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Old 10-18-2017, 01:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: New York
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V10 6.8L - 2003 Fleetwood Flair - won't start

New Class A owner here. We purchased our 32' Flair with 37K on it in mid-Sept. of this year and have had it out on 3 separate weekends with no problems. We keep pinching ourselves because we really love our new-to-us RV and everything has been going beautifully. Sigh.

We are schedule to head out this Friday for a week of RVing adventure but when I went to begin prepping today, the engine would not turn over. We have a brand new chassis battery (at least it looks new and Camping World told us it was new)...could it possibly be dead? We have been in dry dock for about 10 days. To begin getting the refrigerator ready, I plugged into our house electric yesterday.

When I try to start the engine, I get the beeping sound from the rear of the RV but then only a clicking sound. The engine doesn't even hint at turning over...not a sound other than the clicking noise. When the key is in 4th position the dashboard lights come on and there is a humming noise. Also, the battery light on the dash does not illuminate. After I try starting it, the dashboard lights go out.

I read through a few threads and have had the generator running for about 1/2 an hour but the engine still won't fire when using the auxiliary switch on the dash.

Any help would be appreciated. The hubs is away and won't be back until Friday, when we leave. I'd love to problem solve this before he gets back.

One other thing. We have battery disconnect switches by the door. They do not say "on" or "off." To ensure the batteries are not disconnected, does anyone know whether they should be toggled up or down?

Thanks for any advice.

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Old 10-18-2017, 01:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Mesa, AZ
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I have a 2004 Fleetwood Fiesta 32, so may have a similar layout.

The two switches for the "main" and "auxiliary" power toggle up for "on", although the vehicle should start with them being off. They may have to be on for the boost switch on the dash to work, but I am just guessing on that one.

Sure sounds like a bad battery to me, based on your description of the symptoms.

That humming sound that you hear from the front when the key is in the run position is probably the brake booster, and the sound is normal.

2005 Fleetwood Fiesta 32S on 2004 F53 Ford chassis
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:26 PM   #3
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If you know someone with experience working with auto batteries have them check it out. May just be cable ends need cleaning. Or as Terry suggested, bab engine battery.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:57 PM   #4
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Update: I tried jumping it to no avail. Does it make sense to keep it connected to my Ford Escape for a while to build a charge?

Unfortunately I do not have a volt meter, nor do we have a battery charger. Going on list of things to buy for the RV. :-)
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:13 PM   #5
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From many years of experience talking to and dealing with new RV owners if you are not a knowledgeable mechanical person it's time that you begin. You sure don't have to be an expert but know some of the basics.

Get a DVOM. That's short for Digital Volt Ohm Meter. Wally- World has a very nice one for about $25. It's in a red zipper case with a few other items that you'll learn how to use. I have 2 of them. One always stays in the RV. That's why i have now 2 because we went off and left it at home. You will use it all the time for both house 120 VAC (Volt Alternating Current) and 12- V DC Volt Direct Current).

Here's where I'd start and try this on your car not the MH. A 12-V wet RV, Car, Truck DC battery when it's just setting fully charged ready to crank your engine will read 12.6 V. With a DVOM being that it is digital getting the polarity correct is not a big deal. That means RED to positive and BLACK to negative.

I'm assuming that your car/truck runs. After you verify that the voltage is around 12.6 then start the vehicle and again measure the voltage at the battery. It will read the CHARGING voltage from your alternator. That charginng voltage (CV) should be around 13.6 to 14.2 V.

If you are a few tenths one side or the other it's no big deal. BUT it has to be at least 1-V above the first reading of 12.6.

Now that you've done that you are almost an expert with a DVOM. At least reading DCV or Direct Current Voltage.

Now go to your RV and do the first reading. If it's 12V or below then you have a dead battery and you can do absolutely nothing else until you find out why.

If you don't have a battery charger then it's time to get one. You don't have to buy the biggest most expensive one in the store. They are rated in AMPS or current. The smallest one will be about 1-3 AMPS and they will go up from there. The higher the AMP output the higher the charging capacity. That only means that it takes longer to charge a dead battery. The least amount of time I'd use to charge a dead battery is about 6 hours 12 being better.

You can't ASSUME that CW told you the truth about the newness of that battery. Even if it is somewhat NEW that's no guarantee it will work. I'd take it to any battery place to see if they can test it. Even if you do that the first thing they will do is ask you if you charged it for 12 to 24 hours. Even a dead battery can be charged if it will accept a charge but nobody knows that just yet.

Get the charger and charge it for 12 hours at around 3 or more amps. Then take it to a shop or any place that sells batteries. If it accepted the charge they will do a load test to see if it can perform it's job of cranking your engine. If it passes then all is well. If it fails then time for a new engine or cranking battery.

After you get the RV started there's two charging systems you need to test. The engine alternator is first. Run the same charging test you did on your truck. Voltage without the engine running then voltage after it's running.

Once you determine that the RV alternator is charging your engine battery now kill the engine. You are going to test your RV or house batteries just the same as you tested your vehicle and engine battery. Voltage before you plug it into shore and voltage after you plug it into shore power. Again you are looking for the same voltages.

If you have below 12 V's before plugging in then the RV/house batteries are dead. After you plug it in you should be reading at least 13.6 V. If not then the converter is not charging your batteries.

It is also very important that all battery connections are clean. That means that both ends or every lead should be checked, clean and tightened. Be very careful about touching ground when swinging the wrenches on the positive leads. To avoid accidents and sparks it's always best to remove the ground connection at the battery first and put it on last. With the NEG off first the positive lead can touch GND and nothing will happen because the battery has no ground or GND.

One other item to check. If you have battery covers pull them off and check the water level. Some batteries do not have caps or covers. Fill with distilled water before you try to do any charging. Google that procedure and find a video that shows you how that is done.

That's enough things to check for now. Please keep in mind this when dealing with electrical issues. It's really not that difficult but one must go one step at a time and don't skip any steps. Some might even tell you to take your batteries out and have them tested. A store will check them and tell you they are dead. Daaah!!! We already know that but doing the voltage measurements may tell you why they are dead.

You should not conclude anything until you know what it going on. Are the batteries charged?? Can they or will they accept a charge??? Are your charging systems (alternator/converter) working properly to charge the batteries??

Only testing will determine the status.
TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:13 PM   #6
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One other thing to try once you know you have a good and fully charged battery is to listen for a click/clunk of a relay and or solenoid. You could chock the wheels,apply parking brake, have someone hold the key switch in the "crank" position and tap/rap the starter with a piece of wood or the like. One strike, do not beat on it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:53 PM   #7
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Run the transmission lever through the gears before starting. It will start in park or Neutral. Itís call a neutral Safty switch.
2003 Sightseer 33L
Ford F53
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:45 PM   #8
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Had that happen to me. The starter relay was gone. On my 2001 coach, it was mounted near the radiator. The part cost about twenty bucks. You can check it by bypassing it with a jumper cable if you are brave.

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