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Old 10-07-2022, 06:43 PM   #1
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How to approach multisystem failure

My interstate was in outdoor storage for 1 month with chassis battery disconnected and everything shut down. Everything was working prior. It was in the wind and rain of hurricane Ian during this time in North Mrtle Beach. I picked it up Tuesday to pack for a trip to Ohio. The first thing I noticed is I have no power to the Air ride suspension. I located the fuses and although they were ok, I changed them. Still no power. Then I noticed that I have no solar. I had AM solar install a complete system in Naples, FL 4 years ago with 4 panels, lithium battery and victron system...top of the line. So on my 620 mile trip to Ohio today, my lithium battery did not charge at all while driving. I also noticed the air conditioner is not blowing cold air.

I also had no suspension which made it one hell of a ride. I had a bike on a Yakima RV bike rack and the the bar that holds the bike (metal) bent enough to drop the bike. I did use the locking cable so it was hanging by the cable but not before banging into and damaging the back door.

I think I definitely have an insurance claim with the bike damage. But trying to determine if the others are related to the hurricane is extremely difficult. Mercedes won't look at suspension saying it's Airstream. Airstream in Jackson center can't get me in until Feb. They recommended I try an RV service center(really!) Since I can't really drive it like this. They said I could also try Mark Wahlberg RV in Columbus 90miles from my current Ohio location.

Should I let insurance know I think it might be hurricane related but go forward with the bike claim? Myrtle beach has a lot of sand in the air during normal times so I'm thinking it might be sand related but I could be totally off base and just got unlucky with 3 major problems, suspension, solar and air conditioning.

I'm also concerned about damage under the rig from the drive since the impact bent my bike bar. So I think everything needs to be checked out but I don't want to wait months. I'm also looking to find someone in Ohio to check my solar since heading back to Naples is not possible.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-07-2022, 07:49 PM   #2
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Hi

There are a lot of unknowns on a setup like this. You stated with the stock AS wiring and setup. AM Solar then came in and did a bunch of mods. You can look at the AS manual to see what the stock stuff *was*. I don't know if AM Solar gave you any info on the wiring they did. Thus a lot of guessing and "maybe" stuff is about the best that can be done.

Starting somewhere, let's go with shore power. When you plug into shore power a couple things should happen:

1) Stuff like the microwave should light up. Same thing with the wall outlets. I'd check them all and then maybe cycle some breakers if there are issues. The ground fault breaker would be one that might need a bit of coaxing after a hurricane. Doubly so if there still is water in an outside outlet.

2) If you have shore power, the A/C should come on properly. If it does not, check what the thermostat is telling you. If you have a CZone system, this might be getting in the way. 2018 was right at the boundary so you may / may not have one.

3) With shore power, the inverter / charger *should* come up and start powering up the batteries. I'd bet that AM Solar put in some "stuff" that lets you see that this is all working correctly. If not, start digging into breakers and the like. If the batteries are dead, you may need to find a plug in the wall charger to "reboot" things.

Hopefully at this point you have shore power and the basics of 12V power confirmed working fine. The A/C may still be in the "who knows" category.

Next up would be the chassis 12V system.

4) Grab a multimeter and see what the chassis battery reads. Hopefully it will be up at 12.6V sitting there and above 13V with the engine running. If the voltage does not go up with the engine on, you have a MB domain chassis electrical issue. If the resting voltage is down around 12V, that plug in the wall charger might help. The battery could have died and needs to be replaced.

5) The suspension *should* run off of the chassis battery. There's a control for it that most of us pretty much ignore. It lets you do things like turn the system off. There's no guarantee that the system turns it's self on after a battery disconnect. I'd spend some quality time poking at the buttons on the control and reading the manual. If the control is dead, I'd go looking for a fuse or three.

At this point either you have the air bags working agin or not. From your description, I would not drive very far or very fast with them non-functional. Whatever the closest repair location is, that would be my choice.

Again, a lot of guesses and likely some wrong turns because of that.

Bob
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Old 10-07-2022, 08:17 PM   #3
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I canít give you any advice on where to start troubleshooting, but you should definitely contact your insurance company. The quicker you alert them to a potential claim, the better you will be positioned if you actually need to flow through with it.

From my seat, you put it in storage. Everything worked. A major hurricane hit the area where it was stored. Now many things donít work.

