RoadTripper2084 Posted September 2, 2022 Share Posted September 2, 2022 Well we were either extremely lucky or unlucky (depending on your view of how full the glass is I guess) last weekend. After a very pleasant 60 mile drive down the highway to our campground all hell broke loose. A block before pulling into the campground I started to here a loud hissing sound from under the front dash that I hadn't heard before, then just as we were pulling up to stop at the front gatehouse acrid smoke started to pour out of edges of the left side of the front dash. Electrical fire! I quickly got everyone out of the coach, shut it down, and disconnected the batteries via the disconnects in the rear engine bay. After a few minutes things seem to settle down, no more smoke, though I had a new air leak under the dash. I was able to fire it up and drive to a large parking lot about 50 yards away. There I started to disassemble the dash and open the driver's side fuse compartment. Long story short, there was a set of 3 wires that had been dangling wrapped loosely around other wires in the fuse compartment that had basically disintegrated with most of their insulation melted off. These wires were not connected to anything in the fuse compartment (was this way when I bought the coach last fall), but had somehow shorted out and melted. It's amazing how fast you can figure out how to remove the dash cover when you think there might be a fire smouldering under it. Once I got the dash partially off I was also able to see one white wire on the ground bar completely melted, along with a second wire attached to the same ground port. At the time, I pulled all the fuses for stuff we didn't need to drive the coach, and disconnected the burnt ground wire from ground. The burnt wire in the fuse compartment read 0v and no continuity to ground, either. We were able to complete our camping weekend and drive home without further incident. Fortunately, the air leak under the dash was slow enough to allow the compressor to more than compensate so we could drive. Now I've completely removed the dash, dashboard, and side control panel to gain better access. I'm attempting to trace the damaged wires so I can determine which other wires were affected and repair them, and hopefully find the source of the short. The wires in the fuse compartment were not connected on this end. Appears to be 2 live brown wires crimped together on the end, and one white ground wire. These all melted together or lost their insulation completely. They shared a plastic wire loom with the generator slide switch wires up and into the opening through the floor. The loom was completely melted but through some miracle the generator slide wires were not harmed. Even up through the floor opening there is only minor scorching on the surrounding wires, which appear to be fine. I was able to pull this wire up through the floor opening into the drivers side compartment (where the transmission controls, etc. live) and discovered that they actually seem to disappear under the floor somehow, and do not actually run through the compartment above the floor. Nor do they run under the coach. So this remains a mystery and I'm not sure how to proceed tracing these, they seem to be solidly routed into the floor. Under the dash, I was able to find two toasted ground wires. They both shared the same ground port, so one really toasted white wire, and one partially toasted green wire. Tracing that wire back toward the driver's side of the dash, there are partially melted wires surrounding it inside the middle of the bundle. Likely different wires at different locations just based on which wires were closest to the melting wire at that point. So far I've been able to trace the melted ground wire to the bottom left corner where it drops from the dash and runs down to the floor, and then continues on to the opening through the floor and the fuse box. I have NOT been able to get enough access to see if the damage continues around the bend and to the opening yet, just as far as the middle of the drop to the floor. I was also able to determine that the yellow 1/4" air line going to the air gauge is the one leaking, and seems to be coming from that same front drivers corner where the wires and the air lines go through the same rubberized metal bracket. Though again, due to tight access I wasn't able to actually pull things apart enough to see the leak/damage. At this point I have to assume the hot ground wire burned a hole through the air line. Sorry for the really long post, but I wanted to share everything I've found so far. So questions for anyone who has experience with this sort of thing: 1. It seems like I should be able to replace the damaged wires by either patching in new wires for sections where they are damaged, or even just running new wires the length of the damaged section. Opinions? 2. What if I can't determine where the short occurred? Any advice or tips is appreciated. 3. I'm having a bear of a time accessing the front left corner under the dash, the steering column is in the way. Would it be sane to remove the steering column? Probably just the U-joint and then maybe 4 large bolts holding it to the floor (plus wires)? Obviously a very close call we could have lost the whole rig. I feel we actually were very fortunate the way things have turned out thus far, but really wanting to make solid repairs to avoid similar issues in the future. 2 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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