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Old 06-13-2013, 09:45 AM   #1
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Van Starting Issues

Greetings All -

Bit of a quandary here - I have an '05 Ford SMB EB-350 -

I have two (2) house batteries in the rear of the van, that are in need of replacement. (they don't hold a charge for very long).

The van starter batteries (2 as well) are fairly new (about 1.5 years old).

Lately (since the beginning of the year); I will go out to start the van in the morning, and it acts as if the starter batteries are dead, and consequently won't start.

If I then plug it into shore power, and wait a couple of hours (charging the house batteries), it starts right up.

I'm no electrician, but I thought if the house battery voltage was lower than the chassis batteries, the solenoid in the back would not engage, and just let the chassis batteries start the engine as normal.

Am I wrong here - or is there another problem looming that I don't know of ?

Thanks for any sage wisdom anyone may provide!

Joe
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #2
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Re: Van Starting Issues

I don't believe the house batteries will ever be used to start the van unless you have a manual override switch installed (my 2011 build has one, not sure of 2005 builds). You might have a bad chassis battery or an electrical drain. Do you own a clamp meter to check if there is a draw? Should be less than 500ma with everything turned off.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Re: Van Starting Issues

A 2005 would be using the Surepower 1315, this separator had a Start assist circuit that Sportsmobile wired to "Start" circuit on the van, so yes it joins the two systems when starting. This has been changed by some using the Surepower separator to a momentary switch to 12 volts.




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Old 06-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #4
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Re: Van Starting Issues

I am having similar sounding issues which I've yet to fully resolve. See recent 'electrical conundrums' thread. I have an '04 with a 6.0L diesel engine and a Blue Sea 9112 Auto Charge Relay.

Will be testing hopefully later today but believe my alternator is bad, so engine batteries are not charging. Secondary issue may be that the ACR/house battery is wired in such a way that the van/house batteries are electrically connected when discharging. I've yet to confirm.

The point of my reply is to suggest testing your alternator as well. I've learned that the stock alternator is undersized and that may reduce its life and reliability. The root cause might be a bad alternator?

Scalf77/Greg is also super helpful with possible solutions.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Re: Van Starting Issues

Re: Scalf77/Greg.......see what I mean? He replied at the same time I was replying.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: Van Starting Issues

I should add that some early 2004 Vans (at least mine) had the Start tab hooked up to the "RUN" circuit instead of the "Start" circuit. This could create another set another set of issues, as it renders the voltage disconnect useless will the van is running. IMO it should be wired through a switch (if you are worried about leaving it on accidentally then make the switch momentary. I have attached a early PDF from surepower, note: they specifically did not call out putting a fuse on the ground in this document. They have moved to a 10 amp fuse in later documents, for good reasons. Speaking of the ground connection, if you want to disable the surepower from working just pull the ground ( or put a switch in line).

pulling the ground will enable you to isolate the two battery systems, and just concentrate on one system at a time. A bad battery in either system , is going to have some effect on the whole system when they combine.

In Joe's case it is possible plugging in just charged up both battery systems, as the surepower 1315 is bidirectional. It could also be that combining on start pulled precious starting power to a bad house system. In either case it is easiest to debug with the separator disconnected.


Attached Files
File Type: pdf Surepower.pdf (39.2 KB, 3 views)
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
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Re: Van Starting Issues

Or, you can disconnect the START terminal all together. The dual batteries should be up to starting the engine, and if they aren't then the assist from the house batteries can mask the problem until it is too late and you have 4 discharged batteries and a long walk for help.

If the START is disconnected the seperator will still allow bi-directional charging.

Mike
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: Van Starting Issues

OK -

Thanks for the advice here - I had the alternator tested, it checked out Ok -

After the alternator guy heard my story about start failures, he did state "sounds like you've got some bad batteries in there somewhere" ....

SO - I'm still guessing that my 2 old house batteries are the culprits -

Next question - how do I take the solenoid out of the equation ? - i.e. disconnect it - just by pulling the wire on the 'start' terminal ? ... or is it more involved than that?

Thanks again for the help folks!

Joe
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: Van Starting Issues

to take is completely out of the equation pull the ground wire. If you just want to stop the assisted start, just pull the start wire.

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Old 06-18-2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: Van Starting Issues

Check to make sure you don't just have a bad starting battery connection. Disconnecting the separator will keep the "jump mode" from working.

With that ground disconnected, check voltage at the dash power port, then stick an automotive type charger on the starting battery system and give it a good charge. Feel the battery boxes to make sure none are hot to the touch. One cool and one warm indicate a bad starting battery. If you don't see any problems, check voltage again and try to start the van. Sometimes you can't see a bad battery connection. Sometimes a bad battery connection can mimic a battery with a bad cell.

[edit] Note that sometimes the separator will stick open or closed. After appling the charge to the starting batteries, the house battery voltage should not move if the little black ground wire has been disconnected. After the separator's ground is pulled, if you find the separator still shows closed, you'll have to pull one side of the main positive supply leads. You might consider a new separator if that's the case. Even then, it is possible one or more of the batteries have been damaged. You'll have to load test each battery.
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