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Old 01-20-2016, 02:16 PM   #1
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Check trans alarm

Once again we have a no start I believe is a problem with the wiring from the Allison TCM to the shifter. When turning the key on we get a check trans alarm and the shifter display is all lit up.

I think there is a plug between the front left compartment and the outside mounted on the front. I'm trying to narrow down where the bad connection is. Is that what it is? I can see three of them and believe I know which one the trans wiring goes to but afraid to yank too hard on it.

Any one have these unplugged?
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Old 01-22-2016, 09:00 AM   #2
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Freightliner chassis?
Have you checked for damage to the connector at the transmission? Transmission controller?

Have you been able to pull any codes from the trans controller?
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:48 PM   #3
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Freightliner chassis?
Have you checked for damage to the connector at the transmission? Transmission controller?

Have you been able to pull any codes from the trans controller?
Yes, good advice though. An Allison tech recommended unplugging and spraying electrical contact cleaner on all of the plugs. No codes can be obtained from the shifter, just 0 if both arrows are held down.

My next thing is going to be disconnecting the start batteries and testing each one separately. Then testing the voltages to the shifter.
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:31 AM   #4
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Solved!

After a lot of frustration, a new set of batteries and almost being towed to an Allison service the problem was a simple thing. A friend that had heavy equipment for his whole life asked me to turn over the engine for a second to hear it. He said "it sounds like a starter or alternator problem to me". After cleaning up the ignition wire on the starter it now starts right up. The shifter flashed for a minute then settled down to N on the display.

We cancelled the insurance claim and tow truck and now are at our next destination without an issue.

I guess after last years problem with the wiring to the shifter we looked past the simple things and assumed it was the same type problem. Moral to the story is KISS and start at the beginning trouble shooting.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:59 AM   #5
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Here we go again

Made it to our next destination, a tough six mile trip. After a couple of weeks here I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to try starting it. No go again. Jumped the hot lead on the starter to the ignition wire with the key on and it starts right up. Now we still get the check trans alarm on the dash and no lights on the shifter. So it runs but we can't move it.

Next I will try the troubleshooting guides from here Transmission Instruments They look pretty straightforward and written so you can understand them. We don't leave here for over six weeks so there is time. It is becoming frustrating though.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:23 AM   #6
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Sounds like you may have a problem with the power ( full battery power ) to the ignition switch, or from the ignition switch to the controllers ( trans controller and starter relay ). Although , the question would be , if the ignition switch is feeding the engine controller power ; in order for the engine to start when you jump the terminals at the starter; why is it not powering up the trans controller too.
There has been several posts with talk of a " cold solder joint " in the wiring of certain Freightliner chassis, providing erratic power to controllers. I'll see if I can track down the posts.
Do you have wiring diagrams and schematics, for your chassis?
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:54 AM   #7
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Do you have wiring diagrams and schematics, for your chassis?
Yes I downloaded schematics from Winnebago's site. I have to say they are tough to figure out.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:42 AM   #8
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Yes I downloaded schematics from Winnebago's site. I have to say they are tough to figure out.

I'd have to say that the ones I got from Freightliner for my chassis aren't really user friendly either.

If you trace the ignition power feed back from both the engine and transmission controllers ; can you find a splice between the two wires ?
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:47 AM   #9
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I'd have to say that the ones I got from Freightliner for my chassis aren't really user friendly either.

If you trace the ignition power feed back from both the engine and transmission controllers ; can you find a splice between the two wires ?
I guess that is possible but not easy. All of the wires go into a harness wrapped in split tubing and disappear somewhere. I have yet to discover the engine ECM.

Just went to a auto parts store to get stuff to make the test lamp they suggest here http://www.transmissioninstruments.c...eshooting.html I would have been using just a VOM but never thought about the fact that it will read 12V even if the connection is week somewhere while the bulb will not glow brightly. Need to recruit DW for and extra pair if hands. I'm lucky she is very good working with stuff and more patient than I am.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HD4Mark View Post
I guess that is possible but not easy. All of the wires go into a harness wrapped in split tubing and disappear somewhere. I have yet to discover the engine ECM.

Just went to a auto parts store to get stuff to make the test lamp they suggest here http://www.transmissioninstruments.c...eshooting.html I would have been using just a VOM but never thought about the fact that it will read 12V even if the connection is week somewhere while the bulb will not glow brightly. Need to recruit DW for and extra pair if hands. I'm lucky she is very good working with stuff and more patient than I am.
I don't know if this is related or not. A couple of months ago I decided to take the rig to Freightliner to figure out why the engine would not turn over after the preheat but would crank and fire up with no problem if I went from ACC to start without stopping at preheat. After many hours of troubleshooting they determined that the Allison transmission controller was faulty and replaced it. No problems since. The signal from the neutral switch was not getting through the controller. Before they did that they pulled all the connectors off and cleaned them. I think their troubleshooting was a bit backwards.

