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Old 09-17-2019, 08:42 PM   #1
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Dead Battery

While parked in a RV park, I usually start the MH's engine every 2 months.

This time, I suppose 2 months was too long of a time in between start ups, because this time, the battery was dead.

Being hooked up to shore power, everything else has power. Just not the battery that starts the engine.

I tried starting the engine, using the "Boost Battery" switch, but that didn't help.

Can you jump start this huge battery with a car battery?

The gauge on the "monitor wall" says that the house batteries are charged & that the engine battery is dead.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:00 PM   #2
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Can you use a "trickle charge" or a "battery tender" to ensure that the battery doesn't go dead in the future?
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Moxxi View Post
The gauge on the "monitor wall" says that the house batteries are charged & that the engine battery is dead.
Just FYI ...the engine battery is actually called the chassis battery, When you say it is dead, what does that mean? What does the voltmeter read when you test it? But if in fact it is—indeed dead—you'll have to replace it. It'll never be a healthy, reliable, battery again. About a $130 or so replacement. No big deal.

You might want to consider installing a AMP-L-Start. This is basically an inline Trickle start piece of hardware wired from your house batt's that keeps your chassis batt topped off. We have one of these in our batt bay.

There's more to this story. I let others fill in the gaps.

If you want more info on this PM me.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:25 PM   #4
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Often the , boost switch and relay are powered from the chassis battery , so if that battery is dead then there wont be a connection made.

You would have to check with other owners of the same RV to see if there is a " charge the chassis battery " set up original equipment that needs to be repaired , or if you need to install an aftermarket charge system.

You can jump from a car ; BUT ; before you try to crank over the coach engine , hook up the jumper cables and run the car, at a fast idle, for 15/20 mins to allow the car alternator to charge the chassis battery , then shut the car off to protect the charging system from the heavy draw, and start the coach .

OR if you still are on shore power place the jumper cables between the chassis and coach batteries , allow the . coach battery charging system to charge the chassis battery for several hours then start the coach.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:22 AM   #5
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Hook up the jumpers to your car. That will send some power to the battery and then you should be able to use the boost ( Aux ) switch.

Push and hold that for 5 minutes and then while holding the boost switch start the engine.

If that don't work, good chance your boost solenoid is bad. With it bad, you may also be missing bi-directional charging, If it is a feature of your RV.

Bi-directional or house to starter battery charging runs thru the same solenoid as the boost does.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:04 AM   #6
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If I find that I need a new battery, where do I go to for a battery for a motorhome?
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:25 AM   #7
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When hooked up to shore power your chassis battery should also get charged so if dead that system is not working or the chassis battery has lived a good life and needs to be replaced.

You can jump the car battery but I would do it this way. Connect the jumpers and they must be real good ones and then run your car at 1000 rpm for 30 minutes, that will put some juice in the RV battery, then give it a try. The boost button may also work but know that solenoid is not really rated to handle the higher current the engine starter requires, do do the RPM thing too.

It will take many hours to charge a dead chassis battery so you need to figure out why it died and get is assessed, it may need to be replaced now.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:47 AM   #8
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If I find that I need a new battery, where do I go to for a battery for a motorhome?
Any store that sells automotive batteries such as Interstate, etc. An easy solution is to add a Trik-L-Start or Amp-L-Start at your battery boost solenoid. These act to keep the chassis battery charged by drawing a small amount from the house batteries. I added one to my '06 Itasca because of the same thing, the chassis batteries were not being charged from shore power.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:39 PM   #9
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When hooked up to shore power your chassis battery should also get charged so if dead that system is not working or the chassis battery has lived a good life and needs to be replaced.

You can jump the car battery but I would do it this way. Connect the jumpers and they must be real good ones and then run your car at 1000 rpm for 30 minutes, that will put some juice in the RV battery, then give it a try. The boost button may also work but know that solenoid is not really rated to handle the higher current the engine starter requires, do do the RPM thing too.

It will take many hours to charge a dead chassis battery so you need to figure out why it died and get is assessed, it may need to be replaced now.
Moxxi's could be different but if his Itasca is like ours, the chassis battery does not receive charge from the onboard coach battery charger.

