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Old 12-02-2021, 02:11 PM   #1
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Wheels, Tires & Batteries

I discovered SportsMobileForum.com a couple of years after we ordered/purchased our 2016 Sprinter 144 high roof AWD R50S layout from Sportsmobile West. Once found, I subscribed to the newsletter and have benefitted from the advice found here. So first I want to thank all of you for your input as I lurked. But now I have a couple specific issues for which, after hours of trying, Ive not found answers on the forum.

One bit of wisdom acquired was to air down when on 4WD roads so we bought a Viair unit recommended by one of you so we could repressurize. Ive become concerned over the possibility of losing the bead when aired down because the van came with stock wheels and tires but after 5,000 miles we had 265/75/16 BFG KO2 put on the stock 6.5 inch rims at a local shop in Wisconsin. Right on these tires is says not to install on 6.5 inch rims. Its now 62,000 miles later and the tires have about 1 mm left before the wear indicators are even with the remaining tread so were looking at 2 options. Replace with the same size tire on the stock rims or do wider rims, such as the Method 701 in a 17 by 7.5, and tires to fit. Ive got the Vancompass Tire size chart. The question is are my concerns over rim width and loss of bead real or imaginary? I know well have an issue finding a national tire outlet that will install exact replacements on the 6.5 rims. But now that we find ourselves in New Mexico we may be able to find someone who will.

The other issue is with the house battery. The van came with 200 W of solar, 210 AH house battery and a Battery Check Bluetooth battery monitor. Wed never used the microware or A/C unless connected to shore power until reading in the forum that the wise choice was to use the high idle control and run the engine when using electricity hungry appliances, which we now do when using the microwave. A/C remains shore power only. The battery monitor failed to connect via Bluetooth after about 10 months and Fresno sent a replacement but it too failed to connect via Bluetooth in about the same time frame. Since then weve been relying on the Zamp solar charge controller panel to monitor the house battery. If we see the yellow half full light, the engine runs at high idle for an hour or so. This very rarely happened (once a year) until last winter when the only load on the battery was refer and heater. The repeated over the 5 days we were out there. Since the battery was nearly 5 years old at that point and based on comments on the forum we should expect little additional longevity, I installed an exact replacement last February. The new battery initially performed as expected but starting about a month ago the Zamp controller rarely indicates a full charge on the house battery and when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight. Is the battery bad already or is the fault in some other part of the charging system (solar panels, charge controller, etc.)? Ill be pulling the battery tomorrow to have it tested.

We opted for the 2nd alternator. It appears no battery separator was installed, Ive looked but never seen one. Doesnt seem like one would be necessary if the 2nd alternator was wired solely to the house battery. The 2nd alternator was not aligned properly when installed so its belt road up on the pulley and shredded, not once but 3 times as the next 2 attempts by 2 different dealerships failed to get it right (now we carry a spare belt rather than wait 3 to 5 days for one to arrive). In any case one time this happened we were in the Yukon in October and running the engine at night did not cause the house battery to charge up but the battery did charge during the brief daylight hours. So we returned to the States where there was more daylight, less snow and heat. The engine battery failed us one morning, after 4.5 years, 20 miles down a dead end 4wd road but, due to advice read on the forum, we had battery cables long enough to go from the engine battery to where the leads from the house battery to the inverter etc. entered the interior under the rear bench, which got us going.

Ward
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Old 12-02-2021, 04:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Taxing4Ward View Post
The new battery initially performed as expected but starting about a month ago the Zamp controller rarely indicates a full charge on the house battery and when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight. Is the battery bad already or is the fault in some other part of the charging system (solar panels, charge controller, etc.)? Ill be pulling the battery tomorrow to have it tested.
Not sure what you mean "when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight"

If it was already connected to shore power it may be fully charged, and thus then be in float mode. So the solar controller would pretty much see the battery as full and would be in float mode even in full sun.

In the winter depending on location it can be difficult to complete a full charge based on solar. By the time you get to the absorption phase you start to run out of time and don't complete the charge. If you don't see solar putting the battery into float mode before the the sun goes away, you will end your day below 100% SOC. This means every day will be harder to fully charge (based on similar daily usage).

-greg
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:08 PM   #3
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Not sure what you mean "when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight"

If it was already connected to shore power it may be fully charged, and thus then be in float mode. So the solar controller would pretty much see the battery as full and would be in float mode even in full sun.

In the winter depending on location it can be difficult to complete a full charge based on solar. By the time you get to the absorption phase you start to run out of time and don't complete the charge. If you don't see solar putting the battery into float mode before the the sun goes away, you will end your day below 100% SOC. This means every day will be harder to fully charge (based on similar daily usage).

-greg
By "when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight" I meant when one morning after then van had not been used for a few days, I saw the charge controller panel indicating less than 1/2 full (yellow light on the Zamp control panel) I connected to 110 Volts. The controller then said absorption charging. I observed the charge controller about once per hour throughout the day. Approximately 5 hours later, the controller panel changed to float charging. The next times until I went to bed and again the the next morning the controller displayed float. Never displayed, as in the past, full. The van is stored outdoors with nothing obstructing the sun at any point in the day. If we still lived in Wisconsin cold weather and short days could be an issue, but we never observed this behavior even when the high temperatures were in the single digits and below zero at night. The van was connected to 110 V the entire time. Here in New Mexico, well, when I made the observation the temps were 35 in the morning & 55 for a high that day at the end of October. With the old house battery and the new one, until just recently, here in NM the charge controller always indicated full charge by solar panel by the end of every day.
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:27 PM   #4
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By "when connected to shore power it show float charging for more than 6 hours when the van is in full sunlight" I meant when one morning after then van had not been used for a few days, I saw the charge controller panel indicating less than 1/2 full (yellow light on the Zamp control panel) I connected to 110 Volts. The controller then said absorption charging. I observed the charge controller about once per hour throughout the day. Approximately 5 hours later, the controller panel changed to float charging. The next times until I went to bed and again the the next morning the controller displayed float. Never displayed, as in the past, full. The van is stored outdoors with nothing obstructing the sun at any point in the day. If we still lived in Wisconsin cold weather and short days could be an issue, but we never observed this behavior even when the high temperatures were in the single digits and below zero at night. The van was connected to 110 V the entire time. Here in New Mexico, well, when I made the observation the temps were 35 in the morning & 55 for a high that day at the end of October. With the old house battery and the new one, until just recently, here in NM the charge controller always indicated full charge by solar panel by the end of every day.
Last weekend we spent a couple chilly nights as the house battery ran down to less than 50% charge after running the Espar heater for only one hour with the only other draw on the battery being the refrigerator which was not running much given the 25-30 degree nights and 45-50 degree days in Canyon Lands. This was after driving from Salt Lake City without a cloud in the sky.
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:30 PM   #5
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Again, if the van was connected to 110V all the time most likely your shore charger was in float mode. The Zamp controller probably determines the state by the voltage readings. It won't say full, if it is in float.

I expect even in NM the solar irradiance and length of day still gets less.


-greg
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