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Old 01-07-2019, 07:07 PM   #1
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New Diesel Owner Here

Just purchased a 2008 Winnebago Journey 39Z last week in Colorado. Drove it home here in Iowa and placed it into an RV storage lot. Spending time now reading manuals and purchasing supplies needed. Won't be used for another month and was wondering if there is anything special I need to be aware of after it sits for a month. I did turn off battery connection to not drain battery. Diesel does have additive to reduce gelling issues.

Thank you in advance for your help. Know very little about Diesel engines and motorhomes so have a lot to learn.
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:45 PM   #2
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You should head back to the storage lot and disconnect the battery grounds at the batteries. Otherwise they'll be dead in a month. Even with the battery switches off there are still parasitic draws on the batteries.

It can get pretty cold in Iowa so you should have winterized the rig. Dump tanks, blow out the water lines, add pink stuff to all the drains and the toilet. Perhaps remove and drain the water pump.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:57 AM   #3
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Turn off your inverter (it is usually connected directly to the batteries and will not shut off when you turn off your house batteries). As Jim_HiTek has mentioned, make sure it is winterized and, if not, get it done ASAP. Check with your seller, they should have winterized it.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:15 AM   #4
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Ya, unlike my 5ers that I just killed the master switch every fall and didn't worry about it, the MH didn't fully isolate the batteries. It cost me 6 new AGM 31 series batteries in the spring. I did run it every month or so, but by March I let it go about 3 months and they died a swift death

My fix in the end was to plug in with battery tenders, but I have access to a 20A plug in storage. It's a bear to get to my batteries.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:30 AM   #5
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I should have mentioned that if the OP has left the batts sit idle for more than a week, that they should be recharged by whatever method is the most convenient and then disconnect the grounds. No need to do any recharging or anything over winter because the battery acid in a healthy battery will keep it from freezing. If it does freeze, it was bad anyway. Next spring, put a charger on the chassis batts or jumper them before starting. Doesn't take long. After the engines running for a while, the system will switch the alterntor over to charge the house batts.

But Meridian42e's idea is sound too. If OP has access to power, plug the RV in and let the converter in the RV handle charging the house batts, and maybe install a float charger (120V device from Walmart - $20) to keep the chassis (starting) batteries topped off. Some, but many more don't, already have a built in charger for the chassis batts and so just plugging into power is all that's necessary. Easy to find out, first measure the voltage on the battery sets, than just plug in the RV, wait a few minutes and then measure the voltage on the chassis batts. If over 13 volt, you have a built in charger all ready. There are adapters that will easily convert whatever RV plug you have into a standard 15 amp and the draw is so low, you don't need anything over a 15 amp circuit.

There's also the Trik-L-Start device that steals some charging current from the house batts to keep the chassis batts charged. More expensive than a simple float charger, but often more convenient.

Probably TMI, but there's probably lurkers and maybe some are interested in additional info.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:15 PM   #6
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Thank you for your response. I guess I should have wrote that the rig was winterized by the dealer before we left.

I am confused about the batteries though. I was under the impression that the battery shut off switch down in the battery hold turned off the batteries totally. will be making trip on Saturday to unit to check it out. thank you.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:22 PM   #7
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wow after reading all of the replies, I have a lot to learn. will be checking the inverter out too. I was fortunate that I received all of the manuals. Reading through them has been interesting
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRNiven View Post
Thank you for your response. I guess I should have wrote that the rig was winterized by the dealer before we left.

I am confused about the batteries though. I was under the impression that the battery shut off switch down in the battery hold turned off the batteries totally. will be making trip on Saturday to unit to check it out. thank you.
It's entirely possible that you do have a solenoid or a pair of them that totally disconnect the batteries, both sets, from ground but that would be unusual. The reason is that you drive off the lot, and your engine and tranni and who knows what else starts learning how you drive and dynamically adjusts it's parameters to you. After 300 miles, your robotic RV has a pretty good idea what kind of driver you are and STORES that information like shift patterns that best model your behavior in onboard memory, just like your dash or bedroom or entertainment center radios memory (which are also parasitic draw devices).

When the batteries are disconnected, that memory fades away over a couple hours and your RV starts over the next time you start the engine. So generally, that's why there's still parasitic draws on your batts even after you've thrown the switch. There also draws on the house batteries...these are CO and propane detectors, the steps, and diode routed voltage to radios and other clock devices and of course any INVERTER you might have installed. Those older models inverters really suck down the power. And often they are directly connected to the batts.

