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Old 08-11-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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98' Pace Arrow charging issues

Hi,

I've recently purchased a 98 Pace Arrow Vision with very low mileage, under 13k.

I'm experiencing some very strange issues with regards to the house batteries. I replaced both batteries shortly after I purchased the MH. Now approx 2 mths later I'm having problems with these batteries not charging effectively.

I have an amp clamp and have checked to see that the batteries are indeed getting a charge from the engine alternator approx 45A, also recieving a charge from genset approx 15A. These numbers strike me as being fairly normal. The only thing that I find strange is that both engine and house batts charge at the same time off alternator, both at approx 45A depending on what else is running off the engine batt. If both are charging at the same time I can't really see what harm this would do other than the batts taking longer to charge in comparison to an isolated charging setup.

I took the MH away this past weekend, had it hooked up to shore power for the whole weekend. After returning home, I parked it, went out the next day to find the house batts dead. This is after approx 3.5 hrs of driving the day before which persumably, given what I've already stated, should have charged the house batts without a problem.

Took batts out checked with voltmeter and got 12.38v reading which isn't too bad from what I've read should be about 60-70% charged. However I took the batts to the auto store where I purchased them they failed a load test. Hook them up to an industrial type autocharge (up to 80A output) and charge gauge intially reads that they aren't taking a charge. After a couple of hrs on the charger they take a charge and will again pass load test.

I've checked the draw OUT of the house batteries with an amp clamp and found it to be somewhere between 900mA and 1A with the fridge lp detector and CO detector running. At that rate of discharge I would expect to get approx 110+ hrs of run time out of these batteries. As they are rated 85AH@20hrs/135mins@25A draw x 2 batts.

Are my problems due to the slow rate of discharge and trying to recharge too quickly? I read somewhere that batts that are drained slow should be charged slow? Problem with isolator setup? I should be getting the batts back from the auto store today and will put them back in and see what happens. Sorry if I'm long winded, but I find the more info in the first post the easier it is to respond.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:43 PM   #2
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Welcome bnb187 to irv2.
New batteries are good if they were brought up to FULL charge before installation. The converter or alternator will take to long to get them to full charge.
If you have a 12v charger charge your new batteries for 24 hr and all should be well.
If they do not take a charge one bad cell will defeat you whole house battery bank.
Here is a LINK that should be of interest to you.
Your alternator will charge both house and chassis batteries with engine running.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:44 PM   #3
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BEFORE you do anything else.... Go to the ground for the house batteries, where it connects to the chassis... remove it and clean the connection and tighten down... I was told to do it on mine after having the same problem.. Everything said it was charging just fine, even my charge wizard... Soooo being the smart a$$ know it all that I think I am.. I didn't do it... Drove me nuts... started buying new parts for anything I could think of that would cause the problems ( got very expensive and still didn't work)

My son said, "Dad, you always told me to check the simple things first, like the cables."

Sooooo....

WHEN SOME ONES SAYS CHECK THE CABLES... REALLY CHECK THE CABLES & DON"T JUST LOOK AT THEM!!!!!

Things that never worked right or at all, suddenly worked great... life was wonderful, I won the lottery, met a beautiful woman... ok ok.. those things didn't happen, but my motorhome sure worked better.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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Quick update, got the batts back from parts store, hooked them back into the rv. Pulled out the amp clamp and again found nothing out of the norm. Fully charged batts are being charged off genset in a normail fashion, amperage to batteries quickly brought itself down from 6A to around 1 amp. Same results off the alternator intial charge about 6A and dropped to 1..2-1.5A quite quickly.

One thing I did notice that was strange, when the main batt is disconnected via the switch in the RV there was a 300mA draw on the batt still. From what I've seen that batt cable goes straight to a solenoid in the black ECB under the hood, what could be drawing for 300 mA? Short in the solenoid? There is one wire in the ECB that is questionable, it looks like somebody put it as a jumper for some reason.

Good idea on cleaning up the grounds, I'll do that today.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:23 PM   #5
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Help!!!

Things just get worse. Put fully charged batts back in, disconnected all batts by the switch in the MH. Came back 2 days later and had 2 dead house batts again!!! Took one batt out, won't take a charge on trickle charger. Left other batt in ran genset for a couple of hrs came back shut off gen, restarted off aux batt. Then I disconnected the aux batt at the terminals. Came back next day, again won't start genset.

Is this just a straight up batt problem?? Have left one batt at auto store to charge up for a day. Will then leave it out of the RV completely for a couple of days and load test after that. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, kind of getting to the end of my wits on this!!

Thx
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:32 PM   #6
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Is "main battery" the same as "chassis or engine battery? The 300 ma draw on the chassis battery is the engine computer "keep alive", i.e. the ECM remembering its settings and latest status. That function is NOT eliminated by the disconnect. There may be a few things on the house battery that bypass the disconnect too. For one, the power to the disconnect solenoid so you can turn it back on.

