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Old 07-18-2018, 10:38 AM   #1
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Battery failure 2018 Flying Cloud 23'

I purchased a 2018 Flying Cloud 23' foot about 10 months ago, had it in for some ancillary problems (basic stuff) We went thru the 2hr introduction when we purchased I have had many trailers, motor homes et awhile back i noticed that if we were not plugged in my power would drop from 13.7 to 9 almost right away, we had it scheduled for its warranty service so I brought it in and told them the problem. They told me that it was possible that the battery cells had gone dry and that I was supposed to be checking these regularly (like once a month a least) and I NEVER, EVER heard of that or was told that during my introduction training. I am not a typical complainer / weekend warrior or consumer, own my own company for years now so I don't complain unless I feel wronged especially if I am at fault which they tell me I am. I have checked with other owners who were equally surprised and some who simply paid for new battery's. I checked with a local air stream expert who actually does a lot of work for Nor-Cal Air-stream and while he asked not to be mentioned by name he said it was BS. I just want to hear from some other owners their thoughts and what my recourse is or could be, not happy paying 60k plus for this to happen.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
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Most people are familiar with car batteries which usually are 'maintenance free', however the lead acid batteries that most dealers install do require maintenance - usually just adding distilled water to keep the electrolyte level above the lead plates. I'm not sure how it could the dealers fault if you didn't do the required maintenance.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:26 AM   #3
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I know if I talk for two hours, I can't tell you about every single little thing you need to do or not do with your RV. That's why you have a large bag filled with manuals to fill in from the basic information provided during your walk-through. And if you have owned RVs in the past, you should already know to check the fluid level in the coach batteries, check for corrosion on and around the terminals, check tire pressures, check seals and gaskets, plumbing, LP, and all the other things that go into owning an RV of any kind without having to be specifically told each and every time about it. These things are considered standard maintenance items that you as the owner of the RV are responsible for.


Also, you state in your post it was an "introduction", therefore you already knew it was not intended to be a comprehensive, be-all, end-all thorough instruction.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:26 AM   #4
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...and...

if wet-cell batteries

...and...

if some of the cells are low

...and...
if they've been low for a long time

...then..
permanent damage to them may have occurred.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:37 AM   #5
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Guys, how many threads are there about dead batteries, the single stage chargers, etc? IMHOP that the dealers can and should emphasize proper battery maintenance during the walk through. But they don't.

I know that I had lots of years of previous experience of SOB ownership and never had to mind the batteries to the extent that I have in my AS. Granted, the AS is more complex than my previous Komfort, but...

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Old 07-18-2018, 11:59 AM   #6
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dst1163... I hear you well and clear. The RV Dealers kill trailer batteries, sitting on their lots for months. If a trailer has been sitting for sale for months, you can probably discover the batteries were never kept charged, unless Solar was standard and operating.

Much like produce... you sell the oldest batteries off the shelf, first. Some batteries can be three to six months old before being recharged with a sticker applied for their record keeping from the suppliers.

Interstate has a warranty period. It is not their fault that the batteries were left to be drained and ruined. The 'dead batteries' will be recycled into a fresh battery with probably no less lead than what your batteries contain.

This is a common problem. This also applies to AGM batteries that were Dead on Arrival from the Dealer. Interstate will take care of you. Just check the embossed date of manufacture on the battery itself... when you settle for replacements.

I purchased our replacement Insterstate batteries at Costco, not Interstate. Others may assume people are all ignorant, other than themselves, as they have not had a battery issue. Once you tow the trailer off the lot... it now has become YOUR problem.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:28 PM   #7
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Yes, you have to take care of flooded lead-acid batteries. Keeping the fluid level topped up is vital. On the other hand, a least on my 2017 International, Airstream made it impossible to do this without physically disconnecting the wires that they ran across the battery caps--idiotic! But that wasn't the problem here.

Ray hit the nail on the head. I've seen many, many accounts in these forums of batteries that died shortly after rolling off the lot. It's well known that dealers leave trailers sitting for months, often with power turned on. I experienced this type of failure myself. In short, it's very common for dealers to kill batteries before the rig is even sold.

It's almost certain from dst1163's post that this is exactly what happened. Read it again: "We went thru the 2hr introduction when we purchased... i noticed that if we were not plugged in my power would drop from 13.7 to 9 almost right away." It wasn't due to lack of maintenance on the owner's part, nor to lack of training. Those batteries were dead on arrival. The dealer had killed them.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dst1163 View Post
I purchased a 2018 Flying Cloud 23' foot about 10 months ago . . .
. . .
Did you read your owner's manual?

I believe this is the correct one for your AS:

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ers-Manual.pdf

On p. 8-10 [PDF p. 78/110] there is an entire section on the battery, which is not exactly thorough and well-written [welcome to the world of AS manuals!], where it says in the winter storage section:

" . . . they should be be kept full of water, cleaned, and charged monthly."

This Battery School site is a good place to read up on RV batteries:

http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/ba...hool.cfm?TID=0

As earlier comments have suggested, your batteries may have had "Lot Rot" when you bought the trailer. Your dealer should replace them under warranty if so. Alternately you can take them to an Interstate Battery dealer for a swap.

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- The new search function in the blue box above works great.

"Bad batteries" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=bad+...=airforums.com
"Battery lot rot" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=batt...=airforums.com
Batteries etc. sub-forum -- http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/

. . . for further research and perusal of many other threads on bad batteries and proper owner management.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dst1163 View Post
They told me that it was possible that the battery cells had gone dry
I find it interesting that they said it's POSSIBLE that the battery cells had gone dry...not that they looked and the cells HAD gone dry. That part of this story is what stood out for me.
Yes, batteries need maintenance, but not knowing if they WERE dry or not is the big question. I would think that since it was in for warranty work, if they were dry, they would have said so.
Plus it would take awhile for them to 'go dry.' Do you leave your trailer plugged in 24/7 around the clock?

