Batteries on or off

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by irnbru, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. irnbru

    irnbru Funster Life Member

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    Hi, For storing our motorhome over the winter should we disconnect either of the engine or leisure battery? Or is it better to turn the engine over for 10 min weekly.

    Thx
     
  2. Volusia

    Volusia

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    Running engines with no load is never a good idea. Either drive around for half an hour or so fortnightly or keep the batteries charged up.
     
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  3. greygit

    greygit Read Only Funster

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    Yes agree with above don't leave your van stationary for long periods its not a good idea.
     
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  4. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Don`t store it....Come to Spain, its WARM!!!!:BigGrin::thumb:
     
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  5. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    If your going to store it for long periods disconnect the batteries. If you have a solar panel fitted you should be OK provided it's outside storage.
    I agree with the advice about giving it a run every so often. I've found once a month for about 20 miles keeps everything in good order.
    Spain is better.
     
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  6. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    With any vehicle standing for months on end the batteries should be the very least of your worries. Brakes seize on, clutch sticks to the flywheel, tyres get bulges, engine oil drains down and leaves bores dry, water pumps seize up. The list goes on. If a vehicle is decommissioned for any length of time it should be done properly by someone who knows what they are doing and recommissioned before it goes back on the road. The best way is to use it over the winter months, even if its only to go for the weekly shop. A good run of at least an hour at least once per month, but no less. Motorhomes are built on commercial chassis that are designed to cover many hundreds of thousands of miles. Most chassis related problems on motorhomes are caused by them sitting around for long periods. The trade even has a name for it "Lazy motorhome syndrome".
     
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  7. irnbru

    irnbru Funster Life Member

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    Hi, thanks for all the replies. I guess after spending ages putting the cover on it we will have to take it back off and take the MH a wee run up the motorway every month.

    Spain is definitely on the cards for next winter.:Smile:
     
  8. estcres

    estcres Read Only Funster

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    Our vehicle has had it's MoT this week and it failed, the handbrake was only 10% effecient where it should be 16%.

    The main reason I was informed, is because we had left it parked up for long periods with the handbrake on instead of putting chocks under the wheels and leaving the handbrake off.

    This goes to demonstrate that leaving a vehicle parked up for a long time can have an effect on it's performance.
     
  9. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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    never lay it up get out using it all year round there is still lot's do do even in the winter
    watch the weather forecasts get out and about it will do the van and you good to get out and about :thumb:
     
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  10. Viennese

    Viennese Funster

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    yes, use it whenever you can - it's a big investment, get your money's worth :thumb:! Whenever the weather looks reasonable take a trip...

    Catherine
     
  11. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Trouble is, much as though we all want to use them frequently, circumstances sometimes dictate otherwise.

    I know lots of people are great naysayers about how bad it is to run engines regularly without load on them, but over the past 40 years I have never had a problem doing this with cars and other vehicles which have been unused for some time. We tend to keep cars for years and years and all have served us really well, occasionally needing to stand unused for long periods. The real casualties I have found though are batteries, if they are not kept charged or removed and kept on a smart charger.

    My motorhome tyres have been checked and are absolutely fine after a very lengthy layup - nothing oval or cracked about them at all. And the engine, which has been started regularly without driving it, is running sweetly and performing perfectly. Vehicle flew through MOT without even an advisory. I did however, have the brake pads and disks changed beforehand due to the disks being very rusted. The batteries are fine as they were on hook up and the charger kept them conditioned.

    Now the MH is parked on the storage site, though, I am going to have to have a large enough solar panel fitted or similar to keep the batteries happy - have also bought a Sterling battery maintainer which I need to puzzle out how to fit.

    So while starting engines without driving may not be viewed as ideal, none of our vehicles have ever suffered any engine problems from doing this over many, many years....... Nor do you need to spend loads of money on getting an "expert" to decommission /recommission a vehicle. Just use common sense :Eeek::Eeek:
     
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  12. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    So now you have both schools of thought.
    1) Park it up, lock it up and leave it much like a shotgun until next time you need it.
    2) Treat it with a little respect and run it occasionally to stop the brakes going rusty and everything seizing up.
    All professional mechanics and engine rebuilders must have got it wrong when they advise, never to just start an engine and let it tick over for long periods of time without putting it to work as it glazes the bores.

    The choice is all yours.
     
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  13. Ed Excel

    Ed Excel Funster

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    Regular use is a must. When I worked my car did 75 miles each day. When I retired it became a weekly shopping trolley and lost oil at an alarming rate as all the engine seals dried out.
     
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  14. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    It is indeed, and no need for the sarcasm either. I am merely pointing out that over 40 years we have never had catastrophic engine failure from regularly starting engines of cars which for whatever reason cannot be used or moved at that time. Sometimes it is not possible to go on these "drives" - circumstances do exist when the ideal solution is not always possible.

