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Old 06-20-2016, 12:46 PM   #1
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All batteries die in storage - 2006 Outlook Class C

Second time it's happened. Ford E-450 chassis. We are not the original owners, we have had her for a year now. In that year we have taken four months worth of trips and have never had an electrical problem on the road.

Everything was in good working order two months ago when we put "Squeaky" into storage. Not wanting to risk draining the batteries again, we took special pains to make sure everything was off. Made sure the coach batteries were off, that the radio was off and that the engine battery was disconnected from the coach via the Auxiliary Battery Switch.

We stopped in on her today, just to make sure the vents were open, when we discovered that everything electrical was dead as a door nail. No ignition, no horn, no coach anything.

Two things seem odd. First, there must be something connecting the engine battery to the coach batteries, even the disconnect switch is in the off position. Second, there is some unknown drain either in the engine/cockpit side of the MH or in the coach side.

Come to think of it, when we purchased this rig last hear we had to replace the engine battery, the previous owner was using the Battery Boost switch (which engages the coach batteries) to start the engine. He must have suffered the same condition and it sulfated his engine battery.

I am well aware that completely draining a lead-acid battery is very bad for it, especially if left uncharged for any period of time. For now, I'm going to pull all the batteries and get them on a charger. I am hopeful they are not shot.

Anyone know where I should start looking the culprit?
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Old 06-20-2016, 01:14 PM   #2
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Rather than turning switches off, remove the negative cable from all batteries.
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Old 06-20-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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You need a battery disconnect. These units are part house, part car, it's darn near impossible to get all the parasitic draw off of them without a disconnect. The other alternative is to put them on a charger and do what you did - minimize active use of anything electrical.
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom N View Post
Rather than turning switches off, remove the negative cable from all batteries.
The engineer and technician in me says fix it the way it was intended.

The retired duffer in me says make it work and get on with it.

So, I'm not going to make a quest to make it right and next time we store it we'll pull the negative cables.
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:58 PM   #5
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You say you disconnected the engine battery via the Auxiliary battery switch.

That switch should only disconnect the house ( auxiliary ) battery.

My E450 battery has no disconnect. It is factory wired as a E450 cutaway chassis.

The MH manufacture added the boost cables and solenoid to the house batteries, with breakers.

The start battery is still connected directly to the starter, as built.

To see if yours is the same, turn off the aux switch, and try to start the engine. If it starts, you need a main battery disconnect or remove the cable.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:58 AM   #6
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You say you disconnected the engine battery via the Auxiliary battery switch.

To see if yours is the same, turn off the aux switch, and try to start the engine. If it starts, you need a main battery disconnect or remove the cable.
My error. It doesn't start start off the coach batteries unless the Battery Boost Switch, located on the lower left dashboard is pushed and the Aux Battery switch is ON.

From the owner's manual:
. Turn off the Auxiliary Battery switch to avoid
parasitic discharge (the trickle discharge
caused by directly connected components like
LP gas detectors or digital clock displays, etc.)
We took special care to do this when we put it into storage, but something still drained all the batteries. So, I guess we'll just opt to disconnect the negative cable(s) when we pit into storage.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:11 AM   #7
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You need to disconnect the negative lead on your chassis batteries. The steps are connected to that battery and the engine has a small but significant parasitic draw that you cannot stop. Mine would deplete the chassis battery in 2-3 weeks from the fully charged stateedGood luck,
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:46 AM   #8
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So turn off the Aux Battery switch, which disconnects the 2 house batteries, and disconnect JUST the negative terminal on the car battery to eliminate the micro drainage to stuff like the stairs. Right?
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:57 AM   #9
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So turn off the Aux Battery switch, which disconnects the 2 house batteries, and disconnect JUST the negative terminal on the car battery to eliminate the micro drainage to stuff like the stairs. Right?
That should do it assuming there are no parasitic draws on the house batteries. Best thing to do is to monitor the house battery voltage for any significant drop. Alternatively, if you have a meter, you could turn the house off and disconnect the negative lead and connect your meter between the lead and battery ground to determine if any current is flowing. I would go that far only if the battery is draining significantly. Check after turning off, to see if anything still has power and if you cant find anything (detectors, etc.), then you likely have won! Good luck,
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:53 PM   #10
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Is there a battery voltage gauge in the coach, so you can see if it's draining when you shut it off periodically? I would think there would be so you can turn on the generator.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:48 AM   #11
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Our chassis battery would go dead after about three weeks of sitting. I at first tried using a solar charger to keep the battery up. It helped but i found that it still wasn't enough to keep the battery topped off. After years of fighting this, i finally ended up installing a battery disconnect switch next to the battery. Haven't had any trouble since..
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Old 06-23-2016, 07:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thebignewt View Post
Is there a battery voltage gauge in the coach, so you can see if it's draining when you shut it off periodically? I would think there would be so you can turn on the generator.
No - no voltage gauge.
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Old 06-23-2016, 07:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mudfrog View Post
Our chassis battery would go dead after about three weeks of sitting. I at first tried using a solar charger to keep the battery up. It helped but i found that it still wasn't enough to keep the battery topped off. After years of fighting this, i finally ended up installing a battery disconnect switch next to the battery. Haven't had any trouble since..
I'll look into a battery disconnect, but for our purposes I think just disconnecting the negative terminals will do the trick effectively and inexpensively.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:18 AM   #14
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Found an excellent video for locating parasitic drains on your battery. It shows an automobile, but the principles are the same.

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