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Old 01-25-2020, 05:19 PM   #1
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Default 2003 Roadtrek 200 popular, remove coach battery ?

2003 Roadtrek 200 popular.

Iím thinking about upgrading my coach battery to a lithium ion battery and system. Iím at the beginning stages. But first things first.

I know where the coach battery is, and I can see it. But it does not look like itís easy to remove it. Does anyone know if the cables are long enough to unbolt the battery and lower it to the ground so I can gain access to the terminals on top? Iíve looked around for videos, or how toís as to how to do this but canít find any.

Depending on what is involved in this upgrade, I am probably going to relocate the battery if possible.

Any advice welcome.
Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2020, 08:42 PM   #2
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Might be helpful for others to know your chassis make. Is it one of the last Dodge model years or an early Chevy?
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Old 01-25-2020, 08:45 PM   #3
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Might be helpful for others to know your chassis make. Is it one of the last Dodge model years or an early Chevy?

A Roadtrek 200 will always be on a Chevy cutaway chassis.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:04 PM   #4
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Booster is correct. It is a 2002 Chevy Express 3500 Cutaway (all the 200 pops were on that chassis). The RT (coach) year model is 2003. Thanks.
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Old 01-26-2020, 10:40 AM   #5
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Where is the battery located? Post a photo if you can.


Some models, older than yours, had a through the floor box. There would be a rectangular cut out in the carpet.
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Old 01-26-2020, 02:16 PM   #6
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The cables are not long enough to drop the battery with them attached, as I recall. As of about three-fours years ago I no longer use that location on my '00 200.

It will help greatly to remove the propane fill assuming that it's in the same location as mine was. I remounted the fill farther toward the passenger side on the same support.
doing that not only made battery removal/install quite a bit easier it also allows filling the propane tank without removing the draw bar from the hitch receiver.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:52 AM   #7
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MaroPolo, see attached. These were taken today from under the passenger side of the vehicle facing the drivers side. I tucked the camera way up to get the top of the battery. In fact, it now appears to be a regular SLA battery given the view of the fill caps on top. Not good. The second picture should read "Underside of rear storage compartment floor"

Steve J, thanks for the tips. I will probably attempt this in the spring when the New England Wx is better suited for being under a vehicle. I think you are right. The cables appear to be too short to completely lower the battery. If I DO decide to go through with this, I am going to look into an alternative location for the new battery. WTH was Roadtrek thinking !!!!!

Thanks to all for the help thus far.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RT batt1.jpg (51.4 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg RT Batt2.jpg (69.2 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg RT batt3.jpg (65.5 KB, 21 views)
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:11 AM   #8
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Awesome photo's! Looks like real challenge though. If the wingnut is too tight or corroded on then this tool should help: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f6...rench-819.html

Once ground is disconnected it should be less dangerous.
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:21 AM   #9
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Is there no access to the battery from inside the RT?

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Old 01-27-2020, 02:37 PM   #10
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Is there no access to the battery from inside the RT?

Johnnie
No.

Extra characters to meet minimum.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:44 PM   #11
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The hold down for mine was quite corroded. The Optima that it came with was over nine years old and the previous owner lived a few miles inland from the Gulf.

Some folks have placed an AGM battery or two in the rear compartments, though though one should watch the weight limits.

In my case the original Onan was removed and I set up a hinged battery carrier in it's place. Much gooder battery access. I believe Booster installed a battery bank in place of his Onan, also.
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:38 AM   #12
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MarkoPolo, That's a GREAT idea for a wingnut tool. I'll be making one as soon as I get home (10 days). I got a very lengthy email back from Battle Born Batteries re my conversion idea. I haven't had the time to digest it all. I should be able to get to it tonight.

If relocation is (he says with the hope of optimism in his voice) a simple extension of the two POS cables and extending or finding a new chassis ground, I may seriously consider a relocation.

Thanks to all for the help.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:37 AM   #13
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MarkoPolo, That's a GREAT idea for a wingnut tool. I'll be making one as soon as I get home (10 days). I got a very lengthy email back from Battle Born Batteries re my conversion idea. I haven't had the time to digest it all. I should be able to get to it tonight.

If relocation is (he says with the hope of optimism in his voice) a simple extension of the two POS cables and extending or finding a new chassis ground, I may seriously consider a relocation.

Thanks to all for the help.
If you're referring to the basic wiring of the new batteries, that is pretty simple.

