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Old 06-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
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Motor home when not in use?

Folks, I feel really silly asking this, but I need to know. We just purchased an Itasca Navion 24J. My head is still reeling from the salesman explaining all of its features. I took it for its maiden ride with some friends this past weekend. We went roughly 179 miles. I parked it under my outside pole barn and there she sits. Do I need to keep her plugged in using the shoreline to keep the coach batteries charged? Can I just leave it shut off with nothing on and running? IE: refrigerator, clock lights etc. All I have done is purchase some rodent deterrent at the local RV dealership and scatter them throughout the cabins interior. I am trying to do the right thing here.
Please tell me, what do you do when your MH is just sitting idly on your property?
Lastly, how often should I start it and take her down the road when not in use?
Many thanks!
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizonchase
Folks, I feel really silly asking this, but I need to know. We just purchased an Itasca Navion 24J. My head is still reeling from the salesman explaining all of its features. I took it for its maiden ride with some friends this past weekend. We went roughly 179 miles. I parked it under my outside pole barn and there she sits. Do I need to keep her plugged in using the shoreline to keep the coach batteries charged? Can I just leave it shut off with nothing on and running? IE: refrigerator, clock lights etc. All I have done is purchase some rodent deterrent at the local RV dealership and scatter them throughout the cabins interior. I am trying to do the right thing here.
Please tell me, what do you do when your MH is just sitting idly on your property?
Lastly, how often should I start it and take her down the road when not in use?
Many thanks!
The only silly or dumb question is the un-asked one.

As far as batteries, you want to be sure they are fully charged at least once a month. Because of parasidic drains on the coach and chassis batteries, this may be every week, it just depends on the MH.

There is really no need to run the frig or anything else in storage, unless you want to. Leaving the coach plugged in is generally a good idea, that's what I do.

However, I have a multi-stage charger (smart) which will maintain the batteries. Single stage chargers do not reduce the voltage when the battery is fully charged, so they can "boil" the batteries, causing lose of water. If you have one of these, you should check the water every 2 weeks until you know how long it takes to add water. If you let the water get below the plates, you are going to replace batteries.

Another major problem is most RVs do not maintain the chassis battery while in storage on shore power. So if this is your case, you need a separate battery tender, or get a Trik-L-Start.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to run any engine once once per month. But it is MUCH better to drive it for 1/2 hour or so. This gets all the seals lubricated in the engine,trans and elsewhere. Diesels, either dont start them, or drive them untill all op temps are reached, good info for gassers also.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:34 PM   #3
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I keep mine plugged in and use dryer sheets where the cord enters the coach to deter the mice. I usually start the coach and the genset once per month.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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I leave mine plugged in all the time. You don't need a lot of current, a 15 AMP standard outlet will do nicely if you leave everything off. I have a Kill-A-Watt meter on mine and it usually only takes around 40 Watts of power to keep the batteries topped off. Amazon.com: P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: Home Improvement

The meter is in my shed and if I see a big jump or drop in wattage than I check it out It's only happened once or twice. I do check the water in the house batteries every month, but with it plugged in all the time they don't get charged at a very high rate so the water doesn't get low very often. I do have a three state charger on my coach so that helps.

If you think about it, plugged in all the time isn't any diferant than full timing so you wouldn't be doing anything outside the intended use of the coach. And it will always be ready to go when you are.

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
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We park ours in the driveway alongside the garage. I keep the electrical power cord plugged into a 15A domestic outside socket. In the colder weather (overnights in the 20's is about as cold as it gets here), I have a 1500W oil-filled heater placed in the hallway next to the shower, which is connected to a digital thermostat placed on the kitchen counter and set for 45 degrees.

I have the outdoor transmitter of an indoor/outdoor wireless thermometer located near the driver's seat and the display in the S&B. A Kill-A-Watt meter shows it costs about $8 a month to keep the inside of the RV above freezing.

I usually turn the battery switch near the entry to its "storage" mode. Maybe 10 days before our first trip, I switch the battery back to "in use" so it gets charged up.

This procedure seems to work fine. I put new house batteries in the rig when we bought it in June 2010 and haven't seen any battery issues.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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I had a 50 amp electrical outlet installed so I can keep the coach plugged in when in storage. This keeps the house batteries charged and I can also plug a battery tender in to keep the chassis batteries charged. Your batteries will last longer if you keep them properly charged and filled.

If you have a generator they say you need to run it with at least a 50% load for 2 hours a month. What I usually do is take the coach for a drive once a month to exercise everything and run the generator then.

