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Old 08-30-2013, 11:45 AM   #1
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TOAD battery goes dead

My tow car is a 2008 Saturn Vue. I have US Gear Brake system. If I tow the car for two or three days without driving it the battery goes dead. The tow procedure is to place the ignition switch in ACC, gear selector Neutral, brake off and lights off. There is 12 volts coming from the MH to the tow when hooked up but that is obviously not enough to keep the battery charged. What I have discovered is that with the tow disconnected from the MH and the switch in ACC and everything apparently off, 5 amps is coming out of the battery and going somewhere. By experimenting I found that pulling two fuses marked Instrument Panel Bussed Electrical Center, the current draw drops to about .1 amps. Does anyone know if it would be safe to pull these fuses before towing the car. I assume the reason you put it in ACC is to unlock the steering wheel and allow the gear selctor to be set to neutral. Thanks in advace for you ideas.

Jim
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #2
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That's interesting! I tow an '08 Saturn Vue and have never had a battery problem. According to the manual, you turn the ignition key to ACC, place the gear in neutral and pull one 5 amp, fuse, located in the fuse panel, on the console, under the dash, to the left of the passenger's seat. I did just that, for about 3 years, until I installed an off/on switch for the fuse. Now I just flip the fuse switch, after the ign and shift are set and I'm good to go.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:33 PM   #3
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Hi Gripper

I just looked through my manual and don't see anything about pulling a fuse. Do you know which one you pulled?

Jim
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:53 PM   #4
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Look on page 5-97, you will see the fuse panel block. The fuse you want to pull, is the IGN (ignition) switch, between the Air Bag and the BCM fuse. Look for the white "fuse puller". All 3 fuses mentioned are beside the puller. If you happen to have the driver's door open, the door chime will stop when you pull the fuse. Then you know that you have the right one. The radio, if on, will also quit, but it will not mess up your dial settings. Page 5-98 identifies all the fuses.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:13 PM   #5
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Here are pics of my set-up. The little black button is all I have to flip (on/off) when I am hooking or unhooking my toad. In the other pic, you can see where the fuse is located by following the black wire. I purchased the switch online after another member told me where to look. I can't be absolutely sure, where I ordered it from, but I believe it was from "rvpartsplus.com" .


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Old 08-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #6
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Hey Gripper

I just tested your setup on my car and it seems to work as advertised. It drops the current draw down to about a quarter of an amp which is interesting since the fuse in that position in my car is labeled 2 amps. I guess it controls some relays. I seem to have about a quarter amp draw with everything off but that could be my cheapie clamp-on ammeter. I rechecked my manual and I can't find any mention of pulling a fuse. Anyway I will try this tomorrow and see how it works.

Thanks a bunch, I really appreciate your help. This forum is great.

Jim
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:39 PM   #7
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The 12 volt charge line is breaker protected at (As I recall) 20 amps on the motor home end and 40 at the towed end.

IF it's not keeping the battery charged you have a serious issue somewhere.. My best guess is a bad connection or a broken wire somewhere (the umbicial on the broken wire)

One other thing that US gear forgot.. They provide a 20 amp charge, but the ground lead (Common flat 4) is gonna be struggling at that current level.

I added additional grounding on mine.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:20 AM   #8
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wa8xym

I have 12 volts at the tow end of the umbilical but have not checked it further than that. I will check further when I get home next weekend. What does "Common flat 4" mean? Are you referring to a pin on the umbilical? My umbilical connector is round with 5 pins surrounding the hot center pin. I don't know if I have any US Gear documentation with me to see if there is a wiring diagram but will look. How did you add additional grounding? Thanks for your input.

Jim
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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In looking at other toad questions on this forum I saw references to remco for info on towing specific vehicles. So I checked it for my Saturn Vue and found this note.
When towing for an extended period of time, start the vehicle as often as possible and allow it to run for five minutes to prevent battery drain.

So maybe my battery being drained is not that unusual. Now I need to find out why the 12 volts from the MH is not keeping the battery charged.

Jim
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:31 PM   #10
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Like I said, I have been pulling my Saturn, for 3+ years, hooked up, just the way I described and have never had to start it up, just to keep the battery from draining. I will usually, start it up, when I get settled in, at a camp, each night. Maybe your battery has a weak cell, or something? I have read that other members have had trouble like you mentioned and have replaced the battery, with no other problems.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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Gripper

I just replaced a two year old battery and still had the problem. Taking the belt and suspenders approach I am going to pull the fuse you recommended and research why the 12 volt line from the motorhome is not keeping the battery charged. Thanks for all the input.

Jim
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:55 PM   #12
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Consider this option: LSL Toad-Charge Dinghy Vehicle Battery Charger/Maintainer 40' Wire Harness
I have used this for years, works great, never have had a dead battery since using this!
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:21 PM   #13
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Gripper

If you are still following this thread I can report that pulling the IGN fuse saves my battery. I have already got the material I need to put a switch in the line so I don't have to bother with the fuse. Thanks for the info, you have been a great help. I am still curious about why there is no mention of this in my manual.

Jim
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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I'm curious if you start and run the engine every 200 miles and run it through the gears?
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