Sounds like a potentially likely cause and effect.
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Old 10-08-2022, 06:34 AM   #4
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With regard to the air springs: Under the hood you should have 2 schrader valves so that you can manually fill the bags with compressed air.

Donít ask how I knowÖ

I put in ~90 psi to get back to ride height. My dealer fixed the issue (Colonial in NJ), and my local Mercedes Sprinter shop (Paramus NJ) was also willing to service the system, but had a long service date wait time.
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Old 10-08-2022, 07:49 AM   #5
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When there are multiple system failures at once, my thoughts go to a bad grounding point. Often manufacturers use a single ground connection point for multiple circuits, and a month of warm humid/rainy weather could create enough corrosion to make the connection unstable or weak enough to not work.

You've checked the positive side of the circuits. Have you explored the negative side?
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Old 10-08-2022, 09:28 AM   #6
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Update. I turned off all breakers and reset. I have solar but it does not appear to be charging the battery. When I switch the victron to charge only, nothing lights up. According to manual, it could be a "nonreplaceable fuse and see VE dealer". The inverter is working and the battery was fully charged, so I do have residual, at least enough to check things.

All I get is run around on suspension. Mercedes in Cincinnati will not service(2 locations) . Airstream Jackson center recommended Campers Inn who said go back to Airstream. I guess since I'm in Ohio, I'll plan on trying to just drop it off in Jackson center since it's not really drivable. I can't get under the rig with a compressor to air the bags...it's too low and I am not in a location to get it high enough on blocks. And the Campers inn made a good point...unless you find a VB installer, no one will have parts so waiting on the repair is not possible unless I'm at Airstream.

Although AM solar installed my boondocking package, it looks pretty straightforward, I hope Airstream will look at the solar since they are now installing boondocking packages.

The run around between Airstream and Mercedes really wears me down and, in general, I have never been happy with my service at Mercedes. I would never buy one of their cars!
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Old 10-08-2022, 09:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khocke View Post
With regard to the air springs: Under the hood you should have 2 schrader valves so that you can manually fill the bags with compressed air.



Donít ask how I knowÖ



I put in ~90 psi to get back to ride height. My dealer fixed the issue (Colonial in NJ), and my local Mercedes Sprinter shop (Paramus NJ) was also willing to service the system, but had a long service date wait time.
Thanks. That is very good info to know!
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Old 10-08-2022, 09:39 AM   #8
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Does your Victron system include a Multiplus? If so, have you done a physical reset on the power switch on the unit? The one I had on my coach had problems a few times that resetting on the control panel didn't correct, but a hard reset on the rocker switch did.

On your solar, do you have a circuit breaker between the panels and the solar charge controller? Between the charge controller and the batteries?
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:18 AM   #9
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Does your air compressor run off coach or chassis 12v system? Possible to verify if your air pump is getting power?

If you are local, I can bring some tools and take a look with you. At least that would make it drivable to a shop. Sent a DM
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mansderm161 View Post
All I get is run around on suspension. Mercedes in Cincinnati will not service(2 locations) . Airstream Jackson center recommended Campers Inn who said go back to Airstream. I guess since I'm in Ohio, I'll plan on trying to just drop it off in Jackson center since it's not really drivable. I can't get under the rig with a compressor to air the bags...it's too low and I am not in a location to get it high enough on blocks. And the Campers inn made a good point...unless you find a VB installer, no one will have parts so waiting on the repair is not possible unless I'm at Airstream.
If you're near Cleveland, give Advanced RV a call. They are a VB installer and may be able resolve your air suspension problem.
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Old 10-08-2022, 12:48 PM   #11
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Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

There are a lot of unknowns on a setup like this. You stated with the stock AS wiring and setup. AM Solar then came in and did a bunch of mods. You can look at the AS manual to see what the stock stuff *was*. I don't know if AM Solar gave you any info on the wiring they did. Thus a lot of guessing and "maybe" stuff is about the best that can be done.

Starting somewhere, let's go with shore power. When you plug into shore power a couple things should happen:

1) Stuff like the microwave should light up. Same thing with the wall outlets. I'd check them all and then maybe cycle some breakers if there are issues. The ground fault breaker would be one that might need a bit of coaxing after a hurricane. Doubly so if there still is water in an outside outlet.

2) If you have shore power, the A/C should come on properly. If it does not, check what the thermostat is telling you. If you have a CZone system, this might be getting in the way. 2018 was right at the boundary so you may / may not have one.