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that the batteries were close to DOA when you picked it up 10 months ago. Happens all the time. Left to run down continually on the lot, etc, till they are too damaged to hold a charge.
But again I ask...were they dry, or just POSSIBLY dry? If they WERE...then unfortunately, that would really be on you, with the only question being...were they halfway dry when delivered? Too many unknowns to totally sort out who's liable. But dealers replace so many batteries under warranty (and bill it to Insterstate, more than likely), I'm surprised they didn't just hook you up with new ones, rather than telling you that you *possibly* damaged them.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:47 PM   #10
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I noted the same language as pcskier... "possible that the cells had gone dry." Were the cells ever dry? Did you take the trailer to the dealer and they found the cells dry? Or was someone just spinning a yarn on the phone to get you to go away?

Yes, non-sealed flooded lead-acid batteries need to have the water level checked occasionally and topped off with distilled water if/when a cell is low. Running them completely dry will damage the battery but it hasn't been said yet whether that happened to you. I have only had to add water to my batteries once in 14 months, so it's quite possible your water levels are fine and the dealer just needs to set up a warranty replacement with Interstate. Or you can find an Interstate dealer and get warranty replacements on the batteries from them directly if your dealer isn't helpful.

Since you're not familiar with battery maintenance, if you go the direct-to-Interstate route see if they'll credit you toward the purchase of AGM replacements, those do NOT require checking levels.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:59 PM   #11
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I seem to remember a 12 month free replacement on Interstate marine batteries, unless damaged.

You don't have to take them back to your Airstream dealer, just an Interstate dealer.
Just make sure they aren't "damaged" when you bring them to an Interstate dealer. Damage can include holes, dents, broken or melted terminals, and low/no water in the individual cells.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:48 PM   #12
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Yes, wet cell batteries do need the acid level checked on a fairly regular basis. That is why I went to AGM batteries. It is better on the 2018 model year than it was on the 2017 model year. I have heard that Airstream changed from the battery killer Parallax/Magnatek converter/charger to the WFCO converter/charger. The WFCO is still not a GOOD converter/charger, but it is not the battery killer that the Parallax was. (The WFCO is just known for hardly ever going into boost mode to quickly charge your batteries.) I replaced the Parallax unit in my trailer with a Progressive Dynamics PD4655V unit as soon as I took delivery of the trailer. I had the replacement converter/charger a good month before I took delivery of the trailer. If you had the Parallax unit, you DEFINITELY would have needed to check the battery fluid level AT LEAST monthly.

If you are leaving your trailer stored without it being plugged in, the inverter draws a significant amount of power from the battery even when it is turned off. The worst part of that is the battery disconnect switch does not disconnect that. You desperately need to add a Blue Sea disconnect switch to the 4g wire feeding it from the battery.

I don't know if it is true or not as I have not personally checked, but I have read on the forums that the sub-woofer also draws power even when the radio is turned off. But, at least the disconnect switch stops that particular draw. I know of some people who have added an ON/OFF switch to the sub-woofer's power wire. Neither my wife nor I have good enough hearing to appreciate the stereo's true range, so I removed the sub-woofer and it is in the top of a closet in my sticks and bricks house. I will re-install it if/when I get rid of the trailer.

The propane detector doesn't draw a LOT of current, but it is connected directly to the battery and is a constant parasitic draw. The disconnect switch does not disable that either. My personal solution was to run a hot wire from the fuse box to the propane detector, and disconnect the wire running directly from the battery. On MY trailer, the disconnect switch now turns off the propane detector.

None of these may be your problem, but they all MAY be a PART of the problem.

I agree that your batteries were probably already 80% killed when you took delivery of the trailer because the dealer had let them run down on his lot and didn't charge them up again until it was sold. Part of the deal for me to buy my trailer was he would replace the lead acid batteries that came in it from Airstream with a pair of AGM batteries. (It actually took him a couple of weeks to get the AGM batteries, so I took the lead acid batteries out and drove to the dealer to swap them. I KNOW that my AGM batteries are new because I am the one who installed them.)
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
... I've seen many, many accounts in these forums of batteries that died shortly after rolling off the lot. It's well known that dealers leave trailers sitting for months, often with power turned on. I experienced this type of failure myself. In short, it's very common for dealers to kill batteries before the rig is even sold.

It's almost certain from dst1163's post that this is exactly what happened. ...
Not all dealers leave batteries in trailers. The coaches come from Airstream without batteries. Our dealer did not install the batteries in our trailer until delivery.
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dst1163 View Post
I purchased a 2018 Flying Cloud 23' foot about 10 months ago, had it in for some ancillary problems (basic stuff) We went thru the 2hr introduction when we purchased I have had many trailers, motor homes et awhile back i noticed that if we were not plugged in my power would drop from 13.7 to 9 almost right away, we had it scheduled for its warranty service so I brought it in and told them the problem. They told me that it was possible that the battery cells had gone dry and that I was supposed to be checking these regularly (like once a month a least) and I NEVER, EVER heard of that or was told that during my introduction training. I am not a typical complainer / weekend warrior or consumer, own my own company for years now so I don't complain unless I feel wronged especially if I am at fault which they tell me I am. I have checked with other owners who were equally surprised and some who simply paid for new battery's. I checked with a local air stream expert who actually does a lot of work for Nor-Cal Air-stream and while he asked not to be mentioned by name he said it was BS. I just want to hear from some other owners their thoughts and what my recourse is or could be, not happy paying 60k plus for this to happen.
Hi dst1163,

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at customer_support@airstream.com

Thank you.
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