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Old 05-19-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
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I need help! F53 2001 chassis is killing batteries. Coachmen Mirada

Our MH wouldn't start last week. I used the coach batteries to start it but it did not seem to charge while under way. I charged it with a charger but it went flat again. I bought another battery today and was told by the seller (who travels in a motor home) that I should connect only the negative terminal, then out a DC meter between the positive terminal and the positive lead. It should read 0 or so close to 0 as makes no difference. It is reading 12.8v. I must have a serious short or something drawing power. I checked and there is nothing running off of the chassis battery that I can find. I recently adjusted the wire to the jacks that tells it the ignition is on and the + wire to the newly installed rear view monitor so I disconnected them both. No change. Where can I start?
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:46 PM   #2
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Try same thing on negative terminal. Positive side is always 12v.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:52 PM   #3
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You seem to reporting 2 issues.

First you need to confirm it is charging while the engine is running. Put the cables on, start the engine and check the volts with the volt meter. Should show 13.5 or more volts.

If it doesn't charge, you need to get the alternator checked and repaired. That may also fix your second issue.

Next thing I noticed is you report a volt reading of 12.8 volts. Batteries at rest should be 12.6 volts unless youjustturnedoff a charger. Maybe a bad meter or are you plugged in and have a trickle start or something ?

Many MHs run the propane detectors, radios and a few other things off the chassis batteries, so getting a 0 reading may take some detective work.

Check the charging system first.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by WejaZ28 View Post
Try same thing on negative terminal. Positive side is always 12v.
What he did will result in the same thing you suggest.

You can put the meter in series, on either post, to complete the circuit.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahoona View Post
Our MH wouldn't start last week. I used the coach batteries to start it but it did not seem to charge while under way. I charged it with a charger but it went flat again. I bought another battery today and was told by the seller (who travels in a motor home) that I should connect only the negative terminal, then out a DC meter between the positive terminal and the positive lead. It should read 0 or so close to 0 as makes no difference. It is reading 12.8v. I must have a serious short or something drawing power. I checked and there is nothing running off of the chassis battery that I can find. I recently adjusted the wire to the jacks that tells it the ignition is on and the + wire to the newly installed rear view monitor so I disconnected them both. No change. Where can I start?
I'm not a mind reader but I believe your salesman was trying to see if you have a phantom load. Your meter need to changed to measure amps not voltage to do this. Make sure you have everything off in your RV. Most meters only handle about 10 amps. Any position number above 0 is using electricity.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:31 PM   #6
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What he did will result in the same thing you suggest.

You can put the meter in series, on either post, to complete the circuit.
Correct.

Put the cable back on, start the engine measure the voltage using your meter set to read voltage. It should read 13-14 volts with the engine running. A fully charge battery will read 12.6+ with the engine off (shore power not connected).
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:41 AM   #7
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Phantom Loads - they still draw a little bit of current, even when turned off. i.e. radios, tv, LP / CO gas alarm, tank level monitor, Truck ECM and other computers, OBCII devices

As others have suggested, make sure the batteries are charging, start the truck, both batteries, the coach and the chassis should be charging. Use your voltmeter and measure 13.8 - 14.8 volts on both batteries.

Your voltmeter may have an "amp" function. This is the best way to see how much current (amps) your phantom loads are drawing.

You can measure the amps and get an idea of what the phantom loads are. When I measured my coach phantom loads, they were 0.07 amps, These were the LP gas alarm and also the Monitor center (tank levels, etc).

you can read about them here

Phantom 12 volt Loads | 2001 Coachmen Mirada 300QB


I also installed a relay circuit that allows the chassis battery to be charged whenever I'm on shore power. There are many different ways to do this, but here is a circuit I installed.

Phantom 12 volt Loads | 2001 Coachmen Mirada 300QB
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:24 AM   #8
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Thanks to all. I am going out there as soon as I can get my assistant (DW) out of bed and coffee's up. I do feel much better with these suggestions. So for the first round I will check for charging, double check the battery voltage( I had posted it from memory and my memory isn't what it was), Check to see what phantom load is and see what that tells me. If these things chek out OK I may start pulling likely fuses and relays while my wife watches the meter to see if there is one big item shorting. I hate that because I have to remove the drivers chair to get to the fuses inside but I am getting good at it. I will report back as soon as I see anything.

Waiter: Good to hear from you again. I will read your posts on the phantom load and the relay to charge from shore power. You have a great site there. I would like to divert some power from my solar system to charge the chassis battery. Not right now though.
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A 15yo RV is like a Steam Locomotive. Run time/Maintenance is about 65/35. For every 65 hours in use it needs 35 hours of work.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:30 AM   #9
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Kahoona, If you have anything you want to post on the site, send it to me along with photos. I get a lot of older Mirada owners checking in.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:35 AM   #10
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Kahoona, If you have anything you want to post on the site, send it to me along with photos. I get a lot of older Mirada owners checking in.
OK. Via PM or do you want to PM me an email?
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A 15yo RV is like a Steam Locomotive. Run time/Maintenance is about 65/35. For every 65 hours in use it needs 35 hours of work.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:55 AM   #11
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I share my solar output between battery banks with a $55.00 Cyrix combiner.

I made 2 short 8 gauge wires to each side of the boost solenoid and a ground to chassis. It's cheap and easy to install.

Yandina.com has one for the near the same price, with wires included.

I store the MH 6 months with everthing connected and all batteries are topped off when I return to it. I do the same with my stored trawler, for the other 6 months.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I share my solar output between battery banks with a $55.00 Cyrix combiner.

I made 2 short 8 gauge wires to each side of the boost solenoid and a ground to chassis. It's cheap and easy to install.

Yandina.com has one for the near the same price, with wires included.

I store the MH 6 months with everthing connected and all batteries are topped off when I return to it. I do the same with my stored trawler, for the other 6 months.
Nice! One bank will have four batteries (coach) and the other one (chassis). Will this still work?
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A 15yo RV is like a Steam Locomotive. Run time/Maintenance is about 65/35. For every 65 hours in use it needs 35 hours of work.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:32 PM   #13
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Alright. Here is what I found. This is getting too odd but....
Part 1- This morning the battery voltage was 12.3 It was not connected. With the + terminal disconnected I sometimes get a 12v+ drain. Sometimes I do not. It seems to happen after running the generator or engine and goes away. The charging voltage after starting was a little over 13v which is right for an almost fully charged battery. I know that my Triplett DMM is accurate. I use it regularly to repair audio equipment. Nothing has changed but it did quit drawing and then start again. I will keep checking.
Part 2- My low beams are cutting out for a fraction of a second every 2 seconds. It is regular, not random and never changes. I think this means a breaker resetting and therefore a short somewhere or a bad breaker. This may or may not mean anything but one of my daytime running lights burned out at the same time this started. Mt lights were not turned on when I measured the draw on the battery. The high beams and the daytime running lights are fine.
I am going to locate the breaker and see if I can swap-test it with another. Both low affected the same. I will clean the light connections and look for shorts. I hope it is not that light switch. That could be expensive!
I'll check back in a while in case anybody has any suggestions.
Thanks
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A 15yo RV is like a Steam Locomotive. Run time/Maintenance is about 65/35. For every 65 hours in use it needs 35 hours of work.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:44 PM   #14
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Nice! One bank will have four batteries (coach) and the other one (chassis). Will this still work?
My boat has 8 batteries in one bank and 2 in the other. All the same 6 volt deep cycle, works fine.

The MH is 2 house 1 start. No problems so far.
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