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Jinxed Trip - repairs advice needed


RMSmithJr

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We are currently at the Vermont BootCamp and having a fabulous time. Getting here was a 'necessary' adventure. So the list starts now.

 

2008 Winnebago Destination with diesel pusher. Purchased three years ago.

 

1. Generator will not start. It is right at 1,000 hours. (900+ hours at purchase = lightly used). Most of the hours are probably driveway run it for an hour or so monthly. The generator started nicely in May - when it was brought out of winter storage. Used in June for a weekend test run of dry camping. And now will not start for the July version of run it monthly. Symptoms - push the button and get the tickety tickety tickety and then low voltage coach alarms sound. I'm guessing the battery has gone beyond max load. Repeat the failure several times and stop.

 

2. The Kwikee Level Best hydraulic jack system has failed. Got it to 'work' on the way here, was quirky then, it took several raise and lowers. Jacks came up fine the next morning and off we went. Now, the system is stubborn. The left side jacks extend and then the system goes into failure. By failure, I mean the panel shuts down. Another now new system is that the red parking brake indicator does not illuminate. We were able to retract the jacks and they will not be used until repaired.

 

Yesterday, shore power briefly failed. 30A service. Two rigs per circuit. Four rigs affected. Event staff promptly restored power. When on shore power, I generally do not disconnect the coach battery, thus allowing it to float through the TrikLCharger. This power outage crushed both the coach and chassis batteries. The whole coach went to zero power.

 

Is there a relationship between all that has been said? Maybe. The coach battery set was replace two years ago. The chassis batteries are at least three years if not older. I may take the opportunity to replace the chassis set with AGM starting batteries. Then strongly consider replacing the coach set with AGM deep cycles.

 

There are no trips scheduled for August. The next trip will be in September to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The goal is to have all issues resolved and enjoy a jinx free trip.

 

Your thoughts?

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We are currently at the Vermont BootCamp and having a fabulous time. Getting here was a 'necessary' adventure. So the list starts now.

 

2008 Winnebago Destination with diesel pusher. Purchased three years ago.

 

1. Generator will not start. It is right at 1,000 hours. (900+ hours at purchase = lightly used). Most of the hours are probably driveway run it for an hour or so monthly. The generator started nicely in May - when it was brought out of winter storage. Used in June for a weekend test run of dry camping. And now will not start for the July version of run it monthly. Symptoms - push the button and get the tickety tickety tickety and then low voltage coach alarms sound. I'm guessing the battery has gone beyond max load. Repeat the failure several times and stop.

 

2. The Kwikee Level Best hydraulic jack system has failed. Got it to 'work' on the way here, was quirky then, it took several raise and lowers. Jacks came up fine the next morning and off we went. Now, the system is stubborn. The left side jacks extend and then the system goes into failure. By failure, I mean the panel shuts down. Another now new system is that the red parking brake indicator does not illuminate. We were able to retract the jacks and they will not be used until repaired.

 

Yesterday, shore power briefly failed. 30A service. Two rigs per circuit. Four rigs affected. Event staff promptly restored power. When on shore power, I generally do not disconnect the coach battery, thus allowing it to float through the TrikLCharger. This power outage crushed both the coach and chassis batteries. The whole coach went to zero power.

 

Is there a relationship between all that has been said? Maybe. The coach battery set was replace two years ago. The chassis batteries are at least three years if not older. I may take the opportunity to replace the chassis set with AGM starting batteries. Then strongly consider replacing the coach set with AGM deep cycles.

 

There are no trips scheduled for August. The next trip will be in September to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The goal is to have all issues resolved and enjoy a jinx free trip.

 

Your thoughts?

 

My best guess is low/bad batteries or a bad connection somewhere in the battery circuits.

 

Newt

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I would clean the battery connections and carefully examine the cables for corrosion up inside them. Don't forget to clean and check at the cutoff switch as well.

 

Then I would fully charge the battery bank and load test it. Both banks. That may confirm the battery theory.....and you should do this anyway.....

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I think you're on the right track with a low voltage problem--any chance you've taken a measurement when one of the affected components is trying to operate?

 

Without knowing how the batteries have been used, it's hard to say what kind of condition they might be in. But 2 and 3 years old shouldn't be needing replacement in typical use--I typically get 5-7 years out of starting batteries in my RVs and cars, and usually at least 4 or 5 out of house batteries (though I'm not the best at watering them, and have made the switch to lithium on my current RV).

