1970 Ford Econoline motor home has no power

I have a 1970 Class 3 motor home built on a econoline e300 body. I just purchased it. When I tested drove it, I had no problems with the electrical system, other then the blinkers were not working. The seller fixed that by cleaning the terminals. However when we went to start it, it tried to start and then went completely dead. We tried a different battery, but nothing, no lights or horn, or anything. If I put the key on the on position, and jump the starter solenoid, the car will start, at least it did until yesterday. I replaced the starter solenoid based on a conversation I had with the seller, that does car repairs. After it starts I have power to the horn, and instrument panel. I did not try the lights at this point. Yesterday the battery was dead. I was able to jump start it using the same procedure as I did prior, jumping the solenoid. I found that I had left the 12V interior light system on, and the outside light as well. Figured that was my problem. So I decided to take it out on a trip I had planned. I was going to a show where, if I had problems I could get a jump.

All was fine until I flashed the lights to let a truck know that it was OK to enter my lane. Then the motor home just stalled, and I had to pull over. Again no power to anything. My wife came to jump me, and it started using the solenoid trick again. Got home before dark. Soon as I try the lights, the truck stalls. The battery does not appear to be charging at this point as well. I have a battery charger with a alternator tester on it, and the tester says that the alternator is not charging properly. I’m at a loss at this time what the problem might be.

You need a good mechanic. They will check your electrical system for loose or corroded connections and check your battery and alternator. A 40 year old RV is going to have a lot of problems and will need to be repaired before you ever think of hitting the open road. Reliability in an old RV is very hard to come by. I know…I’ve owned and worked on them for over 30 years. My oldest was a 72’ Shasta that was only 10 years old at the time. If you went more than 50 miles in it you had to break out the toolbox. It looked new but ran like an antique. RV’s spend most of their time parked somewhere falling apart and getting older.

Sounds like you have already identified the problem when you say “the alternator is not charging properly.”

RV’s can be a mine field of electrical problems. Sounds like you probably need a new alternator.

Thanks for the suggestions. But even with a fully charges battery, I am not getting any power through the ignition system. No instrument gauges, no lights, and no horn. Nothing. Unless I jump the starter solenoid, Then power to all of the above, though when I hit the lights, the vehicle then stalls. However I can get power back to the lights in the camper portion which is on its own circuit.

I’d be looking for a bad ground connection somewhere. It sounds like the electricals are finding a ground back through the headlights, but that goes away when you turn them on. Something like that is likely the problem. Probably the cause of the alternator not working, also.

Make sure there is a good solid ground between the battery, body, and engine. All 3 need to be grounded solidly to each other.

Does this unit have a power converter in it? Could possibly be related if so.

No power converter on the system. The camper has 2 different circuits, the 12V and the 110V circuits.
I bought a connectivity tester yesterday, I pulled the ignition switch out and tried testing the connections. I pulled the plug from the switch. Grounded one connection of the tester to the metal dash board, and tried all of the connections. I did not get any response on the tester from any of them. I completely charged the battery with my charger, So I know that I have power.

Maybe try to unhook the camper battery, because it has a seperate solenoid for charging, maybe it will work, i also have a 72 shasta with some minor character flaws of her own but now she runs like a dream and we are off camping. Does anybody know how to get a hold of a door handle for camper door on a 1972 shasta motorhome?

Thanks for the suggestion, The Camper Battery is currently unhooked. Had a RV mechanic look at it. Found the problem. It was the Feed wire to the Ignition Switch was broken. Spliced in a wire, and off it starts. And the lights work, and everything.
Thank you everyone for your help.
Now to fix the all the other problems a 40 year old camper has.

No I can’t help you with the door handle.