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Old 01-11-2007, 08:00 PM   #1
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We recently purchased an Itasca Sunova 29R and when we picked it up the tech told me he had checked all the fluid levels. The coach is in winter storage and I visited it today and the house batts were dead. I check the levels in the house batts and it looked like several of the cells were dry. I put about a pint of distilled H2O in the two batts and ran the engine for about an hour. I will go back and check tomorrow but how much damage was done to the batts when the cell level gets low? Would that cause the problem or am I looking at new house batts?
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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We recently purchased an Itasca Sunova 29R and when we picked it up the tech told me he had checked all the fluid levels. The coach is in winter storage and I visited it today and the house batts were dead. I check the levels in the house batts and it looked like several of the cells were dry. I put about a pint of distilled H2O in the two batts and ran the engine for about an hour. I will go back and check tomorrow but how much damage was done to the batts when the cell level gets low? Would that cause the problem or am I looking at new house batts?
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:27 AM   #3
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regardless of the state you find the batteries in , i would be at the dealer's service dept. and demand ( respectfully, mind you) that they did not check "all" the fluid levels and owe you some new batteries. do not let them replace only one as they must be replaced in pairs otherwise you will be in the same position shortly. good luck.

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Old 01-12-2007, 12:49 AM   #4
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Here are a few links I have posted before for those that want to learn about batteries:
http://www.dcbattery.com/faq.html#1
http://www.usbattery.com/care.htm
www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm What year is the coach? What brand of batteries. It sure would not hurt to try Terry's suggestion.
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:57 AM   #5
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Well, I forgot to to say this is a used coach. I bought "as is, no implied warranty" I suppose it is my bad for trusting the tech and no looking for myself.
Wizard, thanks for the info.
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:38 AM   #6
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Indy - Sorry about your battery problems. Looks like you may be in the market for a couple of new batteries. RV Wizard's links should prove helpful in making your selection and for caring for your batteries. I have found the site for his last link very helpful myself in the past. HERE is another link to a site that I have also found to be useful.
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:42 AM   #7
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Apparently there was water in them at one time. water boils out of batteries when they are charged if the voltage is excessive. A good 3 stage converter will charge in three modes - bulk, absorption, and float. The float mode reduces the voltage so that the cells don't boil. Once that happens the outgas hydrogen and your water level drops. It's possible that your converter may be putting out too much voltage in the float mode. It's something I'd have checked because if it does do this you'll continue to cook out your batteries in the future, even if they are replaced with new ones. On my 2003 Itasca Suncruiser I never had to add any battery water in the 18 months I had it and I kept it plugged in at my house 24/7 so the converter was always on.

If you decide that your batteries might be okay, I'd also recommend running an equalize procedure on them. There's a link on how to do this, and how to test batteries on This Page.
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:00 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Cruzer:
&lt;snip&gt; A good 3 stage converter will charge in three modes - bulk, absorption, and float. &lt;snip&gt; </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Of course, this description does not apply to the engine's charging system (which is essentially a constant-voltage charging set-up). I believe that such charging systems are basically incompatible with flooded cell deep-cycle batteries, and I am searching for/thinking of a way to fix this.

You might try to save the batteries by draining & re-filling them with fresh electrolyte, bring them up to full charge using the correct charging regime, then drain & re-fill with fresh electrolyte. Or you can go the other way by load testing them to see what the internal resistance is like, and decide what to do from there.

But, like others have said, if I were you the first thing I'd do is replace the batteries, preferably with golf-cart-style batteries if they'll physically fit and connect up to the stock battery cables. Then I'd investigate what else to do to keep the problem from happening again.
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #9
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Thanks, folks, a lot of good info. Appreciate the help. I am going to measure the batt compartment and see if I can go with golf cart batts.
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Indy Itasca:
Thanks, folks, a lot of good info. Appreciate the help. I am going to measure the batt compartment and see if I can go with golf cart batts. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Golf cart batteries are a good choice.
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:48 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I will go back and check tomorrow but how much damage was done to the batts when the cell level gets low? Would that cause the problem or am I looking at new house batts? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Simply having the water run low is not in itself damaging. And if 1 pint refilled both batteries, they certainly were not dry - they hold a lot more than that.

Will low water cause a "dead" battery? Most assuredly. With inadequate water, it won't accept a charge and can't deliver full - or even very many - amps when needed.

Are you looking at new batts? There is no way to tell based on what you describe. Refilling them with water restores whatever capability they had before they dried out. Whether that was a lot or a little is impossible to say. A "load test" with a battery load tester would give you some idea - most auto parts stores will do this free of charge if you take them in.

Running the engine for an hour probably recharged the batteries only partially, so do not be surprised if the batts are still low.

But what have you done to protect the batts from being drained while in storage? And how often do you re-charge them? Batteries will slowly "self-drain" even with nothing connected, so they need to be replenished periodically, perhaps every 3-4 weeks. And if you have not used the battery disconnect switch to remove parasitic loads, the batts will discharge much more quickly than that. Even using the disconnect switch (if one was supplied) isn't guaranteed because some things remain connected, e.g. CO detectors and other safety-related equipment. Disconnecting the hot or ground wire from the battery is the only fool-proof method and you still have to replenish for the Self-discharge loss.
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:19 PM   #12
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Thanks Gary. I did have the disconnect switch off, so that the house was separated from batts. They were dead when I went back. With the engine running I took a volt meter and measured 13.4 volts across each of them. I ran both the genset and the engine for an hour. When I shut the engine off the monitor panel showed full charge. I shut down the generator and then fired up the furnace. The batt status lights when down to Empty in about a minute. The MH is an 05 but is almost 3 yeard old. These appear to be the original batts. They are type 24 Interstate. When weather permits I guess I will take it to get them checked out and/or replaced.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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I bought a new MH in 04. Everything was under warranty. I use the MH every summer. My batteries died this fall. They were Interstate series 24 batteries. The warranty on these batteries is 30 months under ideal conditions. I left the MH connected to shore power for weeks on end. I boiled the batteries. MY BAD. I just replaced the batteries with new Interstate series 24 batteries. I expect to replace them in 30 months. So goes life.
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Old 02-27-2007, 04:18 PM   #14
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The Interstate Group 24 batteries are usually what is called a "marine" battery, which doesn't mean much of anything. It's basically just a modest sized car battery, maybe tweaked a bit so they can claim is has "deep cycle" properties. Yeah, 30 months is about all you can hope for in an RV application. Interstate makes some good batteries, e.g. a pretty decent golf cart (GC1) battery, but these low priced marine/deep cycle 24's are not one of them.

Next time I suggest replacing them with a pair of golf cart 6V's, wired in series. They will give you 25% more amp hours (220 vs 170) and should last 6-7 years instead of 2.5.
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