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Electrical ? Issue

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bhgareau

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Electrical ? Issue
« on: October 24, 2014, 10:33:45 pm »
While getting the PC ready for winter I noticed some "crud" built up around the truck battery posts. I proceeded to take off the cables and cleaned them and the posts as I have done on this and other vehicles over the years. When I finished and started the truck all seemed good. Later I tried to lower the HWH leveling jacks and the panel was lit but when I pressed any button all I heard was a click. I checked under the coach and all the lights on the control unit were also lit but no reaction when I pushed the panel buttons. I pulled the panel next to the emergency brake and all the fuses looked ok. I checked the coach circuit breakers and all was fine. I checked the ford fuses under the hood and they all seem to be good. I checked the rest of the truck and coach systems and everything seemed ok except for the leveling jacks and the generator. The generator has the same problem as the jacks. When I push the switch to prime the generator the light goes on and your can hear it priming. When I tried to start the generator all it did was click like a car with a dead battery. Since finding this issue I've checked all the battery connections and rechecked all the fuses in the truck and for the coach. Today, I even changed all the fuses inside the coach with no improvement. I know it has to be something simple, but its got me baffled. Both the jacks and generator worked fine before I decided to clean the battery posts. Any thoughts on what might be causing the problems? Thanks.

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gl1500

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2014, 11:57:31 am »
There should be no connection between the truck battery and the coach systems.  If the Gen. and Jacks do not work, it should be the coach batteries.  It sounds like the coach batteries voltage is too low to activate the Jacks or Gen.  There is enough voltage/amperage to activate the lights and fuel pump on the Gen., but not enough to operate the two items.  I would first check the battery voltage of the coach batteries with a voltmeter.  Another possible drain on the coach batteries is the switch on the dashboard for bleeding off some voltage to the truck battery.  If for some reason it is stuck in the transfer position, it would try to drain the coach batteries in to the truck battery, that is if you have that switch on your unit.
     On one of my previous M/H's, I found my coach batteries cables and securing straps were badly corroded.  I believe the straps and cables were corroded with the outgassing from the batteries.  So, now I clean and treat the cables, straps and metal tray to prevent this corrosion.
     These are just my thoughts on your problem.  Hope it helps.
     Bob

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bobojay

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2014, 12:36:32 pm »
There should be no connection between the truck battery and the coach systems.  If the Gen. and Jacks do not work, it should be the coach batteries.  It sounds like the coach batteries voltage is too low to activate the Jacks or Gen.  There is enough voltage/amperage to activate the lights and fuel pump on the Gen., but not enough to operate the two items.  I would first check the battery voltage of the coach batteries with a voltmeter.  Another possible drain on the coach batteries is the switch on the dashboard for bleeding off some voltage to the truck battery.  If for some reason it is stuck in the transfer position, it would try to drain the coach batteries in to the truck battery, that is if you have that switch on your unit.
     On one of my previous M/H's, I found my coach batteries cables and securing straps were badly corroded.  I believe the straps and cables were corroded with the outgassing from the batteries.  So, now I clean and treat the cables, straps and metal tray to prevent this corrosion.
     These are just my thoughts on your problem.  Hope it helps.
     Bob

I agree with what Bob says....
Bob & Sharon
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bhgareau

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2014, 05:13:26 pm »
The coach batteries are showing a full charge and all other coach systems are operational. I connected to shore power for two days and both the generator and jacks were still not operable. I'm heading to find an electrical repair person on Monday. Thanks for the suggestions.

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gl1500

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2014, 05:50:26 pm »
One other thought I forgot to mention.  There is a bank of fuses behind the slide out tray for the batteries.  It is mounted  on the frame directly behind the batteries.  That is something to check.  But I am confused as what you say is the primer and primer light works and the lights on the jack system works but there is not enough power to operate the systems.  I find it hard to believe there could be that much voltage line loss and I am thinking you have lost a ground line someplace and the system is feeding through another circuit.  I sure will be interested in what you find.
   Bob

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skipper

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 09:36:36 pm »
Does the engine start ok after your cleaning job?  If not, you very likely have a loose connection on one of the battery posts.
Mark

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bhgareau

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2014, 11:03:10 pm »
The engine starts fine and the connections are tight. I  will try to do more checks on the coach batteries tomorrow....it is getting really cold around here so it's not  much fun crawling around under the coach...I might have to wait until spring or until I find a friend with a heated garage and a 12 foot overhead door (local auto electric shop only has 10 ft door and closest RV repair shop is 225 miles in Anchorage).

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dickreid1

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2014, 11:30:27 am »
The Ford battery connectors are not Lead but coated (zinc?) copper.  When the coating wears the connection corrodes and looses the ability to carry the high current load needed for starting while still functioning normally for all others needs.

To test if this has happened with your connectors use a separate short, heavy wire to connect the battery post to the Ford battery connector.  Leave the battery connector in place. This just provides another path for current. Spring clips work well.

Dick
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 06:41:27 am by dickreid1 »

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bhgareau

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2014, 12:15:28 pm »
Problems have been identified and will be addressed. A fried relay has been replaced and both coach batteries had froze at some point recently and had shorted out. It took my car/truck mechanic less than 5 minutes to figure it out. The relay cost $30 and i'll need to replace both coach batteries before next spring, but that selection is covered in a separate thread. Thanks.

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bhgareau

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2014, 06:11:26 pm »
Took the coach batteries to the local Interstate dealer this afternoon. I was planning to trade  them in. He hooked them up to a machine and said that he thought he could salvage them. Neither one had frozen but one was totally discharged and the other was pretty bad. He told me to come back on Wednesday either to take them home or pick up the replacements.

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bobojay

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2014, 10:04:37 pm »
Having worked for 7 years in a wet cell lead acid battery manufacturing facility I learned a whole lot about lead acid batteries. My opinion is your batteries are toast, so unless you absolutely don't want to buy new ones, get new ones.

For those that don't know, Interstate is not a battery manufacturer. They buy their batteries from a contract manufacturer. That manufacturer used to be Johnson Controls back about 10 years ago. In the late 90's and early 2000's Delco made some of them....no idea who builds them now
Bob & Sharon
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Bob Mahon

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 10:21:47 pm »
Keep them charged and they won't freeze.
Carry on, regardless..................
"In God we trust" to save our country and bring our troops safely home.

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Doneworking

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Re: Electrical ? Issue
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2014, 07:46:25 am »
This thread is a good reminder to me that colder weather is on its way and it is really important to maintain our batteries and the rest of our rv. 

It gets colder here in central Oklahoma than many know.  We may stay below freezing for several days in a row, get down into the single digits, and then have fifties for a week.   At least once a month, I get into my motorhome and drive it up the road about twenty-five miles to a little town with a good lunch place.  On the way up there, I am running the generator and have the heat strips going full blast to keep a load on the generator.   I leave the genset running while I have lunch and then drive back to the storage garage, a total of about fifty miiles and a couple of hours of generator time.   That really seems to work well for me.  Gets the engine going good, the generator, the transmission, the whole shebang.

If I stored it outdoors I would leave the solar panel on, but that still wouldn't keep the exercise going on the genset and the vehicle.

Paul