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Old 05-16-2014, 06:57 PM   #1
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Dead Battery - GMC Denali towed

Well, our journey of getting set up continues. Had a Blue OX tow bar and plates, Remco pump, M&G brake system, and an M&G emergency breakaway system installed for our rig. I'm thrilled with the quality of the installation work.

Here's the problem; After a 2-1/2 to 3 hour drive home, the Denali's battery was dead. I had turned off the nav, the ac, and as many power draining items as I could find, but having to leave the key in the ignition to unlock the column is obviously taking too much power.

My worries in this situation are around what suffers when that battery goes dead. I don't believe the Remco does, because that is wired in to the coach batteries. The only thing that would (I believe) is the emergency breakaway brake system. I know that it is the only component of this new installation that is wired into the towed vehicle battery.

My question is what happens to this breakaway system when that switch looses power? With an absence, or decrease of voltage, does it start applying the emergency braking system?

That question asside, it sounds like I need to hook a wire into the coach 12v system and get it (through a fuse) to the positive battery terminal. Anyone familiar with the emergency braking systems, and know what the failure mode is on power loss. If it wasn't for that worry, I would probably just resolve myself to jumping with a power pack when we get where we're going.

As always, thanks to all the helpful folks in IRV2!!!
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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Hello Blackcabby; the breakaway system will operate until the plug is pulled and applies power to the breakaway when it completes the circuit. Until then it does nothing but wait until it is needed. I pull the fuse on my breakaway and remove the plug so it doesn't walk away.

Yes I would run a charge wire to the Denali .

I hope this information helps.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:10 PM   #3
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Thanks, Dave!

I wanted to confirm that the circuit is completed on break-away plug pull, vs. vice versa. I still need to resolve the battery issue for the emergency situation, but feel better knowing that it's not creating a brake drag.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:12 PM   #4
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Actually if your battery is dead and you did have a breakaway the system will fail due t no power. I am not sure why the car manufacturers show in their manuals that a car is towable four down then fail to tell you that the battery will go dead at around two to three hours with the key in the accessory position, We towed a 2008 Ford Explorer for 6 years all across the US with no problems. Bought a 2014 Ford Explorer and followed the towing guidelines exactly. Stopped after six hours as instructed to exercise the transmission and the battery was dead. I liked the roadside assistance guy that came out he said he sees this all the time and that I should just call Ford roadside assistance for a jump every time I stop and that maybe Ford would get the hint after awhile since it costs them $50 every time he comes out. I thought better of that and just installed a charge wire. Suspect you need to do the same.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:14 PM   #5
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What Denali? I have the roadmaster braking system on our 2011 2500 Denali hd , put the transfer case in neutral take the key out and tow no steering lock
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:17 PM   #6
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Question

Thanks, Brian! Did your charge wire run to both the towed battery terminals (+/-)? I've seen posts where people have said you need to run to both terminals, others saying just the positive post....
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
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Tom,

It's a 2008 Denali (Yukon) with a 6.2 V8, 6spd, and AWD. There is no transfer case. Once the vehicle transmission is put in neural, it will not release the key (which is in the acc position).
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:23 PM   #8
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What year is your Denali, is it 4x4? Four wheel drive gmc you can put transfer case in N, take key out of ignition. Its all in the Op manual
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:29 PM   #9
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Its a 2008, and has full time AWD as its four wheel drive. While there is a transfer case, I don't have a cockpit dial to modify the drive regime.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcabby View Post
Thanks, Brian! Did your charge wire run to both the towed battery terminals (+/-)? I've seen posts where people have said you need to run to both terminals, others saying just the positive post....
I used an ohm meter to verify I did not have a shared ground between the coach and the toad when the tow bar was hooked up, so I found it necessary to connect both the positive and negative. Some tow bars will provide the ground but I would not rely on it. The original wiring for the lights was done by Camping World and they did not connect the ground wire from the coach to the frame ground of the toad they just wired straight to the tail lights. In my case I replaced my 7 pin to 4 pin cable with a 7 pin to 6 pin cable and then hooked up the positive and negative lines on the toad end at the battery. The coach wiring was ready to use.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:14 PM   #11
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If it is all wheel drive it has a lube pump to be towable 4 down. If the battery is going dead that means the lube pump won't run when the battery dies, not good for the tranny. I thought you needed power from the coach to power the pump? Did the installer of the lube pump forget to run a charge line?
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #12
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The lube pump is powered directly from the coach batteries. But there is nothing coming from the coach to deal with the accessory draw on the towed battery when the steering column is unlocked (key in accessory spot).
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:50 AM   #13
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I prefer the toad-charger. I don't want to keep discharging my battery.

Toad-Charge Towed Vehicle Battery Charger & Maintainer Kit - RV Power Supply
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:50 AM   #14
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YUP--dont think the manual mentions it but you have to plug the fuse for the instru panel. You mentioned that your tranny pump was powered by a charge line, so assume your aux brake system [ie brake away--same thing or different???] is also powered by that circuit????? Anyway, with the key in the access position, there are a lot of hidden draws in the vehicle--with my 2010 silverado 4x4 there is no need to put the key in access but it will kill the bat anyway--so pull the fuse or charge the whole electrical system......
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