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Old 09-26-2016, 04:55 AM   #1
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
St Augustine , Florida
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2016 Interstate battery questions

So I'm finally on the road with my slightly used Interstate twin(10,000 miles) I drove from Jacksonville Fl to to Knoxville Tn after having had it plugged into shore power for the three days. As soon as I turned the engine off my batteries said 65% left on the monitor. I ran the generator for a little over a hour before my Photoshoot and as soon as I cut the generator off it said 75%. I turned everything off but the refrigerator and solar said it was pulling in 4amps when I left. I came back four hours later and I had a low battery warning. I then ran the generator for two hours and when I shut it off it said I had 65% battery left I disconnected all power went to bed and woke up and it was down to 60%. I turned on the main power switch to run the fridge and it dropped immediately to 50%..............is this probably just bad batteries? I know there are a ton of threads on this and I ran glass mat batteries in my big coach so figured I would eventually do so in this one as well. Also how big of a PIA is it to replace batteries in the 2016? Thanks in advance for any advise since it's a year old and used I'm sure the battery warranty is up


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Old 09-26-2016, 05:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by NotStock View Post
Also how big of a PIA is it to replace batteries in the 2016? Thanks in advance for any advise since it's a year old and used I'm sure the battery warranty is up. /url]
I just watched the dealer where I purchased my AI replace the batteries. From start to finish about 20 minutes. He drove the rear wheels onto wood blocks about 4 inches thick and laid down on his back to change them.
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:43 AM   #3
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I know there are a ton of threads on this and I ran glass mat batteries in my big coach so figured I would eventually do so in this one as well. /url]
My 2016 AI has two Lifeline Group 24 batteries in it. You likely have AGMs in yours.

This is my first RV with AGM batteries. How long did AGMs last in you big rig? What are best operating practices for AGMs?

Mike
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:44 AM   #4
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
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Originally Posted by M and R View Post
I just watched the dealer where I purchased my AI replace the batteries. From start to finish about 20 minutes. He drove the rear wheels onto wood blocks about 4 inches thick and laid down on his back to change them.


Nice..........i have a feeling I just need a battery swap I just need to Google Knoxville Nashville airstream dealers I guess.......... Well I do leave for Detroit soon so I could take it to airstream hahahaha


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Old 09-26-2016, 05:49 AM   #5
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I copied the following from another thread. When I need to replace, I am going to try this.

Mike

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Originally Posted by Ron Beer View Post
I recently bought a 2010 Interstate (Class B) and need to replace the battery with two lifeline AGM's. Does anyone have the correct Lifeline Model number for ordering the batteries (12V)?

Thanks
The supplied batteries on my 2014 are Lifeline GPL-24T's. These are 12v batteries. You might consider upgrading to 6V batteries witch will increase your capacity. Two Lifeline GPL 4CT's, connected in series will increase your rated capacity from 160A with the 12v 24T's to 220A. The 4 CT's will fit the OEM battery box and you shouldn't have to buy any additional cable. I was able to configure mine in series with the existing cable and had a piece left over. Cost should be about the same.
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:53 AM   #6
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Townsend , Tennessee
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Chilhowee RV is the Knoxville Airstream Dealer. On Alcoa Hwy, US Rte 129. 875-970-4085
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Old 09-26-2016, 06:17 AM   #7
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Chilhowee RV is the Knoxville Airstream Dealer. On Alcoa Hwy, US Rte 129. 875-970-4085

Thanks man I just saw that when I googled airstream Knoxville and I'm staying two miles away hahaha


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Old 09-26-2016, 06:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NotStock View Post
So I'm finally on the road with my slightly used Interstate twin(10,000 miles) I drove from Jacksonville Fl to to Knoxville Tn after having had it plugged into shore power for the three days. As soon as I turned the engine off my batteries said 65% left on the monitor. I ran the generator for a little over a hour before my Photoshoot and as soon as I cut the generator off it said 75%. I turned everything off but the refrigerator and solar said it was pulling in 4amps when I left. I came back four hours later and I had a low battery warning. I then ran the generator for two hours and when I shut it off it said I had 65% battery left I disconnected all power went to bed and woke up and it was down to 60%. I turned on the main power switch to run the fridge and it dropped immediately to 50%..............is this probably just bad batteries? I know there are a ton of threads on this and I ran glass mat batteries in my big coach so figured I would eventually do so in this one as well. Also how big of a PIA is it to replace batteries in the 2016? Thanks in advance for any advise since it's a year old and used I'm sure the battery warranty is up


John Jackson
www.NotStockPhotography.com
Assuming you have Lifeline AGM batteries, contact Lifeline and tell them about your issue. It sounds like your batteries are damaged due to someone allowing them to run down too far. I had that issue and they replaced mine at half price. I upgraded to 6V AGM's at that time which gave me ~37% more capacity. The OEM 12v Lifeline model is: GPL24T, the 6v models is GPL4CT.
Good Luck
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:49 AM   #9
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So I'm finally on the road with my slightly used Interstate twin(10,000 miles)

John Jackson
www.NotStockPhotography.com


Unfortunately it sounds like your batteries are toast. As someone else suggested, the PO likely let them run down below 50% a few times and that kills them quick. On your panel what is the voltage? If it's below 12v at any point they likely need to be replaced.

