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Old 03-21-2015, 01:26 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Tuscany XTE 34ST
State: California
Posts: 5
THOR #1719
Battery Issue for Newbies

2014 Tuscany XTE 34ST, we have one short trip in it, has been stored for only a few weeks. Here's the problem.

  • park in storage, turn off everything, turn off house battery switch, turn off inverter
  • return days later, no house battery, hit switch, nada
  • engine starts right up but message center says Low Voltage
  • all lights flash on leveling jacks panel
  • generator takes several tries to start (hold switch down 45 seconds or more each time)
  • generator starts, check levels - battery levels read full charge, still no house battery until genny runs for 10 minutes, then house battery on, invertor turns on at button
  • turn off generator, drive 45 minutes
  • all jacks lights blink the whole time
  • park, turn off engine, no house battery
  • start generator......and repeat
What are we doing wrong?
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:47 AM   #2
Ron
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Hurricane 31D
State: California
Posts: 92
THOR #1675
House battery problem

It sounds to me that your house batteries are charging when the generator is on. They would probably charge when plugged into shore power also. This means your converter/charger is working. It sounds like your engine alternator is not connecting to the house batteries though which would indicate a faulty battery isolator solenoid or circuit.

Many RVs use the RV Custom Products isolator system

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Old 03-21-2015, 06:05 AM   #3
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Model: 2011 Four Winds 28Z
State: Michigan
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THOR #531
First, it appears that turning off everything may not actually be turning everything off; especially if there were any dealer installed options.

You can either figure this out yourself or have the dealer do it, which will take awhile. At minimum, if you have the electrical skills, you can at least verify the issue.

Get yourself a clamp-meter, such as the B&K Precision 316. The reason I recommend this meter is it can measure down to I think 1mA DC... at least it's a lot lower than the typical clamp meter.

The accuracy though is only 2.5% which is not that good for a meter, but about standard for clamp meters.

What you do is turn everything off, then clamp the battery leads, one-by-one and see if you measure any current. That will tell you if something is discharging your batteries. The beauty of a clamp meter is it is fairly safe, and you don't have to disconnect heavy battery cables.

A standard clamp meter will work as well, as long as it reads DC Amps. But it won't likely have the resolution of the B&K. The B&K is designed for small currents, while the standard meters are designed for industrial/residential household currents.

If you suspect your engine alternator is not charging the batteries, on some Thor coaches (mine), it uses a combination of an Intellitech Isolator Delay Relay/E, and a Trombetta Contactor (but not all coaches charge the house battery via the engine). Thor may use others as well, but this is what was on my coach. Here are links to the documentation for these two items:

http://www.intellitec.com/index.php/...or_relay_delay

http://www.trombetta.com/dc-contactor-products.cfm?id=2

These components may or may not be installed in your coach.

But you can verify the operation of the engine alternator circuit - whether or not it is charging the house battery, by putting a voltmeter on the house battery, and watch the voltage as you have someone else start the engine. If after about 5~10 seconds you see a tiny "blip" of a voltage increase (around a volt), the engine is charging the house battery.

Or if Thor did not use a Delay Relay/E, but just the contactor, you should see an immediate increase in voltage when the engine starts running.

If you don't see the small voltage increase, then the engine is not charging the house battery. Again, it might not be outfitted to do so, which is something you would have to investigate.

The 5~10 second delay is from the Intellitech Delay Relay/E, as it gives the alternator a few seconds to stabilize it's output before connecting the house battery, which is done by the Trombetta Contactor (the output of the Delay Relay/E is connected to the Trombetta Contactor).

Often, when the generator has not been started for awhile, they can be awfully hard to start. But make sure you "prime" the generator. You do this by depressing the ON part of the start button for just a second - not long enough to start the generator. This wakes it up. Then you depress the OFF part of the start button for several seconds, until you see the LED light up. This primes the fuel pump. Then depress the ON part of the start button, and the generator should start a lot quicker.

You could also have a bad house battery. They install about the cheapest batteries you could find (would you expect anything different), and if the factory or the dealer has neglected to put a charger on them periodically while they are sitting around, and if they sit around for an extended period of time, they (especially cheap they) can sometimes go bad.

Hate to say this, but your engine battery could also be going bad. Again, if the coach has been sitting for awhile, I would not expect the factory or dealer to do any preventative maintenance on the batteries.

Of course the factory and dealer will finger point to the battery manufacturer, and the battery manufacturer will finger point back saying proper maintenance was not done thereby voiding the warranty.
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:06 PM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Hurricane 31D
State: California
Posts: 92
THOR #1675
First off, congratulations on your motorhome! The Tuscany is the flagship of the Thor line. It is a fine looking rig!

I can't believe that the flagship model wouldn't charge the house batteries automatically. A friend of mine has a Thor Serrano front diesel and the same thing happened to him right off the bat when he bought it. He called the dealer and they said his coach didn't charge the house battery unless the gen set was on. I told him that was ridiculous!

After troubleshooting, he found an isolator solenoid that had failed. He said the solenoid on his coach was behind the entry step. I had a related problem (a little different though) where my engine battery wasn't charging and it ended up being the isolator being bad also. In my case, I was driving the coach home from the dealer after I bought it. I only owned it 15 minutes and everything went dead! The engine quit and I coasted to the side of a busy freeway. I called camping World and they came right out. One of the techs remembered a service bulletin on the RV Custom Products battery isolator unit and did the fix on the side of the road. It basically bypasses the engine battery isolator. Now I can only isolate the house battery. I added a mechanical isolator for the engine battery for extended storage purposes. Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:48 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Tuscany XTE 34ST
State: California
Posts: 5
THOR #1719
Thanks!

We were thinking cheap, unmaintained batteries but of course hoping for something else. We'll double check for "not off" and likely run over to our Camping World to make the other checks.

Didn't get the "prime it" piece during the walk-through and I'm sure that will make the difference in the long start.

Again, thanks for the fast responses!

Jodee
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:36 AM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Tuscany XTE 34ST
State: California
Posts: 5
THOR #1719
follow up

turned out it was the batteries all needing water. don't assume when you pick up a new rig from the dealer that they actually check something like that!

and the primer really makes the difference when starting the generator - thanks again for that :-)
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:54 AM   #7
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #1756
We just purchased a 2015 34ST. I have spent many, many hours reading & organizing all the manuals in the last few weeks. On the DP when you start the engine you need to let it run for several minutes (5 min) till you see the volt meter on the dash stabilize just above the 13 volt mark. Also, this allows your air tank to come back up to the correct pressure. You can not run the levelers or the slides till the volts come back up. You can find this in the Freightliner Chassis owners manual. You can also read about low voltage in the Lippert Ultra Level manual. I found the linked owners manual on Lipperts web site, it was not provided by Thor.

http://lci1.com/assets/content/support/manuals/ULTRA%20LEVEL%20Motorized%20Leveling%20Owner's%20M anual.pdf

When stored (we store in our driveway) we keep the coach plugged into the garage to keep the batteries charged at the float rate. The power management system maintains all the batteries at this trickle charge rate even when they are turned off. The Tuscany (pretty sure the 2014 is the same as 2015) has a BIRD - Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay. The Tuscany is suppose to charge both house batteries & coach batteries as needed while traveling. I have read other forums where some have had issues with this relay.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:55 PM   #8
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Model: A.C.E 29.3
State: Ohio
Posts: 610
THOR #1620
FW28z, thanks for the recommenation on the amp clamp. I ordered one to add to my aresnal!
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