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Old 03-16-2018, 07:17 PM   #1
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Hello, I have a 1989 Dodge 228 Xplorer camper van, I am in need of new batteries, I think I can figure out what to get for under the hood but there is also a spot under the dining room chair for a battery, is this some special battery or deep cell, anyone have any recommendations or know what the exact battery I would need to get?

Thank you
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:51 PM   #2
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Hello, I have a 1989 Dodge 228 Xplorer camper van, I am in need of new batteries, I think I can figure out what to get for under the hood but there is also a spot under the dining room chair for a battery, is this some special battery or deep cell, anyone have any recommendations or know what the exact battery I would need to get?

Thank you
The battery under the dining bench is the coach battery. The original battery was flooded cell. It sat in a box that vented through the floor. I believe it was a group 24. Your replacement ideally should be a deep cycle battery, preferably AGM sealed although if maintained and watered, a flooded cell deep cycle battery would be acceptable. Check the maximum dimensions available in the retainer box and if it permits it, go for a group 27 or group 31 which will give you more suds for your coach loads.

For those years, the charging system used isolators that permitted charging both batteries from the alternator but separated the coach and engine batteries when at rest. Since occasionally the isolator assembly fails, check that with the engine running you are getting charging voltage on the coach battery. BTW, these days the isolators are replaced by a separator that accomplishes the same thing but without the voltage drop inherent in isolators.

BTW, your 228 with its dropped floor permitting a low exterior profile was way ahead of its time and the 360 V8 is a candidate for the most bullet proof engine ever built by Dodge.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:50 PM   #3
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cool, that will help tremendously!
Can't wait to get this rig back on the road to show it off!

My dad always said the 360 was an excellent engine, he knew what he wanted when he bought this.

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Old 03-16-2018, 10:17 PM   #4
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cool, that will help tremendously!
Can't wait to get this rig back on the road to show it off!

My dad always said the 360 was an excellent engine, he knew what he wanted when he bought this.

Thank you
For its time the Xplorer 224/228 was one of the best crafted small coaches available and IMO you should have no reservations about putting some money and sweat into putting it in top condition.

Another improvement you should consider: The shoreside charger for this vintage is a single stage charger. The current charger technology has improved significantly and you should consider replacing your converter/battery charger with an up to date multi-stage unit which can be done without affecting the DC fuse panel. My personal preference is for the Progressive PD9200 series units but if you elect to make this change, the go-to guy for choosing a unit that will handily fit in the space available is Randy at Best Converter.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:45 PM   #5
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oh, good idea, i think the charger is in the back of the van in a compartment under the bed, another thing I need is a new radio, this still has the original one but the tape player doesn't work so just AM/FM, I would also like to change out the original crank up TV antenna for a new digital one, and eventually get solar panels for the top of the van, if they make solar panels to fit this van.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:23 AM   #6
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For its time the Xplorer 224/228 was one of the best crafted small coaches available and IMO you should have no reservations about putting some money and sweat into putting it in top condition.
I indeed plan to make this a 100% van, it was completely free to me after my dad passed away, so far I have only put about $700.00 into it with brand new tires, I cleaned it up last summer and hopefully this will be the year I can enjoy using it. This is my fix it or replace list.....

batteries
mattress or memory foam I guess
radio
refrigerator (Dometic RM2193)
small exhaust leak

that should make it usable, cant wait!
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:58 AM   #7
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oh, good idea, i think the charger is in the back of the van in a compartment under the bed, another thing I need is a new radio, this still has the original one but the tape player doesn't work so just AM/FM, I would also like to change out the original crank up TV antenna for a new digital one, and eventually get solar panels for the top of the van, if they make solar panels to fit this van.
If it's the original antenna it was designed (after a fashion) to pick up both vhf and uhf channels. However, the conversion to the digital TV format resulted in shifting most TV channels up into the UHF range and current OTA TV antennas are pretty much dedicated to picking up UHF channels. Remember that typical RV OTA antennas incoporate a 12V preamplifier integrated with the antenna assembly, so if your replacement uses one, you'll need a 12VDC source for it to operate properly. This won't require an additional cable. You insert 12V into the center conductor of the video cable. The antenna package supplies the hardware gizmo to accomplish this.

Most of these antennas are omni-directional. But Winegard makes a unit called the Rayzar that digitally (no hands involved) searches for the best signal reception on the channels in your reception area.
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:08 AM   #8
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I would also like to change out the original crank up TV antenna for a new digital one, and eventually get solar panels for the top of the van, if they make solar panels to fit this van.
Actually, finding solar panels that can fit into your available rooftop area isn't difficult. What's more challenging is the rest of the installation. You have to route + and - leads from the solar panel(s) through the roof into the interior. Once inside you have to route the leads to a solar controller and from the controller you have to route charging cables to your coach battery. It's doable but it isn't a piece of cake.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:51 AM   #9
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I'm still here ,just been working, I took my camper out on a 1200 mile trip last week and it ran good but the charger is not charging the deep cell battery, you had mentioned before that the "Progressive PD9200" is a good charger, I found this one on Amazon https://amzn.to/2sKboUX
I'm just not sure if this is the right one for my rig, I see other ones to chose from but this one has good reviews, would you recommend this one or should I keep shopping?

