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Old 09-24-2015, 06:49 PM   #1
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Default ERA Winter Storage

I will be storing my 2016 ERA 70A in a rented indoor climate controlled storage unit for the winter. Since I will be going on an extended trip out of the country from late September to mid January next year, the coach will be sitting there for three and half months. Furthermore, when I return to Ohio in Januray, it will be in the coldest period of the year and I wouldn't be able to take the ERA out until March or April time (but I will have access to it though and can do things such as exercising the generator, etc.).

My current plan is that after completing the winterization process, I will park the RV in the storage unit, shut off the coach battery switch and hook up a trickle charger to the chassis battery. Here's the link to the unit that I have just purchased:

Amazon.com: Battery Tender 022-0185G-dl-wh Black 12 Volt 1.25 Amp Plus Battery Charger/Maintainer: Automotive

I have read a lot of positive reviews from people who have used this particular charger for long term storage of their car or RV batteries. On the other hand, I've also read comments from others that they don't recommend hooking the battery to a charger continuously for long term storage (I believe I might have read somewhere in the ERA manual to this effect as well but it is not clear to me whether they are referring to a regular charger or a trickle charger.)

I understand that the ERA does have a battery disconnect plug near the brake pedal area that I can pull to isolate the chassis battery as well. But I am not sure whether this is better than the trickle charger approach or not (e.g., do I need to reset some of the things on the RV after disconnecting the chassis battery?).

I welcome any comments from anyone on what you think about my plan.

Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:58 PM   #2
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Mine's an RT rather than an ERA, but as far as the Sprinter chassis they're the same. Here's my experience from last winter as far as the chassis battery:

I left my rig indoors January through early April, and did NOT pull the chassis battery plug. When I returned, the chassis battery showed adequate voltage, and the vehicle started up immediately. (If it had not, my plan was to put an external charger on it.)

I see nothing wrong with leaving a Bettery Tender on it, but I believe you will be fine either way.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
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you may want to take the time to remove the battery(s) from the vehicle
( some storage and other indoor facilities require that).

store the battery in a warmish place hooked to the tender.

- a charging battery can release hydrogen gas, so a ventilated open space

this removes any danger of leaking acids (case swelling) or fire

a battery does best when maintained at a full charge- a tender is great for that and will likely extend battery life. but don't confuse that with a charger


it's not really a pain in the rear.


genny.

i have a fuel petcock on my line- I can reach it through my rear wheel well.

I turn off the fuel with the genny warmed and running and let it stall out. that leaves minimal old fuel in the float bowl.

every once in a while I hit the starter for 10 seconds or so to splash oil the internals

if you are stored indoors I doubt they want owners running the genny for 30 minutes at a time

gas- todays gas formulations ( iowa corn farmer welfare) do not store well- add stabil or other additive to the tank...I usually store full so that water condensation can;t form in the tank.
That puts you in the position next year of trying to run 1/2 a tank out so you can add fresh gas to the old...and then run that tank out too.

if you are in an area where you do tailpipe emissions testing have at least 3 tanks through after any fuel tank additive esp. sea foam


water lines- do as per manual...I live in az. not a concern


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Old 09-24-2015, 08:38 PM   #4
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I'd consider sticking some Damp-Rid High Capacity Moisture Absorber units in buckets, plastic tubs, or other leak-proof containers (mainly as a precaution in case it leaks, as calcium chloride is caustic.) This isn't as good as a true dehumidifer (Avoid the Peltier based stuff like Eva-Dry brands because they work, but don't have the horsepower that a real compressor based dehumidifier does), but it does keep humidity under control.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Mike: It's not easy to pull the chassis battery from a Sprinter. It's tucked away under the driver's floor. That's why MB provides a disconnect plug for those who find it necessary.
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:02 PM   #6
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There are two sets of batteries. The engine battery, I'd be inclined to leave in place and hook it up to a Battery Minder via the red plug available and black to chassis ground.

The house batteries, if I could easily reach them, I'd pull them, have them plugged into trickle chargers as well. Otherwise, I'd just disconnect the negative lead and call it done.

I mention Battery Minder by name, mainly because it is one of the few brands that won't overcharge, and can do desulfation, which helps with battery life without boiling them dry.
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:06 AM   #7
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My 2016 ERA 70x will be outside and plugged into shore power. I have a trik-l-charge unit that I will install when I do the rest of the winterization. Plan on using the unit in December and again in March, both FLA runs. Unlikely that will fully unwinterize as we will need to come back to Ohio. I would like to find a process to quickly winterize before returning to Ohio.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:10 AM   #8
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BTW my local costco is carrying a 3 amp version of the battery tender as opposed to the usual 1.25A version. may be handy.

tough that they have hidden the battery away on you guys...it's kinda something which when you need to get to it, you need to get to it.

I suppose they are training you to rely on a service network



( and if you've ever had a battery short internally and burn up...it's nice to be able to get it out ( bolt cutters on the cables) and save the vehicle!)

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Old 09-25-2015, 12:10 PM   #9
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What converter do they put in an ERA? The Travato uses a PD9245. You can just plug the coach in instead of buying a battery tender. Add a Trik-L-Start to the mix and all batteries stay topped off. Perhaps the ERA has something similar.

Eric
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