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Old 08-24-2015, 09:47 AM   #15
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Those batteries are Alliance brand, Freightliner's house brand. They're group 31 1000 CCA each. They are sealed maintenance free. I had mine replaced last October just because of their age.
You should put a stand alone charger on them for 2 or 3 days. If your batteries are < 11 volts you may need an old fashioned dumb charger as the newer smart chargers won't work if the voltage is below some preset threshold.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miramichi View Post
Whatever you do, be careful with your wrench. Also remove any jewelry you don't want any arcing.
Yes, definitely. ALWAYS disconnect the negative cable(s) first. While doing so, if your wrench happens to hit some surrounding metal, it won't make any difference. But if you wrench on the positive first, and your wrench touches some surrounding metal, you will have a direct short - even a "dead" battery can put out enough current to cause sparks and lots of heat. In the worst case, your wrench can weld itself to the exposed metal and then you can't remove it until it melts or the battery explodes! Or maybe the sparks just surprise you, you jump, and hit your hand or head on something and get a bruise. Either way, it's best to minimize the danger and disconnect negative first.

Once the negative is removed, there is much less danger working on the positive cables: without the ground connection, an accidental wrench touch from the positive to the frame should be no issue.

When connecting them up, do the positive first, and make the negative connection(s) LAST.

Just remember, besides the risk of spilling acid, you are dealing with hundreds of amps of potential current, even a momentary short circuit can be dramatic.
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Old 08-24-2015, 03:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jfran304 View Post
You say you tried the Auxiliary start switch. How long did you hold it down? With a diesel engine you will need to hold it down for a long time to charge the batteries enough to start the engine.

On the Tiffin RV Network some of the diesel owners have said they have made a device to hold the switch down because it takes so long.

When I have the batteries replaced in our coach I take it to a local battery shop and let them handle it. They don't charge extra for changing them. They also have the corrosion control chemicals.

Jon
Ditto on needing to hold the aux start switch down for a bit before trying to start.
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:05 PM   #18
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Update:
Just got done replacing the engine batteries. Thanks for all of the advice and tips. The hardest part for me was lifting the old and new batteries in and out. Those things are heavy. I made sure to mark all cables and just took my time. In the end everything went well and the RV started right up when I was done. The whole process took about an hour.
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfran304 View Post
You say you tried the Auxiliary start switch. How long did you hold it down? With a diesel engine you will need to hold it down for a long time to charge the batteries enough to start the engine.

On the Tiffin RV Network some of the diesel owners have said they have made a device to hold the switch down because it takes so long.

When I have the batteries replaced in our coach I take it to a local battery shop and let them handle it. They don't charge extra for changing them. They also have the corrosion control chemicals.

Jon
With my boat and with the coach, the Emergency start switch
is intended to be operated, and then immediately start the engine.
The purpose of the Emergency start switch is to join all the
batteries in an attempt to get enough power to start the engine.
It is not intended to try to "charge" the other batteries.
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Old 08-30-2015, 11:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macandphyl View Post
With my boat and with the coach, the Emergency start switch
is intended to be operated, and then immediately start the engine.
The purpose of the Emergency start switch is to join all the
batteries in an attempt to get enough power to start the engine.
It is not intended to try to "charge" the other batteries.
This is another one of those cases where there will be a lot of variability in the recommended usage, depending on the manufacturer and perhaps model and year of coach. I have no doubt that your manufacturer makes the recommendation you state, just I have no doubt that the other information posted is very likely correct for the referenced coaches.

As an example, my coach manufacturer seems to take a hybrid approach: first try the simple boost you mention, then try a longer charging operation:

2007 HR Endeavor Owner Manual, Page 28

Battery Boost Switch:
The Battery Boost switch engages a heavy-duty solenoid to electrically connect the house batteries to the engine battery in the event the engine will not crank or cranks slowly. The solenoid is designed for short-term high current intermittent use. Engaging the boost solenoid for an extended period will damage the solenoid.

