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Old 04-26-2021, 09:10 PM   #1
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Coach/Chassis Battery Set Up

Greetings,

I recently purchased this 96 Fleetwood Flair, and have been going through it doing renovations and dealing with any issues. I'm having a hard time figuring out the coach batteries, as only one of them is actually connected, it appears to be the "Aux Battery" and not the "Main Battery" because when I hit the switches for the disconnect, only the aux switch connects/disconnects, the main battery does nothing.

Upon further inspection looking under the hood, there are three batteries present. Two coach and one chassis, but the chassis battery appears to have two connections on the positive terminal. I tried to put everything as I thought it should be, one positive on one coach, and one positive one ground on the other coach, and just put the side post terminals on the chassis battery. But when I did that it would appear that the "extra" terminal on the chassis battery is what's powering the ignition.

I'm not sure how this set up is supposed to be, but as it sits it appears it's just one coach battery, one battery with nothing connected, and the chassis battery with two positive connections and a ground.

If anyone has one of these motorhomes from this era or knows what this battery set up is supposed to look like, I'd appreciate any and all help.

Having trouble uploading images, so I put them all here.

https://imgur.com/a/FpGSe0j
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:19 PM   #2
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I owned a '94 Fleetwood Bounder about the size of your Flair and it had a basement compartment with 3 batteries. The chassis batt was a 12 Volt starting battery. The other two were 6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series, those were the house batteries.

In your case, measure the battery voltages. The two 6 volt should have the neg of one connected to the pos of the other. So it looks like you are missing that jumper and the PO moved the house cable to the pos of the starting battery to just get things working before you bought it.

You should have a Digital meter in your tool box, measure the voltages. Than add water to those two unconnected batts and clean them...water may be really low or they both may be bad. If they are both 6 volters, add that jumper between them. You may need to add a ground to the chassis if that's missing.

I can't tell by looking at them but they might be both 12 volters too. In that case they are wired in parallel.
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
I owned a '94 Fleetwood Bounder about the size of your Flair and it had a basement compartment with 3 batteries. The chassis batt was a 12 Volt starting battery. The other two were 6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series, those were the house batteries.

In your case, measure the battery voltages. The two 6 volt should have the neg of one connected to the pos of the other. So it looks like you are missing that jumper and the PO moved the house cable to the pos of the starting battery to just get things working before you bought it.

You should have a Digital meter in your tool box, measure the voltages. Than add water to those two unconnected batts and clean them...water may be really low or they both may be bad. If they are both 6 volters, add that jumper between them. You may need to add a ground to the chassis if that's missing.

I can't tell by looking at them but they might be both 12 volters too. In that case they are wired in parallel.
They are both 12 volts. Both the coach batteries read 12.6 volts. There is a ground to the chassis.

The weird thing is the house cable on the starting battery appears to be powering the ignition. Like I said, if I remove it and just use the side post terminals, I get nothing at the key.

I'm thinking maybe I need to connect the two 12 volt batteries in parallel... but I'm not real sure.
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:35 AM   #4
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No telling what the PO did in there. For now, don't bother to parallel the two 12 volt batts as that's not really necessary as long as you don't have a whole house Inverter (doubtful). Have a rubber mallet with you. And your digital meter to measure for 'full' voltage 'cus partial voltage is a clue.

Follow the fat red batt cables. Where do they end up? Can you get a picture?

In my '94, the cables went to the BCC (Battery Control Center). Near that box were several large automotive solenoids, and a couple that are called 'Top Hat' solenoids due to their shape. They are power to turn on - remove power; power to turn off - remove power type solenoids. Those are your Main and Aux solenoids and they hold the last position they were powered to. Note that perhaps your BCC has a drawing and listing of all the solenoids and battery connections on the back side of the cover so check for that.

You should have the chassis battery cable connected to the Main solenoid, and the other cable from the 12 volt pair connected to the AUX. Simple as that. Grounds from both go to the chassis frame near the batts.

Once you verify that, now's the time to take out frustrations by whacking those solenoids with the rubber mallet. Very soothing. (They can be pulled apart and the contacts cleaned of carbon build up instead...which should be done based on the age of your rig. But it's not nearly as much fun). Now operate the two rocker switches inside the house, the Main and Aux. Usually near the door. Then test for voltage inside the house. Just turn on a light and it should come on. They're all 12 volt house battery operated. Check the dash by switching the start key to ACC. If somethings not working, back out to the BCC and measure voltage on the big terms on both sides of the top hat solenoids. Note you can remove the wires from the small terminals and tap them with a known source of voltage for testing. They should 'CLUNK'. Measure the voltage on the big bolts. Then reverse the wires and tap again. Now measure the voltage. If it was there before, now it should be gone.

