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Old 07-03-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
Senior Member
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Newport, WA
Posts: 338
Looking for help re: battery cable routing, '04 TropiCal

I have a tenuous connection between the coach battery grouping and the battery disconnect / distribution panel. When it "feels like it" I can run several lights and/or other low draw 12 volt devices. Mot of the time if I run something like a slide motor, I can provoke whatever problem I'm having and lose all coach 12v power. The connect/disconnect switch does nothing during these episodes. If I start the Cat, the disconnect switch will turn back on after a minute or so. Connecting to shore power does not restore 12v.

I've done some troubleshooting. If I jump between one of the final (12v) positive posts on the 4 coach batteries and the input to the disconnect/distribution panel, everything functions normally. Jumping between the 12v cable for the inverter also restores function. That would indicate an intermittent connection in the cable that is supposed to feed the disconnect/distribution panel. Unfortunately, I've tracked that cable back from the disconnect panel toward the battery bay, but it goes into a bundle of cables that I cannot trace through without cutting all of the zip ties and unraveling the mess. I'm ready to take that step, but thought I would ask if anyone knows where that cable goes before I start.

Could the misbehaving cable run off to the jack pump first, then back across the chassis to the disconnect panel? That would be a waste of good copper. I think I identifed the "start boost" solenoid on the disconnect/distribution panel, unless that is just a pilot solenoid running another solenoid closer to the starter motor.

I'm very tempted to just add an appropriately heavy cable between the battery fuse in the inverter 12v cabling and the input to the disconnect/distribution panel. That would be about a 10 minute fix, vs. whatever time it would take to pull down the mess of cables, find the fault and repair it.

Looking for pro/con comments on that idea. I'm more than a bit concerned that a connection is coming apart. I don't want to think about what could happen if the connection totally fails, with both ends connected to 4 golf cart batteries. That's a lot of energy.

Thanks in advance for your ideas, knowledge, comments.

P.S. - the 12v drawing from National has no detail. It shows the battery group and a line toward the disconnect/distribution panel and nothing else.
'04 National TropiCal T350
Behind the coach:
'84 Royale RP-37 Sports 2000 or ~285 hp turbo Miata
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:00 AM   #2
Senior Member
bdpreece's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Yuma Arizona USA
Posts: 2,982
Have you tried jumping across the battery disconnect switch to see if it is failing? I have seen a couple of cases where these switches are failing recently.
Brian, Loretta & Lucy (Golden Retriever)
2008 HR Endeavor 40 PDQ , ISL 400
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Toad
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:28 AM   #3
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National RV Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Horse Town USA, CA.
Posts: 3,664
I don't know if your 12 volt distribution panel is like mine, I had a similar problem with my Dolphin. Turned out to be a loose connection on the interconnect relay. Sometimes had 12 V. sometimes not, tightened the nut no problems since. I even ordered a new battery disconnect relay, before I found the problem.

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1999 35 ft. Dolphin 5350, F53, Banks System, 5 Stars Tune, Air Lift Air Bags, Koni Shocks, Blue OX TruCenter, TigerTrak track bars F&R, Roadmaster 1-3/4" rear auxiliary sway bar, 2004 F450 Lariat Pickup 6.0 Diesel Crew Cab DRW, 4X4, GVWR 15,000, Front GAWR 6,000, Rear GAWR 11,000, GCWR 26,000,1994 36ft Avion 5er, GVWR 13,700, 2,740 Pin Weight.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:53 AM   #4
Senior Member
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Newport, WA
Posts: 338
I just missed the deadline to edit my initial post. I sent my changes to the administrator, but nothing as of yet.

So... this is what I was going to add to the top of the thread:

On closer, more rigorous inspection, I found that the terminal on the battery end of the cable was being held onto the cable mostly by the tape wound around the terminal and cable than by the crimp in the terminal. The terminal slipped off the cable with almost no effort - maybe the worst battery terminal crimp I've ever encountered. I wire-brushed the terminal, pulled the cable out far enough to place it against a strong frame tube and applied a couple of hammer blows to put a proper crimp on the terminal. 12v service restored.
'04 National TropiCal T350
Behind the coach:
'84 Royale RP-37 Sports 2000 or ~285 hp turbo Miata
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