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Corroded battery cables?


borffmann

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I've got a 1987 Fleetwood Bounder with an extra battery installed for the ignition/starting. It is beginning to have problems starting and I'm guessing that the corroded battery cables (see attached JPGs) are the culprit.

 

Can someone tell me what cables these are, or what the part would be called when I go into Napa auto to buy some new ones? I'm not sure if these cables are associated at all with the 12V power going to the RV interior? post-53486-0-47427300-1447113587_thumb.jpg

Living in a 1987 Fleetwood Bounder with my wife and two daughters.

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I would disconnect the cables , negative first . Then simply wire brush the ends and the posts to a shine . If the ends are viable , re-install them , positive first , negative last . You might coat them with a grease , but i'd wait until you're sure that they won't have to come off again .

 

Obviously having the batteries tested would be a logical step . That can be done at most any auto parts store , likely for free . Just drive the rig there . They will test them while installed .

 

You could also check the other cable ends to insure they have a solid connection .

Goes around , comes around .

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Your coach batteries definitely need some attention, but they shouldn't be having an impact on your starting issue. You should be looking at your chassis battery/alternator/starter.

 

As well as getting your coach batteries checked, it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up a hydrometer and learn how to check them yourself. It shouldn't be more than $10 or so for a good hydrometer.

 

You've got 2 very high quality wet cells there, and providing they are still holding an adequate charge, there is no need to replace them. If they 'are' dying on you, I would replace them with another set of T-105's, or less expensively with Sam's Club/Costco 6v golf cart batteries. AGM's would run you twice the price of your Trojan's, and for an exterior battery compartment like that there is really no practical reason to go to that type of expense. It would merely be for convenience sake.

 

Set of 2 - 6v cell 'generic' breakdown:

 

Sams/Costo: $150

Trojan's: $300

AGM's: $600

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Corrosion like that can be caused by 1) Water level is too high in batteries and/or 2) Battery is being overcharged causing excess (corrosive) outgassing.

 

If you wire brush the cables and terminal clean n bright n shiny and replace, then spray with that red terminal protector spray and even use those felt washers (more suited for round posts), as long as the battery isn't being overcharged or have a bad cell, you shouldn't get such corrosion.

 

I would have the batteries load tested,,,,,,,,,,then test each cell with a hydrometer looking for differences or gray or milky looking cells etc.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,then repair the cables and use terminal spray and even the felt washers,,,,,,,,,,then check the charging voltage and current and duration.

 

I have my cables made at Interstate battery to suit my needed length and wire gauge (depends on current and cable length)

 

John T

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Seeing a pair of Trojan, 6V batteries, I like Yarome wonder if you are not looking at the coach batteries in place of the battery to start the chassis engine. That may be the starting battery, but it looks more like the coach batteries to me.

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http://www.genuinedealz.com/custom-cables/custom-battery-cable-assembly%C2'> Auto parts store is not the place to get house battery cables. You need some serious maintenance, and maybe would be better with new cables. Genuinedealz make cables using quality marine grade wire. If you order from them get the standard lugs as the HD are too much for most RV connections. I bet the batteries are very low on fluid. If below the plates, you will need new batteries. Most of the information about cleaning has been posted. Maintenance is important. I buy Duracell labeled, by East Penn, 6 volt, 235 amp hour, golf cart batteries from Batteries Plus Bulbs at $109 each. Same price as Sam's Club with no membership charges.

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Corrosion like that is likely caused by a loose battery post. The acid fumes leak past the seal and corrode the terminals. Clean everything as previously described, then buy a set of the felt washers from a battery store. They are treated to "kill" battery acid leaking past the post seal. Once the terminals are replaced, use battery acid neutralizer in a spray can, again from battery store, to neutralize any remaining acid and leave a protective film to prevent future corrosion.

If you use grease or oil, it will retard corrosion, and attract dirt.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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I've got a 1987 Fleetwood Bounder with an extra battery installed for the ignition/starting. It is beginning to have problems starting and I'm guessing that the corroded battery cables (see attached JPGs) are the culprit.

 

Can someone tell me what cables these are, or what the part would be called when I go into Napa auto to buy some new ones? I'm not sure if these cables are associated at all with the 12V power going to the RV interior? attachicon.gifphoto-2.jpg

 

The Bounders start battery is on the drivers side and is sometimes elevated above and to the side of the coach batteries.

What is displayed in your picture appears to be the coach side 2 six volt (Trojan) batteries. They were standard equipment on my Fleetwood.

Trojan batteries have a date of manufacturing code on them. Most rv batteries last 4-5 years although my Trojan batteries lasted longer .

 

Your corroded terminals and cables will have not only have an effect on your coach side batteries ( low voltage and poor charging ability due the corrosion ) , but if you have and use the aux start button that ties your start and coach batteries together in an attempt to start the dead engine battery , you probably wont have enough current to start the engine.

 

The corrosion looks like the main problem you have here.

 

If your stuck someplace and cant address the corrosion problem just yet and just need to get the rv started, have you tried using aux start button ?

If there is not enough battery voltage to start the rv, try to start the generator. If the gen set starts, it should charge the batteries up enough to start the engine after several minutes of running if the charging system is working correctly.

 

Have you tested the Charging system to both groups of batteries ? On some Fleetwoods rvs, they have the ability to charge both systems ( start and aux ) while plugged into shore power and while the engine or generator is running. On other rvs, usually older ones, only the aux bank of batteries gets charged.

This is one reason that your start battery might be low, it might not be charged while plugged in. I had an rv like that.

 

On some Fleetwood rvs, there is a small 5 watt solar panel atop the front a/c unit. Some people think this alone is enough to keep your start battery charged up. They don't figure in all the parasitic loads on that battery. Think Lp alarm, dash radio etc. While that solar panel can help maintain a charge, it is not powerful enough to keep that battery fully charged.

 

If latter on you cant remove the corrosion from the cables, I also recommend replacing them as oldjohnt suggested.

 

I would further recommend finding out how old the batteries are in each system and do some tests on them to see if any might have a bad cell in them.

tim

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By the picture it looks like it may have been a long, long time since the water level has been checked in those batteries.

If they had been checked monthly. That much corrosion would have been found much sooner.

 

The chassis batteries may be in the same shape.

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As you look at and clean the corrosion, check for corrosion going up the cable (under the insulation( if corrosion is seen on the copper cable at the insulation, peel it back a bit)). If corroded, replace the cable. Corrosion is insidious as it travels up the cable and causes problems. Sehc pointed you to a great cable site, and marine cables will not corrode as I described.

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