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Old 01-01-2016, 10:14 AM   #1
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Battery drain on Honda CRV while towing

Just did our initial trip (3-hour drive) with our new 2014 CRV. Haven't gotten a 4-down set up yet (can't decide an supplemental braking system), so I used my EZ Tow dolly. Much easier set up on the EZ Tow with the CRV than my old Murano. Smaller tires so the nets are easier to set up and there are tow hooks on the front of the CRV for the safety chains so I don't have to crawl under the car to attach the chains. My wife keeps bugging me to get a 4-down set up, but so far I'm kind of unmotivated based on what I've seen so far with the EZ Tow.

I don't get where people are complainInc about battery drain while towing CRVs. I put the key in, unlock the wheel, and just leave the key in the "off" position. I know the wheel won't lock up unless you pull the key. Just to make sure, I put a wrap of white electrical tape at the 12 O'clock position of my steering wheel and peek at it while turning the coach. You can see the steering wheel turn as you go. No battery drain at all.

What am I missing? Do you do something different when towing 4-down (other than cycle the trans before leaving and putting it in neutral)?
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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The manual is your guide. It says flat tow with key in first position. If you have the GPS the screen will be on and with the factory battery it will run down in a couple of hours. Since installing the fuse bypass switch from Roadmaster, no more dead battery. Others have made their own switch with parts from auto shops etc. Also note that our 2014 manual lists the wrong fuse... Roadmaster site has the correct fuse listed.

http://roadmasterinc.com/products/ac...usemaster.html
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:54 AM   #3
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Since you towed it on a dolly with rear wheels on the ground, I assume it's a rear wheel drive and not an AWD. The AWD version must be towed 4 down or on a flatbed trailer.

Page 235 of the owner's manual says it's to be towed with key in the 'ACC' position. I tow a VW Beetle, it also can be set as you do, insert key, turn to ACC to unlock the wheel, then to the off position. Until key is removed, the wheel remains unlocked.

http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/p...u/0A1414OM.pdf

I'd check with a dealer to be sure there is nothing being harmed by towing in the unlocked/off position. You do have electric power steering, I don't know if that makes a difference in your CRV. The manual is pretty specific about following directions EXACTLY or you might have a coverage issue if damage happens and you towed it your way.

Adding a charge wire isn't that hard, it's very useful if you decide on an aux. brake system that requires power. I use a 6 pin Blue ox umbilical, and wired 12 v power to the center pin. A 20 amp auto reset circuit breaker in the wire going to the socket on the RV bumper and another one between the toad socket and battery prevents excessive current flow when the starter is making a serious imbalance of voltage momentarily during starting RV. The rest of the time the RV and Toad batteries seek equal level and current is minimal. The alternator maintains full charge in both systems and won't over charge either batteries.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:42 PM   #4
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^^^^ I don't think there is a such thing as a rear wheel drive 2014 CR-V. Front wheel or AWD.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
^^^^ I don't think there is a such thing as a rear wheel drive 2014 CR-V. Front wheel or AWD.
You are correct. But, if you are towing the AWD on a dolly, you are in for a hit to the credit card for transmission repairs.

As for the dead battery, wait and see. You will have an issue at some point. The fix is to replace the Toy battery with Real battery. FYI, the 2015 (which sadly I'd not towable) has the larger group 24 battery as standard as a result of battery complaints. The Group 51 battery is grossly undersized.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
^^^^ I don't think there is a such thing as a rear wheel drive 2014 CR-V. Front wheel or AWD.
Yes, I had a brain fart as I typed that, I meant to say Front Wheel drive.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:36 PM   #7
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I think that the battery problem comes from the braking system, which you have avoided with the dolly. Ours goes down after a few hours even though the Invisabrake sends a trickle charge to the toad battery (from the MH tail light circuit).

We will probably install the fuse bypass switch, but even with that, the car needs to run enough to top off the battrry.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:45 PM   #8
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This general issue comes up frequently. I usually say that I found great success with replacing the original battery with a Costco battery. No issues since. Until recently. Towed from Sacramento to Bakersfield, just slightly longer than usual. But it was much colder than usual. Battery was dead. I have one of those portable jump start/compressors that I use to maintain my bike tire inflation. Used it to jump the car. It was too low to do so. Now I'm back to starting the Honda whenever I stop to use the restroom. And that's more than frequently enough.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by coupevilleDF View Post
I think that the battery problem comes from the braking system, which you have avoided with the dolly. Ours goes down after a few hours even though the Invisabrake sends a trickle charge to the toad battery (from the MH tail light circuit).