I don't know what test equipment is needed for what you are doing. These things are not easy to troubleshoot. Just getting access and keeping all essential signals in place is a challenge. If you do go to a dealer with it make certain that they are Allison certified and get your extended warranty on board first thing. My shop was not Allison certified even though it was an Oasis shop. My insurance didn't cover the charges because another shop sent a tech in to replace the controller on the tranny.

Hope you get your problem solved soon and within a reasonable cost.

Happy trails,
Rick Y
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:43 AM   #11
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I don't know if this is related or not. A couple of months ago I decided to take the rig to Freightliner to figure out why the engine would not turn over after the preheat but would crank and fire up with no problem if I went from ACC to start without stopping at preheat. After many hours of troubleshooting they determined that the Allison transmission controller was faulty and replaced it. No problems since. The signal from the neutral switch was not getting through the controller. Before they did that they pulled all the connectors off and cleaned them. I think their troubleshooting was a bit backwards.

I don't know what test equipment is needed for what you are doing. These things are not easy to troubleshoot. Just getting access and keeping all essential signals in place is a challenge. If you do go to a dealer with it make certain that they are Allison certified and get your extended warranty on board first thing. My shop was not Allison certified even though it was an Oasis shop. My insurance didn't cover the charges because another shop sent a tech in to replace the controller on the tranny.

Hope you get your problem solved soon and within a reasonable cost.

Happy trails,
Rick Y
Thanks for the advice Rick. The test procedures are pretty simple just to see if the correct voltages are there. Using an ordinary tail light bulb and VOM they tell you what pins to connect to feeding and leaving the TCM. Also the how to check the ground. Next you can do the same at the shifter.

We have a good friend that tells me he may be able to overnight me a programmed "test" TCM from his shop to try.

A few weeks ago we were scheduled to have the MH flat bedded to a Allison service in Miami for $975, covered by our insurance. Everything else like labor, parts and a hotel our problem of course. After jumping the starter to get the engine started the darned thing seemed to heel itself so we moved on. I decided to try it again way before our departure date in April to check it and no start again. At least we have some time to fiddle with it ourselves before paying for it.

I think I found the vehicle ECM (hiding two inches from the trans TCM) I will post a picture of it after it quits pouring rain here.
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:17 AM   #12
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I guess that is possible but not easy. All of the wires go into a harness wrapped in split tubing and disappear somewhere. I have yet to discover the engine ECM.
I guess I should have been more specific, with my question about looking for a splice.

I meant ; can you trace the wiring on the schematic to see if the ignition power for the trans controller and the engine controller, are spliced together somewhere in the harness; or if the two power wires come from a fuse box or relay or directly from the ignition switch. If the wires are spliced , then the splice location should be labeled on the wiring diagram.

Every Cummins engine I've dealt with , the engine control module is mounted to the side of the engine block, low on the intake manifold side.
This diagram is of an older ISC engine but location is the same as the ISB and I'm assuming because Cummins supplies the controller with the engine it will be attached in a similar manner . Item 13 in the diagram.
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:41 PM   #13
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Thanks for the schematic Skip. We did locate the VIM down below the TCM. Some of the wires do not look good. After just wiggling the plug out of the VIM and now I have voltage on the pins on the plug into the ECM.

Tomorrow we will need to either unbolt the VIM or remove the rubber shield under it since it is tight to the bottom. The out plugs are labeled "transmission controller" so that is a place to start. The placement of both seems stupid to me. Dirt, water and who knows what else from the road can easily get in there. I would have given up some dry storage space to have all of it there.

Wish me luck! What a fantastic group of people here to always try to help. I will post the outcome as soon as we know.

Thanks also to my DW Nancy who is a great help on these projects.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:20 AM   #14
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Solved for the last time I hope

I removed the rubber "shield" under the small compartment the VIM and ECM are housed in to get at the plugs and wires on the VIM. Sure enough one wire on the VIM pulled right apart a few inches from the plug. I looks like at some time someone had "pinned" into the wire to test. You could see the corrosion coming through a few of them. I cut and spliced three bad ones and sprayed the plugs with electrical contact cleaner. Then plugged everything back in the VIM.

Next I tested the pins on the plug that feeds the TCM with my homemade test lamp and boom, lights up on both pair reference in the test procedure from http://www.transmissioninstruments.c...eshooting.html

Finally plugged in everything on the TCM and try the ignition key. No alarm and started right up. YES!

Please note. Every time we connected or disconnected any plug on the VIM or TCM we disconnected the batteries. This is cheap insurance to avoid an arc or spark.
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