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Old 04-02-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Location: Sioux Falls SD
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Battery - Electrical Recommendations

Greetings All!

With the 90 degree weather here in South Dakota at the end of March, I've already taken my 97 Fleetwood Storm out of storage and getting it ready to hit the road. This vehicle is on a 460 Ford Chassis and is in need of some electrical maintenance.

The Chassis battery and the two coach batteries are all getting old and are in need of replacing. I'm looking at recommendations on good batteries for each purpose. The RV gets used only in the summer time and is stored indoors in an unheated facility throughout the winter.

Also, since I've experienced more than one complete power drain over time, I'm considering putting in the knife type cut off switches to prevent an untimely drawdown on the batteries.

Is it okay to put one one both the chassis battery and the coach batteries? If so, are there any tricks I should know about them?

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 04-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
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Just removing the ground cable from the battery seems a lot easier.

Most RV batteries live a long and useful life, some are murdered.
2000 National Sea Breeze F53
1998 CRV Toad
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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You should have a battery disconnect switch on the coach batteries already. A manual cut-off lever/switch is much easier than disconnecting the chassis battery and will work as designed.

I just installed two Lifeline AGM batteries in my Roadtrek for the coach portion and they are one of the finest batteries available today. I will be doing almost all dry camping in the summer and winter, so batteries that can be frozen are paramount.

Best of luck......................Rob
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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Hi olifer,
Consider this. One must clean the battery terminals once a year to maintain proper power flow and charging. How about just pulling the batteries out of the coach for the cold winter months. Keep them in a place where they will not freeze. Come spring, you can return the batteries to the coach and clean the terminals at the same time.

Another possibility is to keep a trickle charger on the batteries during the winter months.

Using the knife disconnect is a valid solution. I've used them and they work as advertised. Make note of the clearance available for the knife switch. There are several different designs based on the available clearance.
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910 + GMC ENVOY XUV 37K lbs Moving Down The Road
The Avatar Is Many Times Around The USA
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
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Leaving your coach sit for months without charging all batteries fully at least once a month, would be a real good reason you need new batteries. Disconnecting them to eliminate phantom loads will do you no good over several months.
John & Clare Lyon
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:22 PM   #6
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Folks are alwyas asking about batteries.. First you need to do some research, (Actually you've done it) How easy is it to access the batteries for maintenance? Easy, Well then Flooded wet cells give the best performance for the losest cost BUT do require what I consider frequent maintenance (At least 2 or 3 times a year, sometimes more often)

Maintenance free, only slightly higher. But way less frequent maintenance, (Say every 2-3 years) These are low gassing as well.

NOTE that all these batteries must be mounted "This side up" as the liquid inside is, well, liquid.

AGM is a special high price battery, In this case the liquid is absorbed in a fiberglass mat, the result is these batteries need not be mounted "This side up" they can be layed on their side, stood on end, even mounted upside down. But they COST!!!, They also have a shorter overall life span (Source, manufacturer's web pages estimated life)

OPTIMA is 60 percent of an AGM. (The other 40 percnet is wasted space) at a still higher price.

Brands.. I have folks I respect who do not like Excide..> I can not argue with them, otherwise, Well Trojan is the leader in Flooded wet cells, LIFELINE in AGM, but if you go with Sam's Club.. I do not think Trojan's are enough better to justify their price tag.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:04 AM   #7
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I would echo what many others have said about maintaining your batteries it contributes to their longevity more than anything. I'd say proper storage is a close 2nd to maintaining. If you're replacing them soon get what's in your budget. Sam's club and Costco are both good choices. I find it pointless to spend big money on batteries because of the advertising hype. Majority of batteries across the country are made by Johnson Controls anyhow, but you don't see their name on them. Clean the terminals well before you install them. Check the electrolyte level periodically during the summer. Before storing make sure they're fully charged & fully filled. If the plates are exposed when you store them, they'll die an earlier death and a fully charged battery is much less likely to freeze. Disconnect the negative terminals or disconnect by some other means, it is a good idea to disconnect to avoid discharge. Come spring time, charge them, clean terminals if need be and you should be good to go for another season. Not sure how cold SD is where you store your RV, but if temperatures are well below freezing for extended periods, you might consider removing the batteries and storing somewhere that isn't quite as cold. Good luck with it.

Oh by the way, we're headed to SD in August. That rowdy thing called the Black Hills Rally in Sturgis. Looking forward to seeing your beautiful State.

Harley Ultra Classic (Geezer Glide) Rider, Retired US Army Paratrooper, fisherman, shooter. Proud to have served, proud of those that still do, or have done so with pride.
2005 National Dolphin 34'
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