Sounds to me as though you may have a bad cell in one or more batteries. If they are flooded cell batteries, a hydrometer test will tell that that quickly. And do check that ground strap, as someone said previously.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:59 PM   #7
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In the process of checking the ground situation out I've come to wonder about a couple of things. On the house batts there are three wires going to ground all 2-4ga wire. One I've traced back to the trans bell housing connection has been cleaned at re-attached. One goes into a large wiring harness and heads to the back of the MH, the other goes to the front and goes through the firewall to places unknown. I'm starting to wonder if one of these wires should be going to +. Also there is no 120V on DC only power just on genset or shore. I've not had this RV very long and am not sure if it is supposed to have an inverter or not. If it does it is definetly not functioning.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:53 AM   #8
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300 ma is a bit high and will discharge your batteries over many weeks. If the coach had a large inverter you would have found it by now. If it has a small inverter of would be for the TV and interconnected components. The large cable going to the rear of the coach is for either generator and/or 12 volt distribution panel which may or may not be in the converter/charger or to a free standing charger. The front cable should be going to what is called the Battery Control Center. In this box are many fuses, solenoids and cables from the chassis and coach battery banks. I have found things to go wrong in them. We will need more information of this area and what you are finding as you pull one fuse at a time to eliminate loads that are not a problem and finding the ones that are not working properly.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:54 PM   #9
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300 ma is a bit high and will discharge your batteries over many weeks. If the coach had a large inverter you would have found it by now. If it has a small inverter of would be for the TV and interconnected components. The large cable going to the rear of the coach is for either generator and/or 12 volt distribution panel which may or may not be in the converter/charger or to a free standing charger. The front cable should be going to what is called the Battery Control Center. In this box are many fuses, solenoids and cables from the chassis and coach battery banks. I have found things to go wrong in them. We will need more information of this area and what you are finding as you pull one fuse at a time to eliminate loads that are not a problem and finding the ones that are not working properly.
Why is there a large ground going through the firewall, seems kind of extraneous. Same question for the ground going into a harness to the back of the RV. That is why I question these wires, it would make more sense if these were hot leads, but obviously don't want to just hook them to hot and see what happens as it could get ugly, fuses, explosion hazard etc. Again I'm new to the RV world and probably have a lot to learn. The only wire that is connected to the + terminal is going to the battery control center that you mentioned. Inside the BCC I see a wire that looks out of place that is jumping the two batt disconnects. Besides that the only other thing I see is what is said to be a push button circuit breaker that is cracked. There are two of these on the bottom of the box and both buttons are out approx 1/8" push them in and they come back out. Everything in the RV seems to work so I'm assuming that this is a normal position??

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Old 08-18-2009, 03:36 AM   #10
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If everything in the coach is working I doubt you have a B+ wire hooked to ground. Does everything 12 volt work when you are not plugged into shore power or have the generator running? You may want to remove the jumper across the disconnects to see if you have a bad solenoid or something. Let us know what you find. Don't worry to much about the small circuit breakers as the plastic housing for them has gotten weak but will still function properly.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:59 PM   #11
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I would guess the ground through the fire wall is intended to provide a high quality ground for head lights, wiper motor and the numerous electrical items mounted up front. May include the dashboard ground too.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:33 PM   #12
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Everything 12v works in the RV, I was kinda thinking the same thing that something wouldn't be working somewhere if there was a + wire hooked to ground. Also wouldn't necessarily explain the batt issues even if that was the case.

It's starting to look more and more like at least one faulty batt possibly both. I've put a group 31 hybrid batt in in place of the two deep cycles and it would seem that I'm not having any problems thus far. The two deep cycles have been back at the parts store for a couple of days and would appear that they will not take a charge properly, or hold a charge for any length of time. One batt has been fully charged and checked a day later to find that it wouldn't load test. Waiting to find out if the second batt is suffering the same fate.

If it does turn out to be batts that are toast I'm a little bit leary at this point. I had no problems with these batts for a few weeks and then things started to go downhill. Is there a fault in the RV that is killing them? I don't think the parts store would take kindly to replacing two more batts in a few months if there is an issue with RV.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:49 AM   #13
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I realize this thread is aging and you may have already solved your problem(s), but just a couple of observations.

First: That jumper you see in the BCC is obviously jumping around a defective aux start/charge solenoid. This may appear to solve one problem, but defeats a lot of the automatic charging and isolation circuitry in the BCC. The initial problem needs to be corrected and the jumper removed.

Do yourself a favor and contact Fleetwood Customer Support (direct or via their web site) and request the wiring diagrams for your coach. They will show you battery cable routing and connections.

Shoot me an e-mail address via private message and I can provide you with detailed diagrams and procedures for trouble shooting the RV-CP BCC.
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
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Update, two new deep cycles put in also added a third hybrid that I had laying around and everything seems to be working without any issues thus far. However I have quit running the fridge while not using the RV. But have had it out for a week and had no problems running DC appliances etc.. Thx for all the help!
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