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Old 02-13-2009, 09:48 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Logan, UT
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Hi Everyone! We take our coach batteries out in the winter. We leave the engine battery in so we can start the RV every couple of weeks and run the engine for about 10 minutes thru Dec., Jan., & Feb. When we go to start the RV, the engine battery is dead. Winnebago doesn't know why. It's a new battery. We have the step in the OFF position. What could be drawing a charge from the battery? Thank YOu!
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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Location: Northern Oklahoma
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I have a 2004 Meridian and mine has done the same thing since new. There seems to be enough stuff still running, such as all the control boards and computers for engine and transmission that will draw down the battery in 2-3 weeks. If camped in one place that long I generally have to use the house booster switch to start the engine. Maybe a call to Freightliner (if that's your chassis) might get some sort of answer. I'm sure Winny doesn't know where all the chassis electrical things are. Good Luck

2004 Meridian 36G
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
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Welcome to the

Even though you have the step switch in the 'off' position, it still is hooked to the engine battery, and along with other devices, there is always parasitic draw on the engine battery.

You can have an engine battery disconnect switch installed which will for sure not discharge your battery, or try a trickle charger when storing for the winter, assuming you have access to electricity.
'07 Winnebago Journey 34H - CAT C7, Koni's, MCU's, SS Bell Crank, Safe-T-Plus
'07 HHR Toad, SMI AFO, Blue OX
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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Location: Northern Arizona
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If no access to electricity, you can also look at solar panels...they will provide a trickle charge. Doesn't your rig come with a battery disconnect switch for both house and starter batteries????
Bruce & Gloria
Charlie the Yorkie
Sammy the Shimapoo
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:43 PM   #5
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Location: Draper, UT
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HiHo: There are really only two possibilities: 1. The battery is bad 3. There is a parasitic load that is discharging it.

It is really easy to check. Just put a milliammeter in series with one of the battery termininals and measure the load. If (for example) it measures 1000 ma. (1 amp)--not likely-- the battery will discharge in about 60 hours if it is a 60 battery. Actually, the load should be in tens of ma. at most, and the battery should stay charged for at least a couple of months. Let us know what the load is.

More likely, a load test of the battery will determine if it is bad. I won't go into how to do that. Just take it to an automotive supply store (Autozone, Checker, etc.) and have them check it.

Anyway, good luck. Any other answer would just be speculation on our part.

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:28 PM   #6
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 13
I have resolved a similar problem. I put the dash radio to house power and turn off the house disconnect switch. Also if you store outside you can clip a small jumper from the house positive to the chassis positive aand let the roof solar panel keep a trickle to the chassis battery.
Tom & Sue

2007 Sunrise 35L
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:23 PM   #7
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I would check for compartment lights which aren't turning off--that can certainly drag a battery down. I'm pretty sure those are on the engine/chassis battery.
Chris Beierl

2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:44 PM   #8
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Go to page 4, chassis battery problem started by codgerbill near top of page. Might help or giv eyou some other ideas.

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Old 02-14-2009, 04:21 AM   #9
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If you can get power to the coach, install a battery minder. It will end all your problems and keep your battery in top float condition all the time. No over charge problems.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:10 AM   #10
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Location: Richardson, Tx
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I think the best cure for this problem is to install a manual battery disconnect at the chassis batteries. I would like to install a soleonid and switch like the coach batteries have, then I could control it from the dash or control panel. I have power to the coach and find the battery minder to be a good solution also.
Robert L Rice

2002 36GD Journey DL
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:30 AM   #11
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First of all I don't think you're running the engine long enough to put any kind of charge on the battery. The rule of thumb is it take the alternator 10 - 15 minutes to replace the amount of charge lost by starting the engine. That's one reason short trips are hard on vehicles. By starting and running only it only a short time you slowly delpete the battery. To get any reasonable amount of charge back in the battery the vehicle should be run at least an hour.

Secondly as long as the battery is connected there will be parasitic loads. Both the engine and powertrain computers draw a minimal amount of current when the ignition is off. Also any accessories like a radio, electronic dash, or GPS will draw power to keep their memories active. Most auto and truck manuals recommend disconnecting the battery if the unit will be in storage more than 30 days.

If you have no access to power for a charger I would suggest either disconnecting the chassis battery or installing a battery disconnect switch. We installed one like this several years ago when our coach was new.

It was originally sold for use on over the road trucks. It can handle a continuous load of 250 amps and a starting load of 2,500 amps. They're a bit pricey but sealed & waterproof so it can be mounted in the battery compartment without any problems.

We store ours in an unheated garage with no electrical power or light to power a solar panel. In 8 years we've never had a dead battery.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:27 AM   #12
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If you have access to shore power, I would suggest installing a Trick-L-Start in your rig. I had the same problem until I installed the Trick-L-Start and it works great. You can do a temporary setup by just hooking it up in your battery compartment or a permanent setup. It is a simple setup with only 3 wires to hookup and has instructions with the system. However, I thought 06 Winnebago already had the system installed or maybe it was 07 and up. But I turn on the shore power to my rig every weekend and it charges up both the house and chassis batteries. Good Luck and Happy RVing!
Jack & Peg
06 Itasca Horizon 40KD
03 Subaru Forester
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cbeierl View Post
I would check for compartment lights which aren't turning off--that can certainly drag a battery down. I'm pretty sure those are on the engine/chassis battery.
Gawd I love forums with knowledgeable people -

That fixed my annoying problem! I had a stuck switch in the basement and the compartment light switch was on, but compartments were closed....

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'04 Adventurer
2004 Winnebago Adventurer 35U/W22 Chassis
2004 Arctic Fox 860 on an '07 Silverado Duramax Dually
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