Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-04-2014, 11:33 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Need some help guys. Hate to appear like a dumb gal but I recently purchased a 2001 Chevy Express Sportsmobile and have nothing but issues with it. I'm up to over $3K in repairs in just two months. I previously had a 1998 Sportsmobile for a number of years and it was extremely reliable - I was just looking for a different Sportsmobile layout.

Okay the latest issue. I was on a trip and the head lights kept dimming occasionally and the battery indicator was jumping. I figured the alternator or battery might be going out so I cut the trip short. I had both tested at a couple of locations and was told they were both bad. After checking around, I took it to the Chevy dealer to have them replaced. After replacing both, the dealer said they thought the capacitor was causing the alternator to fail and also frying the battery. The previous owner installed all kinds of extra stuff like an amplifier and honestly I can't exactly figure out what is all wired into the battery, etc. He also had the Starcool worked on right before I purchased it and it is still not working correctly. He told me things kept shorting out on the Starcool. Anyway, when I went to pick up the van today, I found out the dealer decided to bypass the capacitor to get the new alternator to work. They said the capacitor would have to replaced by someone else. Even though I was insistent that they be very careful and make sure everything was put back exactly as I brought it in, I ended up with several loose wires that I have absolutely no idea where they go. Now I'm just not sure what other issues they caused by not putting everything back together in the same manner as when I brought it in.

Here are the questions where I could use some advice:
1) I assume the capacitor is extra power for the Starcool but am not exactly sure.
2) Anyone know if it is okay to run the Starcool while driving given they bypassed the capacitor? Will it hurt the alternator or cause other issues for the vehicle?
3) Any other suggestions or concerns?

The bill for the alternator and battery was shocking given the location of the alternator on this engine but luckily I was able to negotiate a more reasonable price. I really don't feel confident taking it back to the dealer so guess I'll have to make a run to Sportsmobile Austin. Sportsmobile folks are nice enough but they really don't like working on these older vans so I'm not exactly sure what to do. No one in San Antonio will touch a Starcool. Getting really frustrated with the van and don't feel confident taking it alone on a road trip.
__________________

mericatr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 12:30 AM   #2
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,838
Garage
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

You might try finding a place that works on big rig truck Air conditioners. I have a buddy that has a mobile A/C repair business and he drives to where the trucks are to make repairs. According to him, Starcool systems are fairly simple although some parts could be hard to come by. Most mobile repair companies deal with all sorts of odd ball systems and aren't afraid of them. The Starcool came in different models. Mine requires that the Starcool run along with the factory system. If the Starcool isn't running, the factory will blow warm air. It's possible yours is different though.



Good Luck on the repair.
__________________

__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 12:57 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
gcvt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: SF, CA
Posts: 1,502
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Tagged for interest.
__________________
Greg
Old van: 1997 E250 EB30 (Stolen)
New van: 2003 E250 EB10
gcvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 01:00 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 13
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Thanks for the tip. My Starcool also requires that it runs along with the factory air when driving. It has the rocker switch behind the drivers seat to turn on the Starcool.

I am still pondering the capacitor thing. The dealer said the capacitor was causing the problem. But now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure what they were pointing to is actually the battery isolator. It's the blue box sitting in front of the battery. It was late and honestly I was a little frustrated with them and not paying close attention. I'm going to check tomorrow in the daylight but it might be the isolator box.
mericatr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 06:46 AM   #5
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 9,009
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Is your capacitor like the one shown in the post below? That might help us understand your situation.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14136&hilit=capacitor

Also, there's a helpful schematic of the Starcool III in this thread.
viewtopic.php?f=40&t=13537&hilit=starcool+capacito r


Herb
__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3,132
Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

The blue box in the engine compartment is the isolator, not a capacitor. If they have disconnected it then your house batteries won't charge from the alternator while driving (not good). These isolators can go bad. Search the forum for some good posts on this topic.

The Starcool capacitor is part of the 110v AC side of the system and is usually located in the back or under the van near the AC compressor (on my 98 Starcool it's underneath in a metal box with some other wiring). To my knowledge that's the only Starcool capacitor. It's used to bump up the voltage to start the AC compressor. These capacitors do go bad - all do sooner or later - but that would have nothing to do with your battery IMO.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 08:14 AM   #7
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,838
Garage
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Not saying that the isolator or the electrical circuit behind it (which supplies the house battery charge as mentioned) is the problem, I'd like to know how they diagnosed that as the root of your problem. A good electrical shop or an RV shop should be able to check and repair that. Actually it sounds like they were just looking for an excuse for the alternator failure and didn't have a clue what the isolator is or does.

