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Old 10-05-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 80
electric problem

I have an old 1979 Dodge Concord RV I bought 2 years ago & have been working on it. We went camping for the first time last weekend & had some problems.
1. Driving down the road, my volt meter started dropping til it got close to zero & my batteries died. Guess my alternator needs to be replaced.
2. The small water tank below the kitchen sink has a crack in it & leaks when I connected the hose to the RV. I thought about removing that tank & connecting the hoses together to bypass the tank completely. Would this work if I always hook up to a water source?
3. The 2 valves that go to both my waste tanks drip. Where can I get new valves?
4. My biggest problem is that while plugged into shore power, my 12v house lights will not work so they drained my batteries. I can hear something humming behind the breaker & fuse box but I don't know if this is the converter or not. Also, my batteries will not charge with shore power. How do I check the converter to see if it needs to be replaced?
Thank you,

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:50 PM   #2
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Don't remember when Dodge changed to the alternator that was controled by the computer, but probably after your coach was made. There is probably and external voltage regulator mounted somewhere close to the engine. Should be about 3" by 5" and about 3/4" thick with a wire plug in it. The regulators go bad more often than the alternator.
You can by-pass the tank if it is just a storage tank. Is there a 12v water pump also?
The waste valves can be bought at an RV store, about $10 or so apiece.
Do you also have 110v lights? The convertor is probably part of the fuse & breaker box. Did you make sure all the fuses are good? The hum is probably the transformer coil. From experience I know that these can send a voltage spike if the cord is unplugged or the generator dies. Mine damaged a new digital TV so I replaced it with a solid state unit that works much better. Cost was about $200 for the part.
If you have a voltmeter you can check the battery voltage with the coach unplugged, then plug it in and see if there is any increase in voltage at the batteries.
If not you probably need to have a mechanic look at it unless you understand electrical circuits.

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:48 AM   #3
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reply to leadman

Thank you. I'll replace the voltage regulator first to see if that solves it before I go through the hassle of replacing the alternator.
I do have current to all the plugs, microwave, ect. My 12v house lights do not go on. I took the back seat panel off last night & was able to access the converter. Its a steel box, plugged into a outlet receptical, right behind the breaker & fuse box. There are no markings on the box & I'll have to remove 4 bolts to remove the side panel to look inside. It is humming & the fan seems to be working. All the fuses & breakers are good. The previous owner had this couch completely re-wired to the tune of $3,500 so all the wires seem to be good. The batteries seem to be taking some charge while its plugged into shore power. May be the converter is bad. I don't know what kind to get to replace it.
The tank that's leaking, I think is a storage tank. It's small, underneath the kitchen sink. Seems to be aluminum or stainless. Has a valve with hose on top & one at the bottom.
When we went camping, we plugged lamps into the outlets & the light above the stove so we didn't use the 12v lights but when you went into the little bathroom during the night, it was dark.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:06 PM   #4
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Our 1976 Champion had a converter located under the rear dinette seats. You had to open the front and flip a switch to switch from battery power to shore power, if you didn't you were still running off of the battery for interior power. Does your converter have this switch?
We had no tank as you describe under the sink though.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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The tank that is leaking is quite possibly for pressurized water. Do you see an air connection somewhere on the tank where you can add enough air to pressurize the water system. At one time many rv's used air pressure rather than a pump for water feed.
Brian, Loretta & Daisy (Golden Retriever)
2008 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ , ISL 400
2014 Ford Explorer toad
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:22 AM   #6
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I fixed the problem with the converter. It is under the rear dinette seat. I found a ground that was not grounded correctly. Since fixing that, my converter stopped humming & the interior lights are working great.
The small tank that was leaking is the hot water tank. It has a seam that's split all the way across it. Instead of getting it fixed or replacing it right now, I bypassed it. I connected my water hose & tested all my connections & everything is working properly. Since we just do weekend camping, we decided we didn't need hot water, as long as we have running water.
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:02 PM   #7
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Sounds like you are making it usable for now. Gives you time to decide what you want to fix and prioritize them.
Good camping.

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