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Old 09-16-2014, 01:53 PM   #1
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Chassis Battery Issue

I have a 06 Holiday Rambler Admiral, with Chevy 8.1L, Workhorse W22 chassis that we purchased a couple of months ago. After picking it up at the dealer and going over the whole coach I was making my way home and stopped for gas. Shut down to fill up and when I went to start it, dead. Long story, short, I got jumped, started, tested the battery, it tested at around 12.1v so I decided to replace it as it was old. New battery, a couple of trips no problem. It has been sitting in my yard on 50a shore power for around 3 weeks. We've been using the inside (AC, Heat, we are in Vermont so need both) lights etc. I just went to start it, nothing, battery at .50v. It's on a portable charger to bring it back. Doesn't the shore power suppose to maintain the chassis battery also and is there something in the house that would use the chassis battery? Would disconnecting the chassis battery at the disconnect switch be a good idea?
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:53 PM   #2
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I don't think it does on your make & model of coach, though it does on some other brands.

It also appears you have a significant chassis battery drain, so probably some accessory has been wired to it, or something is cross-conected between house and chassis systems, so they are no longer isolated. I say that becasue by itslef the chassis battery might get low, but nowhere near 0.5v. Try the chassis battery disconnect, but it is possible that whatever is draining it bypasses the disconnect as well.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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Had similar issue, mine was a bad starter that had a dead spot on it! Changed starter and gone 5000 mile with no issues...
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:19 PM   #4
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The coach is new enough to be part of the microcontroller explosion in vehicle chassis applications. Many do not draw much power but combined they will suck most modern cars down in a couple of weeks. You may also have some unexpected draw like a GPS or other devices that do not totally turn off when they shut down. The only answers are a battery disconnect that can cause some driveability problems if removing power resets the driving computer error codes or a trickle charger that float charges the battery with enough power to cover the parasitic losses. If you try the float charger route check the battery voltage after around a week and two weeks to see if it is keeping up or losing ground.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:24 PM   #5
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The coach is new enough to be part of the microcontroller explosion in vehicle chassis applications. Many do not draw much power but combined they will suck most modern cars down in a couple of weeks. You may also have some unexpected draw like a GPS or other devices that do not totally turn off when they shut down. The only answers are a battery disconnect that can cause some driveability problems if removing power resets the driving computer error codes or a trickle charger that float charges the battery with enough power to cover the parasitic losses. If you try the float charger route check the battery voltage after around a week and two weeks to see if it is keeping up or losing ground.
I have a 8.1 and it not the batteries, trust me the starter needs replacing. Have them take it off and test it! Then you will see what I'm been saying!
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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You can test to see if charging happens of chassis battery on shore power or house battery on engine alternator. After letting batteries sit 3 hours or more not on shore power, take a reading of voltage of both battery groups. Then plug in shoe power and take a second reading. Then unplug shore power, start engine, and take a reading of each battery group. You should see a difference on shore power and/or engine.
Do you have a battery boost switch on dash to connect both house and chassis batteries together for emergency start? If you do and it works, you should have a battery isolation relay that normally is wired to connect batteries when a charging source is present.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:46 PM   #7
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How would the starter drain the battery if it's not engaged?
I charged the battery for around 45 min and it started right up so I let it run for about an hour. It's to dark to test the battery so I'll test it in the morning. I threw the disconnect switch and after reading the manual it says to disconnect if not running it over 48 hrs so maybe that is all it is?
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:49 PM   #8
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I'll take those reading and see if there is a difference, thanks. I do have a battery boost switch, but I'm not sure how it works.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:52 PM   #9
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Battery disconnect switches often don't really disconnect. Turn your switch off, then remove battery cable and measure amps between cable and battery post. Engine and/or transmission computer, radio presets and clock, electric steps, etc. continue to use current even with BDS off.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:04 AM   #10
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FWIW I have worked on 5 MH's so far for us or friends. All had a battery boost switch. All charged the house batteries through an isolator. None charged the Chassis battery off the House charger. From what I have seen here it seems to be a function of the higher end units with a dedicated power management computer sucking another parasitic load. ;-) The reason I got involved with all of them was chassis batteries going flat over the winter with the unit occasionally plugged in.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:05 PM   #11
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Just about all Fleetwood & American Coach brand coaches will charge the chassis battery(s) from the house system. Late model Winnebago diesels do also. Not many others do.
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:46 PM   #12
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So I charged the battery yesterday, at 6:30 last night the battery was 12.53v, 10:30 this morning 12.41v and just now 3:40, 12.38v, is this normal? I have the disconnect off and am plugged into shore power.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
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So I charged the battery yesterday, at 6:30 last night the battery was 12.53v, 10:30 this morning 12.41v and just now 3:40, 12.38v, is this normal? I have the disconnect off and am plugged into shore power.
How soon after you finished charging the battery did you take the first reading? That could be the surface charge, which is higher after the battery has had a chance to absorb the surface charge. (about at least 3 hours) Still, your figures show a parasitic draw and your converter/charger is not charging your chassis battery. You'll need to find out if the chassis battery is supposed to charge on shore power and then either what's wrong or what you'll need to add to make it charge.

You can figure out what's drawing down the battery by hooking an ammeter (or multimeter set to amps) between (+) post and cable. Then start pulling chassis fuses one by one and watch amp draw. You might also pull wires connecting alternator to be sure it's not a bad diode in it, which can be a strong parasitic drain.

I've not heard of a starter with a 'dead spot' drawing down a battery. Not turning over the engine, yes, but not creating a draw. It's not even connected until you turn the key.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:55 PM   #14
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Is there some kind of trickle charger I could use to maintain in case I don't find the draw. I did check the house batteries and they were being charged by the shore power but the chassis voltage stayed the same on or off shore power. I did add a charge wizard a while back if that matters
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