There will be another standard solenoid which is the 'mom'entary Aux start switch which parallels the two battery sets. It's usually between the two top hat relays. Whack that one too. It's for when your starting battery gets all weak in the knees and won't start the engine.

Have fun! And show us some pics of the BCC when you find it. I just found my BCC schematic and it does show the batteries wired directly to the top hat solenoids.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
No telling what the PO did in there. For now, don't bother to parallel the two 12 volt batts as that's not really necessary as long as you don't have a whole house Inverter (doubtful). Have a rubber mallet with you. And your digital meter to measure for 'full' voltage 'cus partial voltage is a clue.

Follow the fat red batt cables. Where do they end up? Can you get a picture?

In my '94, the cables went to the BCC (Battery Control Center). Near that box were several large automotive solenoids, and a couple that are called 'Top Hat' solenoids due to their shape. They are power to turn on - remove power; power to turn off - remove power type solenoids. Those are your Main and Aux solenoids and they hold the last position they were powered to. Note that perhaps your BCC has a drawing and listing of all the solenoids and battery connections on the back side of the cover so check for that.

You should have the chassis battery cable connected to the Main solenoid, and the other cable from the 12 volt pair connected to the AUX. Simple as that. Grounds from both go to the chassis frame near the batts.

Once you verify that, now's the time to take out frustrations by whacking those solenoids with the rubber mallet. Very soothing. (They can be pulled apart and the contacts cleaned of carbon build up instead...which should be done based on the age of your rig. But it's not nearly as much fun). Now operate the two rocker switches inside the house, the Main and Aux. Usually near the door. Then test for voltage inside the house. Just turn on a light and it should come on. They're all 12 volt house battery operated. Check the dash by switching the start key to ACC. If somethings not working, back out to the BCC and measure voltage on the big terms on both sides of the top hat solenoids. Note you can remove the wires from the small terminals and tap them with a known source of voltage for testing. They should 'CLUNK'. Measure the voltage on the big bolts. Then reverse the wires and tap again. Now measure the voltage. If it was there before, now it should be gone.

There will be another standard solenoid which is the 'mom'entary Aux start switch which parallels the two battery sets. It's usually between the two top hat relays. Whack that one too. It's for when your starting battery gets all weak in the knees and won't start the engine.

Have fun! And show us some pics of the BCC when you find it. I just found my BCC schematic and it does show the batteries wired directly to the top hat solenoids.
I see, I have tested the disconnect switches, and the "Aux Battery" one works but the "Main Battery" one does not. Which would make sense because I think the "main" coach battery is the one that isn't connected to anything.

I will do some wire tracing and see what I can find.
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Old 04-27-2021, 02:55 PM   #6
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WHACK IT!!!

Might not do any good, but for my '94, I did that to one of those solenoids for almost a year before I got around to removing it, opening it, and cleaning the carbon off the contacts. Worked for 12 years afterwards.
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Old 04-27-2021, 06:16 PM   #7
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WHACK IT!!!

Might not do any good, but for my '94, I did that to one of those solenoids for almost a year before I got around to removing it, opening it, and cleaning the carbon off the contacts. Worked for 12 years afterwards.
I understand what you are saying but, in it's current set up the main battery is not connected to anything at all. I'm not sure what whacking it will accomplish.
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Old 04-27-2021, 08:27 PM   #8
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I understand what you are saying but, in it's current set up the main battery is not connected to anything at all. I'm not sure what whacking it will accomplish.
AFTER the big cables are reconnected to the batteries.

Those solenoids get carbonized and slowly over time won't pass any current. Which is what I suspect was happening and the PO was trying to get it working right before you bought it but ran outta time. Leaving in the condition you bought it in.
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Old 04-28-2021, 12:24 AM   #9
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AFTER the big cables are reconnected to the batteries.

Those solenoids get carbonized and slowly over time won't pass any current. Which is what I suspect was happening and the PO was trying to get it working right before you bought it but ran outta time. Leaving in the condition you bought it in.
That's the weird thing, with the cables connected "properly" the key doesn't work. It only works when two positives are connected to the chassis battery.