3) With shore power, the inverter / charger *should* come up and start powering up the batteries. I'd bet that AM Solar put in some "stuff" that lets you see that this is all working correctly. If not, start digging into breakers and the like. If the batteries are dead, you may need to find a plug in the wall charger to "reboot" things.

Hopefully at this point you have shore power and the basics of 12V power confirmed working fine. The A/C may still be in the "who knows" category.

Next up would be the chassis 12V system.

4) Grab a multimeter and see what the chassis battery reads. Hopefully it will be up at 12.6V sitting there and above 13V with the engine running. If the voltage does not go up with the engine on, you have a MB domain chassis electrical issue. If the resting voltage is down around 12V, that plug in the wall charger might help. The battery could have died and needs to be replaced.

5) The suspension *should* run off of the chassis battery. There's a control for it that most of us pretty much ignore. It lets you do things like turn the system off. There's no guarantee that the system turns it's self on after a battery disconnect. I'd spend some quality time poking at the buttons on the control and reading the manual. If the control is dead, I'd go looking for a fuse or three.

At this point either you have the air bags working agin or not. From your description, I would not drive very far or very fast with them non-functional. Whatever the closest repair location is, that would be my choice.

Again, a lot of guesses and likely some wrong turns because of that.

Bob
I want to write this to thank Uncle_Bob for his responses to the forum questions. Iíve been reading these for a long time as I have a 2010 Mercedes Airstream Interstate and found Bobís advice to be helpful to so many people. I feel heís gone over and beyond by sharing relevant info to help guide folks to solving their problems. Not sure if Iím doing this correctly but I truly think Uncle Bob is deserving of a big THANK YOU!
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Old 10-08-2022, 01:45 PM   #12
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Old 10-08-2022, 03:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Does your Victron system include a Multiplus? If so, have you done a physical reset on the power switch on the unit? The one I had on my coach had problems a few times that resetting on the control panel didn't correct, but a hard reset on the rocker switch did.

On your solar, do you have a circuit breaker between the panels and the solar charge controller? Between the charge controller and the batteries?
Yes I do. I did flip all the switches and the breaker on the solar controller. That got the solar back on. Not sure what you mean on hard reset. I turned everything off. The inverter turns on but if I try to switch to charge only, nothing is happening.
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Old 10-08-2022, 03:40 PM   #14
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I want to write this to thank Uncle_Bob for his responses to the forum questions. Iíve been reading these for a long time as I have a 2010 Mercedes Airstream Interstate and found Bobís advice to be helpful to so many people. I feel heís gone over and beyond by sharing relevant info to help guide folks to solving their problems. Not sure if Iím doing this correctly but I truly think Uncle Bob is deserving of a big THANK YOU!
Agree. Thanks so much.
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Old 10-08-2022, 03:49 PM   #15
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You say you have solar but it's not charging the batteries...where are you confirming that you have solar? Is it the voltage coming off the panels or something else?

From what you've explained your Multiplus seems to be able to draw power from the batteries to power the inverter but it's not able to send a charge back to the batteries. What other 120v systems have you tested? Have you confirmed that when you are plugged into shore power that it's reaching the Multiplus? Is 120v power getting anywhere inside the rig when you are plugged into shore power?
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Old 10-08-2022, 04:26 PM   #16
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Hi

I had a MultiPlus die a few months back .... it does happen.

Bob
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Old 10-08-2022, 05:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

There are a lot of unknowns on a setup like this. You stated with the stock AS wiring and setup. AM Solar then came in and did a bunch of mods. You can look at the AS manual to see what the stock stuff *was*. I don't know if AM Solar gave you any info on the wiring they did. Thus a lot of guessing and "maybe" stuff is about the best that can be done.

Starting somewhere, let's go with shore power. When you plug into shore power a couple things should happen:

1) Stuff like the microwave should light up. Same thing with the wall outlets. I'd check them all and then maybe cycle some breakers if there are issues. The ground fault breaker would be one that might need a bit of coaxing after a hurricane. Doubly so if there still is water in an outside outlet.

2) If you have shore power, the A/C should come on properly. If it does not, check what the thermostat is telling you. If you have a CZone system, this might be getting in the way. 2018 was right at the boundary so you may / may not have one.

3) With shore power, the inverter / charger *should* come up and start powering up the batteries. I'd bet that AM Solar put in some "stuff" that lets you see that this is all working correctly. If not, start digging into breakers and the like. If the batteries are dead, you may need to find a plug in the wall charger to "reboot" things.

