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Old 07-26-2014, 11:34 AM   #1
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Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Hi All,

I just bought a used 2006 Ford EB350 Sportsmobile and here's my situation.

- picked up the van April '14, and one morning I attempted to start the engine but noticed when I entered the key and turn the ignition to wait for the glow plug to go off, the entire Front panel instrumentation was "flickering" and noticed the power going on and off. I couldnt' tell if the Glow plug light was off and so I attempted to crank over the engine. The result - NOTHING! It seemed like it was a DEAD battery. I then took the key out and reinserted and this time it worked. ???? This problem didn't show there after. Feeling WEIRD and Worried then...

- Jun '14: The "flickering" problem showed up and this time is set my car alarm off and also the Check engine light went on. I have a Scan guage and the error code was a P0606. I took my van to Ford and they looked at it for an entire day and said that they couldn't reproduce the "flickering" but did say that at 10K miles ago the same error code was set off. Even though I had an Extended warranty, they couldn't guarantee that the work would be covered since Ford only covers Faulty components. They cleared the code and sent me off with a $80 bill(it was formerly $300 but after speaking w/mgmt they brough it down). They told me to come back when the problem happens again

- July '14: "flickering" problem shows up again but now more intermittent and this time it actually reset my Car stereo/navigation system! No error code at first but after a day with this problem, the Check engine light did go off w/the same error code, P0606.

- I called Livermore FORD( ) and spoke to Gary and he said that the problem is probably due to wiring and that I should take it to a Car Stereo shop to have the diagnose it since my alarm also goes off when this problem happens.

- I brought to my Van to Pearsons in Livermore. They told me that in the morning the Van wouldn't start and had to re-try a couple of times to get her going. THey disconnected the Stereo and said that the problem still exisits. They sent me off w/a $100 charge and told me I should bring it back to Ford since it's most likely due to the ignition loosing power. Right before I picked the van up I asked if they disabled the car alarm and they didn't. They had to disable and then sent me off on my way. I thought to my self, "did they troubleshoot it this w/out the car alarm off?"

- brought the van home and "flickering" problem is not there and I also noticed the Check engine light is not on??? I tried again this mornining a couple of times(4 times) and now notice that the "flickering" problem doesn't show.

Can anyone give any suggestions or tips to help resolve this infamous "flickering" problem and no start problem? Any advise or tips would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

My first guess would always be a bad ground - cause of most intermittent electrical problems. Next would be the after market alarm system - keep it disconnected until you get the same symptoms again without it connected. If it never comes up again...
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:56 PM   #3
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

I agree that an loose ground somewhere is a likely culprit.

However, A short in the glow plug harness (or even a shorting glow-plug) can also cause those symptoms.

Have the basics been checked? I.e. battery terminals all cleaned, checked for corrosion etc? Batteries tested to make sure one doesn't have a broken connection internally?
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:09 PM   #4
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Thanks for responses! I actually did some diagnosing myself with a friend and what we found out was that my Car stereo wiring(Audio Input RCA wires) was completely melted and the wiring was exposed! I also noted that the Video RCA input cable was also Brown and "burnt". I swapped out both wiring and I don't see any "flickering" and no check engine light error codes(P0606).

I'm disapointed that the Pearson's didn't even inform me of this and just said that the car stereo is not the issue and is most likely due to an Ignition problem.


I'm gonna driver her for the next couple of days to verify that my problem of flickering completely disappears. I'll report back in a couple of days.


thanks,

Alex
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Update 8/18/14... It turned out that my problems were due to a dying battery. I just picked up the Van over the weekend from Capitol Ford in Carson City. After two Ford dealers and a Car stereo shop, it turned out to be the batteries. The battery was less than 3 yrs old and fortunately the dealer installed and replaced them free of charge. I just had to pay for the rental.


Does anyone have any similar experience with the batteries? THe previous owner also mentioned that he was stuck in Downievielle and it was due to the batteries. He said he would replace them every two years to be safe. Is this normal with the Ford Diesel Vans?
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:19 PM   #6
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Every 2 years?. I believe that with a vehicle that has a 2-way separator and solar that it's a good idea to install high quality AGM batteries rather than typical wet cell types. Mind that it's a guess on my part. Constantly throwing a lengthy charge via solar or just using the inverter to charge up the house battery seems like it might overcharge the starting batteries. I was going through batteries about every year until I switched. Even when I replaced both I had problems. I tried Motorcraft, Delco, and Interstate batteries and had nothing but trouble. I switched to Odyssey AGM's in 2009 and no problems to date. But it could be that the model Odyssey I installed is designed for high heat. If I get 5 years out of a set of batteries I think it's worth the higher price. Sears makes a re-badged Odyssey (or they did in the past) that I might try next time if they fit the boxes but I sure like what I installed last go around.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

What were the symptoms you were seeing that told you your batteries were failing? Before this failure, I actually brought my van to a mechanic to check the batteries and the test was good or at least according them. It seemed like no one new that my batteries were failing until they actually did.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:17 PM   #8
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Quote:
Originally Posted by ucsundog
What were the symptoms you were seeing that told you your batteries were failing? Before this failure, I actually brought my van to a mechanic to check the batteries and the test was good or at least according them. It seemed like no one new that my batteries were failing until they actually did.
Twice Ford said my batteries were good. You need to make sure they drop and test each battery by themselves with a tester like a carbon pile load tester. One thing I noticed was the separator opening and closing all the time which was out of the ordinary. The separator was also masking any starting issues because the starter was always getting a jump boost from the house battery system. The first time around I wasn't monitoring the charge and woke one morning to the rotten egg smell of one of the batteries off gassing while plugged into shore power. One of the battery boxes was so hot I couldn't leave my hand on it. Lucky my van didn't burn to the ground in front of my house. When I looked at the amperage I was shocked to see 40 amps being pumped into the battery systems.

After that I learned to monitor the charge. If the charge rate doesn't taper off or shows unusually high rates, I start to look for a bad battery in the loop. I also switched out separators and set it up so I have to manually close the separator to supply a jump start. At least that way I can tell something is wrong when the starter has a difficult time cranking over the engine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:00 PM   #9
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Thanks for info... I'm now talking to Peter at Sportsmobile West to possibly get the upgrade for a "momentary switch" v.s. the old "automatic junction signal". He said he can do it for $320.


Btw, do you have any suggestions on a Solar panel setup? I plan on camping where I'm off the grid for 2-3 days at a time with "average" use if that means anything.


thanks,

Alex
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:54 PM   #10
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Re: Front Panel instrumentation "flickering" intermittently

Quote:
Originally Posted by ucsundog

Btw, do you have any suggestions on a Solar panel setup? I plan on camping where I'm off the grid for 2-3 days at a time with "average" use if that means anything.


thanks,

Alex
We've got a 130W solar panel Nd 2 Group 27 house batteries and unless we camp in the shade we can camp until we run out of food or water. We have the 4cf Norcold refrig.

Mike
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