking the long Labor Day weekend to track down all of this.

I'm thinking I actually have a bad key switch in the dash. Everything seems to have voltage as expected when the key works, and the starter sounds really good and strong.

When the key doesn't work, there doesn't seem to be any voltage at any place I expect there to be, which leads me to believe the switch isn't making contact to send it.

Good call Rob on the heavy key ring. Mine isn't too bad, but I'll be removing everything for trips up and down the road from now on.

Will follow up if I find something...
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Old 08-30-2021, 06:39 AM   #9
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The heavy key ring was one of the things they asked me to try. I did and it did not affect the problem but these types of problems are a process of elimination.

Hope you will get it resolved.
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:19 AM   #10
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This is an old trick that a mechanic told me about many years ago. If you try to start your vehicle and nothing happens ( starter not in gauging) but the amp gauge shows a discharge, crawl under the rig and “ smack “ the starter with a hammer. This trick has worked for me over the years,
. Now this will only work one maybe two times so don’t turn it off if it starts!
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:33 AM   #11
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I've actually used the old "beat on the starter" trick many times while racing. Works like a champ.

Slightly different problem here. When it doesn't work, there is zero draw on the battery (key in START position and battery voltage still holding strong at 12.4V). It's just like there is no "signal" for the starter to engage. Key off/back on, and seems to work about 80% of the time.
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy wife / happy life View Post
This is an old trick that a mechanic told me about many years ago. If you try to start your vehicle and nothing happens ( starter not in gauging) but the amp gauge shows a discharge, crawl under the rig and ď smack ď the starter with a hammer. This trick has worked for me over the years,
. Now this will only work one maybe two times so donít turn it off if it starts!

Lol, I have a similar story. Way back in the very early 80's I was a pilot for a small commuter airline. The twin 19 seat turboprop, Brazilian brand, Bandeirante, had twin Pratt and Whitney PT-6 engines. Turboprops have a starter generator, yes it does double duty. They were supposed to be removed and overhauled after so many hours. As they approached their TBO or time between overhaul, they might get a flat spot in the starter armature and do just what you mentioned. The company would try to wait until they absolutely had to remove it. We were pretty full of ourselves in those days and times, imagine doing this today! We would reach behind the copilot's seat where a metal bar was stowed. It was there in case the landing gear malfunctioned and you had to manually lower it. I would send the first officer out of the airplane with the bar, open the cowling and give the starter a good whack. Thumbs up to me, and I would hit the starter switch and we were in business. Meanwhile we had 19 passengers watching every move out of the windows!! After having this happen a few times, the company had to replace the unit.
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