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Robert, RV Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 11935
Experience:  18 yrs. RV experience including Cummins North West, Country Coach, Monaco Coach - vendor certified.
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chieftain: battery drained, drove out to barn..rv wont start..volts

Customer Question

My 87 Winnebago Chieftan has got me stumped. No problems as of late but left some lights on inside and house battery drained, drove out to barn to charge and pulled battery tray and disconnected connections and put on charger. after battery charged house system fine but rv won't start!! Checked main battery and have 12.5 volts but not even sure where to look next since haven't had this problem before.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: RV
Expert:  Robert replied 7 years ago.

Hi There!!


Thanks for Choosing Just Answer..


When you try to start the RV can you hear any noise? IS it trying to crank over?


Thanks, Robert



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Nothing, no clicking no juice to the gauges or anything. All house systems fine.
Expert:  Robert replied 7 years ago.



This sounds like you blew a fuse for the chassis. The best way to troubleshoot this issue is with a 12 volt test light. Most Auto Parts stores sell these for a few dollars. This will allow you to follow the cable from the chassis battery and see where you are missing power. This testing must be done with the ignition switch turned to on. Also I would verify if you have any battery dis-connects that they are turned on. Not all RV'S have a chassis dis-connect switch, this switch is normally located near the chassis battery. What has me baffled is this unit just ran until you charged the house batteries. Having the test light may allow you to find the problem very quickly. IF you have any other questions or concerns please let me know..


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I should have mentioned that I did check all of the fuses and could not see one noticeably blown but I could have missed it. I have a test light and will try tracing back, anyway the key switch could be the culprit?
Expert:  Robert replied 7 years ago.



I just got done talking with another RV expert... The relay for the Charge/emergency start is behind the battery tray, make sure that no wires accidentally came loose. The key switch could be the culprit but I would check all your fuses and I do believe there is a fuse able link at the starter. I would focus on any wires near the battery tray first.


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I have checked all wires/connections at the batteries and all links near the battery tray. All are hot and tracing up to the starter I have power, under the dash I found a 30amp circut that has power and appears to be going behind the fuse box, however, at the fuse box I get nothing, I've pulled all the fuses and no luck. House side still works fine but nothing from the main battery, (ignition, headlights,....)





Expert:  Robert replied 7 years ago.



A couple other things to check for. One thing that has been bugging me is that this worked fine you drove it and now it will not start. Since you just moved it, make sure it is in Park I don't want to overlook anything, I know most likely it is. Also try to put it in Neutral and see if you get anything. One thing I have seen on a older country coach is a ignition solenoid fail and has the same symptoms you are describing. My issue is I am not 100% sure that Winnebago used this type of set up. What you are looking for is a silver or black solenoid that has 3 or four wires going to it. The one I saw at the shop would work or allow power to the dash/ignition every time you smacked it. IF I think of anything else I will let you know.


Thanks, Robert

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I had also thought about the park/neutral thing and nothing there. Just replaced the solenoid (4 post) and still nothing, I tried tracing the wires but get lost in the wiring loom, no power to the wires on the solenoid. I'm trying to go from the ignition switch back and same issue -- too many bloody wires. At this point I'm totaly stumped, house power still fine though??????
Expert:  Robert replied 7 years ago.



This also has me going... The house power is separate from the chassis battery, the only thing that would tie them together would be the switch on the dash that allows power to flow from the house battery to the chassis battery... I understand your frustrations in the dash, there are many wires and it is a difficult task... I poked around today on winnebago's web site and there prints only go back to 1997. One thing I thought of, (and I do this at work when I come up to a dead end) is to give Winnebago a call. They should have a Technical Support staff for issues like this, they may be able to provide a print also since some are already published on the web. IF you do call make sure you have all your coach information.. VIN, unit number etc...