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Old 02-10-2007, 08:54 AM   #1
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I'm wondering if any of you battery experts can shed some light for me. My Journey is brand new, picked it up in November 06. Since it's new, I haven't been too worried about battery maintenance. I figured I'd add that to my yearly maintenance schedule, afterall, my batteries are brand new! Well, apparently that wasn't such a valid conclusion. On our last trip out, our batteries were not holding a charge as long as they used to, so I checked the water level and sure enough, the front two were down some, and the last battery was essentially empty. So my question is, the batteries were low, and one empty, and completely dead, by letting this happen, have I ruined these batteries? What are the chances of still getting good charge hold and a long life out of them? Appreciate your feedback.
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:54 AM   #2
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I'm wondering if any of you battery experts can shed some light for me. My Journey is brand new, picked it up in November 06. Since it's new, I haven't been too worried about battery maintenance. I figured I'd add that to my yearly maintenance schedule, afterall, my batteries are brand new! Well, apparently that wasn't such a valid conclusion. On our last trip out, our batteries were not holding a charge as long as they used to, so I checked the water level and sure enough, the front two were down some, and the last battery was essentially empty. So my question is, the batteries were low, and one empty, and completely dead, by letting this happen, have I ruined these batteries? What are the chances of still getting good charge hold and a long life out of them? Appreciate your feedback.
Thanks,
Alan
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
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My understanding is that any sections of battery plates exposed to air immediately sulphate, so you may have, unfortunately, ruined the battery. Someone more knowlegable may be able to tell you how to confirm that.

If regular maintenance is "not your thing" you may want to consider a Gell Cell or AGM battery as a replacement, though they are more expensive.

I found this info at this website:

http://www.batterystuff.com/tutorial_battery.html
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Old 02-10-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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Alan,

I am surprised to hear your batteries are ng already. This has prompted me to go out and check the fluid level in mine.

Do you keep your coach plugged in to AC when you're not using it?

Don
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:09 AM   #5
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Alan,

Good resource in the 'bold' post on 'Winnebago Service Tips'. There is a good article in there about battery care.
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:20 AM   #6
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Had one cell freeze up after filling with with distilled water it was low below plates. Keep MH plugged in during winter months just didn't check the batteries like I should in summer months every month or before trip.
The cell is now ok and all cells showing full charge even with this cold weather.
I would refill and charge you maybe able to save them If they stay frozen your in trouble.
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:48 AM   #7
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I do keep the MH plugged in to AC during storage. Just figured that would keep everything charged up and ready to go. And it was my understanding that the inverter/charger was one of the "smart" charging kind that would not over charge the batteries. We do a lot of dry camping, which I suppose is quite a workout for the batteries, I should have been checking them, and will frequently, from now on. I guess I'll see how it goes with these batteries. They are once again full of water and on charge. We'll see, I hate to have to buy new batteries already. But if they turn out to be bad, I think I'll give the AGM's a try.
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:26 PM   #8
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You may have damaged the battery, but how much would be hard to tell. I would fill all the cells to the normal level and see how they fare. It likely would be a good idea to read in your manual how to equalize the batteries. That will "de-sulfate" the plate. Your inverter/charger should be able to do that. Mine were not holding a charge very well a few months after we bought the coach. I equalized the batteries and they were much better. I have equalized about twice a year since then, and we are still using the original house batteries on our 2003 coach. I check the water level at least every three months.
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:50 PM   #9
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Alan, Since your coach is so new and still under warrenty, I would check with your dealer and see if you can get the batteries replaced. I just purchased a new 06 Journey on January of 2007 and had the dealer replace all batteries, coach and chassis as part of the deal. At the very least get them to test your charging system to make sure its working properly.
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:03 PM   #10
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I had the same problem with my batteries. Optima just recently came out with dual purpose (Deep Cycle and Starting Battery) that is an AGM battery with 1200 CCA (on the test meter). I just replaced my two chassis batteries with these and they carry a 2-year free replacement warranty.

http://www.optimabatteries.com/publish/optima/americas0...cial/deep_cycle.html
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:09 PM   #11
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Once the plates are uncovered, you have permanently lost battery capacity for all practical purposes.
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:34 PM   #12
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See if the dealer will help you with this by replacing the batteries and then checking/adjusting the charger.

Batteries will boil dry if over charged.

Depending on temperature, I'd fill the batteries with distilled or deionized water being careful to not over fill them. If the temperature is below freezing, wait until it gets above freezing before doing this.

Yes, you have damaged the batteries but probably not killed them.

See if the dealer will help you out, if not, fill them, charge them and then see what you have. Check the charger and ensure you are not overcharging.

Words of caution. A battery being charged emits hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is flammable. Don't smoke or allow sparks near a charging battery. A battery with plates exposed, being charged, with hydrogen gas present may explode. Makes a real mess with acid everywhere, including on you if you are close by, that in addition to pieces of the battery case flying around.

Get the picture? Be careful!
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:53 PM   #13
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Alan,

Checked my fluid levels in batteries today - OK.

But remember I've only had the coach out once (overnight) and I do not keep it plugged in full time. I cycle the charging plugged in for a few days and then unplug it for a couple weeks.

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Old 02-11-2007, 05:49 PM   #14
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Yeah, that sounds like quite a bit different usage Don. We've had ours out 4 times. Each was dry camping from 3 to 4 nights each. We have a quick overnight coming up on the 23rd, actually to 3-T's, so we'll see how my batteries last on that trip before I decide whether or not they need replacing.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:17 AM   #15
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Alan,

Let us know how the 3-T's install goes and its results.

Don
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:18 AM   #16
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Certainly will Don. And just out of curiosity, you say you plug your MH in for a couple days and then leave it unplugged for a week or so, what is your volt reading on the house batteries when fully charged and then when you come back a week later? And do you have the three batteries with the 2000 watt inverter, or the two batteries and the smaller, standard inverter?
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:28 AM   #17
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Alan,

Have the 3 batteries with the 2K inverter. My voltage readings on both sets of batteries is about 12.4+ before I plug them in. While charging they are up around 14.5+. When fully charged around 12.8V.

I watch the voltages carefully -- this is one of my indicators when to plug in to recharge.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:34 AM   #18
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12.8v is about where mine hover when fully charged as well. When you leave it for a week unplugged and come back, about where do they usually read? What I'm thinking of doing is unplugging mine, let it sit for a week, and see if they end up about where yours do. If their close, perhaps my batteries are okay. If they much worse, then I have my answer. Well, one key question, when you leave it for a week, do you hit the house battery disconnect first?
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:58 AM   #19
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Allen, I too had dead batteries, when I went out to check the RV. I too had been keeping the RV on shore power most all the time. Well the Winne manual say NOT TO keep the RV on shore power all the time, that is to just to protect the batteries. If you do use shore power, keep the battery switch in the off position, unless your planning VERY soon on using the RV. BTW...my dead batteries were just over 2 years old and had gone completely dry.

Me thinks your new RV had been setting a while at the dealer. Your dealer should have checked out all components of the RV prior to transfering it to you. 2 months is not long enough to dry out the batteries. Get them to fix the problem they allowed to happen.
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:00 PM   #20
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Alan,

Yes, when I leave the coach unplugged I hit both the house disconnect switch and turn the engine batteries off at rear of coach. This kills most if not all of the parasitic draw.

When I return to start charging again the batteries are in the low- 12V range (12.2-12.4V). I generally turn on the coach switch at the dash (makes the panel work) and always turn on the engine battery switch at the rear to charge the batteries. Not sure if you have to to charge them, but I do.

I try to make sure they get a couple days charge every 10-14 days.
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