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Old 04-25-2016, 10:43 AM   #1
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Chassis battery issue

Good morning to all. I'm having a chassis battery charging issue I'm trying to understand. I have a 2000 Safari with a Magnum chassis 300Hp Cat/Allison. We were leaving on a short trip this weekend, the first trip in 3 years. The coach was plugged into power and a separate charger was hooked to the chassis batteries for 2 days prior to leaving.
I ran the engine for 15 minutes before we left. I turned the engine off to run the slide in. After that the engine would not turn over. I engaged the emergency start and it fired right up. I thought maybe my battery charger was not working properly and the batteries would charge as we drove.
As I drove I kept the emergency start switch engaged.The voltmeter registered just over 12volts. After 30 miles I disengaged the emergency start and the volt meter immediately started dropping.
At this point I should add there was no turning back on this trip.
So I engaged the emergency again and fired up the genset to keep the house batteries charged, as I was depending on them to charge the chassis batteries. While doing this the voltmeter stayed at 13 volts and we completed our trip.
After returning home I put the battery charger back on the chassis batteries and they are charging, so the charger works. The batteries are both 4 months old.
So my next step is to check the output on the alternator, but as I'm sitting here at work I'm wondering if an isolator or something like that would cause the same situation?
Any input is appreciated thank you.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:28 AM   #2
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Sounds like the alternator is not charging correctly.

Take a chassis battery terminal volt reading.

Then start the engine and set idle at 1,000 rpm.

Then take a chassis battery terminal volt reading. It should be about 13.4 dcv.

If not, there is a problem with either the alternator, the battery connections, the drive belt, or a relay in the alternator to battery system.

Most likely the alternator.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:56 AM   #3
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Sound like the alternator is not charging.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deandec View Post
Sounds like the alternator is not charging correctly.

Take a chassis battery terminal volt reading.

Then start the engine and set idle at 1,000 rpm.

Then take a chassis battery terminal volt reading. It should be about 13.4 dcv.

If not, there is a problem with either the alternator, the battery connections, the drive belt, or a relay in the alternator to battery system.

Most likely the alternator.





Thanks Dean. I've checked the battery connections and the belt. I'm charging the chassis batteries right now with the pos and neg cables removed. I'll do your test next.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
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15 minute run seems pretty short to drain the chassis battery(?). We have a single 8D chassis battery, and drove for over 45 minutes at highway speeds before I decided we were for sure having a problem with the power going to the chassis. (Alternator was out. Bought a replacement one, and having it installed later this week.).

H20Bill - Welcome to the forum!!!! You said you had 'batteries' replaced four months ago. Assume 2 chassis(?). You might want to check for a bad cell in one of these. One bad a battery in the mix, will bring the rest down to that level.

If you can also test the power output of the alternator with a multimeter, it would confirm your dash readings. Do this where the alternator cable attaches to the positive battery post. If it confirms the 12v like reading, then yeah, likely candidate is the alternator.

Best of luck to you, and please update what you find, as it could help others in the future too.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Smitty77 View Post
15 minute run seems pretty short to drain the chassis battery(?). We have a single 8D chassis battery, and drove for over 45 minutes at highway speeds before I decided we were for sure having a problem with the power going to the chassis. (Alternator was out. Bought a replacement one, and having it installed later this week.).

H20Bill - Welcome to the forum!!!! You said you had 'batteries' replaced four months ago. Assume 2 chassis(?). You might want to check for a bad cell in one of these. One bad a battery in the mix, will bring the rest down to that level.

If you can also test the power output of the alternator with a multimeter, it would confirm your dash readings. Do this where the alternator cable attaches to the positive battery post. If it confirms the 12v like reading, then yeah, likely candidate is the alternator.

Best of luck to you, and please update what you find, as it could help others in the future too.
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That is what was bothering me, assuming the chassis batteries were charged after two days on the charger why would they drain so fast? Yes two new chassis batteries four months ago, new coach batteries one year ago.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:00 PM   #7
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H20Bill,
A bad alternator can suck the life out of a battery as well as just failing to charge.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:07 AM   #8
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H20Bill,
A bad alternator can suck the life out of a battery as well as just failing to charge.


ChasA that I did not know. It explains a lot. After charging the batteries on my charger then running the engine and the slideout back in I drained most of the charge out of the batteries. I wont be able to test the alternator until this weekend but I will post the results. Thanks to everyone for the help.
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