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Old 08-20-2014, 08:10 PM   #1
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Dead battery. What should I do? - Itasca 35F

I have a Itasca 35F. I put it in storage in January and pressed the "Chassis Battery" switch to off. The switch is located near the steps. I just went to retrieve it from storage and the battery is dead. :(

1. What should I do to get the battery charged so I can start it? There's no electrical outlet near my storage space, so I think I need a jumpstart. Should I call any towing company to do a jump start or should I call Goodsam's Roadside Assistance service? Which one would be more knowledgeable about how to start up the RV?

2. Why did the battery drain even though I switched the chassis battery to off? Is there something else I need to do in order to prevent the battery from draining when I put it in storage?

3. Once I get the RV jumpstarted again, how long should I run it so that it has enough charge to last a couple of days?

Thanks all! Sorry for the newbie questions.
2014 Itasca Sunstar 35F
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:50 PM   #2
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I would say jumpstart it. Then run it for awhile, take a drive around somewhere. If the battery isn't shot it should start and be alright..make sure there's water in it as well.
If it doesn't start again the batt may be dead. you can take it to a battery place and have it checked for sure.
During storage I will go out and start the unit up maybe once a week and run it a little while at least til its at running temp.
Another thing you can do is to bring the battery in to your garage and trickle charge it once in a while. Don't let it freeze.
When a battery is not used and is also in cold weather it will drain down to nothing.
Hope this helps
Jerry and Teri Lea
The Villages, Florida
2013 Winnebago Travato as of May 20th, 2014
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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1) Will your generator start? ... if it will... let it run for 15 or 20 minutes ... then hit the MOM switch and turn the ignition key ...

If that doesn't work I would call Good Sam ... they will contact a local service provider that has provided service to customers before.

On most coaches there is some parasitic drain on batteries even when the switch is shut off ... for instance the steps are always ON (the on/off switch just controls whether they go in or out depending on the state of the screen door). There is also current drain for the engine electronics.

The only way to prevent drain is to disconnect the battery cable ... either physically or with a switch right on the battery.

When we leave for extended periods of time (my wife's car sits in the garage) ... we always physically disconnect a battery cable.

2) I would run the engine for at least a couple of hours ... the engine alternator does a better job of charging the battery than the generator.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:20 PM   #4
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If you have good Sam ERS have them cone jump start it.
Vince and Susan
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Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by skigramp View Post
1) Will your generator start? ... if it will... let it run for 15 or 20 minutes ... then hit the MOM switch and turn the ignition key ... .
This is the first thing to try. The "mom" switch may be marked "battery boost" or some such. You have to hold it to keep the two battery bank connected. My coach, like most older rigs, does not have chassis battery disconnect has only house battery disconnect.
Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
'03 Winnebago UA 40e / '05 Honda Odyssey toad
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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I assume it's a Ford chassis? I don't know what the deal is but they seem to drain the chassis battery even with the switch off. I had the same problem with my 2010 Itasca 35P. I ended up replacing the battery and watch the voltage level on it and start it when it gets low.

I wonder what problems would be caused if I disconnect the battery while it's in long term storage? The battery should be ok if it's charged up prior but I don't know about the computers and such.

Craig and Joan
2010 Itasca Suncrusier
Craig and Joan
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:47 PM   #7
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If you are going to store for 4-5 months every year take the engine cranking battery out and to your house. Trickle charge ( usually 2-5 amps) for 24 hours every month. All storage batteries will discharge when they are not being re-charged. Nothing can stop that. Then you add some parasitic discharge because of the small drains from a few electronic devices and it will die even sooner.

Fully charged batteries won't freeze unless it's really cold. But they will be reduced in efficiency as it gets colder especially with wind chill and temps below zero. Even a fully charged battery at zero is probably only about 60% capacity.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:03 PM   #8
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Dead battery. What should I do? - Itasca 35F

So from January to August is 7 months! That's a long time in storage ! A wet cell battery loses up to 10 % per month just sitting (with nothing connected!). So you need to make arrangements to charge the batteries. A 100W solar panel can keep all the batteries charged. Instead of running chassis engine to charge the batteries, I would run the generator 2 hours per month.

Another alternative is to replace your wet cell batteries with AGM type. The Absorbed Glass Mat type battery only self discharges 1-3% per month. It would be able to withstand sitting for 7 months disconnected.....provided it was fully charged when you put it in storage.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:42 PM   #9
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You might also consider buying a Jump Start Power Pack. You plug it in anywhere and charge it up; then throw it in the back of your car. It comes with jumper cables attached. Price is $50 to $100.

I bought one a couple of years ago when my Yukon had some squirrelly electronics that would randomly shut down the battery. We finally got the Yukon straightened out, but the power pack goes with the RV everywhere.

Most of them also have a trouble light, one or two 12 volt outlets and one or two low amp 110v outlets as well as USB ports for charging electronics. Mine (from Sears) even has a small air pump.
Don Simmons
2006 Winnebago Voyage 33V Pushed by a 2014 Chevrolet Captiva
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
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I agree with those that you should take chassis battery home while coach is in storage and then keep it fully charged with a trickle charger. I also agree with calling GS or jump starting it

Something else you should do is read your manuals especially about the generator. Do you know it should be started once a month and run under 3/4 load for at least 3/4 hour. If you do that it would keep your batteries charged.

It amazes me that you didn't use your RV for 7 months or even visited it during that time.

2014 Winnebago Adventurer 35P,Ford F-53, V-10
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:36 AM   #11
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I carry a set of long jumper cables that I can use to jump myself from the house battery. I have a switch on the dash to connect the aux battery to the main but every time I need it, it does not seem to work. I've had it checked a few times and each time they say it works. Thus the cables.
Tom Wilds
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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I wonder what use the chassis battery switch is if it doesn't shut all loads off? The coach switch seems to disconnect all loads. I don't get it.

Craig and Joan
2010 Itasca Suncrusier
Craig and Joan
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:32 AM   #13
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Don't forget that there are some items wired directly to the chassis batteries such as your step motor. Not sure what the other things are but I believe I have read there is a very small constant drain from the steps. Your best bet is to turn the switch off, retract the step and then disconnect the ground to the chassis battery.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:34 PM   #14
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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the "Chassis Battery" switch only turned off the power to the chassis, not the engine battery. Seems that you need to address the 'why' the battery is going dead along with what to do to start it once dead. Prevent the first issue and the second one won't be needed.

And I know that there are many things drawing parasite power from the engine battery, including the slides. I had the same problem, though my battery would be dead by about the 40th day.

I resolved that issue by installing a battery disconnect switch (approximately $33 and can be had for a lot less, depending on style, such as the blade-style.) that shuts off all power from the engine battery. Since installing it, I have not had a single dead-battery issue and no longer carry a jump-starter with me when I go get the motorhome after sitting in storage. -RT
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Ricardo Tegarini
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Workhorse Chassis W20
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