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Old 02-28-2011, 05:57 AM   #1
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Exclamation House batteries in storage

I was starting my MH every second or third day during these cold temp here in Canada. I removed the house batteries and stored them because it getting too cold. But now my chassis battery does not crank at all ????


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Old 02-28-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
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I'm not sure of your configuration; however, on mine, I have separate house/chassis batteries...so if it was cold enough for the house batteries to be removed, it's surely cold enough for the chassis batteries to be removed. There is no doubt that cold does damage batteries. You may be able to "save" the batteries by removing them and trickle charging after the batteries get closer to room temp.

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:56 AM   #3
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As I understand it, a fully charged battery will not freeze. Storing them in an unheated garage and recharging them once or twice during the season is all that is needed. I used to remove the batteries from my boats and bring them home to make sure they got the needed charge during the winter layup time. But that was always a problem getting them out of the bilge so I started to leave them in the boat and just unhooking them. They always started the season fully charged and made the winter without the need of further attention, recharging before putting the boat back in the water.
If the chassis battery will not crank and it is because it is discharged you will need to get a charger on it or it may freeze! If when you removed the house batteries you inadvertantly unhooked the chassis batteries then you may not have a problem. Of course ignoring it may require you to buy another battery!
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
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BE VERY CAREFUL when charging batteries that have been in sub-freezing temps. If they are frozen internally, they can explode when charged. Best to remove them to a warm area for 48 hours to be sure that they are thawed, then proceed to charge them at a slow rate (about 5 amps for "normal sized" batteries).
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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The key is keeping the batteries fully charged.

That means a modern battery maintainer like the BatteryMINDer(tm) or a converter that has a maintenance mode that will keep a full charge as well as provide a technique to inhibit sulfation.

When the battery is cold, its self discharge rate is reduced which does provide a bit more leeway for poor maintenance practice.

Running the MH for a few minutes every now and then isn't very effective. It needs to be run out on the road for at least a half hour to get the tires and everything else up to temperature and properly exercised but even a half hour isn't really sufficient time to bring a battery up to a full charge.

For those times when the MH is not in use, you need to either bypass the house and engine battery isolator device or you need to have separate battery maintainers for each.

Again, the key is a complete and full charge for your batteries in storage followed by the maintenance of that charge during storage coupled with the use of a sulfation inhibiting technique (i.e. a trickle charge alone is old tech and not optimum).

A full charge means that you have a modern multi-stage battery charger doing its thing on the batteries for 12 hours or more. It should be able to provide a peak of about 20 amps of charge for each 100 amp hours of battery.

If you do fully charge the batteries and then provide proper charge maintenance, you should not have to worry about dismounting them or having them freeze.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:46 AM   #6
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You said you were starting the engine every few days.. How long did you run it.. Most folks do not know how long it takes to fully recharge a batttery.. Odds are you did not run the engine long enough.

Future use.. If you can feed the beast shore power do so, depending on the converter and isoltor you may wish to put battery minder or battery tender (both trade marks for basiclly the same thing) on the battery, or batteries.


On my WOrkhorese from time to time it won't start, the bttery is in excelent shape and does a fine job of starting it once I fix the problem, it's also full up..

but when the terminals get dirty. no joy.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:02 PM   #7
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Hi maxi,
There are a lot of variables here that we do not know. However, generally speaking,

1. Stop starting the engine every few days. At he end of season, change the oil/filter (and any other fluids that are due to be changed), fuel tank full (with an additive) and put her to bed for the winter.

2. Remove all the batteries to a non freezing location.

3. As posted earlier, keep them fully charged via one of the methods already posted.

At this time there is a "hole" you need to dig your way out of. Consider taking the chassis battery to a warm location and let it thaw for several days. Then charge it fully. There is not much else you can do to save the battery.

You could jump start the engine, but that will not help the battery situation and will continue to cause more wear on the drive train by not running it on the highway..
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by maxi View Post
I was starting my MH every second or third day during these cold temp here in Canada. I removed the house batteries and stored them because it getting too cold. But now my chassis battery does not crank at all ????

Max, I think your problem is from starting your coach every other day or so. A lot of strain on the batteries to start, and probably not enough charge time for them to recover. Not good for an engine, transmission, exhaust system, etc. to start up and not have enough drive time to allow everything to come up to temperature.

GaryKD has it right. Next year, service your coach before putting it away for the season, pull all the batteries, put them in a warm area, and put a trickle charger on them. This is the best solution.

Put it all together again in the spring and you're ready to go. Better on the complete mechanical system by letting it sit freshly serviced over the winter, and then take it out for it's spring maiden voyage.

If you don't want to pull the batteries, disconnect them and put a trickle charger on them for the winter, assuming you have access to a/c. Keep the engine off for the winter.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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I was in charge of the battery shop at Delta Air Lines for twelve years. Very few people have tried as many different storage charge fixes as i have. Some good some bad. #1 Leaving the motorhome plugged in. not good. The converter float charges at 13.6 volts. Not high enough to keep the batteries topped off, but enough to eveporate the water. Also the converters are subject to lightening damage, so should be unplugged in bad weather. #2 using a regular battery charger. Labor intensive, you have to hook and unhook too much and still risk burning up the batteries. #3 Removing the batteries when in storage. Batteries are heavy and many times hard to get to. #4 Using a battery storage charger, such as battery minder or battery tender. Works best and is the easiest, since they can stay plugged in all the time without harming the battery. I prefer the battery minder, because it has a pulse charge that breaks up any sulpher buidup on the battery plates.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the good advise. I will take them all out next season and store them for the winter with trickle charge. Can't wait for spring to hit the road.

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