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Old 07-09-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
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Chassis Batteries Not Charging from Shore Power

A couple of weeks ago I was convinced it was time to replace my 3 year old OEM chasis batteries. Two stops in a row I had to use the Aux boost to get started and they were dropping to <12.2v during a several day stay and wouldn't come back up while connected to shore power. We full time and are always either traveling or conncected to shore power. I also cleaned the battery terminals very well.

Then, following a 400 mile stretch across Pennsylvania, they came back up to 13v. Then, after running the slides out and sitting for a week, they are back down to 12v and won't start the coach without Aux boost.

So... I'm pretty convinced that they are not charging when connected to shore power. Is this an issue with a "transfer switch" or ?????...

I'll be at The Rally in Louisville and then headed to Forrest City so at least, whatever the problem I should have some help available.
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Old 07-09-2010, 10:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickO View Post
A couple of weeks ago I was convinced it was time to replace my 3 year old OEM chasis batteries. Two stops in a row I had to use the Aux boost to get started and they were dropping to <12.2v during a several day stay and wouldn't come back up while connected to shore power. We full time and are always either traveling or conncected to shore power. I also cleaned the battery terminals very well.

Then, following a 400 mile stretch across Pennsylvania, they came back up to 13v. Then, after running the slides out and sitting for a week, they are back down to 12v and won't start the coach without Aux boost.

So... I'm pretty convinced that they are not charging when connected to shore power. Is this an issue with a "transfer switch" or ?????...

I'll be at The Rally in Louisville and then headed to Forrest City so at least, whatever the problem I should have some help available.
Rick - Unless you have installed an override the chassis batteries do not get charged when on shore power. That the Aux/Boost is working indicates that your house batteries are getting charged on shore power as they should.

Running the slides in and out without the motor running can drain your chassis batteries pretty quickly especially if they are marginal so you may just be near their end of life.
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:46 PM   #3
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RickO, since you have a 07 Tour, you have Trik-L-Start. This device draws cuurent from the house batteries and charges the chassis batteries. This process occurs while the house batteries are being charged. Your equipment may be broken. Do the obvious first; locate the object, check for loose wires. The 'little black box' should be near your battery disconnect relay.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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Ah... thanks Nomo... I'll check that out tomorrow...
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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Have you checked the absolute basics. Meaning are the cable connections at the battery clean and tight, and is there sufficient water in the battery.

I made the mistake of "assuming" the original chassis battery in our coach was maintenance free just like the ones in our cars. I found out the hard way it was the old style flooded plate battery that requires adding distilled water at regular intervals. Even though I ran it dry in the second year it still lasted 6 years. It might have lasted longe but I wasn't willing to take the chance since we were planning on a 12,000 mile trip to Alaska and back.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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Well... I checked for a trickle charge box near the chasis battery cutoff switch in the engine compartment... nothing. Also poured through my manuals and couldn't find any reference to it. Sigh...

And... yep, I spent nearly two hours removing and cleaning all cables and terminals. These chasis batteries are maintenance free... at least that's what is printed on them and there is no sign of removable caps to check the levels.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:55 PM   #7
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I too have a Tour and could not find the Trik-L-Start . . . so I asked on this forum. Turned out it is behind the panel (remove the screws) on the last rear compartment on the passenger side. Might be different for your year but if it shows on the wiring diagram or is mentioned in passing in the primary manual, then it is there somewhere . . . although it does not seem to be working for you so perhaps your coach predates the addition of this feature. Winnebago can tell you for certain and it is a free call.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:55 PM   #8
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It sounds strange that the slides operate from the chassis batteries rather than the coach batteries. The slides on our coach are powered by the coach batteries. Of course ours is a gas coach and both chassis and coach batteries are charged from converter when connected to shore power.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:32 AM   #9
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RickO...I am speaking as a non-Winnie owner but as a Monaco Owner, so this info may not apply...
  • We also had to add an "echo~charge" in order to keep the batteries charged.
  • Our Maintenance Free Batteries are NOT maintenance free. We have photos (see below) showing how we had to "open" them in order to keep the water level up)




I hope this helps...
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:15 PM   #10
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Rick call Winnebago and have them tell you the location of your Trik-L-Charge. Check the connections. It should keep your chassis batteries 1 volt below your house batteries. Check your charger/inverter and see what it is set at as far as charging amps. When last I was at GNR and attended the Dimensions seminar we had quite the discussion about if the charger doesn't switch to float in about 15 minutes it means the batteries need to be replaced but sounds like you house batteries are okay.
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:18 PM   #11
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Update: still haven't called Winnie about location of the trickle charger but after your input on "maintenance free" not really meaning maintenance free I got out there today to take a look. Yep, once I pulled the sticker back off the top of the batteries...the sticker that said "maintenance free"... there were caps which could be removed and 4 of the 6 cells were dry. It took over 2 qts of distilled water to top them off. I ran the engine for 30 min and have a 200 mile drive in the morning so we'll see what happens.

I'll update again but thanks to all for your help (once again)
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:58 PM   #12
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According to the Chassis Wiring Installation wiring diagram for your coach (pg. 3) you do a the Trik-L-Start installed (as I believe all Winne diesel pushers have since 2006(?)). It is connected across the terminal of the two battery solenoids inside the metal compartment behind the 4 circuit breakers above your inverter/charger in the left rear compartment.

If you check your One Place panel when plugged into shore power (or with the generator running) with the engine off you should typically see that the voltage of the chassis batteries is more than 13 volts, indicating that they are being charged via the Trik-L-Start (assuming that the charger in your inverter/charger is turned on).
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:20 PM   #13
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You nailed it Chris. Thanks! Man they sure don't make it easy to get to but I verified that I have a Trickle Charger... 5 amp starting battery maintainer. All wires seem to be solid... there are three LEDs... one for "maintain"... one for "charging"... and one for "reversed polarity"... the "charging LED is lit"...

I'll see what happens overnight and then how it takes to the 200 mile drive tomorrow from Cleveland to Cincinatti. With the one "maintenance free" starting battery having been so dry I think I'll be lucky if I don't end up replacing both this weekend but we'll have to see.

I'll follow up on what happens but thanks again to all!
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:15 PM   #14
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RickO "Our Maintenance Free Batteries are NOT maintenance free" I'm going to check mine...My caps might be covered. I changed the house batteries to AGM's but never thought about the chassis battery caps being hidden. Joe
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:01 PM   #15
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Well, it was an eventful morning. After using the Aux boost to get the coach started, in the time it took to bring in the slides, stow the jacks and hook up the toad... the starting battery that had been dry was swollen and spewing rotten egg gas.

Shut her down, disconnected the "smoking gun"... used the Aux to start with only one starting battery... and drove the 240 miles to Rising Sun, Indiana without further incedent but I'm sure I'll be replacing the batteries this weekend. And I won't be buying "maintenance free" batteries!
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:53 PM   #16
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Battery spewing happened to me in a car a few yrs back. I was on a long trip and didn't wash off the mist, couldn't see it. Short story, it will eat the finish on anything it touches. If you haven't done so, clean off all areas around the battery. Hope all works.
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