But (isn't there always one), Lithium batteries need special charging profiles. So you need a new shore power charger with a lithium profile. I replaced mine with a combined inverter/charger to make replacement simple. Plus, you need a DC to DC charger to charge the lithiums from your alternator and keep them isolated from your lead-acid engine battery. Finally, you need a State of Charge (SOC) Monitor to track lithium charge levels as it's not as simple as lead-acid batteries where you can tell fairly precisely by voltage alone.

With Renogy parts, my own labor, and $2700 later, I had my 200Ah lithium upgrade. Doing it "on the cheap" so to speak. Figure $3700 for a similar set up with Battle Borns, and Victron for the other parts. But at least that's with top of the line parts.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:12 AM   #14
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and often larger current capacity wiring, and a way to keep the batteries above 32F or automatically disconnect them to prevent damage when charging is occurring ...............
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:43 PM   #15
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A friend has a very sophisticated solar set up at his home, he has Lithium batteries. The Lithium batteries has made for a very expensive project.

I will stick with AGM batteries.

Just MHO

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Old 01-29-2020, 11:27 PM   #16
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A friend has a very sophisticated solar set up at his home, he has Lithium batteries. The Lithium batteries has made for a very expensive project.

I will stick with AGM batteries.

Just MHO

Johnnie
Yes, costly. Too bad more manufacturers don't offer 200Ah lithium standard like Pleasureway. But I believe their inverter was wimpy initially, and should be 2000W minimum to run the microwave. This is basically the upgrade we did for $2700 (with the exception we went with 3000W inverter).

Not everyone needs huge battery banks to run roof air conditioners. If a mild (but significant) lithium were done by the manufacturers, the cost would be only a little over half of user-conversion costs due their purchasing power to lower cost and the savings of not having to scrap already installed systems.
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Old 03-12-2020, 12:41 AM   #17
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Well, the Wx has improved and I got under the beast today. I P-Blaster-ed the nuts and bolts I'll need to remove. Not having any schematics of how the electrical system is laid out, I've been attempting to track down the system and draw my own. I got as far as the charging system (big POWERLINE 33-22 battery isolator underneath the front. I found the house battery on/off solenoid too. I just can't see where the wires run after they go into the floor.

I have decided to go with a simple AGM battery. I am still not sure if I am going to relocate it or not. If I do, I would probably put it inside the drivers side rear compartment (Second shelf above the water fill) Easy access from the coach too. I'll have to see what things look like when I eventually get the battery out. Hopefully this weekend.

For now my goal is to get the old one out. I think just to be safe I am going to disconnect both chassis battery connections before messing with the house battery connections. There is so little room in there, I don't want to take a chance on shorting anything.

As much as I have studied battery chemistry, I still have a question. I can buy either a deep cycle/starting battery, or a pure deep cycle battery. I know the difference, but what I am unsure of is what is best for my application.

I want a battery that is going to last me the longest per charge. I have relatively light loads most of the time. My heaviest load is a 12v CPAP at night. I am not sure of the actual draw. It says 90 watts on the power supply, but I think that is full output while using the "heater" option which I never use.

So I want a battery that will last a long time and be conducive to slower, deeper discharges, but I also have the Onan 2500 genny that I have to start periodically from this same battery. Given the above, do I go with the true "deep cycle", or the "deep cycle/starting" choice.

Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2020, 01:00 AM   #18
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Well, the Wx has improved and I got under the beast today. I P-Blaster-ed the nuts and bolts I'll need to remove. Not having any schematics of how the electrical system is laid out, I've been attempting to track down the system and draw my own. I got as far as the charging system (big POWERLINE 33-22 battery isolator underneath the front. I found the house battery on/off solenoid too. I just can't see where the wires run after they go into the floor.

I have decided to go with a simple AGM battery. I am still not sure if I am going to relocate it or not. If I do, I would probably put it inside the drivers side rear compartment (Second shelf above the water fill) Easy access from the coach too. I'll have to see what things look like when I eventually get the battery out. Hopefully this weekend.

For now my goal is to get the old one out. I think just to be safe I am going to disconnect both chassis battery connections before messing with the house battery connections. There is so little room in there, I don't want to take a chance on shorting anything.

As much as I have studied battery chemistry, I still have a question. I can buy either a deep cycle/starting battery, or a pure deep cycle battery. I know the difference, but what I am unsure of is what is best for my application.

I want a battery that is going to last me the longest per charge. I have relatively light loads most of the time. My heaviest load is a 12v CPAP at night. I am not sure of the actual draw. It says 90 watts on the power supply, but I think that is full output while using the "heater" option which I never use.

