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Old 08-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #1
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Chassis batteries dead

It looks like I am going to need to replace my starting batteries for my 2011 tiffin RED. I tried to start the engine at the storage facility and all I get is clicking. I also tried to use the Aux start with no luck. I am looking for advice and guidance on doing this job myself. Click image for larger version

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This is what is in there right now. I have watched a few videos which in no way makes me an expert. Here is my plan.
1. Turn off power to chasis battery.
2. Label all cables and wires.
3. Take pictures
4. Draw a diagram that will help replace cables to correct location.
My questions are really about battery recommendations and advice.
Should I leave this up to an expert? I am pretty handy but also pretty cautious.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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Whatever you do, be careful with your wrench. Also remove any jewelry you don't want any arcing.

Use your pictures to guide you and just take your time. It's quite easy just a little risk involved.

Good luck!


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Old 08-23-2015, 10:49 AM   #3
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You may just need to charge those batteries. If you can get close with another vehicle, you could jump start it, then get it plugged in somewhere to recharge itself.

If you store the coach without a shore power connection, you can expect the batteries to be dead within a couple weeks. Even with the battery disconnect switches off.

Your replacement plan seems fine, but just shutting off the switches doesn't mean no power at the batteries. Remove the negative (ground side) first, on both house and chassis battery banks. That reduces the chance of an accidental short. Likewise, hook up the ground last.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellerotto View Post
It looks like I am going to need to replace my starting batteries for my 2011 tiffin RED. I tried to start the engine at the storage facility and all I get is clicking. I also tried to use the Aux start with no luck. I am looking for advice and guidance on doing this job myself. Attachment 104351
Attachment 104352
This is what is in there right now. I have watched a few videos which in no way makes me an expert. Here is my plan.
1. Turn off power to chasis battery.
2. Label all cables and wires.
3. Take pictures
4. Draw a diagram that will help replace cables to correct location.
My questions are really about battery recommendations and advice.
Should I leave this up to an expert? I am pretty handy but also pretty cautious.
It appears that you want advice on battery manufacturers more than a "how to". If your batteries do test bad....
There are many suitable batteries out there but be sure that you replace with the appropriate amperage output for the task at hand. I would assume that the current batteries are the right amperage BUT I suggest a quick look in your manual to confirm this. If correctly sized you can replace with like and kind or change to another brand. I always purchase the best I can afford so we get the better performance and warranty. Trojan batteries are my choice however there are many more out there to choose from. A quick internet search is a good place to start. House batteries need attention too and Trojan makes those as well. If you are interested, I suggest getting a watering system for house batteries. A simple system of caps and clear PE lines with a primer bulb connected to a jug of distilled water. All this replaces the manufacturers caps and interconnects all batteries. Comes with "full" indicators. 10 seconds of pumping and my batteries are topped off. No worries about losing batteries to low water level and a lot cleaner once installed.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:23 AM   #5
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X2, I'd jump them first and see if they charge, then replace as needed. With a 12 V system remember, negative to negative and positive to positive. Normally it's the 2 outsides of your dual batteries (if they are 6V apiece).

Another suggestion is like what I did, I bought a post style battery disconnect to isolate the batteries instead of disconnecting the negative lead.
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:08 PM   #6
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I just replaced both my batteries. Make sure you unplug the coach too. I also used zip ties and tied the cables up above the batteries and that helped a lot. Label the cables and make a drawing and you will be fine. Have a can of spray paint as I'm sure there is rust there like I had with mine. Remember to remove all rings.
Good luck
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:52 PM   #7
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Sweet! Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will let you know how it all goes.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:15 PM   #8
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Get AGM batteries, zero maintenance, no outgassing in the
compartment, low discharge when not being used, long lasting.
Cost a lot more, but well worth it.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:32 PM   #9
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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.

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Old 08-23-2015, 08:38 PM   #10
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One other thing that I found. If you do not get a good charge on the batteries and it cranks very slowly so you try for a while, there is a 10 amp fuse that blows and knocks out all of the gauges and other dash functions. I think that the starter solenoid is a high draw devices as it has happen to me twice. Anyway that fuse is in the panel that is under your center console. Hope you don't have to deal with that too.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:49 PM   #11
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Put a few wraps of electrical tape on the end of the wrench you're not using. It will help you prevent arcing.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:54 PM   #12
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I don't think AGM for starting batteries are worth the extra dollar. You can buy lead acid for a 1/4 if the cost an they will last a good 4-5years easy. Meaning you wild have to get several years out of AGM's before they pay for themselves.

I picked up two similar spec to yours for 89$ a piece from a local truck parts supply. Not name brand but who cares.

If I were replacing house batteries I wild consider AGM but it would be very difficult to justify spending three times as much when I could spend that on fuel running my gen or better yet a really nice solar panel or two.


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Old 08-24-2015, 08:56 AM   #13
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:12 AM   #14
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I don't believe that Tiffin was adding any kind of trickle charger for the chassis batteries or if they did, it required you to make sure it was plugged in.

Once you get the batteries sorted out, pick yourself up a Trik-L-Start or Amp-L-Start battery charger for your chassis batteries. Either one will use your house batteries to maintain your chassis batteries. When your coach is plugged into shore power, your chassis batteries will be kept at full charge.
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