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Old 10-13-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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Battery problems?

Ok people I need your help! This all is way over my head! I bought my 7.3 Sportsmobile a little over a year ago. For 8 of those 13 months I have been traveling all throughout the country living out of the van. The Van has solar and the house and van batteries were working perfectly.

That is until just about two weeks ago. While in Maine I accidentally hit the fog light switch while climbing from the front seat to the back. The shade blinds were in the windows already and I didn't notice until the morning when the van would not start.

I jumped the van with my buddies tacomma and it started back up on its own later that day but not the next morning. After a long drive down to NJ the next day the battery was working fine for about a week. Then I didnt run the van for a few days and it was dead again. It charges when I drive it but is usually dead the next day.

If I understand correctly there is a starting battery under the hood and then another somewhere else. Do I need to replace both? If not how do i know which one is bad. Does it sound like a dead battery issue or should I be looking for something else. ie a "short" (not even really sure what that means)

I would like to have the ability to jump the van from the house battery. My girlfriend and I spend two months on Prince of Whales Island in AK each spring chasing steelhead trout. The van is the perfect home/vehicle but if these issues had happened up there it could be a major issue.

I assume I have one of the systems you are all talking about. How do I find out which one it is?

Sorry for the being so naive. I am just a simple fishermen living in a van down by the river.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Battery problems?

It sounds like you have older batteries and pulling them down overnight pushed them over the edge.

New, quality batteries will solve that issue.

Jumpstarting from the house batteries is another issue. A lot depends on what house batteries you have, where they are located and what guage wiring is used to connect them to the van. In some cases it may be easier to use jumper cables from the house batteries to the starting batteries to jumpstart.

Mike
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:39 PM   #3
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Re: Battery problems?

Thanks Mike,
Do you think I should replace both van batteries?

Will
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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Re: Battery problems?

Quote:
Do you think I should replace both van batteries?
Yes!!

One new one will probably get you going for a while but the old weak one will draw down the new one and in just a few months you'll have 2 bad ones again. They should always be replaced in pairs.

The second is bolted to the frame rail below the passengers feet.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: Battery problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
Quote:
Do you think I should replace both van batteries?
Yes!!

One new one will probably get you going for a while but the old weak one will draw down the new one and in just a few months you'll have 2 bad ones again. They should always be replaced in pairs.

The second is bolted to the frame rail below the passengers feet.
I'm sure you have a Isolator and your chassis battery (located under the hood, used to start the engine) will not draw down the house/chassis battery (could be located anywhere, could be several, used for powering everything not related to the chassis battery).

Before buying anything, have both batteries tested, one can be going out and not the other.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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Re: Battery problems?

Thank you. I will have them both tested tomorrow. Any advice on how to access the second battery? I was poking around last week and changed the fuel filter and didnt see it. I found the house batteries under the rear passenger side window.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: Battery problems?

I'd avoid Ford for the testing but will admit it probably depends on which dealership you use. Twice (two different dealerships in my area) they said they tested my batteries and claimed there wasn't a problem when there was. The second dealership claimed it was the alternator. When I asked if they had dropped each battery and tested them on their own, both dealerships claimed they did but when I looked I could find no indication that either battery had been dropped. I'm not sure but I think there is a testing procedure they can do that doesn't require dropping the batteries...I just don't know. At any rate you might want it made clear what you want done so you don't get burned. Why bank a new battery with a battery that is still good but is only at 70% of its life? Rule of thumb is if the battery is over a year old, replace em both. You can always use the good old battery for something else.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:35 PM   #8
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Re: Battery problems?

The 2nd battery is on passenger side, below the side doors.

Mike
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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Re: Battery problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajaSportsmobile
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
Quote:
Do you think I should replace both van batteries?
Yes!!

One new one will probably get you going for a while but the old weak one will draw down the new one and in just a few months you'll have 2 bad ones again. They should always be replaced in pairs.

The second is bolted to the frame rail below the passengers feet.
I'm sure you have a Isolator and your chassis battery (located under the hood, used to start the engine) will not draw down the house/chassis battery (could be located anywhere, could be several, used for powering everything not related to the chassis battery).

Before buying anything, have both batteries tested, one can be going out and not the other.
I wasn't talking about house batteries at all. As you say, they're a completely separate issue.
I'm talking about the 2 starting batteries required by his big 7.3 diesel which are directly wired together and should be replaced as a unit. The second starting battery is on the frame just below the passenger door and the house batteries are further back under the side barn door.
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