I'd find a good RV shop and explain what's happening. It's even possible the house battery (sometimes called the coach or auxiliary battery) has issues or is bad. Also the isolators are prone to similar problems you've described.

This post from John Kalmbach of SMB west described some issues with isolators. Again not saying this is your problem but might be good info to pass along to the repair center.

In 01 & '02 SMB was using Battery Isolators, instead of the current Battery Separator used since summer of '04. Unless you've changed yours out, you'll find the battery separator mounted under the coolant recovery canister.

Sometimes these Battery Isolators go bad, you can get a new style Battery Separator kit from SMB to replace the Isolator. With the Separator, you would have been able to start the van even with discharged starting batteries because the Separator automatically connects the house battery to the starting batteries if they're weak.

The Battery Isolator is only suppose to allow DC current to flow one way, from the "A" terminal to both the #1 & #2 terminals. It will not allow the house battery charging system to charge the starting batteries. The new Battery Separator will allow the starting batteries to be charged from the house battery charging system too.

////////////////

The rust you're seeing is probably the culprit for the disharging of your battery and the low battery voltage and charge rate. I have seen this rust issue on older units where the Isolator is mounted horizontal. Another item to check is the 50 amp auto reset circuit breaker mounted under the hood. Trace the wire coming from terminal #2 on the Isolator, it should be connected to this circuit breaker. Water can also enter this circuit breaker causing internal corrosion, and cause major problems.


The issue with the Starcool may or may not be part of the engine electrical problem.


dave
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 08:40 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Scalf77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,529
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

I would expect that this is most likely a isolator problem. You should be able to check and see if your getting power to your house battery now that the disconnected the "cap". If they had not bypassed the unit it would have continued to do damage to your new alternator. It would have been nice that they could have helped resolve the issue, but at least they didn't just throw in the new stuff and send you are your way. The isolator will look like this:


If they bypassed your isolator you will no longer be getting power to the house battery, running starcool even while driving would reduce house battery very quickly.

I have also included instructions on how to test a isolator;
Instructions for testing a isolator,
INSTRUCTIONS FOR TESTING A SURE POWER ISOLATOR WITH OHMMETER*:
1. Remove all wires from the isolator.
2. Using a needle movement ohmmeter RX-1 scale or a digital ohmmeter diode scale, hold the Red* probe on the terminal "A" and with
the Black* probe touch terminal #1 and #2, and the "E" terminal for 3A isolators (group 2), and the "R" terminal for (group 3) isolators.
A good isolator will show a current flow from "A" to #1, #2 and "R", and no current flow to "E".
3. Next, hold the Black* probe on the "A" and with the Red* probe touch terminal #1 and #2 (terminal "E" and "R", if used). A good
isolator will allow no current flow from "A" to #1, #2 or "R" and will show current flow from "E" to "A".
4. Hold one probe on the aluminum heat sink, being sure there is contact by scratching through the protective coating. Then touch
with the other probe, terminals "A", #1, #2 (the "E" terminal for 3A isolators [group 2] , the "R" terminal for group 3 isolators). A
good isolator will show no current flow.
5. Colored terminal indicates "E" post on group 2 isolators and "R" terminal on most group 3 isolators.
*On some import ohmmeters, the red and black probes are reversed for these tests.
**If using a digital ohmmeter, a diode scale MUST be used.


You also may have a circuit breaker between #2 and house battery that has gone south. If you are using the E terminal it is also probably fused.



A trip to sportsmobile may be your best option they could take care of that and look at starcool.

-greg
__________________
2004 E350 EB V10 E/PH 2WD
Scalf77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 08:45 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
BajaSportsmobile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rancho Nuevo (Cabo/Todos Santos) B.C.S. and San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,952
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Never believe a "Service Writer" at the dealership. They are salesmen only and are not mechanics and other than when you dropped it off and picked it up have never even looked at your vehicle. Ask to talk to the actual "Tech", as they like to be called, and get the true story - most likely "I'm not sure".
__________________
Four time Baja 1000 winner, four time Baja 500 winner. Solo'ed the Baja 1000 to LaPaz/Cabo twice.
4-Wheeling since 1972, Desert Racing since 1989.

AgileOffRoad.com
BajaSportsmobile is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2014, 09:32 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,331
Re: Capacitor on Sportsmobile - disconnected?

Adding on to what Baja said above, and also sorry for sort of changing the subject, but I would strongly recommend you stay away from dealerships. There are lots of great independent mechanics out there who can help you with your van. Dealerships always charge more and you don't get any better service out of them, in fact, it's often worse because you have to go through the service guy mentioned above, which only complicates things.

Good luck!
__________________

__________________
Currently vanless. Weird.
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

VivaLaVida

Pschitt

Vanna

gahamby
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×