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Old 11-24-2012, 05:43 PM   #1
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Unhappy Location of the Aux. Battery Charge Relay?

2000 E 350 Cutaway Van
Hi folks, I have a problem, a big one. The house battery is not being recharged when the engine is running. I noticed this on our last outing (first week of Nov) Seems information on these old rigs is kind of sparse. There is no way I can follow (trace) the lead to the alternator from the battery box. There's one lead from te converter, and the other goes off under the cabinets and furnace area. Looking at diagrams I see there is a relay with associated fuses that does this job (connects to the house battery) when the key is on. My problem is I have no idea where to look for where the relay is mounted. Anyone have an idea where Ford hid it?
Cheers
Willey
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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This would be installed by the coach manufacture not ford. My Gulfstream I have now is under the floor boards on the drivers side they quite often are on the firewall. You can always have someone turn the ingnition on and off while you listen for the relay to click. Have you checked the fuses some have large capacity 60-100 amps fuses protecting the charge circuit.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply elmorc, LOL not much room on the firewall but I will have a better look at it. Didn't think about under the driver compartment, will do a close look there too.
Yes there are a lot of high capacity fuses and the Ford book shows Fuse 10 as power to the "Aux. Battery relay" and engine compartment fuses #14 & #22 which are the "Trailer running lamps Rly" and the Trailer backup lamps Rly. respectivly.
Then there is fuse 22 (40 amp) Trailer Battery Charge relay, however no trailer connecter recepticle. There is a Class 3 hitch though making it look like it has the tow package.
I also found some Ford wiring diagrams on the net that shoe the color of the wires in the harness to the original eq. plugs where they connect to MH mfg. wireing. So I guess tomorrow may be a busy day, and it's going to be snow flurries. I was going to put a diode battery isolator in but if our rig has a tow package then it also has a 130 amp alternator to make short work of any batt. isolator I can get around here. I'll also take a much closer look at the frame rails as there's quite a bunch of wires and thing there.
Thank's again for the suggestions.
Cheers
Willey
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:22 PM   #4
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Try looking on the fender. You should what looks like a starter solenoid. That is the battery isolator. You should see two sets of wires on it. Two to the chassis battery and two to the house battery. This what connects the batteries to the alternator while the engine is running.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilleyB View Post
2000 E 350 Cutaway Van
Hi folks, I have a problem, a big one. The house battery is not being recharged when the engine is running. I noticed this on our last outing (first week of Nov) Seems information on these old rigs is kind of sparse. There is no way I can follow (trace) the lead to the alternator from the battery box. There's one lead from te converter, and the other goes off under the cabinets and furnace area. Looking at diagrams I see there is a relay with associated fuses that does this job (connects to the house battery) when the key is on. My problem is I have no idea where to look for where the relay is mounted. Anyone have an idea where Ford hid it?
Cheers
Willey
This is the exact reason I logged on! Ours is not switching either. We have a 1990 Sun Clipper Gulf Stream. Hopefully we can get this located.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:15 PM   #6
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Well the ground was white this morning and wet by noon so I did not climb underneath to check out what was mounted on the frame rails. I also did some research while grocery shopping. At the Ford dealer I got good news and bad news,
1st the good. The relays are still available from Ford, and they gave me a diagram of where the Ford relay is located.
The Bad news is it would cost close to $100. I could buy a very decent diode battery isolator for that. The fellow who waited on me owned a MH and says in the case of the MH the relay is supplied by the MH manufacturerm not Ford. The big E 350 passenger wagon has the relay on the left hand fender in front of the auxillary battery. (I'll look tomorrow) but in the case of the MH, I believe he is right, installed by the MH builder.
So what I have to check tomorrow afternoon.
1 left front fender in back of the headlight area (if no realy it's not the Ford setup regardless of the associated circut fuses)
2 Spread a tarp and search under the cab driver area
3 Check Fuse 22 (this one espicially, "Trailer Battery Charge Relay modified vehicles" this one really interests me because it's output plug at the rear of the frame, connects with a cable and plug that enters the rear of the house" a real cheap way of putting a Limited charge to the battery) hey if mfg. wants to cut costs, it's a way.
Checked out an auto parts catalog and found a Relay (150 amp capacity with a low energising current) Folks in the USA can easily get a good isolator relay from Cameco.
Connecting the relay into the circuit looks to be simple, using what already there for the ford circuit. The output and input charging wires should be at least #8 ga and as short a run as possible.
I've attached copies of what I got from the Ford dealer
Cheers
Willey
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:28 PM   #7
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Sorry about that folks I goofed on the upload, here is the other half of the diagram showing where the relay is located in the engine compartment on the left fender. Mine has a lot of heavy fuses there so I'll have to inspect the area closer tomorrow.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
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I would stay away from a battery isolator they all cause a minimum 1 volt drop and lots of alt sense voltage internally and will not compensate. The common solenoid used is known as a continuous duty sol. looks similar to a Ford start sol. but the start sol will burn up under continuous use. The sol. should be easy to find it is used in a lot of applications. Sorry about your white ground it has been t-shirt weather here the last 2 weeks 75-80s. Where is your house batt. located? If under the entry step look on the backside of the box, I have usually found them on the firewall or close to the house batt.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
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Forget what the Ford dealer said, that's only for the factory dual battery option, nothing much to do with a motorhome on a cutaway chassis.

