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Old 11-20-2012, 06:22 AM   #1
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Batteries in Wisconsin..

This is our first year with a class a and live in Wisconsin. We have parked our home on wheels in the drive and plan on starting it periodically. We do have 50 amp installed in the garage for use, but we don't plan on keeping it plugged in, as that would not be good for the water in the batteries I'm told. Being that it goes get really cold here what would be suggested. We had it parked for the past month and started once already, but was a bit hard to start at first. My brother suggested plugging it in for a while before starting, would that help?
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:29 AM   #2
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Depends on if your convertor charges both house and chassis batteries. If it were me, I'd park it with both disconnects off and then start both generator and engine once a week. If your convertor is working properly and you keep an eye on the battery water, it wouldn't hurt to leave it plugged in however.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaZzeledSue
This is our first year with a class a and live in Wisconsin. We have parked our home on wheels in the drive and plan on starting it periodically. We do have 50 amp installed in the garage for use, but we don't plan on keeping it plugged in, as that would not be good for the water in the batteries I'm told. Being that it goes get really cold here what would be suggested. We had it parked for the past month and started once already, but was a bit hard to start at first. My brother suggested plugging it in for a while before starting, would that help?
I assume your class a diesel fuel. In the cold it best to leave it plugged in. The block heater will keep the oil warm and helps the start. I have diesel pick up as a daily driver when I know it's cold and I'm out of town it's plugged in. Have left it plugged for week at a time . Haven't had any problems my truck is a 2004 and I'm on the the same batteries as when I bought it. Another option is put a trickle charger on your batteries. Down side won't do anything to keep block warm. Happy trails
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:48 AM   #4
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You do not want to start that diesel just to let it idle for a bit. It's better to leave it sit or, go drive it for an hour until everything is at operating temperatures. Your Tradewinds should have a 3 stage charger and a BIRD system (keeps coach and chassis batts charged on shore). If it were me, I would leave it plugged in 24/7 to keep all the batteries happy (and alive). We live in Mich across from Green Bay, mine is plugged in 24/7.

A smart charger will maintain batteries with 13.2 volts and will not "boil" them. A single stage charger will put out 13.6v continuous and will "boil" them after being fully charged. This in of itself does not hurt a battery, it just loses water faster so you need to check water level more often. Optionally, you could just keep a trickle charger on them. You certainly do not want to just leave them sit without being maintained. If you do need to start the coach, just run the block heater a sufficient time first, then drive it.

The generator I would run about 30-40 minutes each month with at least a 50% load on it and also make sure it reaches operating temperatures. This expels all moisture out of the crankcase and moisture and corrosion off the brushes.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:53 AM   #5
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:47 AM   #6
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I'll add to the "don't start it" group. Most engine wear is done at start up. Failure to bring the engine up to full operating temperature, and letting it run there for at least 20 minutes (probably a total of 45 minutes to an hour) will be even worse. Condensation can build up that can combine with contaminants to create corrosives. I've got a 13 year old car I store every winter, 6 months at a time (we're also from WI), and I never start it over the winter. 13 years later it runs great and it will not use any oil between changes. I've never started any of my motor homes over the winter either, and that includes the one winter our current DP spent up north (we're now full time and a long way from Wisconsin). When you first start it in the spring let it idle for a minute to be sure the oil pressure is up.

I've also left my RVs plugged in all winter. The earlier models, those without the fancy self regulating charge systems, I'd check the battery water level once mid winter and then again as I took it out of storage. Our last couple of motor homes I've left them alone (the newer style chargers) and had no problems. If you do choose not to leave it plugged in, however, you should disconnect them.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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Batteries in Wisconsin

Hello again,Just to let you know, yes we have a diesel 1999 Tradewinds. I really wanted to hear that everyone was in agreement. So, some say run it,others say don't and yet others say plug it on....I will wait for more views and I guess I will take the majority then, maybe. I guess our fears are that we would wreck something.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:47 PM   #8
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I have yet to read any engine manufacturer the recommends starting a vehicle while it is in storage. All of the owners manuals I have read (yes, I read them) suggest preparing the vehicle for storage and leaving it alone. Different manufacturers have different procedures for storage depending on duration but not a one recommends starting a vehicle.

I challenge the folks that suggest frequent starting of the stored vehicle to provide a link to any manufacturer that recommends this philosophy.

The correct procedure is to prepare it for storage, per manufacturers recommendations, and leave it alone until it is going to be put back in service.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:00 PM   #9
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Any diesel mfg will tell you not to start a diesel unless you are going to drive it, period. It's also a no brainer to keep a charge on your batteries, especially in the winter months. If you are waiting for a general consences, you better hope the majority knows what they are talking about.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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Leaving the batteries on maintenance charge all winter is better than letting them go dead or freeze. A three stage converter/charger is designed to maintain batteries, not overcharge or boil them dry. To save wear and tear on 50 amp power cord, you could use a decent all weather exterior extension cord to handle power needs in RV. You won't be pulling many amps unless to try to use electric heat or A/C.

Also agree there is no need to start the engine unless you plan on a drive. Taking it for a drive once a month or so will exercise suspension and drive train, polish rust off the brake rotors or drums and move grease around joints. Just pick a dry day with no salt on the roads to add that corrosive element to the undercarriage. If you live in area that uses salt in abundance, leave it parked.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:13 PM   #11
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I posed this exact question to Cummins support a few years ago to answer this on another forum.
Basically they said not to bother starting it unless you were going to drive it for at least 30 min at highway speeds. This insured that the engine got hot enough to "burn off" the condensation and get lube to the seals.

I've done the following for over 25 years with our various RV's.
The batteries should be kept charged, but not boil the water off.
The gen should be run for abour 1 hr a month, this heats the coils up enough to burn the condensation off. The condensation is the major cause of generator trouble.
I unplug the rig, start the gen and turn one heat pump to cool and the other to heat, in about hr I reverse them so they each run in both modes.
I guess I'm doing something right as I've never had an engine problem, generator problem, battery problem (got 9 yrs and 11 months out of out last set), or heat pump.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:40 PM   #12
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Just completed the Freightliner school and here is the experts responce. "If you are not going to drive it, don't start it "Conditon it and leave it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:00 PM   #13
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I live in WI as well, I winterize, fill fuel tanks and add anti gel, take every thing out of motorhome, wash, and park for the winter. Ok run the gen enough to get the anti gel through the gen set. Park in storage building, lower the jacks to take to take the weight off the tires. Forgot I have have all service done (oil changes and stuff) so I am ready to go at any time. I do go check on rig every rig to make sure all is fine..no mice and that kind of stuff. I do put bounty in the rig, why I dont know.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:06 PM   #14
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Darn, sorry you asked about batteries.....
I put battery minders on both the house and truck batteries with the kill switches turned off.
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