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: Car misfires after distributor, rotors, plugs, plug wires replacements. 1999 GMC Savana 3500

Although the person who serviced your vehicle the first time did not repair the issue, I think he might be correct about the fact that it could be an intake manifold gasket or a fuel pump issue. You may...

Q: My van will not start, what should I check?

Typically when I troubleshoot a starting issue, I'll begin by testing the battery for cranking amps, inspect the battery terminals for damage or corrosion, then proceed to the starter solenoid if the vehicle is not cranking over. If you've inspected...

Q: Spark plugs in car incorrectly

Have a trained mechanic verify the work done to the spark plugs, and make sure they are in tightly. It is common to get the wires crossed, which could lead to the wrong cylinder being fired at the wrong time....

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 Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.