    I have also never had issues with oil seals drying out and loss of oil either, whatever the "professional mechanics" ideal situation for an engine may be. Ideally, engines are built to be used. Sometimes, however, life is less than ideal and its not possible.

    However, you are entirely WRONG to infer I have no respect for my vehicles based on your assumptions as to how you feel they should be treated.........I have several vehicles over 15 years old, which look and drive as though they are much newer and reflect the care taken to maintain them over many years. Clearly they have not suffered the calamities you feel should befall a vehicle whose owner dares to start the engine without driving it. Everything has never "seized up" either. Brakes and tyres are consumables, and age despite the use or mileage. I am happy to ensure I renew pads and discs if I consider the discs to be rusty after lack of use, £50 well spent and in the event of simply not being able to use the vehicle at all, not a lot of expense either. :Eeek:

    Perhaps you should not be so judgemental . Each to their own :Eeek:
     
  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Well I will consider myself well and truly told. There is of course another side to your informed post, and that is that those that are not as mechanically minded as your good self would consider your findings to be based on fact and that could well lead to someone s injury or even death. Brake callipers sticking are a common problem with vehicles being parked up for long periods. When a brake calliper sticks the fluid gets hot and I have known complete brake failure from this. The problem with brake failure is that you dont know till you need em :Eeek:
     
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  16. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Oh dear. So now we seem to have moved to the "fact" that you risk imminent death by driving a vehicle that has been laid up for a long period........:Eeek:

    I think not........if you utilise the common sense I mentioned, and also, as detailed, have brake pads and discs renewed before driving if vehicle has been laid up for a long time and they have rusted. Chances are it will need an MOT after that length of time anyway, which should really be booked fairly locally and not require high speed journeys or lengthy ones to get to the MOT station. In any event, I would have the pads and discs renewed on site before even moving off to the MOT station, in which case a problem would most likely be evident to the mechanic changing the discs and pads. However, we haven't touched on the other possibilities of vehicles laid up for long periods having the handbrake left off with suitable wheel chocks in place, or the possibility of rolling slowly forward and back depending on available space in order to move tyre position and keep the wheels free...........elementary things which would reduce some of the problems which might occur.

    Added to which, the driver would be expected to ensure to the best of their ability, that the vehicle is in a fit state to drive to the MOT station appointment after a lengthy lay up or to have anything urgent and potentially dangerous attended to before leaving the parking area...........:Eeek: or the vehicle recovered to a workshop.

    Its not rocket science and you don't have to be "informed" to simply be sensible and use a bit of common sense........
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    But which would you consider would be easier, changing brake pads and disks every spring after the winter layup as you suggest or doing the weekly supermarket run. I will stick with my tried and tested method of use as opposed to renewing stuff that's not worn out at quite considerable expense for those not able to do this themselves. You quote £50 for brake disks and pads. I think it was quite sometime since you used a main agent to do this. As you point out...common sense prevails.
     
  18. lee52

    lee52 Funster

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    even if the batteries are disconnected the cold weather is gonna kill them
    i would personally and do do is remove them (caravans and motorbikes ive owned over the years) and keep them in the house 2 keep the cold of them.

    like its been said Ive had clutchs lock on to flywheel been lucky and had every one break free and work fine (driving with clutch pressed till it breaks free)

    biggest prob is with drum brake handbrakes locking on leave in gear chock wheels leave handbrake of

    my bus had sat 4 years handbrake on took 30mins with a sledge hammer on the hubs to break it free
     
  19. g8ysn

    g8ysn Funster

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    g8ysn

    mine sits on concrete drive side of garage shut it up yesterday,dropped water pump taps left open, always have trouble with wash basin seals , battery is on trickle charge,mains keep leisure battery charged ,got 2 dehumidifiers 1 front/1 rear,fitted screens all round,all wheels lifted onto millenco lifts, handbrake off [left in drive ] as per handbook,drained windscreen wiper water,i use all 3 fenwick products clean/bobby dazler/winter protection [works 4 me]
    will try and take it on a good run 1=once a month,as stated wheels to be rotated whilst off calipers and pads checked,just had a service oil ,air filters etc.so ready to try abroad next year [depending on wifes health] hope fully portugal with mh to start,[u do what u think is best 4 u]:Eeek:
     
  20. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    ECP have good deals on brakes, discs, pads regularly. If the layup is extended and use not anticipated for months, then the saving on having it SORNed rather than taxed, easily offsets the brake bits costs, even including fitting - A mobile mechanic around our way fits them for £80 so still well under the cost of a tax disc if you need to have them fitted. Why would anyone use a "main agent" any way, if you didn't have to? As you point out......common sense prevails. :Wink:
     
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