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Old 10-29-2020, 08:16 PM   #1
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Low battery voltage.

I went to move my coach out of my pole barn to do annual maintenance and got a low battery voltage message on the instrument panel. The coach did start but seemed to crank a little slower. The coach is always connected to shore power. Batteries are 4 1/2 years old. On my last coach the chassis batteries lasted about 7 years. My question is should I bother having them load tested or just replace them due to their age. Is 4 1/2 years now the norm for battery life? Thanks for your replies.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:18 PM   #2
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Freightliner chassis?
Likely this.

Its normal and expected behavior to sometimes get a low chassis battery warning upon starting the propulsion engine. There is a intake air heater that kicks in when starting the engine (takes the place of glow plugs). It pulls a lot of current and sags the chassis batteries. Soonest the engine starts the engine alternator charging recovers the batteries. As the batteries age you may see it more often.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:40 PM   #3
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Freightliner chassis?
Likely this.

Its normal and expected behavior to sometimes get a low chassis battery warning upon starting the propulsion engine. There is a intake air heater that kicks in when starting the engine (takes the place of glow plugs). It pulls a lot of current and sags the chassis batteries. Soonest the engine starts the engine alternator charging recovers the batteries. As the batteries age you may see it more often.


Yes Freightliner chassis. Thanks for the response. Makes sense. Don’t remember getting that message in the past but as I get older there are many things I don’t remember
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:46 PM   #4
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Exactly right and very common
In warm Wx you won't get it as often / long as in cooler temps.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:25 AM   #5
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You can try the Batt Boost switch for start to see if that helps.
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:09 AM   #6
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You can try the Batt Boost switch for start to see if that helps.


Good thought. Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Freightliner chassis?
Likely this.

Its normal and expected behavior to sometimes get a low chassis battery warning upon starting the propulsion engine. There is a intake air heater that kicks in when starting the engine (takes the place of glow plugs). It pulls a lot of current and sags the chassis batteries. Soonest the engine starts the engine alternator charging recovers the batteries. As the batteries age you may see it more often.
This thread is a "direct hit" describing the current status of my 2016 VTDP Freightliner. It is now 5 years old. Recently, the instrument panel began reporting low voltage on the chassis battery right after startup even though there was no performance weakness at the starter. The instrument panel on the dash shows good charging and the panel above the passenger seat shows good voltage on all batteries. This "intake air heater" that you describe above provides a logical explanation for what the original poster and I have been experiencing. I think the message for us is - no need to rush/panic, but, as the batteries continue to age, monitor their gradual natural decline and be prepared to replace in the not too distant future. Did I get that right?
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bushy View Post
This thread is a "direct hit" describing the current status of my 2016 VTDP Freightliner. It is now 5 years old. Recently, the instrument panel began reporting low voltage on the chassis battery right after startup even though there was no performance weakness at the starter. The instrument panel on the dash shows good charging and the panel above the passenger seat shows good voltage on all batteries. This "intake air heater" that you describe above provides a logical explanation for what the original poster and I have been experiencing. I think the message for us is - no need to rush/panic, but, as the batteries continue to age, monitor their gradual natural decline and be prepared to replace in the not too distant future. Did I get that right?
You somewhat have it right. Check batteries for electrolyte and test them individually. You may just have one weak battery that will drain the others. I would think at 5 years old depending on how much you use them I would just replace and be done with it. You know something is happening now and I guarantee you it will bite you at the most inopportune time. It's Murphy's law and must be obeyed.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:53 PM   #9
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So I had the same issue, I think. 2014 DS and last trip got low voltage and gauge was dropping below 13. Ran the gen and held the boost button for 6 hours. Took it to Freightliner assuming it needed a new alternator and they said it tested fine so they did not replace. Now what..?
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Old 10-31-2020, 07:25 PM   #10
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"no need to rush/panic, but, as the batteries continue to age, monitor their gradual natural decline and be prepared to replace in the not too distant future. Did I get that right?"
It may not be an imminent demise of battys.
As I mentioned above it is more common in cooler Wx so if you are in an area with colder temps and this is a recent occurence it MAY be normal. But good to keep an eye on batty performance of charge it up and have it load tested to confirm what shape it is in.
I have gotten the lo V message for 2-3 yrs in colder Wx but so far no starting issues. I may be approaching end of useful life as chassis battys now 7+ yrs old.
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Old 10-31-2020, 08:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winemaker2 View Post
It may not be an imminent demise of battys.
As I mentioned above it is more common in cooler Wx so if you are in an area with colder temps and this is a recent occurence it MAY be normal. But good to keep an eye on batty performance of charge it up and have it load tested to confirm what shape it is in.
I have gotten the lo V message for 2-3 yrs in colder Wx but so far no starting issues. I may be approaching end of useful life as chassis battys now 7+ yrs old.
It's good to hear that the batteries may not be on the brink of failure. We certainly live in a cold Wx part of the country (ND). It's good to hear that you've experienced the length of service from your batteries.

Keep warm and don't let the goblins get ya.

RB
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Old 10-31-2020, 10:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Winemaker2 View Post
"no need to rush/panic, but, as the batteries continue to age, monitor their gradual natural decline and be prepared to replace in the not too distant future. Did I get that right?"
It may not be an imminent demise of battys.
As I mentioned above it is more common in cooler Wx so if you are in an area with colder temps and this is a recent occurence it MAY be normal. But good to keep an eye on batty performance of charge it up and have it load tested to confirm what shape it is in.
I have gotten the lo V message for 2-3 yrs in colder Wx but so far no starting issues. I may be approaching end of useful life as chassis battys now 7+ yrs old.


Thanks Winemaker 2. Good advice. Our plans are to head to Florida for the winter. We will be there for four months. I think I replace them right before we leave Florida. No sense in doing it now and let them sit for months.
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Old 11-01-2020, 12:55 AM   #13
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I see this thread has morphed a bit into an adjacent topic of chassis battery longevity.

I change chassis batteries at 5+ years age. If you don't schedule their replacement, they will schedule it for you...
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