Of course the best way to find out is to shut off that switch you have and measure the current being drawn from both sets (assuming you have the equipment). You'll know right away that you have parasitic draws if you get a spark when you think there's no draw and you remove the ground.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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thank you. I will find out Saturday. Hopefully after two weeks I will have enough charge to fire it up and the generator to recharge them. will disconnect this time around.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:00 PM   #10
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I would take a set of jumper cables you know will reach from where you're able to park. If you're parked in a commercial RV parking/storage lot, they'll likely have a mobile charger with onboard battery in the office in case you can't get your vehicle close enough to the battery compartment. Those little carry around starting stations you find in auto or big box stores sometimes have the energy to start a big engine. I wouldn't count on them though.

I find 6"-8" adjustable wrenches at thrift stores and toss them in the battery compartment along with a pair of mechanics gloves so they are always right there ready when I need to disconnect the batts.

In the spring, do your battery maintenance and have a plastic turkey baster with you. First check to see if you need to add distilled water ($0.88/gallon at WalMart is a typical price). If that's the case, add 2 oz of mineral oil (3-in-1 oil) to each cell, and than add distilled. Flooded batteries with pop covers of course. Once you've done that, you'll not have to worry much about corrosion as the oil will prevent it. If it is good enough for Edison to add mineral oil, it's good enough for me. If the cells are already full, just suck out water with the turkey baster before adding the oil.

Once that's all done you can do your baking soda wash of all the batts and the battery trays and never have to worry about it again. Leave out the oil you'll be doing it every year. Sometimes twice. But, still do your regular yearly battery maintenance check.

Have fun!
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:59 PM   #11
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For what its worth, auto parts stores carry what amounts to a turkey baster except that its a bit smaller and designed specifically for adding/removing battery water. Typically inflated parts store prices may make the baster a better deal costwise.

Many years ago I acquired a small bottle made specifically for battery maintenance. It has a spring-loaded "nozzle" that when properly inserted into each cell, will automatically stop the flow upon reaching the proper level. Unfortunately between the battery handles and the cables on top of the batteries, the nozzle won't seat correctly in the cells. Oh well.....!
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:24 AM   #12
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Everyone has their own ideas on storage procedures and such. It may not be possible for you, but when I was still living in the Northwest through the very wet winters, I would make it a routine, (road conditions allowing), to drive the RV once a month, 30 miles out, 30 miles back. Also run the generator for at least an hour, running the heat pump or other things to use power. Batteries and everything were ready to go in the spring with no problems. (plumbing systems were winterized).
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:38 AM   #13
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Well not good...

Made it out to the storage facility this weekend. And found that the house batteries had drained as you all predicted. When I check their charge the house batteries showed 6.7. The engine battery still showed 12.5. With all the snow and the cold that we have right now I tried to get down into the Bay to unhook the house batteries but was unsuccessful. To much snow piled up and their was just not much room. Add that to my lack ok knowledge as to what exactly to unhook. Bottom line is I will have to take care of the batteries later.
May end up having to replace the House batteries.

Another interesting thing occurred was I started the engine up just fine but I soon got a orange check engine light and then I got the red stop check engine light and so I turned it off and this occurred within 4-5 minutes.

I checked all of the dash guages and oil, air pressure and battery was fine. But engine temperature was all the way down to cold. I can understand that.

Was doing some research and saw mention of an engine heater that should have been turned on and left on for a few hours... Is this right? I saw the switch on my control panel. What powers that? if batteries are low, will this work?

The dash indicator also showed engine coolant low. So I believe I need to get some diesel engine coolant and fill.

Wonder what could go wrong next. Any other harm will I cause leaving the batteries connected? I can see now the benefit of inside storage.

Obviously I have a lot to learn.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:48 PM   #14
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One more construct to embrace. A solar or wind system to trickle charge the batteries house bank and also the engine battery when we all ahem sit on our investments! My engine battery would always get drained off by the various gizmos and the house would also do the same due to various parasites. So the good old knife switches were put in series and wow what a difference, till the trickle charging system was set up (mild solar with wind combo.) check Home Depot for Coleman branded wind mill charger. Anti jelling is one thing in the warm months you have to make sure no growth happens in the tank so there is an additive for that too! plus there is that cetane booster for good measure. But hey that diesel growl and stump puller torque makes up for all of that and more. In bago workhorse do make sure your grounds are in good shape had a darn close call due to that.
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