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Old 09-21-2015, 02:00 PM   #1
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Winterizing and battery removal

I know this topic has probably been covered on numerous occasions and we all seem to know the correct answer. The question being " is it necessary to remove the batteries from your RV over winter?". We all know the answer is yes and to keep them charged or charge them regularly. The senior technician at the RV centre today told me it was not necessary! As long as the battery disconnect is on for the house batteries and that the chassis battery is disconnected, no drain will be put on them and they do not have to be removed. He said they will loose "some" charge over the winter, but not enough to damage them and they can be easily charged in the spring. This he claims is coming from the battery manufacturers.
Any comments or thoughts?
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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When I bought my 96 Itasca Suncruiser in 2009 the 2 house batteries were brand new and I've never removed them. I've just hit my disconnect button. Never have had to charge them up.
Now my chassis battery I've left it too but it does drain down and I'm on my 3rd one. I've tried and even disconnected the wiring from my radio to stop the drain but it still drains down to nothing. I usually hook up a charger a few times during the winter to keep it going.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:13 PM   #3
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I have never removed mine for the long winter. I do make sure I have trickle chargers on the house and chassis batteries. Never have had any issues come spring
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:14 PM   #4
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What are the winter temps in your location ?

IF the batteries are 100% charged AND you can guarantee there is NOTHING pulling any current ( better to disconnect negative cable, as most disconnects still leave smoke/propane alarms connected) then flooded batteries will self discharge about 10% per month (less the colder it gets). When batteries are only partially charged they become more susceptible to freezing which will ruin them. AGM type batteries only self discharge about 2% per month.

Some sulfation is bound to occur when the batteries are left in a partially charged state. Yes, it's better to keep them in a heated garage, and charged once per month.....but if it is not easy to do this some people get by with letting the batteries "sleep" over the winter.

A better and easier option is to install a solar charging system which can keep the batteries charged while in storage....unless you get so much snow in your location that the solar panels would be covered until spring !
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:18 PM   #5
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The technician you spoke with is correct. As long as the batteries are isolated with no electrical drain being applied to them, there is no reason to remove them over the winter.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:20 PM   #6
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Read this:

http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/WP_...orage_0512.pdf


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Old 09-21-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
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If you lift more than one wire off the negative terminal tie them up together.. Far too many stories of "this did not work" followed by "I found a loose wire"

You can also put a battery tender or battery minder (Both TM) if you have 120vac handy Very slow charging (1-4 amp) battery maintainers.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:29 AM   #8
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Here is my tentative battery approach to this winter, which will be my first with this RV. Please let me know if I'm making a mistake. We live in the Chicago area. It is stored in a public storage facility with no AC available.

1. Park the RV, disconnect the 4 House batteries using the single shutoff in the RV
2. leave the chassis batteries alone
3. start and run the RV for a half hour every month.
4. connect the house batteries, start the generator and run for half hour every month.
5. if the RV doesn't start, pull the chassis batteries, bring them home and put on a trickle charge, reinstall next month and start RV for half hour.

Any comments? I just don't want to pull 6 batteries if I don't have to. Is that so wrong?
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:41 PM   #9
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Check if your chassis batteries get charged when connected to shore power or when you run the generator.

If they do, a better solution is to just start and run the generator to charge both sets of batteries. Run the generator at least 1-2 hours per month ( longer runtime is better for the health of the generator as it allows it to get fully up to operating temperature and burn off residual moisture in the oil, windings, etc). You should load the generator at 50% of its capacity.....so turn on an portable electric heater or two, and watch a movie in the RV ! Then when movie over, turn off everything and go home until next month.

Running the chassis motor at idle for a half hour actually does more harm than good, as it never fully warms up - sending lots of unburned fuel and water vapor to contaminate the oil and produce acidic compounds which will etch the metal surfaces of the motor.

If you want to run the chassis motor, it's better to take it on a 20 mile drive......but I know this won't be a good idea with salt and snow on the Chicago roads !
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:45 PM   #10
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The batteries in our '02 Dutch Star lasted 10 years and were never removed from the rig until they were replaced. However, I also kept the rig plugged in 24/7 when stored beside the house.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJoyce View Post
Here is my tentative battery approach to this winter, which will be my first with this RV. Please let me know if I'm making a mistake. We live in the Chicago area. It is stored in a public storage facility with no AC available.

1. Park the RV, disconnect the 4 House batteries using the single shutoff in the RV
2. leave the chassis batteries alone
3. start and run the RV for a half hour every month.
4. connect the house batteries, start the generator and run for half hour every month.
5. if the RV doesn't start, pull the chassis batteries, bring them home and put on a trickle charge, reinstall next month and start RV for half hour.

Any comments? I just don't want to pull 6 batteries if I don't have to. Is that so wrong?
Diesel engines don't need to be started at all when stored, in fact it's detrimental to their life if you do. You are better off to let it sit if you can't drive it at least 30 miles. Letting a diesel sit and idle will not heat it up enough to burn off the moisture collected inside, in fact it will add to it.
Generators do need to be run, but hour a month isn't enough, one one hour session at half load is good but 2 hours at half load is better.
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