If you want to give them one last chance, years ago I bought a charger that has a "recovery" mode that I've successfully used a few times to extend the life of AGMs, but you have to remove the batteries to use it. Chargers that can do this run $50-100, and it may not work, so up to you if you want to give it a try.

One last note, and maybe some others can chime in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that the only time the charging system goes into "top up" mode (where it puts that last bit of charge into the AGMs to get them to 100%) is when it's plugged into shore power. Running the genny, engine, or solar only gets them to about 95% (approx. 12.8v).
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:12 AM   #10
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I just pulled out my AGM batteries (replaced them with Lithium). I did that by using the blocks to elevate the back wheels. They are straightforward to remove but the issue is that Airstream uses them as a junction (bad practice) so you have a number of cables to disconnect/reconnect. And you better not short them out to anything with your face 2 inches from them while laying on your back. No place to run!

They are also pretty heavy. I used "controlled landing" to get mine out. Was happy did not have to lift another to put in there.

The terminals were pretty filthy from being down below. You better use gloves and be ready to clean your tools afterward.

All in all, if you can pay someone up to $100 to do them, it would be worth it.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:17 AM   #11
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Unfortunately it sounds like your batteries are toast. ....
One last note, and maybe some others can chime in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that the only time the charging system goes into "top up" mode (where it puts that last bit of charge into the AGMs to get them to 100%) is when it's plugged into shore power. Running the genny, engine, or solar only gets them to about 95% (approx. 12.8v).
Yes the only way to get a full charge on a stock Interstate is to plug it in for at least 24 hours which uses the proper three stage charge profile of the Magnum charger. That is assuming Airstream now installs the temperature sensor as has been reported before on this forum. The proper charge voltage for AGM batteries is temperature dependent.

Running the generator also activates the Magnum charger, but running for an hour or two will not get the batteries fully charged.

The Sprinter alternator only provides a fixed voltage charge of 13.9-14.2 and the BIM (Battery Isolation Manager) logic will only let it charge the coach batteries for an hour at a time. Once the BIM senses the coach batteries are above a set voltage they will not get charged by the alternator. Initially I found that this voltage was only 12.6V according to the technical documents from Precision Circuits Inc. (PCI) that I downloaded a few years ago, copy attached. The more recent tech documents from PCI no longer give a voltage value, they just say when "Coach Battery voltage low and needs charging".

The 100watt solar panel and controller installed by Airstream on a 2016 Interstate does not use a proper charge profile or a temperature sensor and thus is not capable of properly charging the coach batteries. That solar combination is only capable of keeping nearly full coach batteries from becoming discharged by minimal loads. With the sunlight available each day a 100watt panel has limited ability to keep up with normal loads.

Bottom line - the off grid charging abilities of the Interstate as delivered by Airstream are limited. This limitation has been discussed many times on this forum. In my experience the only way to keep the batteries healthy is to be plugged into external power at least every few days.

That's why I upgraded to 400 watts of solar and a controller with temp sensor. The solar controller I added also included shunt to measure the current flowing into and out of the batteries. This is the only way to accurately track battery health as the voltage readings are just not that accurate.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf PCI Battery Isolation Manager Manual.pdf (61.8 KB, 25 views)
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:53 PM   #12
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Is there anyone who buys lightly used and DOESN'T end up with battery(ies) DOA? Sigh...

Same thing with us, back when we were newbies. However, we negotiated with our flipper and he paid for the replacement as he was basically guaranteeing the rig to have had all necessary repairs and replacements done prior to sale. He paid for our Lifeline and he also paid for MB to service our cab a/c which was good in terms of structural integrity but needed a charge of freon. MB told us that T1Ns are guaranteed to lose freon over time even if there is nothing "wrong" with them.

So depending on the representations made by your seller, you might be able to work something out with him/her/them. In our case, there was an eBay rating hanging in the balance and there were representations that had been made, and so the negotiations proved fruitful.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:51 PM   #13
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Is there anyone who buys lightly used and DOESN'T end up with battery(ies) DOA? Sigh...
My guess is the situation follows a similar pattern - PO trades in vehicle on whatever, dealer let's trade-in sit and batts run down (wayyyyy down), basically killing them. When showing to a prospective buyer (newbie), the dealer plugs it in. If the buyer asks, the dealer gives them the "don't worry, they just need to be charged and all will be fine", knowing full well they just spewed about a pound of bullsh*t. The end.

One reason I bought new was because buying this type of vehicle used is caveat emptor x2. You are buying a used car AND a used "house", neither of which have been inspected by anyone. What could possible go wrong.....
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Old 09-26-2016, 03:57 PM   #14
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I had a similar problem in my 2016 AS. Overnight I could easily lose 2 volts, 12V down to 10V with no load. Turns out my 2016 AS purchased December 2015 had batteries that were dated July 2015 that were both dead, and AS said they would not warranty them, unlike autos that warranty batteries from date of purchase.
Get those batteries tested ASAP, perhaps there is still some time left on the 1 year warranty.
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