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Old 07-13-2014, 02:06 AM   #1
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1994 Southwind Engine Battery keeps dying

I'm on my third battery, can anyone suggest a fix? I recently for the first time since purchasing it, tried to lower the leveling jacks. Only the left front lowered partially and the refused to retract. Could it be that it is continuously trying to retract and this could be the draw? Also, since the first new one the radio wont work, looks like it isn't even receiving power - dark, no lights and the chirpy chirp alarm (I don't even know what that is) doesn't happen anymore when I turn engine off.

Any suggestions, please? Thank you
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:35 AM   #2
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One way to test for a drain on a battery is to disconnect one cable, install a test light between cable and battery post that the cable was attached to. if the light lights you have a draw. start pulling fuses untell the light goes out. be sure to reinstall fuses on curcuits that do not effect light. The curcuit or system that is protected by the fuse you pulled that turned off the light is the one you want to look at further. I do not think the jack system is the load on your battery.
Try the test light and fuse pulling stuff and let us know.
And yup the battery must be fully charged.
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stink View Post
One way to test for a drain on a battery is to disconnect one cable, install a test light between cable and battery post that the cable was attached to. if the light lights you have a draw. start pulling fuses untell the light goes out. be sure to reinstall fuses on curcuits that do not effect light. The curcuit or system that is protected by the fuse you pulled that turned off the light is the one you want to look at further. I do not think the jack system is the load on your battery.
Try the test light and fuse pulling stuff and let us know.
And yup the battery must be fully charged.
Very good advice nice and easy way to troubleshoot.
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:12 PM   #4
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how long does rig sit idle between uses? I installed a battery disconnect on main battery. Also make sure battery shut offs above the door are off. The chirp sound is probably the CO2 detector on the floor in the corridor which also indicates that the coach batteries are on when it chirps. No chirping in on position and battery switch on above door= dead battery.


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Old 07-13-2014, 12:51 PM   #5
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Test the voltage at the battery terminals when the engine is running. If 13.5 dcv then alternator is trying to charge your batteries.

It is likely that shore power and generator power do not charge the chassis battery on your rig, if you were thinking that they do.

Shut off the battery connect/disconnect switch when in storage, if that is your situation.

You really did not provide enough situation information to allow others to help you with your question.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:47 AM   #6
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Thank you, what kind of light? just a bulb? how do I do that? I'm apologize but I don't get it and so totally want to try your method.

thank you!
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:50 AM   #7
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Ok MIke2! That makes sense, yes, house batteries are dead at this moment. So chirpy chirp wont happen? But why isn't my radio lighting up, even when engine is running. I have turned off aux battery while coach is parked, was idle for just over a week when I found battery totally dead. I keep starting it every day now. I have apt to visit Double Eagle RV here in LV on Weds.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:53 AM   #8
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Dear Dean Dec, I supplied as much info as my non technical mind can wrap itself around. What info is it that I can relate to you that will help me give you a more comprehensive overview of the situation so you can know the problem? Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ShelleyFunny View Post
Dear Dean Dec, I supplied as much info as my non technical mind can wrap itself around. What info is it that I can relate to you that will help me give you a more comprehensive overview of the situation so you can know the problem? Thanks.

1. Which battery is dead, House or Chassis?
2. When and why was second replacement battery needed?
3. Were any of the three batteries that were replaced fully charged, 12.6v, before going dead?
4. How did they get charged?
5. Are all wires originally on the battery in question reconnected?
6. Have you tested the radio wire fuses, if any?
7. Does your radio run from the house or chassis battery?
8. Do other 12v accessories work except the radio?
9. Do all 12v accessories work when rig is plugged to shore power or generator is running?

Observation. It does sound like the jacks would not operate because they did not have enough battery power.

10. Was the engine running when the jack deployment was attempted?
11. Do your jacks operate from the chassis battery or the house battery, or only with the engine running?
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:28 AM   #10
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1. Engine battery
2. Second replaced because radio and chirpy chirp alert? were not operating after new battery was replaced and Walmart automotive said the battery read low
3. My first battery, there since '05 according to Auto Zone, was dead one morning. Got a jump and it lasted all day until I went to Walmart to buy new. The two batteries that followed were brand new. The second died after 12 days sitting idle at a friend's house. I'd asked him to turn off the aux battery (thinking that the engine battery would be drawn on the supply the two coach batteries power??) but he didnt
4. the two were brand new, the second one when completely dead was charged with jumper cables and a truck.
5. I'm guessing the cables are connected right as it works initially
6. No, I admit that I approach my vehicle's workings with a lot of trepidation, I'm scared of messing it up.
7. Ohhh, I don't know. I didn't know it could work from house batteries. I see it on the dash and thought it was like a car radio, attached to engine battery. OOOh, good point.
8. Yes, lights inside the go on when I'm driving and I turn them on.
9. I will check on that tomorrow. I do not have it plugged in tonight.
10.Yes! I thought back to the time battery trouble started and it was the day after I tried to jacks. When I went to drive the rv a day later I noticed that the dash battery gauge was reading to the M on NORMAL, I thought that was odd. The next day, dead. Bought new that day. Battery gauge then at A. Very next day back to Walmart due to radio and chirpy chirp and the associate said battery read low. Had it parked outside, started it everyday, still only on A.
11. Only with the engine running, according to the manual.

