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Old 04-01-2019, 05:12 PM   #1
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2006 22' Parkway
North Augusta , South Carolina
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2006 Parkway/Interstate--electrical system 101?

I'm hoping you all can educate me (so I can assist my husband who won't post this himself) on the electrical system on the 2006 Airstream Parkway (which is basically the lower end version of the Interstate).

Husband decided 2 weeks ago to run the refrigerator using propane setting.

He came home from being on the road for a week (plugged into shore power overnight) and parked the RV for 5 days without shutting down the fridge.

Went to start RV...no crank. Jumped with car. All the dash lights (check engine, traction, airbag, etc) lit up like a Christmas tree. He left the RV in the street for me to deal with.

Neighbor helped me jump it. I ran it for an hour and parked it in the driveway. Dash warning lights still lit up. Turned off RV and then tried to restart. Had nothing. No crank.

Plugged into trickle charger for next 24 hours. Turn key. RV starts...cranks super slow. Dash warning lights still lit up. Put back on trickle charger until it showed full charge.

Today, took battery out and took it to battery place. Says battery is low, but still good. Reinstalled battery. Cranked slow, but started, but ALL dash warning lights were back off.

Battery and alternator were replaced in August of 2018.

Next step is to have alternator checked.

What are we missing? If it isn't the alternator, where do we go from here? Husband and I are NOT mechanical people ( last thing we should own is an RV!!)

Is there ANY connection between the coach battery (and the fridge) and the chassis battery???? Coach battery, we learned today, is also depleted. We currently have the coach plugged into our portable generator to charge the coach battery.

I'm taking one for the team here and presenting myself as the unknowledgeable peon I know I am. Please educate me.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:58 PM   #2
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You have my sympathies.

I wish you the best of luck.

Maggie
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:24 AM   #3
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League City , Texas
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"Low but still good" may mean "bad". Dash lighting up like a Christmas tree is symptomatic of a bad chassis battery in a T1N (but may not be exclusively so).

There should NOT be any communication between the coach battery and the chassis battery, UNLESS a previous owner made ill-advised modifications.

Do you have an OBD you can buy, beg, borrow, or steal? They are about a hundred bucks and plug into the port at the lower left of the steering wheel. We use a Bluetooth version and it is dedicated to the Interstate - we never take it out. That may or may not tell you more about what's going on.

At this point, if you can get it started, you might want to take it on a freeway run for an hour or so, to see what the battery looks like afterward.
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Old 04-04-2019, 09:17 AM   #4
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The fridge (assuming it is the same as the 2006 Interstate) does take 12V power when running on Propane, but not a lot. The propane valve also takes power.
But this would just run down your house battery, not the starting battery.

UNLESS like IB mentioned above, someone made some changes or there is a problem with the isolator setup.

From my experience, once a flooded or AGM battery is run completely flat, it never really is the same. Twice or three times and it is probably done for reliable use.
If the battery was tested ‘low but ok’- I’m not sure that is really good enough.

I would test for current draw when everything is turned off. Simplest way is a clamp-on type miliAmmeter- but one that does small current DC is sort of expensive.
There will be some small draw, but it should be darn small (like 30mA). Sometimes things like radios will keep drawing current.
OR perhaps your house/charging isolator system is bad or bypassed. I forget at the moment how it is setup- and perhaps yours is different (but seems likely to be the same).

But first you need to find what is drawing down the starting battery.

Mark
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:48 PM   #5
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There are several issues here... that may or may not be related.

First, your house battery is likely only a Group 27 Deep Cycle RV battery. When the house battery is left on, it powers the propane detector, propane valve, and the refrigerator propane valve if it's open, plus any lights. It'll last two or three days without the coach being plugged in before its run down.

The house battery is isolated from the starter battery, but the house battery will charge when the engine is running. However, if for some reason both the house battery and starter battery are both discharged, it could take a couple of hours of highway speed driving to recharge them both to full. The engine idling doesn't allow the alternator to put out enough amperage to charge the batteries. As a matter of fact, it's common belief that it takes fifteen minutes of driving at highway speed to recharge the starter battery after an engine start.

As Lotus54 mentioned AGM (glass-mat) batteries begin to fail after more than a 50% discharge... and a couple of complete discharges have the potential to kill them completely. Wet-cell deep-cycle RV batteries will sulfate out with repeated complete discharges, but are more resistant to that shorting them outright because of a discharge.

So... charge both batteries and have them load-tested to see if either or both need to be replaced. Charge your coach's house battery, but make sure you hit the 'store' switch after you unplug your coach if you're going to leave it parked for more than a day without driving.

And the starter battery being run down may just be coincidence... or perhaps some cab accessory was left plugged in or on.

Let us know what you figure out after you get all this chased down!
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:32 PM   #6
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We are back up and running, and to the best of our knowledge, this is what may have occurred.

The dead coach and chassis battery at the same time was more than likely not related, but instead, was just coincidental.

Back in August, we had an alternator issue in Ohio. The mechanic we found got a replacement alternator from Napa. HOWEVER, according to Napa here in South Carolina where we live, the alternator we purchased was not a Napa part. They believe that the mechanic OR that particular Napa store found a replacement alternator in the area, billed it through Napa, and installed it on the RV. It may have been an inferior product (though we don't know).

At the time of installation last August, it also seems that one of the turbo hoses was not properly reinstalled. It somehow was pushing on a pulley (?) which may have contributed to the alternator failure. How we didn't get a limp home mode error prior to this event is beyond me. AFTER the new alternator was installed here last week, we went into limp home mode and didn't find the loose turbo hose until AFTER we had also removed and cleaned the EGR valve (but hey, at least we now know how to remove and clean that).

Once the new alternator was in place, the battery charged just fine. In the meantime, we ran the generator which replenished the coach battery, which is now showing full charge. We then cleaned the EGR valve, found the loose turbo hose, fixed that, then purchased a OBDII reader to read the codes that were being thrown. All were related the the limp home mode and the turbo. Cleared everything, went for a freeway drive, and it seems all is well again.

Like I said in my original post, we're not smart enough mechanically to own our sprinter, but we muddled through this one ok it seems.
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glfprncs View Post
We are back up and running, and to the best of our knowledge, this is what may have occurred.

The dead coach and chassis battery at the same time was more than likely not related, but instead, was just coincidental.

They believe that the mechanic OR that particular Napa store found a replacement alternator in the area, billed it through Napa, and installed it on the RV. It may have been an inferior product (though we don't know).

Like I said in my original post, we're not smart enough mechanically to own our sprinter, but we muddled through this one ok it seems.
It sounds like you did just fine!

I haven't any recent experience with remanufactured starters or alternators, but I know that in the "old days" about half of remans failed in a short time after installations. My guess is that there's still a pretty high failure rate among reman starters and alternators.
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Old 04-14-2019, 05:32 AM   #8
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Good to read you are up and running.

Maggie
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