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Old 03-30-2014, 12:36 PM   #1
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Tiffin Owners Club
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House and Chassis Batteries Dead in 9 Days

I recently bought a 2005 Phaeton 40 QDH. I have resolved a few minor and not-so-minor problems already, but I just encountered a new one that was totally unexpected. I parked the MH at its storage spot last Friday, which is nine days ago. The house batteries showed fully charged before I shut the inverter off and disconnected the house power with the "salesman switch". I did not turn off the main disconnect switch for either house or chassis (unfortunately).

When I went to the coach today to check everything out, I had no power to the house or chassis. I checked voltages, and the house cells were past zero to a little reversed polarity. The chassis batteries were at about 5 volts. Several questions:

1) What would cause both battery domains to be dead? Seems to me that even if the house disconnect feature wasn't operating (and I think I verified that it worked by trying to turn on the inverter), the chassis batteries shouldn't have been dead.

2) What could drain the chassis batteries with the key out of the ignition and the lights off?

3) How do I get it started? I thought about trying to charge it enough with jumper cables to get the generator started, but there is an RV stored next to mine on the passenger's side so I can't get there with jumper cables. I do have Coach-Net, but I'm not sure they could reach the compartment either.

4) Are the batteries most likely shot? If so, I guess I could just replace them and trouble shoot it from there.

2005 Phaeton 40 QDH
2013 Honda CR-V
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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BIG Bummer!

You should be able to charge the batteries far quicker if you attach an external 15 amp battery charger to them overnight.

If you don't have any 120 VAC power to tap into for the charger then you will have to remove all of the batteries, take them home and charge each one on a bench.

Dr4Film ----- Richard

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Old 03-30-2014, 12:41 PM   #3
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There should be a date on the batteries. If not and seeing as how the draw was cut off, I'd say the batteries are bad. I'd also say that someone besides you know it. Batteries won't last forever even if they are maintained properly. If they aren't maintained properly, their ability to hold a charge over time is significantly reduced. If you find a date and they're 5 years old or more I'd say they were due to be replaced and this fact was with held from you.
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Old 03-30-2014, 01:46 PM   #4
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Battery shut off switches usually still leave some things connected. The 'phantom draws' can discharge batteries over time. That being said, your batteries sound bad. I'd remove them, charge them at home, then have them load tested at a local Auto parts store. You could also do a specific gravity test on them. If you have a portable jump starter battery, you could start the generator, let it charge for a while, then use the 'boost' switch to start main engine and move RV out of the parking spot. BUT, you'd probably still have bad batteries. After you get everything settled, if you are going to use storage without access to power, you might install knife switches or other battery shut off switches to be sure they aren't discharged in storage. Other option would be solar panels on roof to keep charged.

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:04 PM   #5
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Batteries coming out!

OK, I'll remove all the batteries, bring them home, charge them and SG test them. probably will end up replacing all, but then I'll know where I stand. I've read on other parts of this forum that the golf cart 6V batteries weigh around 80 pounds. Are the starting batteries about the same? I may need a helper.
2005 Phaeton 40 QDH
2013 Honda CR-V
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:38 PM   #6
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I had a similar problem, but it was three weeks, not nine days. What I did was:
Jump started the genset from my Jeep via cables to the chassis batteries.
Took a toothpick & jammed it against the battery booster to keep the momentary switch on (this combines the two battery banks).
Turned on the inverter/charger.
Ran the genset with additional loads to fully exercise it for two hours.
Everything fully charged.
Bill, Sandy & our GSP Lilly
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:46 PM   #7
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Hi ProjectPro,
The chassis batteries will weigh considerably less than the coach batteries. They are still quite heavy. If the coach batteries are original to the coach, they, most likely, weigh about 55-60 lbs each.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:01 PM   #8
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Just for future reference.. I had some low chassis batteries and had to call GoodSam roadside assistance and the tow truck that showed up had extra long cables since mine was in a tight spot also. I would say most large tow trucks are prepared to not being able to get close to the battery compartment either on a RV or a big rig.
Ben & Miriam
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #9
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If these are the original batteries they will probably need to be replaced.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:18 PM   #10
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Try hooking two pairs of battery jumper cables together to reach from your vehicle to the battery bay. I've had to do this more than once in order to reach and jump a dead battery.

2015 Tiffin Bus 37AP
2016 Ford Explorer
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:22 PM   #11
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Quote from OP,
I did not turn off the main disconnect switch for either house or chassis (unfortunately).
Good news and bad news,....
Bad news you probably have to buy some batteries, hard to say until tested.
Good news is I don't think you have a problem as far as abnormal drain is concerned. If I run off for 9 days w/o completely disconnecting the batteries, and w/o any charging, I would expect to come back to drastically discharged batteries, if not dead.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:33 PM   #12
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If you have a battery tender for charging the chassis batteries when hooked to shore power or the generator and you did not pull the fuse for it, that is what drained all of your batteries. It has happened to me. I was able to bring all of the batteries back up by charging each one separately. I removed the battery tender and replaced it with an Amp-L-Start. No more dead batteries.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:16 PM   #13
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Friend of mine had a similar problem. He went to service station and they lent him a jumper/starter. He hooked it up and was able to get the generator started. When the batteries came up he was able to start the engine. From there he was able to take it to a battery shop where he found out the batteries were bad. Time and harsh weather take their toll on batteries.

Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
Newmar Dutch Star 4320, Spartan MM Chassis, Cat C9, Jeep Grand Cherokee Hemi, Blue Ox Aventa LX, and Brake Buddy. TST 507 TPMS
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batteries, chassis

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