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Old 05-25-2009, 02:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Thanks for the opinion. I may pull the electrical tape (bad sign maybe?) off the wires and have a
closer look. In the RV parts catalog, there were a couple of extension cords which came with
loose bare wire ends so that you could add/splice the extra length. The problem with my splice job
is that it's on the short 6-7 foot length of cord, not the 20 foot extension cord that I got with the van.
So I'm suspicious. I'll probably get a second opinion at a service centre.
Thanks.

Oh and I forgot the third additional problem discovered over the weekend of exploring the many onboard
systems of the Roadtrek.
The ONAN Microlite 2800 has started backfiring when I try to start it.
I'm afraid to keep trying as the noise and force of the backfires is pretty intense.
I admit I haven't been diligent in exercising it through the winter. Mea culpa.
Any ideas about it? I've seen everything from bad coil/low spark to low oil level
to gummed up carb. I added fuel stabilizer to the tank last November to prep it for inactivity,
and did fire up the generator for about a half hour to try to suck some into it.

All in all, not the results I was hoping for this weekend with the Roadtrek.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
......................... The problem with my splice job is that it's on the short 6-7 foot length of cord, not the 20 foot extension cord that I got with the van...............
I think your van would have had a longer cord from the factory. Mine must have been 10' or more. Maybe send a quick email to service @ roadtrek.com and ask how long the cord would have been on your model year.

I can't help much re: the gen backfiring. If it was mine I'd remove the spark plug, clean it and set the gap. I'd also spray some carb cleaner into the carb.

Tough weekend Mike. You'll get these issues sorted out.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

I'll try the email question.The cord just reaches from the rear end of the large storage compartment to the front.
So I'd guess it's about 6 feet long. Probably a pull away while still plugged in? Hard to believe, but possible I guess.
That was my first thought when I saw it.

I'm just looking for the VIN number. Roadtrek always hassle me for the VIN number when I email them.
Thanks for the moral support.

UPDATE: According to Peter at RT, the original power cord was 36 feet long with 7 feet "buried in the
vehicle" so a total external length of about 29 feet. He also suggested a previous owner may have either
damaged, or shortened it as a preference. I still have a 20 foot extension for it, so I think I'll put this one
to bed, for now.
I also mentioned that the 2 service dealers that I'd contacted hadn't got back to me in over 6 days.
He was sympathetic to their situation, in terms of staff reductions in the current economic
environment (paraphrasing), and suggested I contact them again, or wait a bit longer.
Hmmmmmm????

Thanks again.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Generator update: I tried it yesterday and it fired up first try. I tried it with the van's engine running.
I believe we've mentioned this scenario before in an exercise the generator thread on here somewhere.
That if you can't get it to go try it with the vehicle engine running. Seemed to make a difference for me
so I'm back burnering that one for now.I read on the internet somewhere that low spark might cause backfiring,
so I'm thinking the extra juice leaking through my faulty isolator might have made the difference.

Isolator update: I got replies from Mobilife in Kitchener, Ont. and even though I told them all the tests I've done
with suggestions from yourselves and John Slaughter (without mentioning names, of course), and the results
I've got, they still want me to "bring it in to properly diagnose the problem before quoting me a price on the
isolator replacement and part". So that's not working for me, and I replied to that effect. I said I'd think about it.
I also got a reply from SunnFunRV in Waterdown, Ont. quoting some labour costs at $88/hour (probably the
going rate) with some realistic projected repair times, but they quoted a price of $122 for a 120 amp replacement isolator.
I sent a follow up note mentioning that the OEM model was 130 amps, and asked what would happen if I installed
a lower amperage model. I have yet to hear back from them.

I've sent a note to Owasco in Oshawa Ont. with my isolator details and am waiting for a reply.