On my Itasca the relay is in the house battery compartment itself.

The relay is an everyday common constant duty rated solenoid, they're not much, I think I paid about $25 for the last one I bought.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:39 AM   #10
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WilleyB I agree with Murf2u on this. Go to CTC and head for the RV section and pick up a constant duty charging solenoid and install it. I put one in my Jeep years ago when I regularly towed a Travel Trailer and it kept all the batteries charged and would not allow the house batteries to discharge the starter battery when we used the TT without unhooking.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #11
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Thanks [elmorc; Murf2u; Possum] good advice from all.
I didn't know CTC had an RV section. Checking on the internet all I found at CTC was starter solenoids. I'll personally check the store myself as it might not hurt to have a spare. I did find a continous duty relay, contacts rated at 125 amps and the coil 12v low current requirement for $25 at Princess Auto, so I ordered it this morning.
There is a self latching solenoid back of the converter space, but it is part of the battery power on/off circuit and only has house battery wireing on it.
Diode isolators, I didn't take long to drop that idea, 1 they have to be matched to the alternator and the largest is 110 amp rated. What happens if the Alt is 130 amp unit and the battery is low? scarey eh!
Secondly, whoever labeled the fuse diagram, must have been in the DT's, going to be awhile just to learn where the wires go (don't need to know now but interested just in case for the future. A fine sunny day with a light North wind and temps 32F/0 C I didn't feel like going much further after finding a good point to tie the new relay in with #8 ga wire.
I'll post a photo later for comments or advice.
Ah! yes, groung nice and dry so I checked the frame rails and anywhere else I could see, but no visible solenoid to be found. Just for my own interest, and others, it appears to be a real cheap trickle charge to the house battery, just a keyed on hot wire through unused vehicle wiring. When I find the problem (if ever) I suspect it will be a corroded connection.
Cheers and thanks for the replies
Willey
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:02 PM   #12
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If your battery isolator has gone toes up your house batteries won't be charged while driving and you won't have the ability to use the emergency start feature either.

In my rig the battery isolator is a simple solenoid similar to this - Amazon.com: Tekonsha 7000 12 Volt 3 Terminal Battery Isolator: Automotive-. Not expensive, readily available at any auto parts house. Follow the battery cables.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:27 PM   #13
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Hi KSG5000, yes I noted that there were plenty of choices of those relaysin the US, but not so around here. RV shops and suppliers seem to be pushing the diode isolators. I did order a decent solenoid from an automotive shop, it should be here in another day or so. Continuous operation, 125 amp rating with a 12 volt low current draw It should do the job.

For emergencies I have a little stink pot 2 cycle genny on the back bumper, works great with the B&D intelli charger and a real good thing we had it on our last outing.

Cheers
Willey
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by WilleyB View Post
Thanks [elmorc; Murf2u; Possum] good advice from all.

Ah! yes, groung nice and dry so I checked the frame rails and anywhere else I could see, but no visible solenoid to be found.

Cheers and thanks for the replies
Willey
Happy to help.



Just on the off chance the wiring is the culprit, try pushing the emergency start switch a few times with a helper listening carefully. If the switch is working you'll hear the relay click, click, clicking as you hit the switch.

That worked on mine, sure made finding it a bunch easier following the clicking sound to the source.
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