Thank you
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:30 AM   #10
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I'm still here ,just been working, I took my camper out on a 1200 mile trip last week and it ran good but the charger is not charging the deep cell battery, you had mentioned before that the "Progressive PD9200" is a good charger, I found this one on Amazon https://amzn.to/2sKboUX
I'm just not sure if this is the right one for my rig, I see other ones to chose from but this one has good reviews, would you recommend this one or should I keep shopping?

Thank you
Randy at Best Converter has a substantially better price for these Progressive converters plus he is generous with followup support during the replacement. You also want to also get the inexpensive remote pendant that permits you to override the standard charging protocol. See the link below.

With respect to which particular unit you order, you need to do some prep work. You aren't replacing the entire unit with the 12VDC fuse asnd 120VSAC breaker panel but just the converter/charger module. So you need to take some measurements to see which converter model will fit in the space available. The 45 amp model has different dimensions than the 60 amp model. The 45 amp unit is perfectly adequate for a 100 ah AGM but the 60 amp unit may actually better fit the space available. You also need to examine the gauge of the existing feeder between the old charger and your coach battery. For these Progressive units this feeder should be at least 6 gauge. For the 60 or 70 amp charger, 4 gauge would be optimum. Whatever model you choose, it should be powered from a 120VAC breaker in your breaker panel.

9200 Series Deck Mount
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:52 AM   #11
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Awesome information, this will help allot, isn't the engine supposed to put a charge on the deep cell battery when I'm driving the van because it didn't, I just assumed the engine alternator would charge as I drive.?

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Old 06-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #12
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Awesome information, this will help allot, isn't the engine supposed to put a charge on the deep cell battery when I'm driving the van because it didn't, I just assumed the engine alternator would charge as I drive.?

Thank you
The engine alternator should indeed be charging both the engine battery and the coach battery. The alternator feeds the input to an isolator that parallels these batteries when the alternator is charging but separates the batteries when the engine is shut off. First determine that the alternator is charging by checking the voltage at both batteries when the engine is running. This voltage should be in the whereabouts of 14 volts and should be seen at the positive terminal of both batteries. If not, there may be a problem with the isolator. Incidentally, with your vintage coach, the converter/charger addresses just the coach battery.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:41 PM   #13
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...I took my camper out on a 1200 mile trip last week and it ran good but the charger is not charging the deep cell battery,
Here we are calling two different things "chargers" in the same post, which may result in confusion for onlookers.
The isolator (whether diode-based electronic unit or a solenoid/relay electromechanical device) is what shares the alternator's charging power with the house battery when the vehicle is running.
The isolator wiring is (we hope!) fused at both ends. Could be a popped fuse, or bad connection. I'd check that before spending money. If you do have to replace it, I agree with Cruising that diode-based isolators (commonly brick-shaped with fins) are less desirable due to voltage drop. Voltage is already enough of a problem with alternator charging and we don't want to hamstring it further.

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you had mentioned before that the "Progressive PD9200" is a good charger, I found this one on Amazon https://amzn.to/2sKboUX
This device is commonly called a converter; it's what one plugs into shore power to charge and provide house power when you have access to the grid. In your driveway or whatever.
I agree with Cruising that the PD are nice, and that 45A is ample for any lead-acid battery that would fit in the OEM battery tray.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:14 PM   #14
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diode-based isolators (commonly brick-shaped with fins) are less desirable due to voltage drop.
It's kind of a mixed bag. Prior to computer control, the .7 volt drop across the isolators was an unavoidable consequence but with computer control, the computer compares battery voltage to alternator output voltage and adjusts the alternator output to account for the disparity.

With a solenoid controlled isolator (aka separator) there is no voltage drop experienced.

Either device has its pros and cons. The diode isolator embraces the KISS principle and is a passive device. Unless they overheat or are subject to big overloads, they are pretty bullet proof. Unlike the diode isolator, the relay driven isolator requires ignition voltage to function.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:18 PM   #15
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...with computer control, the computer compares battery voltage to alternator output voltage and adjusts the alternator output to account for the disparity.
Do you refer here to the vehicle's ECU or to fancier/$$$ isolators that trick the alt into providing more voltage?


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Unlike the diode isolator, the relay driven isolator requires ignition voltage to function.

Exception: voltage sensing relays which do not depend on being externally switched
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Old 06-08-2018, 04:12 AM   #16
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Do you refer here to the vehicle's ECU or to fancier/$$$ isolators that trick the alt into providing more voltage?

Exception: voltage sensing relays which do not depend on being externally switched
Some isolators have a terminal that addresses the alternator but my understanding is that it's to provide excitation for lift off for some alternator designs and not for voltage control.

You're correct. Although the ubiquitous SurePower separator is ignition controlled, the Blue Sea ACRs don't require it.

Yes I'm referring to the ECU. I don't know if it became an industry wide standard but by 1990 Dodge's computer would compare battery and alternator voltage and set a charging target voltage to account for diode and line losses. Even further if the battery separated from the alternator, the computer would cut down alternator feed winding current to keep the alternator from trashing its diodes. However with the latest Canbus instructions between the computer and the alternator, I have no idea iff this protection is still in place.
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