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Old 05-28-2015, 03:26 PM   #1
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Thor Four Winds dead chassis battery advice

Hi, I have a Thor Four Winds 31F. In think my Chassis battery is dead. My coach has sat unmoved for he past year. It usually needs assistance from the house batteries to start but this time it didn't work. When I used the chassis battery boost switch it only ticks quickly and repeatedly when I turn the ignition. Is this normal for a dead battery and can I try and jump the battery with my truck without harming any components on my rig? The battery is most likely the original battery installed in 2009 and has been jumped from the house batteries a half a dozen times and has always responded in the past. What does anybody think of the factory Motor Craft battery as a replacement. Any other suggestions? My rig was bought used with 9000 miles on it. Thank you, Jeff
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:17 PM   #2
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Since you've been having trouble with the starting battery for a while, I'd guess you're right. The battery is probably dead. Before you replace it, though, take it out and take it to an auto parts store and have it checked. Auto Zone and O'Reilly's do it for free. Others probably do too. Also, while it's out, check and clean all the cable connections, especially where the ground cable attaches to the engine or frame.

It sounds like you don't use your motor home very often. That's a killer for any battery. They really like being kept charged and full of electrolyte at all times. Sitting unused will discharge them over time. You might want to think about purchasing a solar charger to keep your new battery charged while you're not using it.

As for Motorcraft batteries, I guess they're as good as any. The pair in my F-350 Powerstroke lasted ten years before I had to replace them. I understand that's on the high end, but I keep them charged and check and add (distilled) water whenever they start to get low. Be kind to them and they'll last a long time.

You could probably solve all your problems just by using it more.
"Get out and enjoy life", I always say!
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:00 PM   #3
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Most every modern RV's chassis battery has parasitic draws including the engine computer's memory. Leaving the rig sit too long without any charge to the battery will kill the battery.

There is no issue jump starting a Class C like any other vehicle.

After replacing the chassis battery, if the RV will sit for long periods of time, an option is to obtain a small dashboard solar panel that plugs into the cigar lighter jack...that will off-set the small draw from storage.

Best luck
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Old 05-29-2015, 01:52 AM   #4
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Thank you for the replies guys. I did try and jump it tonight and I get a rapid clicking sound but no turn over. Is that normal for a dead battery? Is that the starter trying to work? On taking the battery out tonight it looks like both of the sides of the battery are bowed out about a half an inch. So I guess it's probably shot. I'll get a new one tomorrow and try it. I hope nothing is associated with the ticking noise and that that's just normal operation and not a solenoid or something. Any part numbers or suggestions on the trickle charger for the new battery? Thanks, Jeff
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:45 AM   #5
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A fast clicking noise upon starting (low battery or while jump starting) is a tattle-tale that there is not enough power to engage the starter. The noise is actually the starter solenoid partly engaging, then releasing due to the low voltage.

Jump starting a vehicle that has a battery that is shorted (like with bowed sidewalls) could be difficult or impossible, because the failed battery is like a deep hole that will take all the juice coming from the other car.

From the description, it sounds like the RV is OK but the battery is shot. Replacement should fix the issue.

We use a "Battery Minder" trickle charger to charge a battery at home:
Avoid Battery Sulfation with a Desulfating Battery Charger | BatteryMINDers

And use a Schumacher 2.4Watt solar panel when the RV is not being driven (our RV does not charge the chassis battery from the house converter/charger):
Amazon.com: Schumacher SP-200 2.4W Solar Battery Maintainer: Automotive

We have no affiliation to these vendors. The products just work for us.

Best luck
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:05 PM   #6
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Yep sounds like your battery is toast, just a question, I too have a four winds Windsport but a 31D, when I park it, I hit the battery disconnect switches for both chassis and coach, mine are right by the door, and disconnect my batteries, then park it for 6 months, I go out in the spring and check everything, then hit the "connect batteries" switch, then hit the key ... She fires right up everytme no issues.
Are you using those switches too?? I have noticed that the batteries are right up, I'm in Alberta Canada and it gets cold here in the winter, batteries hold well that way!!
Just a though I would ask!
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:29 PM   #7
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Hi Guys thanks for the info on the starter and low voltage signs. It was the battery. I bought the Sears Diehard Platinum AGM battery as I thought Sears would have a variety of locations to service this if I were out on the road. It had 300 more CCA than my original Motorcraft battery. The motor started right up. Good news as we needed to leave town the next day on a short trip. Thanks for the advice on the battery minder and solar charger. I will look into one of those as you say you've had good luck on them. Also I will look for a battery disconnect switch for the chassis. I know I have a dedicated switch for the house batteries, but haven't paid much attention to one for the chassis battery. Also, I checked my house batteries while I was out and they are interstate marine/RV. The only info on them on Interstate's site is that they are 700 CCA. Does anyone know how to convert this figure to Amp hours? I eventually would like to go solar and replace these with high amp hour batteries. But in the mean time, I'd like to know how long they would power things without shore power with no hook-ups. Thanks, Jeff
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:09 PM   #8
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Marine/RV are a cross between a house and a start battery. Now that said if you don't boondock or boondock very little or are plugged in most of the time they will do well. If you plan on boondocking got with the biggest deep cycle battery or batteries you can fit in the space, either 12 volt(there are some good 12 volt deep cycle) or 2 6 volt in series to make 12 volts. I would guess your house batteries are on their last also. As to how long they last is like asking how many drinks till I can't walk, everyones power usage is different. If you watch TV, run the inverter a lot, make coffee(electric) run the micro, or have the furnace on a lot, maybe a day. If you run the Gen during the high use times 3-4 hours a day all but till fuel runs out. Being conservative one can go 2-4 days. Thats with a french press for the coffee little lights, little furnace, little TV, sit by the fire at night and talk, I know thats a strain today but really it can be done.

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