So I want a battery that will last a long time and be conducive to slower, deeper discharges, but I also have the Onan 2500 genny that I have to start periodically from this same battery. Given the above, do I go with the true "deep cycle", or the "deep cycle/starting" choice.

Thanks.

True deep cycle batteries are the ones that are made for longer, slower discharges and hold the most energy. Starting batteries are made for short bursts of high amperage, for starting the engine. The combination try to do both, but don't do the deep cycle part all that well.


You may have trouble finding true deep cycle batteries in 12v batteries, although the choices are better with AGM than wet cells. AGM batteries are more sensitive to things like overcharging than wet cells so be aware of that and check what you have for charging equipment.
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Old 03-12-2020, 09:51 PM   #19
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Booster tnx for the reply. So my original question still remains, AND you bring another interesting point re charging profiles. In the RT I have a Parallax/Magnetek 7345. I know it's not a true "multi stage" but I do think it has (a little) intelligence. IE I seem to remember hearing that as the battery "charges/fills up" it tapers somewhat to a maintenance charge.

Are you suggesting that if I decide on an AGM I should replace this converter/charger ?


This project is turning into a rabbit hole and I've almost come full circle.

Here's the progression of what has taken place. My initial issue was two fold. 1. My battery can't adequately power my CPAP all night long. CPAP cuts out at about 11.75V. The rest of the coach is fine. And 2. My battery is VERY inaccessible, so an SLA is not a good idea from a maintenance perspective. So I thought "OK, I'll consider lithium". After researching this, I'm told I'll need to replace the charger/converter and quite possibly the battery relay and battery isolator to go lithium. A bigger, more expensive project than I am willing to take on at this time

Rather than go through that exercise, I figured let's meet halfway. I'll simply (haha) replace my SLA with a decent AGM. Now I may need a new charger. Almost full circle.

Again, I won't know if relocation is an option until I get the existing battery out and see where the wires run and whether I have access to them and where they need to go.

OK. I am quite familiar with the PD line of chargers. I've got one in my travel trailer and I've installed 4 or 5 throughout my RVing life.

What's the bottom line here?

1. Will an AGM pure deep cycle battery work well enough to give me the starting power I need for the Onan genny? Or should I get a deep cycle/Starting battery?

2. If I go AGM, do I need, should I get another charger (PD line)?

Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2020, 10:45 PM   #20
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Booster tnx for the reply. So my original question still remains, AND you bring another interesting point re charging profiles. In the RT I have a Parallax/Magnetek 7345. I know it's not a true "multi stage" but I do think it has (a little) intelligence. IE I seem to remember hearing that as the battery "charges/fills up" it tapers somewhat to a maintenance charge.

Are you suggesting that if I decide on an AGM I should replace this converter/charger ?


This project is turning into a rabbit hole and I've almost come full circle.

Here's the progression of what has taken place. My initial issue was two fold. 1. My battery can't adequately power my CPAP all night long. CPAP cuts out at about 11.75V. The rest of the coach is fine. And 2. My battery is VERY inaccessible, so an SLA is not a good idea from a maintenance perspective. So I thought "OK, I'll consider lithium". After researching this, I'm told I'll need to replace the charger/converter and quite possibly the battery relay and battery isolator to go lithium. A bigger, more expensive project than I am willing to take on at this time

Rather than go through that exercise, I figured let's meet halfway. I'll simply (haha) replace my SLA with a decent AGM. Now I may need a new charger. Almost full circle.

Again, I won't know if relocation is an option until I get the existing battery out and see where the wires run and whether I have access to them and where they need to go.

OK. I am quite familiar with the PD line of chargers. I've got one in my travel trailer and I've installed 4 or 5 throughout my RVing life.

What's the bottom line here?

1. Will an AGM pure deep cycle battery work well enough to give me the starting power I need for the Onan genny? Or should I get a deep cycle/Starting battery?

2. If I go AGM, do I need, should I get another charger (PD line)?

Thanks.

It is a little hard to find specs on the 7345 as there are also a lot of upgrade replacements which might be what you have, like a 7345RU (replacement upgrade). If it is original, it looks like it would be a fixed voltage at 13.5v, so it won't overcharge but will take forever and leave the batteries undercharged most of the time. You need a multistage with decent controls. I wouldn't want to put it on an expensive (relatively) battery as there are lots of options.


I like the PD chargers as long as they have the Charge Wizard on them which allows you to force the charge stage manually when you want to. Couple one with a shunt based battery monitor like a Trimetric and you could get excellent charging for nearly any battery if you do a bit of manual intervention when needed.
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