THANK YOU for the follow up questions. I am taking it on Weds to Double Eagle rv (if you know of them and have an opinion I'd love to know),
shelley
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:43 PM   #11
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Wow, I Apologize for my previous questions. I completely missed the engine battery in your original post title but seemed to recognize it in my first response. Senior problems for me......

Recharging a battery takes some time. Your engine battery is usually only fully charged by engine use. A dead battery might require 5 hours on a portable battery charger or driving 50 miles.

A jump start does not fully recharge the battery except to contribute enough power to use in starting the rig.

New batteries are frequently not fully charged.

Turn off the aux battery switch so that the house battery is disconnected. Try the dash radio. If it works, it is powered by the chassis battery. You can do this with or without the engine running. If it does not work, it is powered by the house battery (when it is charged).

The RV place should find any engine battery power draws that exist with the engine off. They will do the tests other responders have provided to you.

Get a written estimate for the diagnosis part and have them contact you with a new estimate when the first one is spent. Electrical troubleshooting can get expensive quickly.

This would be a good event to install an engine battery disconnect switch. Then when in storage, the engine battery would be shut off. A simple knife switch would cost about $25 and could be installed by you or a friend.

Cheaper switches replace the terminal on your battery cable and would require a bigger labor cost.

Amazon.com: WirthCo 20108 Battery Doctor Knife Switch for Top Post Batteries: Automotive


12 days of storage with no disconnect switch and a partially charged brand new battery could reasonably result in a dead engine battery. But it is likely you do have some phantom draw on that battery.

Go to a home depot store, target, Ace or similar. They sell a thing called a digital voltmeter or multimeter for about $15 or even less. It does not need to be a super duper meter. It will measure more accurately the engine battery status than your Normal dash gauge.

Set the meter on the DCV (direct current voltage) section at the 20dcv setting.

Place the red probe on the positive battery terminal. Place the black lead on the negative battery terminal.

12.6 volts is fully charged. 12.0 volts is half charged and the battery needs to be recharged to maximize its life.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:11 AM   #12
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Hey Dean, thanks for all that great info!! I had no idea my battery could die that easily. Annnd I actually DID go purchase a multimeter today found a youtube vid:
How To Perform a Parasitic Draw Test - EricTheCarGuy - YouTube
re Parasitic Draw. I checked and if I did it correctly only came away with .35 which the vid says a good level is .50 or under. I'll bring the meter with me tomorrow so the mechanic can ensure I'm doing it right. Auto Zone today said that battery was still 100% (I've been starting coach everyday and have the aux switched to off) and that Walmart might have shorted out the radio when they put in new battery. Ugh, this soooo wearies me, I am not built for mechanical problems and the drain on my battery is draining me lol.
Hey! Seriously, can't thank you enough!!!!
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:14 AM   #13
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Don't know if this will help or not, I assume you are a gas rig. There is a reset switch/button on some handsets that needs reset after a battery swap. It is normally behind a small black box, just a button that needs pushed. The box from what I have read/seen is like a 4"/ 4".

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Old 07-16-2014, 10:35 PM   #14
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HELLO ALL! Thank you all for your immensely supportive assists. I took the rig to Double Eagle RV today on Boulder Highway. First, if ever in LV and need good, honest, affordable, dose of Mayberry-like RV help, Double Eagle is the place to go, Tom and Cathy are awesome! Tell them Shelley sent you.

Anyway, the engine battery is fine now, there was no draw, seems it was a matter of knowing how to care for the batteries, ie: shutting off the aux and main when not in use. the radio and chirpy chirp are back - cause: a blown fuse. They fixed my water pump, generator, checked all fluids, belts, wires, threw in a see thru elbow for my black water tank and it was done in three hours!!! I'm happy.

I'm going back next week at their request for a follow up on the battery and for minor things like new windshield wipers, new locks on the basement doors, a patch on the roof. THANKS AGAIN! And Double Eagle Rules!
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