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Old 03-24-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
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Smile Engine batteries not staying charged

I recently purchased a used 2005 Journey 36g. It appears the engine batteries are not keeping a charge. They currently read 11.7. The batteries are 2 years old. I've had the coach for 2 weeks. The aux. switch has been turned off, as well as all other electrical units (as far as I know). The house batteries are fine, 13.5. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
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Aux battery switch on my coach controls the house batteries only; you may have an additional cutoff for the chassis batteries too.

There are a number of parasitic drains on the chassis batteries ...radios pull some power even when off, smart steering wheel, engine computer, LP alarms, etc. In addition, the entry steps, leveling jacks and slide-outs are powered from the chassis batteries. I think basement storage compartment lights are on the house batteries, but not sure...

I would hope chassis batteries would last longer than two years, but it does depend on how they have been treated. My original batteries on 2003 coach mfg in 2002 died in 2005. The replacements put in at that time are still going strong. If yours get hot when being charged, or have any swollen sides, replace them all. Otherwise, the only way to tell for sure is to have them load tested at a battery place.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I think the easiest thing to do is have them load-tested.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fergo27 View Post
I recently purchased a used 2005 Journey 36g. It appears the engine batteries are not keeping a charge. They currently read 11.7. The batteries are 2 years old. I've had the coach for 2 weeks. The aux. switch has been turned off, as well as all other electrical units (as far as I know). The house batteries are fine, 13.5. Any suggestions?
On our last coach (Monaco) I had three switches that could be turned off. One by the entry, and two in the battery compartment. I always turned all three off and the batteries were fine. We did lose stored radio stations and TV stations, but no problem with batteries.

On this coach I can only find two switches. One by the entry and one in the battery compartment. I turn both off. It's not a big deal to lose a couple programed stations on the radio or TV. Keeping the batteries charged is more important to us. Besides, Winegard recommends running the TV station scan over on each new stop. Hope this helps a little. Joe
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:15 PM   #5
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Sorry, I don't have a Winne so I have to ask....are you certain that the engine batteries are on a 120V charging circuit. Our coach is not and if left to sit too long the batteries will simply go dead unless I put a separate charger on them. They are charged very well when I run the engine. Have you run your engine and checked to see if the battery voltage comes up (before you pull them out for load testing)?
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:40 PM   #6
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Neil,
Check to see if you have a battery tender or Trik-L-Start system on your coach to charge the chassis batteries. Your charger/converter system may not be set up to charge both sets of batteries. Winnebago began installing the Trik-L-Start in or during the 2006 model run. Do a search on "Trik-L-Start" and you'll get a wealth of information.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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Neil,
Although my Winne is newer, I had the same problem. I called Winnebago and spoke to a technician. He asked for the serial number and was able to pull up my specific build. I do have a trickle charger built into the system. When it is in storage I always have 110v going to it. When I had the problem, I subsequently found out that I had two bad house batteries, so it may be that you have a bad service battery. The two methods I know for testing are a hydrometer, or a load test at your local auto store.

With that said, the Winni Technician also told me the procedure for when I was hooked up. He said to leave the batteries connected because if you used the disconnect switch you would not get a charge. That was for both the chassis and house batteries. Besides turning off everything in the coach he said to be sure to turn the step switch to the off position as there is a constant voltage and draw from the step when it is turned on. It's one of the safety things. Even when I had the bad batteries, doing it by his method kept the batteries charged.

If you do not have a built in trickle charger I would suggest one with a desulfator. The one I purchased, that is now sitting waiting to be used, is the Battery Minder, and it works well.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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Wayne,

Thanks so much for the info. I, too, am going to give Winnie a call to see exactly how my rig is configured. Then, all I have to do is understand what he's telling me.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:44 AM   #9
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Fleetman,

Good idea. Always something new to check out. I appreciate your info.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:47 AM   #10
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Bill,

Not sure of the charging circuit. Have to check that out with Winnie. When I run the engine, the batteries come up, however, after sitting for a week or so they're back to 11.7. Seems like they should hold a charge for a longer period of time.

Thanks for your info.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:35 PM   #11
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Neil ...

If I am connected to shore power and stay in one spot for a couple of months or more then my engine batteries will migrated down to the low 12.xx range ...

When I want to give my engine batteries a little boost, I connect the RED posts of the house to the RED post of coach batteries for a couple of hours ... I use the red *half* of the jumper cables that I carry with me to do the jumpering ...

I got this hint from this forum a couple of years ago ... I had to use it with increasing frequency as my engine batteries came ot the end of their life ... since getting new engine batteries (they lasted 6 years) I have not had to jumper between the battery banks ...

I learned that I needed jumper cables when I once towed my Jimmy for a couple of days with the *dome* light on ...
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:23 PM   #12
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Our 2005 Winnebagos did not come with the Trik-L-Start. I believe these were standard starting in 2006. Adding one will keep you chassis batteries charged up while on shore power.

Here a link to the product:

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer

Probably the best $50 bucks you will spend. And easy to install.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:27 PM   #13
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Unless the previous owner installed a Trik-L-Start you don't have one. The aux. switch does not turn off the engine batteries. If they are going down in two weeks have them load tested and don't be surprised if they need to be replaced.
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