We will probably install the fuse bypass switch, but even with that, the car needs to run enough to top off the battrry.
My advice, forget about tinkering with fuses etc. Go to your Honda dealer and buy a new 2 piece battery tray for a 2013 Honda Odessy. Less than $20.
Then go get a new Group 24 battery rated at no less than 800 CCA, drop it in place of the OEM 400 CCA battery and you will never have another battery problem.
This is a complete Plug and Play change. No Mods required.
I have towed for two days without unhooking (start for a few minutes in the AM to lube the transmission) and never even close to a dead battery. I have a charge line from the MH but do not pull fuses.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:53 PM   #10
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Here are the part numbers for the battery box. Sorry I missed it on my previous post.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:11 PM   #11
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While Dennis is probably offering the best long term solution for an under-sized battery, you'll notice he's also installed a charge line from the RV. My diesel VW has had a long history of discharging the battery over periods of little use. (When I was working every day it never occurred. Now, it sits for sometimes 4-5 days with no use and it will be a 'hold your breath' experience when trying to start it, especially on cold days. With the charge wire connected to the RV, this is never an issue when traveling. The chassis batteries keep the Toad's battery topped up. When we stop in a campground, I usually unplug the umbilical cable as a part of setting up. If I'm Wally camping, leaving the cable connected has never been an issue, but if it did somehow deplete the chassis batteries, I can use the dashboard Boost switch to get power from the house batteries. I can also use the generator to charge everything back up.

I don't see the need to pull fuses or install switches to imitate pulling fuses. A charge wire is a simple solution and doesn't require running the toad during rest stops or other extraordinary measures.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:25 PM   #12
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The invisibrake charge line can't keep up. It's either the fuse solutuon, stop and run engine 15 minutes every 2 hours or so, or the bigger battery.

So far the fusemaster has worked.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
While Dennis is probably offering the best long term solution for an under-sized battery, you'll notice he's also installed a charge line from the RV. My diesel VW has had a long history of discharging the battery over periods of little use. (When I was working every day it never occurred. Now, it sits for sometimes 4-5 days with no use and it will be a 'hold your breath' experience when trying to start it, especially on cold days. With the charge wire connected to the RV, this is never an issue when traveling. The chassis batteries keep the Toad's battery topped up. When we stop in a campground, I usually unplug the umbilical cable as a part of setting up. If I'm Wally camping, leaving the cable connected has never been an issue, but if it did somehow deplete the chassis batteries, I can use the dashboard Boost switch to get power from the house batteries. I can also use the generator to charge everything back up.

I don't see the need to pull fuses or install switches to imitate pulling fuses. A charge wire is a simple solution and doesn't require running the toad during rest stops or other extraordinary measures.
Undersized batteries seem to be the flavour of the day in a lot of today's vehicles. They last long enough to get through the warranty period in moderate climate conditions but add a little extra drain such as towing or freezing temps and the battery simply can't handle it.

The battery in the Honda is not much more than an oversized Lawn Tractor battery but the CRV has a lot more devices to drain the battery than a Lawn Tractor.
Even with the charge line, unless I stopped every 2-3 hours, I would arrive with a dead battery. After three warranty trips to the Honda dealer and them telling me there was no problem, I decided to put in a real battery that has the capacity to do the job. The breaking point for me was when I stopped for gas and left the lights on for less than 10 minutes and found the battery Stone Dead.

Aside from towing, I have left it parked in a hotel parking lot in sub zero temps for nearly six weeks and no trouble starting since replacing the battery.

As I indicated in my earlier post, the 2015 CRV now has the group 24 as standard issue. Why do you think that is?
Folks on this forum have all kinds of "cheap fixes" for this issue but there is only one "Fix" and in the end it's not that expensive.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:53 PM   #14
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Been towing our '05 Ody both on a dolly and four down since we bought it Dec 26th 2004. Used to have trouble with the battery going dead when towing four down even though I used the RoadMaster BrakeMaster air actuated braking unit.
Added in a charge line and have never had a problem since.
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