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Old 05-30-2018, 08:55 AM   #1
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Inspect your battery cables

Today I started the install of my new inverter/charger (pure sine wave) in our 2008 Journey.

Before I got started it was time to disconnect the batteries.

As I was inspecting the situation in the battery compartment I moved one of the positive wires and noticed it arced!!!

Please inspect all of your cables in your battery compartment!!!

Iíve only owned this coach, our first one, since last year. Now Iím very concerned with the electrical system. Last year I posted info about the coach battery disconnect selonoid and how ALL of the wire bundles were pulled together and tie wrapped placing unnecessary tension on components. This has been a common theme on the coach. Every time I work on it I uncover another serious situation.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:05 PM   #2
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Good thing that did not short out when you were driving down the road!
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:23 PM   #3
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Iím sure it was arcing the entire time I was driving. Scary
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:43 PM   #4
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Wow, that is scary looking. It's always a good idea to check the batteries with some frequency... most of us need to add water occasionally anyhow. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:43 AM   #5
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I’ve ordered new crimp lugs so I can modify the cables to the exact length needed. There doesn’t need to be excessive slack. This was the problem in this case. The also need to be sleeved to protect the cable.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:30 AM   #6
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Checking monthly for water level and cables when the RV is not in use and weekly when it is seems to me appropriate.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:54 AM   #7
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I'm surprised it didn't blow the chassis fuse that the battery cable is connected to. There is one, right?
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
I'm surprised it didn't blow the chassis fuse that the battery cable is connected to. There is one, right?
There should be a chassis fuse. I would inspect it and change it for a new one. It may be the wrong type. It should have protected you and obviously did not.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:33 PM   #9
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Iím guessing it wasnít always in contact with the negative cable but when driving it would bounce and arc. Not enough to create a direct short.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:51 PM   #10
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It might be enough to start a fire. I had engine work on a diesel car with two batteries. When they put the car back together they failed to route the batteries cables correctly and I had a similar problem, The rubbing friction wore through the cable insulation and shorted the battery positive cable to ground, melting the battery cable. Lucky it was not gas and there was not more to burn.

Maybe there is no fuse?
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:05 AM   #11
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I believe it is common practice to *not* protect the larger cables -- like the ones connecting the chassis and coach batteries.

I've yet to hear a good explanation for that.

Then again, I've never seen any protection on the pos(+) cable running from the battery (in any vehicle) to the starter -- so it isn't just RV mfrs.

The cable in the photo posted by the OP clearly has no protection. In order for that arcing to blow a fuse or trip a DC breaker, the protection device would have to be mounted right at the pos(+) battery terminal.
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Old 06-07-2018, 05:31 AM   #12
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Always inspect the battery cables how they are routed. I had a battery cable to the starter to short out on a 1998 Vectra on a Freightliner chassis. It had been rubbing on the sharp edge of the frame. It immediately stopped the engine without warning and I coasted to the side of the road. It melted some of the lead on the battery terminal and I was very suprised that it didn't start a fire with the oil on the engine. It didn't do any other damage and roadside service was able to get us going again. It is very easy to do a one time check of the cables and bend the wire or use some split heater hose with wire ties to prevent the rubbing of wires. This could have been a lot worse.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:32 AM   #13
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My plan is to remove all of the batteries from the compartment. Thoroughly clean and repaint the area with a frame paint system. This will protect from rust. I’ve purchased a horse stall mat which is approximately 1/2” rubber, I’ll cut it to fit the floor of the compartment. I’ve got U channel edge guard for exposed structure that the cables could come in contact with. I’m also going to fabricate a better battery hold down system that will allow for a standoff to be attached and hold cables above areas that could cause a rub. I’d also like to try and enclose the compartment better to reduce the amount of road grime, Winnebago could have done a better job of that.
I’m looking into using welding cable for the system. Apperently they better than the OEM cables.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:55 PM   #14
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Welding Cable v Battery Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdkskyking View Post
My plan is to remove all of the batteries from the compartment. Thoroughly clean and repaint the area with a frame paint system. This will protect from rust. Iíve purchased a horse stall mat which is approximately 1/2Ē rubber, Iíll cut it to fit the floor of the compartment. Iíve got U channel edge guard for exposed structure that the cables could come in contact with. Iím also going to fabricate a better battery hold down system that will allow for a standoff to be attached and hold cables above areas that could cause a rub. Iíd also like to try and enclose the compartment better to reduce the amount of road grime, Winnebago could have done a better job of that.
Iím looking into using welding cable for the system. Apperently they better than the OEM cables.
Good plan!

I used #4/0 welding cable to connect our coach batteries to the inverter. I mounted the fuse in the battery box and the 2 Crown GC batteries are oversize (taller) so the welding cable was a necessity because of the tight bends required (welding cable, even 4/0, is very flexible).

That said, if space isn't tight battery cable works just as well and it is less expensive. See these links:
What's the Difference Between Battery Cable and Welding Cable?
https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/33824...ding_Cable.pdf

The blog entry claims they are both abrasion and cut resistant, but there is a huge difference when cutting the insulation with a knife. The EPDM rubber on the welding cable cuts easily. Of course that's with a sharp knife, but the battery cable insulation seems tougher.

On the battery box, I believe WGO used an open design to ensure that any hydrogen gas remains outside of the coach. Of course with AGM batts that is not a concern, but with GC batteries it is important to have some venting.
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