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Old 02-12-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
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2007 Coachman Freelander 26 - which batteries do what?

Hi there - 1st post here.

I recently got a 2007 Freelander with the Ford E450 stripped chassis with a 6.0L diesel engine. I had a 1982 E-350 El Dorado 27' with two batteries under the hood with one being the engine/gen starter and the other ran the Rv utilities. I'm a bit confused as to the responsibilities of my current RV's batteries, and the manual is of little help.

There are two 12V batteries under the main door step, wired in parallel. They look like plain automotive batteries. There is another plain 12V automotive battery in a side compartment just to the right of the door. The Ford diesel manual shows two batteries in parallel on the frame rail (assuming here that the diesel needs more juice to start it).

I guess I'm stumped since none of the batteries look like a deep cycle battery. I'd like some guidance as to which batteries do what (ie, start the LP generator, run the lights, water pump, etc). I've already had some issues with dead batteries, and do alot of remote dry camping. I'm already getting a spare battery set up to take along just in case.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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your 6.0 diesel will have two batteries, one mounted on each fender well typically, to start. It sounds like they move them from under the hood in this application, so I assume they are the ones under the step. The diesel requires 24 volts to start. They should be regular automotive batteries, and should not be wired to the house.

Your house battery is most likely the other one. And many come with an automotive battery or are replaced with an automotive battery.

Quick way to check. Put a voltage meter on the two batteries, start the truck. you should see the draw of the starter on those batteries and then increased voltage as the alternator begins to charge.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jeeplj8. I just figured the house battery would be a deep cell since my old RV had one. I've got to figure out a key-off battery drain problem, and needed to start somewhere. No wonder I got such a great deal on that Freelander.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:24 AM   #4
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so you are chasing a battery drain on the truck side? As an owner of a 6.0 I will tell you the computer does have some drain.

Just curious, when plugged into shore power, does your converter charge just the house battery? I always figured if I ever owned a MH I would add an on-board battery charger for the truck batteries. Something like this:
Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Intelligent Technology Series On-Board Marine Battery Charger - XPS iT 4/4 | Bass Pro Shops
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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Good question. I plugged the MH into shore power 2 days ago to see if it would charge the starter batteries. It seemed easier than lugging out the regular battery charger. I tried to start the diesel engine last night and it was no go. Pressing the emergency start button, which should join the coach battery up with the others, didn't do anything. I tried to start the generator, which tried to turn over but couldn't quite get going. So I guess the generator starter is tied into the dual batteries.

I put jumper cables from the coach to the starter batteries, and while I couldn't get the diesel to start it did start the generator. So I waited it out for about 15 minutes while the batteries charged, and got the diesel running. The shore power should've charged the coach battery, but it was about 12.8 volts at the beginning of all this, which isn't all that great (I like to see 13.2V - 13.5V on a topped off battery). The dual batteries were both at 11.8V, which is almost useless. So no, I don't think the shore power is charging the starter batteries, and I'm not too sure if it was doing much for the coach battery either.

The first time I plugged in shore power I heard the inverter fan whirring, but not the most recent time. I have a red indicator light on in the electrical panel for the TV (which works fine on shore power), but I'm not sure what that means yet.

So at this point I'm trouble shooting a power drain that's likely in the van section, a bad emergency power switch, and potentially a bad inverter.

The most likely villian I can guess at is the radio. It wasn't working when I bought it, and it was hooked up with main power jumpered to the emergency power switch. That means it was drawing power from the coach battery rather than the starter batteries. I got it working by restoring the proper power source (plus the switched and unswitched power fuses were backwards) so maybe that's where things went FUBAR.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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A bad radio install will definitely cause problems. It also makes you wonder what else the prior owner did...

Sounds like you are on the right track. I would guess that you are looking at 3 new batteries before the whole thing is done as well.

I tend to get creative about things like this and go with ideas...I would think not just about a charger for the truck batteries like I mentioned above, but also an inverter to mount to the truck side and be able to charge the house side (or just run 110 stuff in the house, when running down the road. I bought one years ago at a truck stop to have in emergencies and have run household appliances of my 6.0 during a power outage.

Oh, and that made me think of something else, your converter can probably NOT be set-up to charge the truck batteries. Depending on the model, it probably cannot isolate individual batteries, it can only charge those that are installed in series.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:06 AM   #7
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I like that Bass Pro Shop deal you linked. Pretty nice. I already changed out the coach battery, thinking it was bad, but it was probably just too cold that day. I kept the old battery and bought a Coleman 1200W inverter off EBay. Then I'll have a backup to use if I lose power out in the boondocks.

I think typically the coach and starter batteries are kept fairly insolated from one another so you don't suck everything dry while dry-camping. The generator starter is probably tied into the starter batteries so you can get the coach battery going again. I'm going to figure out all the load origins this weekend with an buddy who's an electronics tech. Hopefully we'll figure it out before the beer runs out.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
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I thrashed it out over the weekend, with the help of a brand new DC amp meter. What I found is rather bewildering to me.

The dual batteries run everything. The other battery is just a backup, period. It doesn't even get charged unless the emergency start button is pushed. I had one fried 15 amp fuse in the RV main panel (for the TV, but the TV worked, so maybe the panel is mislabeled). I'm going to replace the momentary switch on the dashboard that Coachman put in with a toggle. That way I can flip it on during engine operation so at least the spare is being charged.

The battery drain is coming through fuse 22 in the E450 fuse panel under the dash. The drain is about 0.7 amps, way more than the 0.05 amp limit. It's not the radio, because the drain remained when I pulled the harness on it. What I think it is is the battery saver circuit. The relay was warm, and the drain remains when I pull the relay out. I know, wierd. But looking around on the internet the explanation is that the Instrument control module (ICM) is telling the battery relay to stay on. So I guess I have to replace the ICM to fix it. Doh!
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
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wow. now you have to wonder just how hard it would be to separate the house from the truck chassis. Is this how it came from the factory, or did the prior owner set it up this way?

I have never owned a class C, so have no experience, but just assumed the house and the chassis were on separate batteries.

On the ICM, my old stand by on all computer related problems is a hard reset. Pull all power (disconnect all batteries) and let it sit 24 hours to make sure all capacitors discharge. It does not cost anything (but time) and has fixed everything from a faulty fuel sender signal to camshaft sensor code in various vehicles. It does not always work, but again, does not cost you anything.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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Hey, I'm all for doing free stuff, preferably first. I'll see if the connections to the ICM are firm (once I find the thing). Other forums have listed this problem, so I guess I'm not unique. Thanks for the suggestion.
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