There's no negative on the "main" battery, but there's a switch next to the door for battery disconnects. It works for the battery that is connected, but not for the one that is disconnected. The switches are "main battery" and "aux battery".

Which makes me wonder what the factory set up was supposed to be? It wouldn't make much sense to have them wired in parallel, and have a switch to disconnect them individually. It almost seems like they should share a ground and that's it? I'm not against smacking things, but I don't know what wire is supposed to go where.

Very confusing. Trying to figure out the electrical system in this RV has been a challenge. Not all of the speakers are working either.
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Old 04-28-2021, 08:51 AM   #10
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This should give you a lead or two: The 12 Volt side of life...

You should disconnect those two red cables from the Everstart battery. One of them goes to the Main solenoid and the other may go to the converter (which belongs on the other set of batteries) or it may go to the AUX solenoid. Then it would be best to mark and follow all the big red cables and see where they go, then mark the other end. Once you've established that, then you can figure out what to do with them and figure out what you need to buy...cable wise...because it looks to me from the pics like you have some missing.

Anyway, here's the Intellitek drawing that's typical for all RVs of the age of yours: Battery Wiring...

Once you get the main cables attached correctly, then you can move onto the other necessary devices, like the converter.
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Old 04-28-2021, 09:30 PM   #11
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This should give you a lead or two: The 12 Volt side of life...

You should disconnect those two red cables from the Everstart battery. One of them goes to the Main solenoid and the other may go to the converter (which belongs on the other set of batteries) or it may go to the AUX solenoid. Then it would be best to mark and follow all the big red cables and see where they go, then mark the other end. Once you've established that, then you can figure out what to do with them and figure out what you need to buy...cable wise...because it looks to me from the pics like you have some missing.

Anyway, here's the Intellitek drawing that's typical for all RVs of the age of yours: Battery Wiring...

Once you get the main cables attached correctly, then you can move onto the other necessary devices, like the converter.
Just to be clear; there's just two reds on the main chassis battery. One of them being the side post red that matches the side post negative; so I assume it's supposed to be there.

To reiterate, I tried previously setting things the way they were "supposed" to be. I removed the extra positive from the everstart "chassis" battery and put it on the main where it supposedly belongs. I put the red side post back on the chassis battery where it belongs.

And I got no power at the key in that set up. It's almost as if it's been rewired to where that additional positive is the one that's actually hooked up to the chassis connections.

Between the electrical crap and the mice droppings everywhere, kinda wish I hadn't got this one, such is life.
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Old 04-29-2021, 09:34 PM   #12
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I had a 1995 flair with a similar battery arrangement, but still the 6 volts.

For the disconnect switches main is referring to the chassis battery, aux is referring to the house battery(s).

Not sure if these photos will help, but this was the setup on mine,
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Old 04-30-2021, 03:15 AM   #13
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I had a 1995 flair with a similar battery arrangement, but still the 6 volts.

For the disconnect switches main is referring to the chassis battery, aux is referring to the house battery(s).

Not sure if these photos will help, but this was the setup on mine,
That helps immensely, and makes more sense that the main is the chassis. I wonder if the original set up was supposed to be a 6 volt, because they've got two 12 volts for house batteries under the hood.

I'm assuming your chassis battery is still a 12 volt though? I guess it would have to be.

Still baffles me why it wouldn't turn over with just the side post connected, but I'll do some investigating and find out. Thank you.

Edit: After looking closely at your picture, mine is set up almost exactly the same except instead of two twelve volts, you have two sixes.

One thing that stands out is your chassis battery has the exact same type of positive as mine did, it's not really a side post connection like the ground is. It just "hooks" over a stud that is screwed into the side post connection. I thought this was incorrect, which makes sense as to why when I tried putting it "correctly" I got nothing at the key...

Thank you!! That explains a lot.
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Old 05-03-2021, 02:46 AM   #14
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I had a 1995 flair with a similar battery arrangement, but still the 6 volts.

For the disconnect switches main is referring to the chassis battery, aux is referring to the house battery(s).

Not sure if these photos will help, but this was the setup on mine,

Curious....in your top pic I see that the area up near the air intake - ac lines is somewhat enclosed. Was this something Fleetwood did in later years? I have a 94 Southwind Storm and it is not enclosed above the ac condenser/oil cooler area. Any other pics of it? I may try and fabricate something for that area.

What brand fan auxillary fan is that? Any idea what CFM it uts out.
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