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Old 04-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #1
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Coach batteries

I am having a disagreement with my rv dealer about the coach batteries. I recently purchased a used motorhome and after several 12 volt electrical issues discovered that 1 of the 4 three year old coach batteries is bad and causing all the batteries to discharge. The dealer says it is acceptable to replace only the bad battery with a new one but in the past (I have been rving for 35 years) I was always told to replace all batteries at the same time as unlike age, condition, and brand batteries will not work effeciently and eventually kill the new battery. I think they should replace all 4 batteries under warranty.

I have not been able to locate any definative printed information to show that all batteries should be replaced. If anybody can lead me in the right direction I would appreciate it.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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I think you are pushing it. If one battery failed (and the others were fairly new) I would replace it with a single new battery...

And I do not think I would even consider asking a dealer top replace 3 good batteries under warrantee in a used motorhome.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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In the situation where you have multiple batteries linked together then they should all be replaced at once if the remaining good batteries are a year or more old. Having a mix of batteries confuses the charge cycle of the charger because the charge rate of the batteries is too uneven. This means that the charger will stop charging when either the one new one or the three old ones get to a certain charge level and the other one(s) will not be fully charged.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #4
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Funny you should ask...

I was watching my brand new RV101 video on battery care last night...I am now an educated idjiot.

From what you say I think the key is to have all 3 other batteries thoroughly tested OFFLINE. If they pass all offline tests then I THINK it is OK to just replace the bad battery HOWEVER, if the other 3 can not pass muster then they should all be replaced. Given that they are 3 year old batteries, I THINK they are NOT new but unless you know how well they were taken care of, I would hedge my bets a bit.

I know, sound kinda like the scare crow pointing in both directions. How is that for solid opinion.

I'm certain I will get the appropriate virtual slap up side the head if my THINKING is off base. This is the learning channel, correct?
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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I agree it would be best to replace all four but I would not hesitate trying to replace just the one, if the other three pass a load test.

Most deep cycle battery warranties are only 12 months. What type of battery do you have with over 36 months of warranty?
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:03 PM   #6
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Most deep cycle battery warranties are only 12 months. What type of battery do you have with over 36 months of warranty?
24 month warranty on mine, that is also my question

If the dealer is replacing the one faulty battery as a good will gesture, the other good batteries can only be suggested for replacement, not required.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:47 PM   #7
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The key to me is that the bank is 3 years old. That's getting to be rather old for RV batteries.

"I was always told to replace all batteries at the same time as unlike age, condition, and brand batteries will not work effeciently and eventually kill the new battery."

What happens is that batteries lose capacity and increase in resistance as they age. That means that the new one with the most capacity and least resistance will end up doing the most work by proportion of its advantage. Depending upon the loads on the bank, that may cause the new battery may age a bit faster than it would if it was among peers. The extra work may also cause additional stress that increases the odds of failure somewhat - failure like a shorted cell which is why you need a replacement in the first place.

"Having a mix of batteries confuses the charge cycle of the charger because the charge rate of the batteries is too uneven."

The charger can't tell about the components of the bank that it is charging. The current into any particular battery in the bank depends upon its resistance and that will proportion the charger current as needed.

I am avoiding the serial vs parallel issues here as they would just complicate things unnecessarily IMHO.

If the dealer was paying for the batteries under warranty, do what he suggests. If you are footing the bill, I think replacing all of the batteries would be the way to go depending somewhat upon the type of battery. 100 pound or less batteries, replace. Batteries over that weight get into significant costs and that complicates the analysis. How you use your batteries is also a factor. If you go off grid, have large loads, or are significantly dependent upon your batteries, the less risky option is replace. Otherwise, you might get by and it'd be no big deal.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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They are only as good as the weakest battery they will charge different and discharge different. I messed up with mine when it was under warranty I took it in because it would not hold a charge and CW told me they were fine and I new better. A couple of months later now out of warranty guess what now they are bad. CW paid for half when coaches are on the sales lot the batteries are constantly killed.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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re: "They are only as good as the weakest battery they will charge different and discharge different."

Keep in mind that most of us put house and coach batteries in parallel every time we get on the road. These are dissimilar in many respects yet the technique still works and doesn't harm either battery.

Old or new, big or small, lead acid batteries all have the same voltage vs state of charge curves. They don't charge "different" but only in proportion to what they can manage.

caveat: this is not for the small minority of batteries that fail due to shorted cells or other breakdown.

The bank is the sum of its parts, not restricted to its weakest link. It isn't like a chain in that respect.

The newer or larger batteries will do most of the work. They aren't dragged down to the lowest level.

Quote:
when coaches are on the sales lot the batteries are constantly killed
out in the heat without a proper storage maintenance charge on them - 2 well known ways to murder batteries!
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #10
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Replacing them all is a good rule of thumb if you don't know the condition of the others, but testing can override that. If load tests show the others are still in good condition, I would replace just the one - or as many as are showing signs of weakness.
Generalized "rules" are for situations where there is no specific knowledge, or the people involved lack the skills or tools to determine the real life situation.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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I am going to support athuddriver on this.. Assuming they are 12 volt batteries in parallel, Though (As you well know) it is POSSIBLE for a bad battery to discharge the good ones.. Provided you don't let it discharge too far no major damage will happen.

(However if you take them down to say 9 or 10 volts.. Replace them, Starting batteries, including Marine/Deep cycle, don't like that much)

IF you have six volt pairs (You have 3 so you don't have that) then you treat each pair as ONE 12 volt battery, and replace both halves. However if you have 2 or 3 pair,, Well then you treat EACH pair as though it were a single battery, Just like what you have.

The advice to have 'em properly tested is good, And I seond that as well.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:55 AM   #12
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Smile

A followup and clarification. It appears from some of the responses that some thought I was attempting to get something for nothing. When I purchased the motorhome it came with a 30 day bumper to bumper warranty. Within 3 days the inverter died and was replaced and at that time they stated they checked the batteries and they were all good. After driving 200 miles home and a few hours unplugged I discovered that the batteries were again under 9 volts. I took the batteries to a local battery shop and they advised that one battery was totally gone and another marginal but servicable. That was when I began attempting to get the all of the batteries replaced under the 30 warranty since they were all the same age. It was the motorhome warranty, not a battery warranty I was working with. When a dealer represents a unit as being roadworthy and in good mechinical condition, it includes the batteries! I paid a lot of money for that representation and expected it to be accurate.

The dealer has now agreed that all four coach batteries need to be replaced in order for the system to operate properly and avoid future warranty issues. I am glad they decided to do the right thing. Frankly if they didn't I was going to replace the remaining batteries myself but luckily now it is on them. Sorry, but better them than me having to buy $500 worth of batteries for a motorhome I have had less than three weeks.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MDPD View Post
A followup and clarification. It appears from some of the responses that some thought I was attempting to get something for nothing. When I purchased the motorhome it came with a 30 day bumper to bumper warranty. ...

The dealer has now agreed that all four coach batteries need to be replaced in order for the system to operate properly and avoid future warranty issues. I am glad they decided to do the right thing.... .
I, for one, didn't think that at all. I just wasn't sure of the situation about dealer warranty and such. It sounds like it took some convincing but the CORRECT outcome was reached. GOOD JOB!

Having already replaced my chassis battery withing 2 weeks of purchase...wish I had the 30 day deal!
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:08 AM   #14
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Thanks for clarifying. Most used motor vehicles are sold without warranty unless you buy a service contract. Most service contracts exclude batteries.

I would say you are working with a very good dealer if he decided to replace all batteries (good and bad) for you.
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