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Failed Starter Motor, Battery and Alternator?


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This afternoon we had a Citroen H van delivered to be fitted with one of our rebuilt exchange engines after the original 1952 engine sent a Piston out through the Block.


The recovery Truck driver that brought it asked if we could fit a new Alternator as it wasn't charging the battery.

We said we should be able to rebuild the old Alternator. We checked the vehicle but the Alternator hadn't failed.


While we were investigating the Driver started to tell us he really didn't want to spend even more money as he had just spent £350 on a new Starter Motor. Then 2 days later a further £220 (cost fitted at the roadside by a Breakdown garage) on a new Starter battery. That told us straightaway there was an Earth issue. A resistance test confirmed it.


We fitted a permanent earth strap, using the braided cable as noted at the bottom of this page on our website : http://www.citroenhyonline.co.uk/6volt-to-12volt-conversion.php


When he started the engine, he remarked how much faster the Starter Motor spun and how quickly the engine burst into life.


The driver had visited two companies, who both diagnosed the Starter Motor as the issue. The second company fitted one.


When that did not cure it he went to a third Garage, who diagnosed the battery as faulty and replaced it.


When that did not fix his problems of flat battery/poor starting, no longer trusting the other Garages, he went to a fourth specialist Auto Electrician, who diagnosed the Alternator.


He knew he was doing a delivery to us later that day so intended for us to fit a new Alternator.


He spent £570 and lost two delivery jobs because his truck was disabled, when all he needed was a £5 bit of Braided cable.



The vehicle was a 61 reg, Fiat one of the newest we have seen with an earth strap issue.


Just as we did in an earlier post in this thread, we sliced through the crimp connector of the removed faulty earth cable and opened it to find the same corroded Copper mess we reported previously.

This leads us to believe that every vehicle that uses this type of connector, i.e. almost all Motorhomes, will suffer this problem at some point.



Despite all of the writings on here and out there, some Garages are just not aware of the design 'feature' of the Earth Strap.


Can we suggest that when you get your MH next serviced, you ask them to fit a second earth strap high up on the engine out of the worst of the salt spray. Please impress upon them that you don't want the Earth strap replaced, but a second one fitted high up in the engine bay out of the worst of the Salt spray. It should only cost Pennies as it is literally a 10 minute job. It could save a lot of money and inconvenience.


All the details on the website if you follow the link above.



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aandncaravan - 2016-02-27 8:46 PM


This leads us to believe that every vehicle that uses this type of connector, i.e. almost all Motorhomes, will suffer this problem at some point.



Nick (Euroserv) has been banging on about this for years, and has always recommended that the strap is replaced or an additional strap fitted to all x250's and I would guess this applies to x290's as well. I believe he has seen much newer than 5 y.o. vehicles having the problem.

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Hello Colin, we are aware of Nick's excellent contributions, but we are saying don't replace the Earth strap.

Until we cut one open a few months ago nobody had previously understood what the issue was. Yes it was reported that the Earth straps had failed, but not why. Some seemed to believe it was corrosion between the Gearbox and the strap, hence threads saying to dismantle the joint, clean it then reassemble. There are also threads saying this was done but the problem wasn't resolved.


If you follow the link above to the web site it explains why they fail, and why a replacement will also fail in time.


Hence our advice to fit an additional strap, that won't corrode, at the top of the engine bay out of harms way.


The reason we make a point of ensuring the Garage understands not to replace the existing strap is that if corrosion is so bad in that area a problem has arisen, it is possible that the bolts/nuts may be reluctant to undo, leading to damage, if they shear/strip. At the very least it could become a time consuming operation, whereas a new earth strap 'up top' takes only a few minutes and lasts for the life of the vehicle.


Asking a Garage to adopt our suggested approach could mean the difference between a 10 minute job and a small bill, versus a longer job and large bill.





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