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Old 10-30-2005, 07:34 AM   #1
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I have had my coach (2003 Adventurer 35U )parked for about 1 month without any use. I am 100% certain I had the house batteries shut off. I took it out of the storage lot yesterday and discoverd that the engine battery in is down to 8.3 volts. Would not start and I needed the Battery Boost to crank the engine. House Batteries are in good shape, reading steady at 13.8 volts.

2 questions for the forum:
1. Does solar charging panel provide a trickle charge to only the house battery or both house and engine? I read thru the owners manual and it does not specify.
2. I looked all over trying to find something that may be draining the engine battery. I discovered that I left the inverter by the TV/VCR switched ON. I experimented by turing inverter ON and then shutting off the Aux Power switch by the step and the inverter power went off. So it is reasonable to assume that the inverter is powered from the house battery and not the engine battery.

Any ideas on what else might be causing the discharge in the engine battery? I have a long trip coming up in a few weeks and the battery might recharge itself, but on the other hand it might not, we'll see. Would love to find the culprit.

As always thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas.
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Old 10-30-2005, 07:34 AM   #2
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I have had my coach (2003 Adventurer 35U )parked for about 1 month without any use. I am 100% certain I had the house batteries shut off. I took it out of the storage lot yesterday and discoverd that the engine battery in is down to 8.3 volts. Would not start and I needed the Battery Boost to crank the engine. House Batteries are in good shape, reading steady at 13.8 volts.

2 questions for the forum:
1. Does solar charging panel provide a trickle charge to only the house battery or both house and engine? I read thru the owners manual and it does not specify.
2. I looked all over trying to find something that may be draining the engine battery. I discovered that I left the inverter by the TV/VCR switched ON. I experimented by turing inverter ON and then shutting off the Aux Power switch by the step and the inverter power went off. So it is reasonable to assume that the inverter is powered from the house battery and not the engine battery.

Any ideas on what else might be causing the discharge in the engine battery? I have a long trip coming up in a few weeks and the battery might recharge itself, but on the other hand it might not, we'll see. Would love to find the culprit.

As always thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas.
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:44 PM   #3
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As far as I know, the solar charger only keeps the house batteries topped off.

Your chassis (engine) battery is providing a little current all of the time to various electronic modules associated with the engine and/or Allison tranny. Parasitic drain of the chassis battery is a long-standing problem with various models of Winnies. On my 2005 Horizon, a shut-off battery switch was included apparently due to many complaints like yours.

There is also a good possibility that you might have one or more bad chassis batteries. As a first step in trouble shooting the problem, take the batteries to a shop or auto parts store and have them tested.
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:51 PM   #4
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Matt, the solar plate will only trickle charge the house batteries and they are more of a maintence to fully charged batteries. Like John says the batteries are never completly shut off, unless you disconnect them.
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Old 10-31-2005, 01:41 AM   #5
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Matt1616, I could be mistaken, but I believe your Kwikee steps are powered off the chassis (engine) battery. Could you have left that switch "on" and the little light on the steps was burning?
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:11 AM   #6
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Troth,

yes the steps are powered by the engine battery. In fact mine won't go in and out unless I have the engine running, due to the low charge in the batteries. I suppose it might be possible that I left them On.

Matt
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Old 10-31-2005, 04:20 AM   #7
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Hey Matt,
Just so you don't feel like the lone ranger, I'm having the same problem. My steps and my slides all work off the chassis battery. My usual indicator is the slides won't work. I pulled the battery this weekend and charged it up on the bench and then checked it with a voltage meter. There was no loss over forty-eight hours so I figure it's a good battery. I'm going to keep looking for the gremlin but a cutout switch is looking pretty good right now. Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2005, 05:52 AM   #8
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Hi Ho: The best tool for troubleshooting this problem is an ammeter. As Matt points out there are two possibilities: 1. The battery has a bad cell or lead sulfite accumulation and is self-discharging or 2. Something is drawing current from the battery and causing it to be discharged externally. An ammeter will let you find out what circuit is taking current from the battery and how much. Just put the ammeter in series with the output cable (or use a clamp-on meter) and disable circuit breakers until the current goes away. If the current is small, say 10 ma. (0.01 amps) or less it is probably normal and the battery should remain charged for a few months. If it is larger a cutout switch may be a solution. However it is also possible that the battery is self-discharging and even a cutout switch won't help in that case. A new battery is the solution. Batteries are funny about lifetime. The battery in our 95 Saturn has never been replaced. One the other hand, some batteries fail in a year or two. We normally store our motor home (a 2000 35U) in the winter and have never had a problem starting the engine in the spring, even without the switch that connects all the batteries together. However, I try to charge all the batteries once during the winter (about February). Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2005, 10:59 AM   #9
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I had a 2003 Suncruiser 33V so I'm familiar with your electrical system. On my system the OEM 10 watt solar panel was connected to the house batteries. When I installed 220 watts of solar panels on the roof to charge the house batteries I relocated the wire from the 10 watt solar panel over to the chassis battery from the house batteies. Unfortunately the 10 watt panel isn't enough to overcome the parasitic loads on the chassis battery when parked.

You can minimize these loads by keeping the steps switch in the OFF position. Also turn the radio switch to the HOUSE position. The slideouts also run off the chassis batteries but if you don't use them, you're fine. You will still have draws from the engine's ECU and the tranny TCU modules. These things always draw some power to maintain their memory and Ive found that after 1 month of cold winter weather, even with everything turned off, I still had to use the BOOST switch to crank it over fast enough, although the volts weren't as low as yours were - maybe 10.8 volts.

I kept mine plugged in 24/7 when in storage. But, that only keeps the house batteries charged. So, I installed a BatteryMinder pulse type charger on my chassis batteries which eliminated that problem. But, if you don't have access to power when stored, that's not going to help you. You can always switch off the house batteries but you may want to consider some sort of disconnect switch for the chassis batteries. There are knife style switches that connect right to the battery post which would be easy to access by simply lifting the steps cover on your 35U.

I would have the battery checked to be sure they're capable of holding a charge, especially if you ran them that low. Charge them up, check the specific gravcity with a hydrometer or spectrometer to verify that all the cells are fully charged, then run a load bank test on them. If you pull the batteries out you can generally get this done for free at a Batteries Plus or similar place that sells deep cycle batteries. They may not be that good any more and that's the first thing to rectify.
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Old 11-05-2005, 05:30 AM   #10
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I have a Sightseer, not an Adventurer, but it's "normal" for my engine battery to discharge when it sits for 3 weeks or so.
There is enough parasitic (keep alive) current pulled by the engine and transmission computers to run the battery down.
I use a Battery Minder float charger to keep it charged when I am stopped.
Being a full timer I don't store it though just may not start the engine for a while.
If you don't have power available while it's stored maybe one of the aftermarket solar setups I have seen advertized might work.
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