Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: RV won't say a word but headlights come on

asked by on

I have an 1988 Coachmen Catalina on a chevy van chasis v8. When I bought it the guy put a new starter, solenoid, and battery on it. He also changed a few fusable link wire. I let it sit over the winter and only started 2-3 times to check that it started. The choke light came on. I never fixed the choke or timing so it idled fast. Finally I drove it to work one time. On my way home I put some Marvel Mystery Oil into the gas tank and fueled up. The darn thing wouldn't start. I got towed home. I checked the starter wire and reconnected it. While unhooking the starter at first I forgot to disconnect the battery and the blasted thing kept turning on in my hand until I moved it away from metal parts. So I know the starter works. I reconnected the wires and hooked it back up. I then tested the solenoid. When I took the wire off the right small terminal and touched it to the left terminal I got a buzz sound. I got the battery charged. Still nothing. What gives?

Hi! It sounds like you’re saying that now it will "crank", but not start. If this is correct, then we can approach it that way. I’m not sure why the Marvel Mystery Oil was added, but it did lead to a mystery - now the car will not start!

Depending on how much oil is in the fuel, it may be fouling the spark plugs. Let’s start by installing a fresh set of plugs. And check for spark while you’re there. Someone will need to verify proper choke operation as well. It should be nearly closed before cold start-up.

A little shot of starting fluid before cranking can indicate if it’s fuel or spark that is lacking. Be careful with this stuff as it is very flammable! You may want to get some help on this one from an experienced technician to diagnose the starting trouble on your RV.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Cylinder 3 misfire

Hello there, many faults will cause a cylinder 3 misfire with your 2005 Kia Spectra. You have done great in replacing the spark plugs first as this is the most likely cause. There are a few other potential causes such...

Q: Hello I have a 2001 Montero sport 3.0 that died and tries to start but won't acts like it's way out of time. Would a bad CPS cause this problem?

Hi there. A crankshaft position sensor will cause the engine to not start if the sensor has failed. The crankshaft position sensor is designed to tell the ECM (computer) when the cylinder number one is at top dead center and...

Q: Truck stalls when stopping ocassionally. 2001 Mazda B4000

Hello. There could be a problem with the throttle position sensor or the idle air control valve. Both of these sensors help control proper air-fuel mixture and engine idle. Sometimes carbon builds up and clogs the idle air control valve...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...