 

If the engine charges both battery banks, try starting the generator with the engine running. If it starts, or cranks faster, you may be more likely to have a battery problem or a problem between the engine and batteries (including separator). If it makes no difference, I'd lean toward a cabling problem getting to the generator.

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I think you're on the right track with a low voltage problem--any chance you've taken a measurement when one of the affected components is trying to operate?

 

Without knowing how the batteries have been used, it's hard to say what kind of condition they might be in. But 2 and 3 years old shouldn't be needing replacement in typical use--I typically get 5-7 years out of starting batteries in my RVs and cars, and usually at least 4 or 5 out of house batteries (though I'm not the best at watering them, and have made the switch to lithium on my current RV).

 

If the engine charges both battery banks, try starting the generator with the engine running. If it starts, or cranks faster, you may be more likely to have a battery problem or a problem between the engine and batteries (including separator). If it makes no difference, I'd lean toward a cabling problem getting to the generator.

Yes, did try starting the generator with the engine running, no difference in symptoms. Have a good battery service around the corner from work, will start by:

1. Servicing the batteries whenI get home.

2. Coordinating with battery service for load testing and professional assessment.

3. If that does not cure the jinxes, it will be going in for service/repair. Good thing other events were planned for August.

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Smith - while I understand using a local service you know and feel comfortable with, why put up with the hassle? Most auto stores will load test batteries for free, there is probably some one with a truck there (LOL) unless you have a tow'd, and if you open a hood, they will come.

 

Cleaning cables and post is cheap, load test being free, checking the water level (distilled only), and maybe the trip back to Maine? (sales lot?) will be much nicer.

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Cleaning the cables and posts is one part but I didn't see the mention of checking the water levels in the batteries. What has been described is not really a low voltage situation but rather low current. Low cell levels will still indicate a good voltage yet will fail miserably with the loads discussed. Bill B mentions it - load test. But before doing that, if flooded cell batteries, check the levels as it is an easy, in park evolution and a short trip to the store for distilled water.

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We made it home. Tried to stay overnight on the way home, but now the slides wouldn't open. Similar error message, parking brake not engaged. In actuality, the parking brake engaged control signal was not being received/acknowledged.

 

Along the final stretch home, a revised the battery service plan was devised, based upon experience known & expertise shared here.

 

Once home, after three more hours on the road. I tried the failed systems one more time in the driveway. Everything worked.

 

Theories:

The TrikLCharger reduced capacity to the lowest common denominator. This LCD was inadequate for reliable operation. In fact, it may have been a cause, not a solution.

Then again, one weekend battery set may have compromised reliable operation.

The trip home restored enough capacity for desired operation.

 

Tomorrow, a full battery service regimen will be implemented.

 

Bass upon observed results, the batteries will be tested by 'my guy'. I work in precision manufacturing and we use this guy for all of our needs. He knows his stuff & his prices are fair.

 

Stay tuned fo more

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Status update.

 

The coach batteries are five years old and are crap. I'm not going to bother putting the Prologix Batter Charger/conditioner to them.

 

The chassis batteries were replaced May 2015. If memory serves me correct, they were seven years old?.?.?.? After disconnecting the TrikLCharger, they were at 85% on the Prologix and are now going through a low current conditioning regimen. I'm optimistic that they will not be need to be replaced.

 

My thought process (rationalization) now is that the TrikLCharger did a good job of masking the impending demise of the coach battery set. The good chassis battery set was being TrikL drained by the failing coach battery set.

 

Tomorrow, stop by Ed's Battery Shop in Westbrook,Maine. The next decision is what to replace the coach batteries with. I'm thinking longevity and capacity.

 

What I am learning from this episode is to continue to learn more about the coach. It's a Wicked Good ride, even better when the gremlins and demons are tamed.

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At this point, just tell them to make you the best deal on new batteries all around. 7 yrs old starting batteries is not what I would want when first going out. Personally, if we knew then, what we know now, we would have gone with all AGMs. Creaks & stiffness only get worse with age.

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The starting batteries are only one year old and ultimately not the root cause of my challenges. The coach batteries were trash.

 

They were replaced this evening with a pair of Trojan T105s installed in series. The price was right with no charged for turning in the bum batteries.

 

Instant success. The coach started. The jacks leveled the coach. The slides extended. And the generator started and ran the AC for an hour. All is well once again in GetAway land,

 

Thank you each and all for your support and guidance.

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Amazing what having good house batteries does for your life. I hope you made notes on all of the different things that depend upon good house batteries. BTW - those starting batteries will go within a short time - so make sure you set aside money for replacements.

 

Barb

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