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Old 10-09-2014, 08:40 AM   #1
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Here we go again

1997 Dolphin 535. Won't start even on aux. batteries. 2 year old chassis battery found to have bad cell even though showed 13 .5 volts no load. Replaced with new. Within 4 or 5 hours of use, the new battery found to have bad cell. even though showed 13.5 volts. This does not seem to be just a coincidence to me. I had all batteries disconnected before the second battery went bad. When I connected all, coach started fine. Ran 3 minutes, ammeter showed normal output. Shut down. Tried restart, only noise was solenoid-no start, no power to accessories even on aux batteries. Noticed with key in "ON", engine not running, ammeter showed a needle deflection about 1/4 of the way into normal charge area when engine is running. Never saw that before. Hesitate to install second new battery and have it go to pot too. Any ideas. This coach is full of gremlins. Fix one thing, something else goes wrong. I know from experience that they all have problems but not like this one. Thanks for checking this thread out.
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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Sound like it could be a solenoid or starter issue. I would have that checked before putting in another battery.
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:50 AM   #3
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...or perhaps a loose connection along the way.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:43 AM   #4
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How are you determining that your batteries have a "bad" cell? Bad cells are usually shorted or have very high internal resistance (essentially open) and little or no output voltage/current, with a load.....all the rest of the cells would be normal. Rook
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:15 AM   #5
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The batteries were checked under load by two auto supply stores. Both came to the same conclusion, Bad cell. You got me. I can't figure this coach out. I think it hates me !
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:40 PM   #6
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OK.......seems the only thing left to do is to get a new battery and proceed with caution. And, let us know the outcome. Rook
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:14 PM   #7
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Did they tell you what the voltage was under load? If you install a third battery and it does the samething check the specific gravity of each cell. If there is a bad cell the specific gravity will be low in the bad cell. I doubt the second battery had a bad cell. Most likely you have an electrical problem that is killing the battery . It's very unlikely you will have two or three batteries in a row that would have a bad cell.

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Old 10-11-2014, 06:03 AM   #8
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I'm trying to figure out what kind of electrical problem would kill a cell that way. I would be inclined to pull the alternator and get it tested. I'd also measure the charging voltage once I got it started.

FWIW is there enough access to clip a long lead on the starter hot side so you can bring it out to a meter and see the actual voltage at the starter when you try to start it? It could be a bad solenoid or wiring problem.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
I'm trying to figure out what kind of electrical problem would kill a cell that way. I would be inclined to pull the alternator and get it tested. I'd also measure the charging voltage once I got it started.

FWIW is there enough access to clip a long lead on the starter hot side so you can bring it out to a meter and see the actual voltage at the starter when you try to start it? It could be a bad solenoid or wiring problem.
I don't know of any electrical problem that would cause a bad cell either. I think the batteries are being miss diagnosed by the testers. The best way to test for a bad cell is with a hydrometer.

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Old 10-12-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Sounds more like you have a bad ground, connection at starter, or bad starter that has a dead spot caused by brushes not making good contact. If you have a volt meter check the battery voltage when trying to start the engine. With a good fully charged battery the voltage should not drop below 10.5 volts unless you have to crank the engine for a long time. Check for looseness and clean to bare metal all ground connections at frame and engine. Check the connections at the starter relay and starter. When you use the start booster do you hear the cross connect relay engage? If the relay is engaging and and does not help, that indicates an electrical problem. As I mentioned I think the batteries are being miss diagnosed with a bad cell. Please let us know the outcome.

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Old 10-12-2014, 07:18 PM   #11
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When I use jumpers from my car direct to the starter cables, The starter works just fine as designed. Something is killing my chassis battery. You got me. I'm going to have to seek an electrical guy with an RV repair shop at this point. I just don't think it is coincidence that I got two bad batteries in a row. The batteries were under full warranty so I didn't have to buy them but I would look foolish bringing back another one 4 days after replacement of the last one for the same reason. I have a wiring problem somewhere. Either that or the aux batteries are involved somehow. It is not the starter or starter solenoid. I cannot check the 2 other battery cells because the auto parts store has them. My thanks to all you kind folks for your suggestions.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:27 PM   #12
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Just as an added note. When I installed the last battery, everything worked fine. I left the coach, made sure the aux batteries were off. Came back two days later, ?Started OK and everything in the cab worked. Shut it down, tried to start on chassis battery only. All I got was solenoid chatter. Switched the aux batteries on, nothing in the cab such as fans, mirrors etc worked and same chatter when tried to start. Disconnected wiring to chassis battery, hooked jumpers to them from my car, everything worked, coach started right up. Only problem is I can't convince my wife to follow in the car so I can jump start it when needed ! She didn't go for that idea.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for the information. Once the problem is found please let us know what in the wiring would cause a bad cell, very puzzling.

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Old 10-14-2014, 04:20 PM   #14
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Update: 3 cables run from the Plus chassis battery post through holes cut out behind them. I traced 1 to the Hyd. pump, the 2nd goes through the hole toward the back of the coach. Probably goes to 12v battery isolator solenoid. Won't be hard to trace when I get time. Both these wires have a good connection and do not deflect the ohm meter I am using to check continuity to ground. The third cable maybe goes to the starter ? ? When checking this 3rd cable for no ground, the ohm meter needle flicks 1/2 way on the scale. That needle goes off the scale when checking continuity of the two ground cables from the battery so I assume current is leaking through the 3rd cable. Now, adding insult to injury, both the house batteries, 1 only 1 year old, are kaput also. Woe is me. I may just shoot it and be done with it. I can't start it without risking destroying another new battery or I would take it to an "expert" RV mechanic. There are are no mobile ones around.
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