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Old 09-11-2019, 07:22 PM   #1
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Battery or Starter Issue?

Hello Workhorse Custom Chassis Members;

I have a 2005 Workhorse Custom Chassis W20 with the 8.1L engine. The last few times I started the engine, I heard a couple of 'clicks' as I was cranking the engine over. (Both on a cold-start or after it's sat for a bit.) The battery and starter did not sound like it was dragging and the engine fired up. The 'clicking' sound reminds me of a starter engaging with a low battery, or one with dirty battery posts or battery cables, and it just doesn't have quite enough battery power to turn over the engine.

The battery posts and cables look good, and the battery voltage was 12.62v with the engine not running. (Battery was last replaced about three years ago but has a lot of down-time sitting in storage.) I am going to pull off the cables and clean them, then do a load test on the battery.

Any ideas if it's more likely a battery issue or maybe a starter issue? Easy to replace the battery when out on the road but if it's a starter issue, I'd rather replace now and not be stuck somewhere.

Thank you. -RT

Ricardo Tegarini
2005 Itasca Sunova
Workhorse Chassis W20
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:14 AM   #2
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Even though the battery cables LOOK good, that doesn't mean they are clean where you can't see.

You could start it and then feel for a warm cable end or better yet remove them and clean them.

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Old 09-12-2019, 06:20 AM   #3
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About three years ago may surprise you and be closer to 4.

No one ever owns a battery it seems, we just tend to rent them for a time. As a PM I would replace the battery.

RV batteries are often crippled or killed by abuse.

A starting solenoid can give you similiar symptoms. Once clicked a couple of times the contacts may clean a bit or even move to a cleaner spot on the contacts.
Myron & Deborah
08 HR Endeavor 40 SKQ
2012 Ford Edge Limited FWD 3.5L
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Even though the battery cables LOOK good, that doesn't mean they are clean where you can't see.

You could start it and then feel for a warm cable end or better yet remove them and clean them.
I agree with what Twinboat is saying.
Remove the cables and give them a good cleaning. If you have a box of baking soda handy you can mix up a tablespoon of the soda and some water to make a paste to brush onto the cable ends and the battery terminals. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes then rinse the cables and terminals off. If you have a corrosion build up it can be scraped or brushed off and then do the soda treatment again.
Keep in mind the battery to starter cable has two or more ends. I have seen on occasion the cable gets corroded from road debris where it connects to the starter post. If none of the above corrects your issue take your RV to a shop and have the battery 'Load tested' to confirm it is serviceable.
If the battery tests good you probably have corroded contacts inside the starter solenoid. Sometimes these contacts can be cleaned if the solenoid is not the sealed type. If the contacts can't be cleaned the solenoid is replaceable or if you are more comfortable with doing it the starter should be replaced.
When installing any connection I recommend using Silicone Di-Electric compound on each and every connection to keep corrosion at bay.
2002 Fleetwood Storm 30H on Workhorse P32 chassis 8.1 gas.
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battery, starter

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