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Old 04-21-2019, 04:45 PM   #1
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Chassis battery drained - check engine light

My Entegra Quest on a 2019 Sprinter 3500 has been in storage for about 3 months. I checked on the unit during a trip back to the area where I have it stored. It's been hooked up to a 15 amp line, so the house and chassis batteries are supposed to stay charged. The salesman switch has been on, allowing charging. At that time, the chassis battery was low, but I didn't realize it. It started and ran OK, but when I first got there, the steps were balky. I now know these are connected to the chassis battery, and their balkiness is a sign of battery issues on the chassis.

A month later I was back in the area, and when I checked in on the unit, the chassis battery completely dead. The power locks on the doors didn't have enough power to unlock. I started the unit using the house battery interconnect. I ran it for about 45 minutes, and the battery seemed to have recharged. However, since getting it started, the check engine light is came on and hasn't gone off.

Any thoughts on what's going on with the check engine light? I will have the dealer check the charge controller to see why the chassis battery isn't charging.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:45 PM   #2
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Does the owner's manual specifically say that the chassis battery will charge off the converter/charger (or inverter charger, if so equipped), when the vehicle is plugged in to shore power in storage mode?
Up until 2018, which is what we have, I don't know of too many motorhome builds on the Sprinter 3500 cab chassis that were set up to charge all the batteries on board. Usually, the owner has to add some sort of after market smart charging system, either fixed permanently (like the Trik-L-Start), or using a portable charger/maintainer like a battery minder or other AC to DC charger to charge the chassis battery as well. I use a Stanley FatMax 8A smart charger and plug it into an always hot 12VDC outlet in the cab area.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:33 PM   #3
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The owners manual for the Quest is pretty bad. Much of the info seems cribbed from other models, and much is non specific and outright incorrect. The electrical systems are probably the worst, with incorrect info on the various control systems. It says it may have a battery isolation manager that will manage charging for both systems. Or it may have a battery isolation solenoid that will separate the systems. It doesn't say if it handles chassis charging when hooked up to shore power. The dealership also doesn't have a go to person that either be able to answer the questions or to get answers from Entegra. I was also not able to find links on the Entegra website to be able to get answers from the source.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gzvette61 View Post
The owners manual for the Quest is pretty bad. It doesn't say if it handles chassis charging when hooked up to shore power. The dealership also doesn't have a go to person that either be able to answer the questions or to get answers from Entegra. I was also not able to find links on the Entegra website to be able to get answers from the source.
I would bet that it doesn't have any circuitry to support charging the chassis battery when plugged into shore power. I don't think any of them do. Just my best guess. I suspect most upfitters assume that if you're going to store the vehicle, you should use the Sprinter chassis battery disconnect to try to reduce idle discharge over time. It's probably minimal because MB uses AGMs as their chassis battery. I choose to trickle charge mine when it's not in use.
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response. You're probably right. I have a Battery Tender that I can set up until I can get something permanently in place. I still have the check engine light, but no error messages on the display. Have to figure that out.
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:30 AM   #6
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Battery condition might be poor, or depleted to the point that it's setting a charging related CEL. I'd look at systems that rely on a healthy, charged, battery first. AGM batteries are pretty resilient, but they have their limits, too.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:38 AM   #7
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There are two ways to deal with the problem you experienced. The first costs you nothing but you have to remember to do it when you park - disconnect the battery ground. You will find a red knob just above the accelerator pedal. Push it in and pull it out - you have disconnected your battery ground.

The second fix, adding a Trik-L-Charge, is permanent and becomes a don't have to think about it fix. The Trik-L-Charge provides chassis battery trickle charging from the house batteries (which means if you are plugged in or have solar charging). This device normally installs on the charge relay (under the passenger seat on most Sprinters).
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:36 PM   #8
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For the short term, I'll pull the disconnect, and will in the meantime look at both the cost and installation involved in the trikl charge. Today I disconnected the battery for about 10 minutes, and then drove for about 50 minutes. I then did some additional maintenance, and when I reconnected and restarted, the check engine light cleared itself.

Thanks to all for the help!
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winterbagoal View Post
Up until 2018, which is what we have, I don't know of too many motorhome builds on the Sprinter 3500 cab chassis that were set up to charge all the batteries.

For years, Roadtrek RVs have had battery separators that change both house and chassis batteries when plugged in. My 2013 RS does. I leave it plugged into 120V/15A and it is always ready to go.
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:31 PM   #10
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I think the battery isolator (predecessor to the separator) and separator only charge both batteries from the alternator while the MH is underway, or the engine is running. Of course, I could be wrong about that. Perhaps you could point me to the owner's manual or other supporting documentation on that?

For clarification, I was referring to my Winnebago, when I posted the quoted text. Not a Roadtrek.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:46 PM   #11
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My Roadtrek 2013 RS 3500 Sprinter has a Surepower 1315 battery separator that is bidirectional so shore power, generator or solar can charge the chassis battery. In my case, both house and chassis batteries are AGM. Perhaps this setup isnít appropriate if there are different battery types.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
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My Roadtrek 2013 RS 3500 Sprinter has a Surepower 1315 battery separator that is bidirectional so shore power, generator or solar can charge the chassis battery. In my case, both house and chassis batteries are AGM. Perhaps this setup isnít appropriate if there are different battery types.
Good point about different battery types requiring different charge algorithms. AGMs do tend to be a little more resilient to off target charging than FLA or GEL.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:58 PM   #13
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Have been looking into this issue as well. Had to have the battery replaced on my 2016 Sprinter 3500 chassis after it was depleted one too many times- even with the disconnect applied.

Purchased a new solar panel controller from ZAMP that allows the juice from a single or multiple solar panels to be split among two battery banks, ie chassis and coach, and you can determine what percentage goes where. Also, you can have different battery chemistries in the coach and chassis. Thinking about going lithium down the road, so good to have this. Would set ~5-10% of charge from solar panel to go to chassis battery I think.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:03 AM   #14
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Sounds like a good plan for you, but my LT storage is under roof, so that wouldn't work for me. At least knowing the cause now, I can take appropriate steps to not have to drain the battery again. We are new to the RVing, so we'll see how it goes using the disconnect, and see if other steps are needed during normal use, either through solar or other charging solutions.
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