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  1. #1
    Bobtail Member
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    Forbidden Exclamation Freightliner Columbia Elecrical Problems

    I have a 2004 Columbia with a 60 series Detroit and for the last two years there has been an intermitent electrical problem. The tach and speedometer will go to zero while the warning beeper is screaming, the shift indicator will go blank, sometimes the truck and traliler ABS indicator sounds as well. Normally the truck will keep running even while on cruise, and ever so often the truck will lose fire. It really acts just like you cut the ignition switch on/off while driving. I have changed the ignition switch, batteries, swapped relays under the dash cover in fuse panel, and checked the grounds on the frame. I want to take it somewhere and get it fixed, but it wil not do it all the time. This is a truck with a motorhome conversion. Please help............


  2. #2
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    I don't work on freightliners a lot but......the last time I had one with an electrical problem like yours, I replaced the battery protection switch and cured complaint.....something to think about.

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  4. #3
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegetto05 View Post
    I don't work on freightliners a lot but......the last time I had one with an electrical problem like yours, I replaced the battery protection switch and cured complaint.....something to think about.
    Thank you for your suggestion

  5. #4
    Road Train Member Heavyd's Avatar
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    Sounds like the you may have a data-link communication problem. When the problem happens do you lose anything else, like the radio or lights? The gauges, trans indicator and ABS lights all have 1939 data-link in common. One component may be bringing down the data-link. Sometimes other accessories are tied in to the 1939 datalink such as satellite communications. You many have a fault with one of these or wiring with the datalink. If the engine is quitting that tells me a loss of ignition power or unswitched battery power. The main power to the cab could be lose or corroded at the firewall or where ever it enters. If the engine ECM has experience a loss of unswitched battery power or communitcation failures from the 1939 datalink it will log codes for that which should be able to point you in the right direction for a solution.
    Hope this helps

  6. #5
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavyd View Post
    Sounds like the you may have a data-link communication problem. When the problem happens do you lose anything else, like the radio or lights? The gauges, trans indicator and ABS lights all have 1939 data-link in common. One component may be bringing down the data-link. Sometimes other accessories are tied in to the 1939 datalink such as satellite communications. You many have a fault with one of these or wiring with the datalink. If the engine is quitting that tells me a loss of ignition power or unswitched battery power. The main power to the cab could be lose or corroded at the firewall or where ever it enters. If the engine ECM has experience a loss of unswitched battery power or communitcation failures from the 1939 datalink it will log codes for that which should be able to point you in the right direction for a solution.
    Hope this helps
    Heavyd:

    The lights stay on, the cruise will continue to work, but the radio goes off and on. The headlights never go off but every once in a while the truck will lose fire, but it usually starts running again before you have to pull over. Sometimes it will do this 10-12 times in a row then it quits for the rest of your trip?

    Craig

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    Has the ECM been read for fault codes? I'm not sure about the Columbia Detroit, the ISX I used to drive was really hard to get any info out of, even if read by a computer linked up. That one could shut down if any sensor malfunctioned and not always tell you why, it acted like it was out of fuel.

  8. #7
    Road Train Member Heavyd's Avatar
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    Ok, if your lights stay on then the power to the cab is good. If you don't lose cruise control then the engine shouldn't be losing ign power, after the engine comes back to life do you just hit "resume" and the truck goes back to the set speed or do you have to reset the cruise? When you say it "will lose fire", are saying the engine completely quits? Then as you are coasting you have to restart it? I am still leaning towards a bad ignition power. That explains the radio going out. The headlights will work regaurdless of key position. If the radio goes out the same time as the engine acting up it really sounds like an ignition power problem. If you have changed the ignition switch then try looking at the battery power to the ignition switch. Check for loose wiring, burnt or bad terminals. I am not familiar with FRTLNR wiring so I can't help you there. Also once the power comes off the key switch it will branch out in to several circuits that will be fused and power relays. This is the point where you will absolutely need a proper wire diagram to follow the ignition power. Maybe the branch that powers the ECM also powers the radio. Look for something in common, such as common ground posts or connector blocks. If you have time, try just running the engine with the truck parked and radio playing and wiggle as much wiring as you can and see if you can induce the problem and hopefully find it! Keep us posted!

  9. #8
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavyd View Post
    Ok, if your lights stay on then the power to the cab is good. If you don't lose cruise control then the engine shouldn't be losing ign power, after the engine comes back to life do you just hit "resume" and the truck goes back to the set speed or do you have to reset the cruise? When you say it "will lose fire", are saying the engine completely quits? Then as you are coasting you have to restart it? I am still leaning towards a bad ignition power. That explains the radio going out. The headlights will work regaurdless of key position. If the radio goes out the same time as the engine acting up it really sounds like an ignition power problem. If you have changed the ignition switch then try looking at the battery power to the ignition switch. Check for loose wiring, burnt or bad terminals. I am not familiar with FRTLNR wiring so I can't help you there. Also once the power comes off the key switch it will branch out in to several circuits that will be fused and power relays. This is the point where you will absolutely need a proper wire diagram to follow the ignition power. Maybe the branch that powers the ECM also powers the radio. Look for something in common, such as common ground posts or connector blocks. If you have time, try just running the engine with the truck parked and radio playing and wiggle as much wiring as you can and see if you can induce the problem and hopefully find it! Keep us posted!
    I have left the truck running and wiggled every wire that I can possible get a hold of. I have not checked the connection to the firewall yet but will do that this weekend. Usually when the truck quits running before we can get stopped it will fire back up (still in gear) but we will have to reset cruise. I have checked the large grounds on the frame and they seems tight and clean.
    BTW where would a reputable place be to take it to in the Dallas area?

  10. #9
    Road Train Member Heavyd's Avatar
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    Yep, thats really sounds like a loss of ignition power. As for a good place to take it, all I can recommend is definitely take it to a Freightliner dealer. As to which one, I can't help you there. I work at an International dealer up here in Canada. I always recommend to customers with weird electrical problems like this or something specific to your make of truck to always always always go to dealer that specializes and sells that make. The techs at Freightliner will have the most experience and the best wire diagrams and information over any other dealer. For something like this never NEVER take a Freightliner to a Volvo dealer, or whatever combination you can think of. Chances are a good tech will know exactly where to check because he, (or she) has seen this problem before! Good luck!

  11. #10
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    Hi, I got the same problem on my century 09, and everything started at the same time as the voltage output dropped to 7.5 volts on my battery discharger protection system(BDPS) located behind the passenger seat. When this loss of fire on the engine happens the red and the yellow lights in the dashboard goes on and immediately goes off. The engine never dies at all, because it reingnite very soon. But is very dangerous because it can crack the crankshaft. I made some testing, and while engine running the only thing its cause that those two lights to go off is when disconnecting one wire that always send current from battery to the ECM. So there in the middle of this wire may be something that is cutting the 12 volt that feeds the ECM at all time. I donít know if this wire passes trough the BDPS.
    For now I bridged with 12volts all positive wires in the BDPS, and lets wait until next week. If the problem persists, then I will take a wire from the positive starter connector and fuse protected I will feed the ECM directly.

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