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Author Topic: Two problems - are they related?  (Read 972 times)

trent_a

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Two problems - are they related?
« on: May 22, 2016, 12:06:06 PM »
Hi everyone!  I'm a first time motorhome owner and a first time poster.  My coach is a 1999 Coachmen B Van on a GMC 2500 Savana Chassis.   I've had a couple of problems in this first year of ownership so far: leaky roof and blown head gasket.  Both have been resolved and I haven't minded because I love my van and am willing to work with it.

I've got a new situation where I'm hoping y'all can help.  I haven't found a clear next-step in about 30 minutes of googling so here goes:

1st Problem: My van died on the road.  I lost power steering and power brakes and was thankfully able to pull of to the side.  The engine started right up immediately after I came to a complete stop.  This came about 2 minutes after having a no-turnover no-start in the parking lot (first time for that too).  Popping the hood to verify the chassis battery was secure was enough to get it started with no lag after the key turn.  I'd noticed that the voltage gauge on the dash had dropped down to 13v or so earlier that day.  Always in the past year it was reading over 14v.

2nd Problem: My house battery isn't charging while the engine is running.  Just the day before I replaced the Magnetek 6345 with a PD4645.  All seemed well with the upgrade - my house battery charges on shore power and the wizard light indicates the house battery is charging.

This morning after all of the above the chassis battery was at 12.6v with the vehicle off, and was back at a full 14.4v with the vehicle on.  The dash gauge was showing over 14v too so that issue may be intermittent.  The house battery was 12.4v with the vehicle off and 12.4v with the vehicle on and the Intellitec BD0 in "use".

My hunch from reading online is a problematic alternator.  Could that cause the issues with my house battery charging?  Could an alternator mess up my battery disconnect?

Another question - should the house battery charge with the vehicle on even when I have the BD0 in "store"?  I always assumed that it didn't charge but I really don't know either way.

Thanks,
Trent

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Two problems - are they related?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 01:38:55 PM »
I don't see how the alternator could cause the second problem. Basically a relay has to close to allow the engine alternator to supply current to the house battery, and that doesn't seem to be happening. In most such systems, the +12v from the ignition is wired to a big relay so that it closes whenever the ignition is on and engine running. I'm not familiar with yours, though, and there are a couple other ways to do it.

It shouldn't be too hard to trace the big cable from the alternator to whatever isolates the two battery banks. Start looking there. And since you just changed the house battery, double-check that wiring as well.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

John From Detroit

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Re: Two problems - are they related?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2016, 07:01:57 PM »
From the sound of it you have one problem.. Unless the alternatgor issue comes and goes.

IF for any reason the alternator ceases to charge and provide power to the ENGINE battery,  Well it also can not charge the house.. So the low engine system voltage means no charging of the house battery.

When you say you also lost power steering and power brakes ... This leads me to believe the serpentine belt is busted.  This belt does many things

It pumps radiator coolant (Water pump)  It turns the alternator (Generates electricty) and  it runs the power steering pump, which is also the power source for the hydro boost braking system.. So that is the one (and only) part common to ALL your problems.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

trent_a

  • Posts: 3
Re: Two problems - are they related?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2016, 07:43:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys. 

Here is the pdf for my battery disconnect switch:
http://www.intellitec.com/assets/pdf/5301087new3.pdf

It says that if the house battery isnt charging to check voltage at the isolator coil.  Ive found the isolator but I dont know what they mean by the coil.  I get 12.2 volts on the house battery side and 0 volts on the chassis battery side.

The pdf also discusses a pcb which I cant find.  The wiring runs into cabinetry and disappears so Im having trouble tracing it. 

Jon, the engine died too when I lost power steering and brakes.  I had no gas and very little control.  Also all of that is working again now when the engine is running.  Does that change the serpentine belt theory?

Thanks,
Trent

John From Detroit

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Re: Two problems - are they related?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 07:56:08 AM »
Zeeo volts on the chassis side is both bad, and worse, and the problem

You will need to track that down, Follow the wire is all I can say.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

trent_a

  • Posts: 3
Re: Two problems - are they related?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 05:47:43 PM »
I took it to the shop this morning for the engine issue. They're certain that it was some bad (short) bolts that were on the chassis battery.   That along with corroded cabling caused a bad connection.  They put in new battery bolts and replaced the cabling so hopefully thats it for the engine issue.

The chassis battery still isn't charging though? I'll have to take time this weekend to track down the wiring.


 

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