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Old 09-10-2007, 11:16 AM   #1
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Dead Batteries - 2006 Bambi?

We are trailering newbies. We have 2 batteries in our just purchased un-used 2006 19 CCD Bambi. Had some service work done on the fridge fan (wired wrong) and Barker Jack (grounded wrong). Not sure if that work is the issue but now our batteries no longer hold a charge.

We spent one night with the furnace running - which I know is a draw but we've done that before with just 1 battery. After running the truck to recharge for 30 minutes batteries were up to 5/8, within 20 minutes of unhooking the truck - down to nothing. Did it again and turned on the furnace (it was some cold) and that only lasted 5 minutes?

We can no longer drive 2 days to the nereast Airstream dealer for warranty - ran out of holidays. Are wondering what we can check before trying to find a place in town to pay for service. Batteries are presently being trickle charged.

I apologise for the naive yet loaded question - we love our Airstream but are really frustrated at needing to get stuff reparied all the time on a new unit.
Many Thanks
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:51 AM   #2
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The batteries should be under waranty by the manufacturer (probably Interstate), so finding a local retailer that carries those batteries would be your best bet.

Sounds like the batteries were allowed to go complete dead and that will kill even the newest of batteries. Also, allowing the batteries to contantly charge will kill them. If the previous owner never unplugged the trailer from shore power, then it's likely that they over charged them.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:14 PM   #3
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We bought a new, never sold 2006 23 Safari in July 2007. It had battery problems, even after I specifically asked Colonial Airstream to test them before delivery. Ended up, same as you. Took them to nearest Interstate dealer, and they had to replace both because of dead cells. I paid for new batteries, but Colonial reimbursed me immediately. The factory should not send new units with batteries, but send them with "coupons" for new batteries, and install at dealer only when delivered to purchaser.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Hmmm some food for thought there. We did have the trailer plugged in for a week before the trip but would like to hope that didn't do it since will likely be doing more of that in the furture.

I agree with your idea of coupons - ours sat on the dealer lot in Utah for a year before we picked it up. Got back to Canada with 1 Interstate battery instead of 2. Purchased an additional battery from a local dealer. We are trickle charging the batteries so will see if the problem persists after that. in the meantime - think I will research going solar......

Thanks!
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:39 PM   #5
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The warranty only applies two years from original purchase -- so there's a lot of difference whether this was purchased from a private party or dealer. I've had my '06 for 25 months, so am out of warranty.

Half an hour on your tow vehicle isn't much toward recharging them. My two group 24 Interstates are still working okay -- any service into next year will be a gift since these aren't the greatest batteries. FWIW I can boondock and run my furnace quite a bit without running out of battery. I've done one very cold night where it ran a lot and two moderate nights where it ran less frequently. The furnace fan is still a power hog.

With the work you had done I'd think of testing to see if they're discharging with all trailer systems off. Westfalia has a point - gone-dead batteries don't hold much charge afterward.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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hello and welcome kimd8888

shipping without batteries would create a potential safety issue related to the brakes.

very likely the batteries in question have a sulfated cell, are low on water or otherwise compromised.

Southeast Marine Services :: Technical Information :: Sulfated Battery

a 2$ hydrometer can be used to check individual cells for specific gravity...

IF the unit sat un used and un charged for a year the battery/ies may need 2b replaced.

your tv did NOT replace 80 -100 amps (5/8s) in 30 minutes of connect time.

the factory meter isn't very accurate AND if a cell or 2 are dead, even MORE inaccurate.

a week plugged into shore power isn't harmful IF the batteries have adequate water.

LOTS of threads on solar and 'battery basics' on this forum and webwide, i'd suggest reading some

before spending 2k on sun power.

cheers
2air'

i see from your 2nd post the unit was on the lot with just ONE battery?

unfortunately adding a fresh 2nd battery does NOTHING for the original (presumed) weak battery.

2 batteries in parallel need to be equally fresh/charged/watered to work effectively...

otherwise the 'weak link' concept applies...

with a hydrometer you CAN check each of the 6 cells in each battery...

in order to try and salvage (equalize) the older/original one.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:29 PM   #7
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Easiest thing to do is tke them out, and get your local NAPA, Carquest, Pep Boys, Advance Auto, etc. to hook them up to a tester. They can show you immediately if there is a dead cell...problem usually solved in less than 10 seconds. If you have a weak or dead cell...it only takes one...battery will never hold a charge, no matter.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:32 PM   #8
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Brake
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:32 PM   #9
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Brake problem without the batteries is an easy fix, but batteries
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:36 PM   #10
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Found an Interstate office here in town - will take the batteries by on the weekend to get them tested. Also found out my father-in-law has a hydrometer - he has everything!
My husband seems to think that having the trailer plugged into the house trickle charges the battery the same way an actual trickle charger would? Regardless I did convince him to use actual trickle chargers on both batteries. At least I don't feel so mystefied now - thanks everyone....these forums are the best!
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:11 PM   #11
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Well supposedly the batteries are fine. We had them load tested and hydrometer tested at a local dealer. I do question the validity of the test as he informed me that the batteries were not fully charged??. I'm thinking we need to pick up some kind of tester for ourselves and/or get a second opinion. In the meantime we will put the batteries back on the charger and maybe try another camping trip and see what happens.

Trying to find a dealer that will even look at our trailer is a trick. The nearest authorized dealer is 3 hours north....we bought our in the US to save piles of cash not expecting any issues....
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:25 PM   #12
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i think you should purchase/borrow a small volt meter. (always good to have)
leave the batteries disconnected and test the voltage and retest it 48 hours later and compare the results. as stated, often batteries that get completely discharged never fully recover and the meter in the trailer isn't accurate. ask your fil to borrow a charger (he has everything ;-) that can do a charge in the 3-10 amps range and charge them yourself overnight.
do the same tests again.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:17 PM   #13
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Lets back up to that first post. From what you indicated, you are not describing bad batteries, at least not yet.
So you discharged them virtually all the way. Not the end of the world but you should try and not let that happen.
You charged them for 30 minutes with the vehicle alternator and it read 5/8th. Bingo, it is not possible to bring them back to 5/8th in 30 minutes with any charger. Maybe 2 hours.
What you were reading was the surface charge and had you let them set a few hours, you would find you charged them maybe 1/8.
Then it happened again. You were probably getting deeper in the whole and your readings again are surface charge and will dissipate very fast.
I think you have a 7300 Parallax converter charger and it will take you several days of shore power or several hours of alternator power to replenish that discharge.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny
i think you should purchase/borrow a small volt meter. (always good to have)
leave the batteries disconnected and test the voltage and retest it 48 hours later and compare the results. as stated, often batteries that get completely discharged never fully recover and the meter in the trailer isn't accurate. ask your fil to borrow a charger (he has everything ;-) that can do a charge in the 3-10 amps range and charge them yourself overnight.
do the same tests again.
You absolutely do need a multi-meter to know what is going on. With the battery disconnected and fully charged, you should measure around 12.5v. When they are being charged, you should measure around 14.5v across the terminals. Many other things can be tested and measured with this meter and it is an invaluable tool to have.
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