Since you are a new owner if you haven't purchased an electrical surge protector and a water pressure regulator you should.

Good Luck,
Jon
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:42 PM   #7
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If you have a multi stage charger/inverter I would leave it plugged in and keep an eye on the battery water every month or so. I wouldn't start the engine just to warm it up occasionally. I try to take mine out for 30 miles or so every few months to get all chassis systems up to temp but (at least with diesels) it probably does more harm than good to just start and warm up the engine.

Good luck.

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:57 PM   #8
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With what I THINK I know. (Still learning)

I would keep it plugged in for a few reasons.

1. Keep house batteries charged. (Don't forget to periodically check battery water levels.) Do not confuse that with your chassis/engine battery.

2. Lets you keep the refer running. I can't tell if your refer is gas, electric or both but it may be worth keeping it running for when you dash and go. It can take a long time to get a refer cooled down properly. Even if you don't keep it running, you may want to get it running a day before you plan to use it.

3. I'm not familiar with all your features but if you have an additional chassis battery charger then that will also be charged.

For now, it keeps things simple as you learn all about your RV. Avoiding dead batteries early on is a huge reduction if frustration factor. Trust me...I know these things too well. LOL

A few other odds and ends...

1. If you have the optional generator...USE IT! You should run it about once a month for a couple hours with at least a half load. Turning on your roof top AC should do it. You could even use that going down the road on a hot day instead of using your dash AC.

2. How often should you drive it? OFTEN! You spent a lot of $$$ so don't let it become a yard ornament.

3. Driving an RV actually makes it run better. Tires, engine, generator and such suffer with lack of used.

4. don't forget tire covers.

Did I say DRIVE IT yet?

Good Luck!
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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I keep ours plugged in all the time. Do set the inverter for 5 amp power so it doesn't draw too much. It's plugged into a 30 amp circuit.
Last set of Interstate U-2200's lasted just a few months short of 10 years and could probably have gone longer but we were headed to AZ and I didn't want any trouble on the trip (which I had anyway) as the starter took a partial dump ( I had also replaced those batteries a month or so earlier). It did wait till we got home and ready to leave (I mean all loaded, car hooked up, all seven cats aboard) to go out completely.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:38 PM   #10
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Once we take our MH out of winter storage, it is 'loaded up' with most of our supplies. We leave the food items in the frig all season so 'yes' our MH is plugged in all of the time. The firg is on and the house batteries are being maintained. I have in the past also set up a trickle charger for the cahssic batteries but I have not yet this year.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:07 AM   #11
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If you are going to keep the MH connected to shore power you should consider a surge protector. We had a near lightening strike that came into the coach over the power cable and zapped 1 TVs, the Microwave and the inverter/charger. The device will also protect your rig from ill/miss-wired power found at campgrounds.
The Surge Guard Surge Protectors as well as the Progressive RV Surge Protectors are well worth the money.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:21 AM   #12
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Once we take our MH out of winter storage, it is 'loaded up' with most of our supplies. We leave the food items in the frig all season so 'yes' our MH is plugged in all of the time. The firg is on and the house batteries are being maintained. I have in the past also set up a trickle charger for the cahssic batteries but I have not yet this year.
We leave the fridge and storage bay freezer on all the time also for the same reason even over the winter as we never know when we might want to go somewhere. Another difference is that our inverter keeps the house and chassis batteries charged.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Theberrys View Post
I leave mine plugged in all the time. You don't need a lot of current, a 15 AMP standard outlet will do nicely if you leave everything off. I have a Kill-A-Watt meter on mine and it usually only takes around 40 Watts of power to keep the batteries topped off. Amazon.com: P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: Home Improvement

The meter is in my shed and if I see a big jump or drop in wattage than I check it out It's only happened once or twice. I do check the water in the house batteries every month, but with it plugged in all the time they don't get charged at a very high rate so the water doesn't get low very often. I do have a three state charger on my coach so that helps.

If you think about it, plugged in all the time isn't any diferant than full timing so you wouldn't be doing anything outside the intended use of the coach. And it will always be ready to go when you are.

Dick
So I need a Battery Tender for the chasis/engine battery and if I leave it plugged in "they don't get charged at a very high rate" , does that mean that the coach's batteries do get charged while plugged in? Also, where exactly do you plug the Kill a Watt Electricity use meter in? In the outlet in your shed with the shore line going into it? Is that how it's connected?
Thanks Dick!
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:42 AM   #14
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I would say if you have the option of having it plugged in, do that to just keep the batteries charged. As mentioned it's a good idea to start the generator once a month and let it run with a load for about 10 minutes or so.
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