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Old 06-17-2013, 10:46 AM   #1
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That moment when panic sets in.

So figured I would share for the sake that if anyone else runs into a similar situation. Might save you some time.
So due to the very slow return of summer weather this year our first trip was fathers day weekend. Not a real far trip but required driving the RV onto a ferry, for a 20 min jaunt over the waters of lake Erie. The RV started the trip kinda slow like the batteries were low. But started the engine none the less. A quick check of the amp meter and charging system is working fine and I assumed batteries just a little low from the winter. Even though I had them in the garage with a trickle charger on them. But after about a 90 min drive we arrive at the ferry. Still started slow so now I was concerned. We arrived at the state park and had 50 amp service so figured the batteries would get a good charge over the weekend.
Sunday we get ready to leave and nothing but clicking the ratcheting sound of a near dead battery. So quick flip of the aux batt button and it starts but still real slow.
We drive to the ferry and we had about a 30 min wait so I shut her down. Sure enough when it comes time to load onto the boat. Dead! Even with the aux batteries it won't turn over.
I have jumper cables with me and figure if I can at least get it started I will be able to get home and buy a battery. But with cables on nothing improves. A check with a meter shows 12.8v and that's when that sense of panic sets in. Mind you I'm on an island where everything is twice the price on the mainland. I start thinking its the starter and its 2:00 Sunday ( fathers day) where am I going to get a starter?
But then it dawned on me that the starter never acted like it was going bad. I never had any issues with it starting before. So I thought maybe cables were a problem but after tracing them around they looked fine other than the rusty connections to the starter.
Turns out even though they were tight and always worked fine the rusty connections were the culprits. After removing all the bolts sanding the wire looms and wire brushing the terminals it started right up.
So not something I would consider routine maintenance to clean up electrical connections but something you may want to inspect and would be surprised the issues it can cause.
Special thanks to Bruce and the guys at miller ferry port Clinton Ohio for all the patience and help.
Hopefully none of you experience this and if you do can solve the issue in record time.

2000 Monaco Windsor Cummins 330
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
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Nearly all of my electrical issues I experienced this season were all resolved with WD-40, a wire brush and Dielectric grease.

The Macklin's - 1998 Georgie Boy 'Pursuit'
Pete: Pilot/Mechanic - Jen: Navigator/Travel Planner
Taylor & Patrick - Along for the ride....
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing the info. I clean my heavy gauge cable connections every other year due to this same issue. Also, I found the big 12V battery lead at the generator is another area to clean up the corrosion often.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
2000 Allegro 454/Workhorse P32/TST/Crossfire
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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Had a similar issue with a car. Cleaned the battery connections and still nothing. I followed the ground down to where it connected to the frame, cleaned it and it started right up.
Neal and Deb + Mya and Gizmo, the pup's
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Yea I didn't mention it but my terminals at the battery were spotless because the batteries spent the winter at home with a trickle charger on them. I had cleaned everything and sprayed with terminal protective spray. Never even thought to check the connections to the starter or grounds. I will from now on.
2000 Monaco Windsor Cummins 330
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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Similar situation, stopped for propane , no crank, although did go on the 10th try, pulled up to fuel up, started fist try. 1 1/2 hours later at RV park check-in no crank , multiple tries, tool box out in view of whole park .
My first starter relay failure; didn't know it at the time; in a panic because of location, and not trusting the fact that the boost dash switch had no effect tried various things for 25 mins., jumper cables from toad etc.
Finally and if you've never done this consider yourself lucky, crossed the power cable and the starter relay feed at the starter; while on the ground under the engine; wondering " if it's in gear will the park brake hold ". About 3 months later the new starter relay failed, I now have a push button wired in to by-pass the relay. Use it to crank for oil pressure after changes too.
99DSDP 3884, Freightliner, XC, CAT 3126B, 300 HP /ALLISON 3060
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:12 PM   #7
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Happens to me every few years. First time it was still under warranty. I now check the terminals first, THEN I panic
Home is where I park it!
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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Had a similar situation last week. Went to pick up our coach from storage and could not get any house battery power. I could start the engine but no house power. As a chance I checked the batteries and all terminal connections were loose. I just had it in for maintenance and obviously batteries were not checked. Once terminals were snug, let there be light! Anyway sometimes it's the simple items that are overlooked. Safe Travels
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:51 AM   #9
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Hey one more little addition to this mess. While we were camping for the weekend I was having a problem getting the hot water tank to light. Figured it was the typical spider problems from sitting. Tried to use the elect element and it wouldn't work. So thought I was having problems with the hot water heater. Turns out that was also related to the terminals. Ahe what a relief.
Finally something can be fixed without spending a bunch of cash.
2000 Monaco Windsor Cummins 330
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:07 AM   #10
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Thanks Rob! That's good info to share! It would certainly be a good idea to remove the battery cables once a year and clean them thoroughly, but how many of us do that!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:47 PM   #11
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For me panic sets in when ever I'm ready to leave on a big trip and I settle into the seat and reach forward with the ignition key!

So far it hasn't been justified, but still happens.
2006 Patriot Thunder C13 Allison 4000
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:31 PM   #12
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Wow... I wish I read this post last month when I took the RV to get six brand new tires. Five hours later I return to the dealership, kick the new tires, pay for the new tires, and then find the battery is dead. Drove the RV to the dealership that morning with no problem and never experienced any battery problems. Ended up with a new battery which is working fine now but I think I'll be cleaning the ground wire terminals tomorrow.

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