Roadtrek authorized service centres in Ontario don't seem too useful so far. Or am I being too picky?
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Mike, you mention the problems your having with the Onan and you mentioned that it doesn't get the exercise, etc.; I'd also recommend that you pick up at can of SeaFoam Gas Additive and put into about a half to three quarters of a tank and run the generator to clean out the carb. Ron
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

When my Honda 2000 generator doesn't want to start (usually from inattention for longer than I should), I have found a regular solution to be take off the air cleaner and give it a good chance to breathe while cranking. Works every time.
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Hi Ron/VernM,
Mea culpa. I should run it more often, and put a load on it, too. I'll see if I can
find Seafoam gas additive up here in the Great White North. | did add fuel stabilizer to
a full tank last fall when it was going to sit for a while, and ran the genny for a while afterwards.
I wish it wasn't located under the rear of the van, it's hard for me to get to, to see what's
really happening when it has problems. let alone to remove the air cleaner, but if it starts acting
up again, I'll see if I can reach it.

Thanks for the comments.
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RV - 2002 Roadtrek 190 Popular (Chevy) - SOLD.
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
...................... I got replies from Mobilife in Kitchener, Ont. and even though I told them all the tests I've done with suggestions from yourselves and John Slaughter (without mentioning names, of course), and the results
I've got, they still want me to "bring it in to properly diagnose the problem before quoting me a price on the
isolator replacement and part". ..............
I'd go to Mobilife just to see all the add-on cabinetry
Link: http://www.mobilife.on.ca/classb.html#accessories

Getting an RV repaired can be a nuisance. I can see them only being able to "ballpark" the proposed solution and cost over the phone. Looks like they prefer to give a quote only after seeing it and that is understandable also.

That's good news re: your genset. The trick of starting the van motor first works often.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

Oddly enough they were sort of recommended by the service guy at Roadtrek, and they're the ones I'm
most disappointed with. Both the tech at Roadtrek service, and John Slaughter are pretty sure my isolator
is toast, based on my tests and results. It bothers me that Mobilife want to take an hour to tell me the same thing,
then charge me for the part, and no doubt another hour to install it. And no one has been able to offer me the
original part, or the Roadtrek authorized alternative replacement part (Hehr Powerline 33-301 is what they used as a replacement up until they went with a battery separator instead of an isolator). It is 150 amps and is acceptable
as a replacement part according to Peter Lange at Roadtrek. He suggested trying local RV and Marine supply shops
as he knows there aren't any RT repair facilities near me. Said it didn't have to be a RT shop, which I will try.
There's a few marine supply places around here.
SunnFunRV are trying to find one that's 130 amps or more. They're still looking.
Owasco had a 150 amp isolator, but they've been discontinued, so they suggested I try an automotive parts supply.
I finally got in touch with Hehr in Texas today and they have all the original and replacement parts, and will ship to me.
I may try that instead of dealing with the local experts. Or I may try the local marine and RV places although the nearest RV place only had smallish stuff (low amperage <or=120). I might see if they have a 150, as I thought it had to be 130 a week ago when I first checked there.
Roadtrek OEM isolators are hard to find.

My wife thinks I'm nuts for going to all this trouble, when we just need to remember not to leave the
battery disconnect enabled when not in use.
Maybe she's right.......

re genset: Oh yes ....... I think I'll always start the engine first from now on, whether it's recommended or not.
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RV - 2002 Roadtrek 190 Popular (Chevy) - SOLD.
TV - 2016 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited
RV - 2016 Winnebago Sunstar 26HE (Ford F53, Triton V10 3 valve, 6 speed transmission) - SOLD (sort of)
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:21 PM   #20
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Default Re: Battery Isolators - how long should they last?

If the isolator has failed and is allowing the vehicle battery to discharge then you could be off camping somewhere and find that when you want to leave you are not able to start the motor due to a flat battery.

A battery separator would be an upgrade. With it, you plug the van into grid power and both the house battery and the vehicle battery get charged. If you are camped with power hookup then you can use the van radio/CD player because the vehicle battery is being charged.

I'd go that route if the costs were similar.

It's good to know that Hehr will ship direct to end users.
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