On the boost solenoid, if it can't handle cranking the engine, then what use is it?
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:23 PM   #10
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The batteries are located under the entry steps. Looking at the 3 batteries, I see that there is one with no name on it, just some sort of sticker. The other 2 are "Super Start" batteries. I'm assuming that the battery that starts the engine is the 1 closest to the front of the motorhome. Am I right? If so, this is the battery with the sticker on it.

Because I do not know the history of the motorhome or the batteries, I don't want to just go out and purchase the same battery that's already in there, unless it's the one that's SUPPOSED to be there.

The Super Start batteries have a Cold Cranking Amp of 450 & a Marine Cranking Amp of 610.

What is the CCA required for my 2008 Itasca Suncruiser 38t?

My engine is the 8.1L Vortec V8, 340 hp.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:44 PM   #11
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The batteries are located under the entry steps. Looking at the 3 batteries, I see that there is one with no name on it, just some sort of sticker. The other 2 are "Super Start" batteries. I'm assuming that the battery that starts the engine is the 1 closest to the front of the motorhome. Am I right? If so, this is the battery with the sticker on it.

Because I do not know the history of the motorhome or the batteries, I don't want to just go out and purchase the same battery that's already in there, unless it's the one that's SUPPOSED to be there.

The Super Start batteries have a Cold Cranking Amp of 450 & a Marine Cranking Amp of 610.

What is the CCA required for my 2008 Itasca Suncruiser 38t?

My engine is the 8.1L Vortec V8, 340 hp.
Ours is a Winnebago product but a different model from yours. That being said, I'd bet money the battery set up is very similar. Ours too has the three batteries under the step.

The front battery on ours is the chassis battery (it starts the 8.1 engine). It's a side terminal type battery and I'd think there's a good chance yours is too. The two coach batteries will connect to each other, most likely a short black cable between the negative post of each battery and a short red cable between the positive posts.

It sounds like you have Group 27 batteries for the coach. As far as the chassis battery goes, the Workhorse chassis guide for mine states that it came with a 690 cold cranking amps, Group 78 battery. This is a standard automotive battery,, not a dual marine or deep cycle battery. Again, it probably has side post connections.
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:13 AM   #12
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One battery is for starting, probably the different one.

The 2 same lable batteries are most likely the house batteries but sound like starting batteries, with CCA and MCA ratings.

Take a few cell phone pictures and post them. That can help us help you.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:12 AM   #13
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The Winnebago wiring diagrams for the 2008 Itasca Suncruiser 38T (link here) and the operator's manual (link here, page 3-9) indicate the following (as built by Winnebago):

1) One 12V chassis battery, forward position, side terminals
2) Two 12V house batteries, rear positions, top terminals
3) There are no components in place to charge the chassis battery from the house batteries.
4) The house batteries "power" the BATTERY BOOST switch when the engine is not running.
5) If
a) the solenoid in the chassis electrical box is working correctly, and
b) the BATTERY BOOST switch in the dash is in the OFF position, and
c) the engine is running, and
d) the alternator is working correctly, and
e) the AUX BATT DISCONNECT switch is in the ON position,
then the alternator will charge the house batteries.

Conclusions from reported symptoms:

1) Should check chassis battery and ensure it is healthy. Replace if necessary.

2) Inability to start using the BATTERY BOOST SWITCH:
a) The solenoid is defective, or
b) the BATTERY BOOST switch is defective, or
c) the house batteries are weak, or
d) some combination of the above
Should troubleshoot and fix this before doing 3).

3) Install an Amp-L-Start (link here) or Trik-L-Start (link here) to charge the chassis battery from the house battery charging system. Consult this Winnebago Service Tip sheet for installation guidance.

There's no "new" news in this post; other posters have mentioned both causes and fixes. I just wanted to point back to the wiring diagrams. Winnebago does a great job in having online information, especially for pre-2010 coaches.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:43 AM   #14
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Here's a couple of pictures of the batteries. Click image for larger version

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