1999 National Rv Tropical---desperately need advice

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shari53546

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Oct 29, 2012
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Hello Everyone!
I am new not only to this forum, but to the ownership of a class a motorhome.  We have had pull behind campers, but this guy is our first.  Sadly, as with anything used, there comes some issues.  This is where I know that you wonderful Rv'ers can maybe help me? Maybe?
So, we plugged it in because the chassis battery keeps draining even when not in use, with the battery disconnect disconnected.  No big deal right?  Maybe not, but we left it plugged in for 2 days, and then went over to check it.  The chassis battery had exploded, spewing battery acid under the step...luckily, the home seems to still be fine...except...
We replaced the battery, only to have the connector touch the wrong terminal section, and melt the pole a little on the brand new battery (basically, the positive touched the negative, sparked, caused my hubby one heck of a shock, and melted the pole a little).  Anyhow, This is where I desperately help.  After the new battery with the slightly melted pole was installed, the engine and the front area (cab) will not turn on.  Because of the arc, I think that maybe we blew a fuse or something, but do not know where to begin looking...does anyone have any idea? 
Maybe it is as simple as getting a new battery?
Any advice would be wonderful, as again, we are not mechanics, and know very little about rv'ing, other than we love it.  We love the RV, but now the darn thing wont even start, and we are paying loan on it.  Ugh.  :'( I would not even ask, but I really need to have it going so that we can put it into the winter storage before our Wisconsin snow flies...I would appreciate any and all suggestions...
Thank you! :)
Shari
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You may conceivably have blown a fuse somewhere, but that would prevent the engine from starting. What happens when you turn the key? Any click? Dash lights?

And are you sure the battery terminals are connected properly now? The right cable on the positive post?  The big wire that connects to the vehicle frame (chassis) goes to the negative (-) battery terminal.
 

shari53546

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Oct 29, 2012
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Thank you for your reply.  Actually, it does nothing.  We put the key in the ignition, turn it, and nothing, no click, no anything. :-( I am pretty positive that it is connected right.  I will try and get some pictures to post, because it is really weird.  We have no interior cab lights, no engine, no anything.  Any suggestions would be very very appreciated.  Is there more information that you might need that could help?  I have read the silly book, and can't figure out anything.
I am so glad that I found this forum.  Thank you...and I look forward to happy rv-ing (as soon as the issue is fixed)...
 

max49

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quote "So, we plugged it in because the chassis battery keeps draining even when not in use, with the battery disconnect disconnected. "

Did you "reconnect" the battery switch?

" We have no interior cab lights, no engine, no anything."

You  have no power to the house or chassis?  Do you have separate batteries for each?
 

shari53546

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Oct 29, 2012
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We actually have 3 batteries, that run the other part of the camper, like the fridge, and that sort of thing.  2 of them are fine, but the one battery that runs the engine and the cab is the problem...or a fuse/circuit or something...I wish I had a better description, maybe when I take the pictures and load them up on here, that might help? 
 

scottydl

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You've got to find your fuses box(es) and start checking fuses and breakers.  It's pretty basic stuff, and a good place to start getting familiar with your rig.  The box locations should be listed in your chassis (Ford or Chevy) owner's manual, if you have that.  One fuse box is probably under the hood somewhere, and the other is down by the accelerator/brake pedals.  A third one or two will be somewhere back in the RV somewhere (cabinet, under the bed, etc.) but those will be the fuses/breakers for house electronics; and it sounds like that's not your problem at the moment.
 

ironrat

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You go and check out your RV and find that a battery exploded! A battery just didn't blowup all by its self, do you know why it happened?You try and install a new battery and ark the terminals and melt part of the post! You need to just leave that RV alone and have someone who knows what they are doing fix it!!! After it is all working then maybe you could start working on learning how things work, but for now sounds like you are going t hurt your selves!
 

Lou Schneider

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I think you do need to have a mechanic take a look at it.  It might be as simple as a blown fuse, but you may have also blown a fusible link.

A fusible link is a piece of wire that's designed to burn out (like a fuse) in the event of a catastrophic short, keeping the rest of the wiring from burning up.

You'll need a shop manual or possibly the chassis owners manual to find the link - which is why I suggest letting a pro look things over.  He'll have the needed documentation or know where to find it.
 

shari53546

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Oct 29, 2012
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Thank you all for your advice.I believe that it might be best to have a professional come and look at the machine and see what the deal is.  We have only had it since Late August, and have only been able to take it out one time, and all of this happened.  I figured it would be something easy...but I guess it never really is...
Anyhow, thank you again for all your advice, and have a great week! :)
Shari
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I agree with Lou and ironrat - you folks are in over your heads, messing with things you have too little knowledge about. This is basic vehicle stuff rather than RV, so you need help from someone knowledgeable about car & truck electrical systems. Either a pro or a serious amateur. Your Tropical will be built on a truck-like Ford or Chevrolet chassis, what is known as a F53 Ford or a P32 Chevrolet motorhome chassis. Both of those are derived from the company's medium duty gas-powered  chassis, so many mechanics will know how to fix problems on them.

If it is hooked up correctly, odds are that a fusible link has blown out.
 

scottydl

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shari53546 said:
I figured it would be something easy...but I guess it never really is...

Sometimes it is... and this may still be something simple.  ;)  Problem is we have no idea where that "simple" fix may be hidden in the RV.  Everything is just speculation until someone gets in there with a voltmeter and starts measuring the electrical current in various areas, to find out where the interruption may be.
 

shari53546

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Oct 29, 2012
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You guys are awesome! Thank you for your advice, and your help.  While we might not be able to self diagnose this particular problem, I am sure that I can learn alot from all of you...
Thank you again!
Shari
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Problems are frequently simple to repair but often difficult to diagnose. I am reminded of the old story about someone who objected to being charged $100 for a repair that consisted of simply replacing a fuse. When asked why it was so much for a little fuse, the repairman broke down the cost like this:

$ 0.50 for the fuse
$ 1.00 for inserting the new fuse
$49.25 for knowing that a blown fuse could cause the problem
$49.25 for knowing where the fuse is located.
 

ironrat

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Thank's Great!!!!! I like that kind of figuring, like the one in my shop,
Labor Rate
$50 hour
$75 hour if you watch
$100 hour if you help
 

Just Lou

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ironrat said:
Thank's Great!!!!! I like that kind of figuring, like the one in my shop,
Labor Rate
$50 hour
$75 hour if you watch
$100 hour if you help

...and $150 per hour if you've already tried to fix it yourself
 
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