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Old 03-13-2012, 04:19 PM   #1
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Battery Cable Question

I just bought a 1982 Itasca Suncruiser. The previous owners said they know everything worked on it except the generator and they said it was suppose to work according to the one that had it before them. The ones I got it from said they had never tried it because they always camp where there electric hookups. They showed me in the battery compartment where there is 3 batteries. But one of the batteries is totally dead and the positive cable is disconnected from wherever its suppose to go but is still connected to the battery. Im wondering if maybe this is why the generator isnt starting. I dont know where the other end of that positive cable is suppose to connect. There is a solenoid thing next to the batteries and i assume it goes to one of the posts on that but dont know which post. Can anyone help me with this? I will try to post a picture to show ya what I got. Thanks. (btw you can see the end of the cable im talking about to the right of the battery thats to the far right near the wing bolt that holds the batteries down. the other end of that cable is connected to positive post on the battery to the far left in the picture)
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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The two batteries that have a connection from neg to pos are usually 6V deep cycle. They are the house batteries. The other battery is the 12V high starting amps chassis battery used for starting. The solenoid is probably operated by your 'Aux' start push button that's on your dash and is used to emergency start your vehicle by crossing the house and chassis batteries.

I looked at the picture too fast...looks like the two on the right are both 12V. That's fine, but they are usually 6V wired in series.

So the solenoid probably connects one side to the positive of the house batts, the other side to the positive of the chassis batt.

Service the batteries, recharge, test. Remove the ground connections and clean.

The alternator will charge both sets (after a delay) while driving. The Converter will keep the house batteries charged (if it's working) when plugged into shore power. And a small float charger (WM for $20) that you add, plugged into AC when you're on shore power, will keep the chassis battery charged so it doesn't die from all the parasitic loads on it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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hopefull you negotiated the cost of a genny service. You should be able to start the genny from a jump a battery with a good charge. I would change the oil and sparkplugs prior to starting as its likely the nonuse might have ruined the crankcase oil.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys. So where does this loose cable end connect?? Does it go on the solenoid thing?? If so which post on the solenoid. The battery on the left is the one the unconnected cable goes to. The battery shows 0 volts on voltmeter so i assume its no good at all. The post on left side of solenoid has 12 volts or so showing when i check it with voltmeter. The post on right on solenoid shows no voltage, at least not with ignition key turned off. Just trying to figure where to connect this loose cable end when i replace battery. then i will shift my attention to getting the generator going if that loose cable end is not the problem
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:18 PM   #5
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Normally the generator is started by either the house or chassis battery.. Normally.

That said.. I have, in surfing these forums and others, read of at least ONE RV that had 3 battery banks, Chassis,, (main engine and vehicle stuff) HOUSE (Self explanatory) and GENERATOR (likewise) so.

I'd have to say it's possible

Used test equipment to figure it out please and respond back.

NOTE: If the generator has sat for a long time,, You may need new fuel filters, pump and a carb D&C, New plugs, points (if it has them) perhaps even a ring job. A lot depens on how well it was put away.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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I am wondering why the red is not hooked to pos on the right most bat so they are parallel ? Normally house are hooked together. could be wrong.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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The lose end probably does not go to the solenoid. The solenoid is probably the disconnect solenoid that removes most loads from the coach batteries or the battery boost solenoid.
If that is not the case where does the cable on the left side of the solenoid go?
You need a digital multimeter to figure this out. Do not start connecting things up "just to see". You will be sorry if you do.
I would start by cleaning up the buss bars and connectors in back of the batteries, while the unit is unplugged.
With a multimeter you can trace out where the cable goes that is connected to the generator start solenoid. If you try to jump start the generator from a battery remove the house cables first so you don't power up the other end of the cable.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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thanks guys. all the battery cables are connected except for the positive cable from the battery on the left. Everything works on the motorhome ( it starts all lights etc. etc.) the generator is the only thing that has no power going to it thats why i was wondering if this loose cable might have something to do with that. Im gonna clean up all the groounds and all the other connections. I just got this motor home Sunday and havent figured everything out about it yet since im new to this rv thing. The generater is a Kohler.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:45 PM   #9
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oh also Gary the solenoid left terminal has the positive cable from the right battery and another large cable that comes in battery box from somewhere. The right solenoid terminal has one large cable going to it that comes in box from somewhere and a couple of smaller gauge wires. i am gonna have to trace where those larger gauge cables go tomorrow. Im sure one goes to starter on the motorhome's engine and the other to the generator but i still gotta figure where the positive cable from the left battery connects. thats what has me puzzled. Thanks.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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I think that connector from the + on the left battery goes to the + on the right battery - so right now it is hooked up to run off 1 battery, the right one, for whatever reason. You need to charge and test both batteries - the left battery may have been disconnected because it was weak or dead. Batteries should be above 12.2 volts and keep that charge overnight (or a couple days).
If one battery is dead - replace them both or just keep running on the 1 good battery until you get more bugs worked out.
The genny start is probably a different issue. After you have a known good battery installed on the right - check to see if you have 12V+ at the genny starter. There is probably a local start switch/button nead the genny.
Don't give up and don't rush it - persistance will allow you to learn as you go - and expect to learn a lot during the next year. You found the right place here to ask your questions. We've all been there.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:25 PM   #11
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thanks Tom. the left battery is totally dead showed near 0 on voltmeter. the middle and right batteries are connected together as u can see in the picture i posted. the middle and right batteries showed 12 volts each. I have only had it a couple days and havent charged the batteries or even plugged the motorhome in yet. It starts really well and it has the Chevy 454 engine. all interior lights, water pump and everything else that ive checked so far works. I never give up on anything and i will (with help from all you fine folks here) figure this thing out. Thanks guys.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #12
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I agree with Tom, I would replace both batters and clean every thing up. Both house battery's should hook together .
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwalt View Post
I think that connector from the + on the left battery goes to the + on the right battery - so right now it is hooked up to run off 1 battery, the right one, for whatever reason.
Can't be right. The middle and left batteries are wired in parallel and have a charge, probably good batteries. The battery on the left is dead, 0 volts. Don't wire it up to the good batteries.
See what the voltage is on the two batteries in parallel with the engine running. If they are wired up as engine batteries the voltage will be over 14 volts. You never know what previous owners have done with wiring.
Then check the voltage on the two parallel batteries with the engine off and plugged into shore power. If there is a battery disconnect switch close it. This will see if the converter is charging the two batteries, voltage over 13 volts.
See when the right terminal on the solenoid has 12 volts in either case.

This being a gasser you should have one engine battery and house batteries. Is there an engine battery somewhere else?
Gotta find out what the left battery is for. If the two in parallel are the house batteries and the battery on the left is dead what is starting the engine?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:30 PM   #14
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thanks Gary, yea thats my thinking too after i seen the left battery was disconnected and dead. I assumed the 2 batteries together were the house batteries but like u said whats starting the engine. There is no other battery anywhere else that ive found yet. i will check the voltage at the parallel batteries tomorrow with the engine running and see what i get for a reading. Thanks again guys.
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