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Old 10-24-2010, 10:31 PM   #1
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My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Talk about taking something literally! My engine died while driving on a dirt road on Death Valley about 1.5 miles from the pavement. When I try to restart, the security warning light flashes and the van does nothing. I do not have any factory security system but I do have a Ravelco. Fortunately, someone drove by and was generous enough to drive us back to Furnace Creek where we will be spending the night. There is cell phone service here but none where the van is, so it seemed to make sense to leave the van for the night. I will be making towing arrangements in the morning but could use some advice.

As far as I can tell from my iPhone the nearest Ford dealer is Team Ford in Las Vegas. Pahrump is a closer town, but they don't have a Ford dealer. I have AAA that will cover 100 miles, but they won't let me make arrangements tonight if I don't want to be towed until tomorrow morning so I'll have to wait until early morning to call them. It's unclear whether my coverage will even be good here, but oh well.

I don't know why I am posting this except to reach out and make sure I am handling this as well as I can. If anyone has helpful suggestions, I can be reached at sportnoy@socal.rr.com. I know I'll need to insist on a flatbed tow truck. Beyond that, my plan is to try to get it to a dealer and get it running again. Thanks in advance.

Steve in LA
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Sorry to hear about your troubles! The nearest Ford dealership is either Las Vegas or Bishop, CA.
Do you have a scanguage or code reader?
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:54 PM   #3
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Just an off chance but there is a fuel shutoff switch on the passenger kick panel on the inside of the van. Could you have hit a bump hard enough to trigger it?
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:01 PM   #4
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Sorry to hear this Steve. Try what Saline suggests first.

There is a Ford Dealer in Ridgecrest, which should be on your way home. May be closer than Vegas too.
http://jimcharlonford.com/service.appointment.php Their phone number is 760-371-1331 and they open at 7:30AM. I don't know anything about them but I have passed them on my way into Panamint Valley.

Good Luck,

steve
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:27 PM   #5
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My SMB is dead in Death Valley

I would think that if it were a fuel cutoff switch, the starter motor would still fire. I get nothing when I turn the key. Las Vegas still seems like a better option than Ridgecrest since if it can't be fixed quickly I can get my wife on a plane back home. Thanks again.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:34 PM   #6
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Best of luck for a quick easy fix!
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:10 AM   #7
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

If it's not the fuel-pump cutoff it's got to be something similar. As far as I know the ravelco wouldn't shut off the running van (has anybody ever pulled the plug with the engine on?)

So it sounds like something came loose (duh, I know) which would both shut the van down and not allow it to start.

For not starting (specifically the starter not turning over even) I can think of the following:
1. tail light out
2. ravelco unplugged/essential wire came loose
3. gear in D (I know, I know but when it died you were stressed...)
4. some alarms post set off

But none of those would cause it to die as far as I know. I would certainly try alarming and disarming, check the gear shift, and even disconnect the separator then the starter battery neutral for 10 minutes.

For dying while running I can think of:
1. fuel cut off switch (my first thought too)
2. straight up stalling the engine

Anyone add to these lists?
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Weird. A few things that I can think of....

Battery Grounds

Some dealers automatically install a security system without you knowing. Then they try & sell it during the paperwork. When I bought my van, they tried this, even though I told the salesman I didn't want anyone to touch it. So what did I find when my alarm guy got in there? Wires had been cut for the dealer installed alarm.

Any weird speedo readings?

Engine Lights?

Check every connection that you can find. Engine, transmission, etc.

Fuses (under hood)
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:29 AM   #9
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Sounds like your key became un-paired. All the vans now have a factory immobilizer system, which is why spare keys cost so much. Just a guess... I suspect the rough road may have allowed a circuit within the key to break a connection momentarily.

If that is the case.... it means it does require a dealer visit to re-pair.

As far as AAA goes... They do not cover off-pavement recovery it you leave the pavement voluntarily. Meaning of you drive off a road because you hit a patch of ice... you are covered. If you drive off pavement on your own will.... you are not covered. (I am a AAA provider). Most likely, you will have to pay for the mileage to the highway, then AAA will cover from there. You may also have to pay a hookup fee if they have to send a different truck to bring you to the highway, and then bring you to town in a separate truck. (most flatbeds are worthless off-pavement, and wreckers are rarely used for long tows.

Now.... most tow companies who contract to AAA will work with you to cover as much as possible. Just call the tow company first, so they can enter the call in a method that will benefit you the most.

As far as your 100 coverage - this is to a destination of your choice. If the closest shop capable of repairing your problem is greater than 100 miles, AAA will pay to tow to that location, even if more than 100 miles.

Your van is under warranty, right? Your warranty includes towing to the nearest dealer. I think you should try this first.


BTW - I'm surprised you had trouble scheduling a tow the night before. AAA Oregon/Idaho does it all the time, no questions asked.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:46 AM   #10
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Re: My SMB is dead in Death Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
.... (has anybody ever pulled the plug with the engine on?).....
Yup! When we had our Ravelco installed, the installer pulled it right out and it shuts the engine. When trying to restart, no turnover at all.

Steve,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I think, it may be a loose wire on the Ravelco, since there is no turnover when starting the rig. Saline also has a good point about the fuel cut-off switch as well. Good luck and try to keep your spirits up.
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