Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Class A Motorhome Discussions
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-17-2013, 07:23 PM   #1
Senior Member
b-Bota's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Jackson,Mi
Posts: 159
When do you replace the chassis battery(s)?

Yesterday I turned the ignition to acc. to dump the air suspension. I got busy doing some other things and completely forgot to turn the ignition off. This morning I found the chassis batteries dead. I disconnected the batteries from each other and attempted to charge each battery. The batteries are sealed and would charge no more then 64%. When I tried to start the MH the motor turned very slow and the batteries drained quickly. We purchased the 2005 DP MH about six weeks before. I suspected the batteries were the original factory batteries, however they always started the MH easily every time. Now I have no doubt that the batteries would have failed on the first really cold Michigan morning.
When my car battery fails I just jump start it (or call AAA) and take it to Sears (or Sam's Club) and have the battery replaced. Finding replacement batteries for the MH and then installing the heavy batteries was a chore. Something I wouldn't want to do on the the road and/or in cold weather. I have come to the conclusion that I should have changed the batteries before they failed. Because I am inexperienced with these heavy duty diesel batteries my question is, when do you change the chassis battery(s) on your MH.

2005 HR Ambassador, 2006 Vue toad
2008 Bichon Frise
b-Bota is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-17-2013, 07:48 PM   #2
Senior Member
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lowell, Arkansas
Posts: 3,764
That's a difficult question to answer. If the B+'s (batteries) are charged regularly they should last at least as long as the warranty. A 60 month B+ 5-years, 72-month B+ 6 years and so on. Most warranties are prorated so if they fail before their time you will get some $$$ back.

Here's what I would do. As I previously stated B+'s need to be at least trickle (slow) charged monthly because they will loose their charge just sitting around. If they stay in a discharged state for long periods they will sulfate or be less likely to accept a charge when it is attempted. So if you run your generator monthly as recommended then the coach B+s will get some charge.

As you get towards the end of their life you can have the B+s load tested at almost any shop. A load test does this. First the B+ is charged by a known good B+ charger. In other words they don't rely on your charging system to charge the B+ because it might not be working up to standards. It should be charged until the B+ charger says that it is fully charged. Then a carbon pile rheostat is is used to apply a load (current drain) to the B+. There may be some different loads placed on some B+'s but on a standard car/truck B+ they will apply a load of 1/2 the CCA (cold cranking amperage) rating for the B+ for 15 seconds. The B+ will test good if it can maintain that load for at least 15 seconds and still keep the B+ voltage above 9.6 volts. If the voltage falls below that the B+ will not hold a sufficient charge to remain in service.

It's kind of like this. Voltage is pressure and current is the flow of electrons. If you want to test a water pump to see if it is working properly you set up a test to see if it can fill up a certain sized container in a certain amount of time while still maintaining a certain pressure. A small trickle of water over 10 hours won't put out a fire but if you need 1,000 gallons in 10 minutes then you need pressure.

Sorry, I just can't give a simple explanation. It's just not in my nature.


TeJay (Tim) Auto Instructor 35 yrs (4-yrs USAF) Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/ CHF/5-Star/Koni/Centramatics * Bella- Golden/Cocker mix & Louie-The cat / All Retired
TeJay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2013, 07:53 PM   #3
Senior Member
Muncie_6spd's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Muncie, IN USA
Posts: 170
I normally change batteries at least every 5 years. I tried keeping the one in my wifes car longer than that but after having it load tested by my dealer at 5 years old and being told it was fine it ended up going dead a few months later.
Good Sam had it jump started within 15 minutes and I had it replaced immediately afterwards.

The chassis batteries in my MH are now 5 years old and will be replaced shortly just to be safe.

2002 Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel, 2002 Dodge 3500 dually Cummins
Muncie_6spd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 03:54 AM   #4
Senior Member
Country Coach Owners Club
Retired Fire Service RVer's
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ocala, Florida
Posts: 6,295
Generally I change batteries when they do not crank as they should. In your case, the 8 year old batteries will not do so. Even if you have a booster switch which connects the house batteries, this is not meant for a replacement for good chassis batteries.

I think it's time to replace yours, sorry!
FMCA #F431170, GS #822128658, Escapees SKP #112655
2012 Airstream Mercedes Interstate Class B
Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 05:37 AM   #5
Senior Member
jenandjon's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 691
I use to run em till they were completely shot. Now older and with a family I don't want the wife and kids stranded so I change at 5 to 6 years unless I notice its weak then sooner.
93 Jayco RK 325
07 Chevy classic crew cab long box LBZ Duramax
Farmer, Trucker, Equipment operator, Mechanic
jenandjon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 07:12 AM   #6
Senior Member
clyon51's Avatar
Fleetwood Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Presently White Tank Mtn Regional Park, AZ
Posts: 3,757
Starting batteries can last 10 years if not allowed to ever fully discharge and are always kept in a charged state. Unlike a deep cycle, after about 10 full discharges, they will be useless.

We don't know their history, but from what you describe they are shot, especially if they are 8 years old.

I'm very picky on battery maintainance and all my batteries go on chargers if used and fully charged once a month. As far as my coach, it stays plugged in 24/7 and maintains the chassis batt, so I don't think about it much before 8 years. 5 years is a good rule of thumb to at least have them load tested.
John & Clare - Buck & Zeus - Jack & Husky
2008 Fleetwood Bounder 38P
Towd: 2 HD Streetglides
clyon51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 09:00 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,145
I maybe adding what you already know..............

Starters are expensive. Cranking the engines with less than fully charged batteries is no good for the starter. Considering labor/time to change them, batteries are a no brainer.

Stinks that you goofed and killed them, but the high road is get some new batteries.

PS : I did the same a few months ago with one of my motorcycles, got side tracked and left the key on for over 2 hours. It cost me a battery as it would not accept a full charge on a 3 year old battery. (i've been getting 5 years out of them by leaving a tender on them whenever not using)

Lloyd in S.C. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2013, 03:49 PM   #8
Senior Member
b-Bota's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Jackson,Mi
Posts: 159
Thanks to everyone for sharing their wisdom. I have replaced the chassis batteries and am ready to hit the road.

2005 HR Ambassador, 2006 Vue toad
2008 Bichon Frise
b-Bota is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:30 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.