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Old 06-30-2019, 12:49 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: British Columbia
Posts: 25
THOR #2763
Battery flat - tech said ok?

Hi, we are on the Alaska Highway and our coach battery is giving us grief. Our 2016 Citation came with two flooded lead acid batteries when we bought it 3.5 years ago. We had them tested before leaving for our trip and were told they are operating at 90% and not to replace them. Sure enough, first night we boondocked (no lights, no fan, water pump only when needed) the battery was flat come morning. The generator wouldn’t crank over. I had to start the engine to start the genny to get enough power to bring in the two slides so we could drive!

I am planning to stop at the first opportunity to have the batteries replaced - but is there anything else I should be looking for, since the tech assured us the coach batteries are fine? I unplugged everything that could be unplugged (TVs etc in case they were drawing) turned off antenna etc. I considered using the “store “ switch but was worried the propane fridge wouldn’t cycle on and off without some battery for the control panel. If we drive or run the genny, the panel says it’s charging, and it will put the slides out after we stop but it reads dead within about six hours. Lights work but not enough juice to crank the genny or bring in a slide. Thanks!
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Old 06-30-2019, 01:45 AM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2013 ACE 30.1
State: Alberta
Posts: 938
THOR #2631
Hi, if you have a voltmeter can you determine if the coach and chassis batteries are being charged by the converter (should see 13vdc or more) when either the generator is running or you are on shore power; and when the engine is running you should also see probably 14vdc or more on the chassis and coach batteries. Also keep the use/store on for your propane fridge and for proper battery charging. You might also want to carefully check water levels on the coach batteries. Best to use distilled to top up, but if not available then drinking water, if necessary.
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:29 AM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: British Columbia
Posts: 25
THOR #2763
Thanks, Javelin - I should pick up a voltmeter as I don’t have one. I’ve been relying on the interior panel for battery status. It does charge as I can park and put the slides out...but good luck bringing them back in the next morning!
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:45 AM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: A.C.E. 27.2
State: Indiana
Posts: 283
THOR #14698
The multi meter is one the RV owners must have tools as well as 12 volt test light. One question does the Citation have an inverter? I read somewhere on this forum leaving the inverter on will drain your batteries. If the batteries are at 90% you should be able to overnight without killing the batteries something is draining them
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:54 AM   #5
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State: Texas
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THOR #3109
Or the tech did not know how to check them?
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Old 06-30-2019, 04:46 AM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: British Columbia
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THOR #2763
Both good questions! No, the Citation doesn’t have an inverter so that’s not the drain. As to the tech, $70 later he had checked my coach and chassis batteries and my tire inflation (hey, it’s the Alaska Highway. Priorities!). He worked at a big chain tire and general service place so I’m hoping he knew which end was up...but maybe not?
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Old 06-30-2019, 12:20 PM   #7
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Hurricane 31D
State: Virginia
Posts: 121
THOR #5638
If one of the batteries has a shorted cell it will consume the power from both. Cell failure can happen at any time with little advance warning. Low water in one cell is a post failure indicator as the short will creating heat and help to boil off the water.

Check the water levels first and top off with distilled. If the batteries are 12VDC you could try an reconfigure and drop to a single battery to verify if one has failed. A single battery should get you thru the night if you start with a full charge off the generator considering the only power consumers would be the low demand fridge controller, propane & CO detectors and maybe the water heater controllers. If your DC lighting is not LED be mindful that incandescent bulbs are power hogs.
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