Jump Starting Using the Battery Boost Switch:
  • With the ignition key OFF, press and hold the Battery Boost switch for ten seconds. After ten seconds, continue to hold the switch down and turn on the ignition.
  • If the engine fails to crank or does not crank fast enough, discontinue the attempt. Continued attempts will only diminish any remaining surface charge in the chassis battery and end future alternative attempts.
  • Next, start the generator. This may require using the Battery Boost switch for the generator to start from the engine battery. Once the generator is operating, the electrical combination of the generator and the inverter will charge the batteries.
  • Allow the generator to run approximately hour before attempting to start the engine.
  • After hour of generator operation, leave the generator on and hold down the Battery Boost switch for one minute. Release the switch for one minute, then press the switch again for one minute. Alternate this cycle three to five times.
  • Next, hold the switch down and turn the ignition on. The battery voltage gauge on the dash should indicate at least 12 Volts. If voltage is sufficient with the Boost switch held down, try to start the engine.
  • If the engine fails to crank, or fails to crank quickly, the chassis battery may be depleted and the motorhome will require jump-starting or an external charger hooked to the chassis battery.
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Old 08-30-2015, 12:11 PM   #21
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Hi Ho: I may have missed this, but you always remove the ground connection first and connect it last. This way you can't short the battery to ground and make like an arc welder. Also, since it seems that you don't do this often, one more tip: Wear clothes that you don't care about, wear disposable gloves and when you are done put all your clothes in the washer. Otherwise you will probably find holes in places you don't expect them. Also, when you have the batteries out it is a good idea to clean the platform that they sit on. I use a solution of water and baking soda. This will fizz and neutralize battery acid. Just don't get it into the batteries. If you want to (and are a little OCD) you could also spray paint the battery tray with paint that is designed to prevent corrosion. You should also spray paint all the connections with battery terminal paint after you have cleaned them and reconnected. I dip them in the soda/water solution and rinse them to neutralize acid.

Anyway, have fun and don't get back problems....the batteries are heavy.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:57 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
This is another one of those cases where there will be a lot of variability in the recommended usage, depending on the manufacturer and perhaps model and year of coach. I have no doubt that your manufacturer makes the recommendation you state, just I have no doubt that the other information posted is very likely correct for the referenced coaches.

As an example, my coach manufacturer seems to take a hybrid approach: first try the simple boost you mention, then try a longer charging operation:

2007 HR Endeavor Owner Manual, Page 28

Battery Boost Switch:
The Battery Boost switch engages a heavy-duty solenoid to electrically connect the house batteries to the engine battery in the event the engine will not crank or cranks slowly. The solenoid is designed for short-term high current intermittent use. Engaging the boost solenoid for an extended period will damage the solenoid.

Jump Starting Using the Battery Boost Switch:
  • With the ignition key OFF, press and hold the Battery Boost switch for ten seconds. After ten seconds, continue to hold the switch down and turn on the ignition.
  • If the engine fails to crank or does not crank fast enough, discontinue the attempt. Continued attempts will only diminish any remaining surface charge in the chassis battery and end future alternative attempts.
  • Next, start the generator. This may require using the Battery Boost switch for the generator to start from the engine battery. Once the generator is operating, the electrical combination of the generator and the inverter will charge the batteries.
  • Allow the generator to run approximately hour before attempting to start the engine.
  • After hour of generator operation, leave the generator on and hold down the Battery Boost switch for one minute. Release the switch for one minute, then press the switch again for one minute. Alternate this cycle three to five times.
  • Next, hold the switch down and turn the ignition on. The battery voltage gauge on the dash should indicate at least 12 Volts. If voltage is sufficient with the Boost switch held down, try to start the engine.
  • If the engine fails to crank, or fails to crank quickly, the chassis battery may be depleted and the motorhome will require jump-starting or an external charger hooked to the chassis battery.
You and I are saying the same thing, and I agree. Using the
generator as described is fine. Holding down the battery boost/
emergency start switch for an extended period of time in an
effort to "charge" the other batteries without the generator
running is not correct, as was stated by a previous post,
as I interpreted the advice.
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