Hopefully at this point you have shore power and the basics of 12V power confirmed working fine. The A/C may still be in the "who knows" category.

Next up would be the chassis 12V system.

4) Grab a multimeter and see what the chassis battery reads. Hopefully it will be up at 12.6V sitting there and above 13V with the engine running. If the voltage does not go up with the engine on, you have a MB domain chassis electrical issue. If the resting voltage is down around 12V, that plug in the wall charger might help. The battery could have died and needs to be replaced.

5) The suspension *should* run off of the chassis battery. There's a control for it that most of us pretty much ignore. It lets you do things like turn the system off. There's no guarantee that the system turns it's self on after a battery disconnect. I'd spend some quality time poking at the buttons on the control and reading the manual. If the control is dead, I'd go looking for a fuse or three.

At this point either you have the air bags working agin or not. From your description, I would not drive very far or very fast with them non-functional. Whatever the closest repair location is, that would be my choice.

Again, a lot of guesses and likely some wrong turns because of that.

Bob
Thanks so much. I'm pretty sure the air suspension runs off the chassis battery which is new (that's another Mercedes bull****story) and it's reading a normal charge. I did the disconnect for the month in storage because the Mercedes electronic systems will drain the battery within 2-4 weeks if you don't run the engine. And it did start easily when I reconnected. I did change the fuses but I don't know where to find other connections between the system and the engine. But there has to be something because the suspension usually activates when the engine is turned on and it releases air when you turn off the engine. There's a possibility it could be a relay switch but I've never worked with those.
It looks like someone from VB responded to my post so I'll see ihey
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Old 10-08-2022, 05:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
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You say you have solar but it's not charging the batteries...where are you confirming that you have solar? Is it the voltage coming off the panels or something else?

From what you've explained your Multiplus seems to be able to draw power from the batteries to power the inverter but it's not able to send a charge back to the batteries. What other 120v systems have you tested? Have you confirmed that when you are plugged into shore power that it's reaching the Multiplus? Is 120v power getting anywhere inside the rig when you are plugged into shore power?
Once I turned off all the breakers, including the smart solar controller, and turned them all back on, it lit up and I started getting readings on my phone, today is sunny in Ohio and I'm parked in full sun.. Before that, I had no solar and the app was saying there was a problem. And I currently am unable to hook up to shore power. I bought a home in Ohio and electrician won't be out for a week to put in a plug for me. But when I switch to "charge only" I'm getting nothing. I was hooked up to shore power 48 hours before I left for Ohio and battery was fully charged. For theb10 hour road trip, battery was down to 62%. That is with fridge and freezer running.
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Old 10-08-2022, 05:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mansderm161 View Post
Once I turned off all the breakers, including the smart solar controller, and turned them all back on, it lit up and I started getting readings on my phone, today is sunny in Ohio and I'm parked in full sun.. Before that, I had no solar and the app was saying there was a problem. And I currently am unable to hook up to shore power. I bought a home in Ohio and electrician won't be out for a week to put in a plug for me. But when I switch to "charge only" I'm getting nothing. I was hooked up to shore power 48 hours before I left for Ohio and battery was fully charged. For theb10 hour road trip, battery was down to 62%. That is with fridge and freezer running.
If you're not plugged into shore power and you switch the Multiplus to 'charge only' you will get nothing. This is normal. The inverter won't make power from the batteries through the inverter on charge only, so none of the 120v circuits will function. Since you're not plugged in you can't charge the batteries from the inverter until it's plugged in, so putting it in 'charge only' is essentially the same as just turning it off.

On the solar side...When you look at the app it will show two sides. There is the voltage reading from the solar panels and the voltage reading from the battery side. The current flow will vary depending on the need/charge state of the batteries. Are you seeing voltage on both sides - the panels and the batteries? If so, then it's working fine. If you're only seeing the voltage on the panel side then you've got something disconnected between the solar charge controller and the batteries. Could be a switch, could be a breaker, could be a fuse, depending on your particular install.
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:48 PM   #20
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First get them Air Shocks aired up.

Call AM Solar they are your best bet on the Victron. Airstream IN JC will NOT! install or work on any add on equipment. If Airstream does not sell it they will not work on it.

AM Solar will walk you through this. Or get you to a installer who can .
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