Motor home standing all winter

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Andrew1975, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Andrew1975

    Andrew1975 Read Only Funster

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    Hi I am just new to motor homing forum and last year purchased my first motor home. I am after some advice about my van standing all winter and is it normal for the battery to totally die ,is it recommended to disconnect the battery or plug in to main all over winter. Can anyone help? Andy
     
  2. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    The batteries will die if there is a drain on them. Alarms and radios often cause a drain. We have a solar panel on the roof of our van which keeps both topped up most of the year and plugging in the EHU lead for a few hours every now and again deals with any shortfall.

    It will depend on the set-up of your van as to whether the starter battery is charged as well as the leisure battery on EHU.

    It's a good idea to give the van a run out from time to time. If you can't get away to use it for the odd weekend just have a day out somewhere. We sometimes take ours up the A19 to Dalton Park. It's far enough to give the van a run but not too far as to waste fuel and plenty of room to park.

    Other things to do for winter are to fully drain down the water systems and leave taps open. Open cupboards & lockers and lift seat cushions to allow air circulation to prevent condensation/damp.
     
  3. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    If totally dead, recharge and test the battery. Usually engine batterires will be damaged if they have been left to go totally flat. A newish one, you may well get away with it, older one you won't. Leisures are designed to go totally flat - but not to remain so for long periods - which is usually why they come from dealers needing new batteries!
     
  4. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    Another tip is (if you have a level parking spot) is leave the h/brake off, just chock the wheels. I leave mine on hook up, that charges the leisure battery, run the engine for 1/4 hour every 10 days or so, pumping the clutch a couple of times, and take it for a decent run 40/50 miles at least every month if we don't use it.
     
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  5. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Another tip....
    If it's parked on any kind of slope.. Turn it around at regular intervals to help stop too much water laying in one spot.:thumb:
    Says the man who just discovered his heki light. leaks when pointing downhill.:Doh:
    All the above advise I will second :thumb:
     
  6. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Mine is in storage over winter.

    1. I park it with the handbrake off.
    2. I lay mouse bait boxes in the engine, and now in the living compartment having discovered two rodent corpses in there the other day. I make sure no foodstuffs are kept near floor level.
    3. I leave lockers, cupboards, loo door and fridge door open. I also slacken off the handle on the loo because leaving it locked tight compresses the rubber seal and wears it out much quicker.
    4. I drain all the water down, leave the taps open and put loft lagging around the pump. I leave the waste tank stopcock open.
    5. My leisure battery is connected to a solar panel on the roof so it doesn't go flat over winter. I also have a temporary split relay charging circuit that I connect to the engine battery in storage so any surplus charge will keep the engine battery topped up. However, low light levels in winter may prevent the solar charge going into surplus, so about once a month I drive the van around a bit, or I bring it home and put it on the mains for a couple of days.
    6. I check the blown air heating fan is switched off - for some reason this item is independent of the power switch on the control panel in our van, and last year it was left on by accident and drained the leisure battery.
    7. If you have an exceptionally cold winter, get your gas circuit checked professionally when you're ready to use the vehicle again. A brass component in ours cracked last winter, and I'm convinced it was the -16 frost we had locally. Alright, it may have had a defect, but I reckon the extreme cold finished it off.
     
  7. Andrew1975

    Andrew1975 Read Only Funster

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    Thank that is great advice, how much would getting a solar panel fitted to my motor home set me back.
     
  8. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Not easy to answer - the most efficient panels are Monocrystalline, and the Wattage (ie price) will vary with your power needs. Our power consumption is fairly low and we manage with an 85W panel for a 110Ah battery most of the year but we don't go on extended trips in winter, and I don't think the panel alone would cope due to low light levels and extra power needs (ie blown air heating fan).

    Our panel is Monocrystalline and cost around £300 from eBay about 3 years ago. You need mounting brackets ( a few quid), a Charge Controller (£15 or more), some cable and appropriate connectors. Fitting costs will vary if you don't do it yourself.

    I don't know if ours will ever pay for itself, but the convenience of not needing a hookup means we can stop on cheaper field plus tap type sites in the UK and on Aires in France, which all saves money and hassle. It also means the leisure battery should never go flat.
     
  9. Gosport Tim

    Gosport Tim Funster

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    Electrical goods

    I also remove the TV, Freesat box and Digital radio (and any thing with circuit boards) as these can sometimes be affected by extremes of temperature.
     
  10. schojac

    schojac Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    much cheaper if you are prepared to do it yourself; it's not too challenging. Looking on ebay - I would estimate £130.00 or so. This includes panel (100 W), regulator, sikaflex, entry grommet and cable. I removed my roof rack and used the fixing points. If you do intend to do it yourself run as much cable on the roof then come down at a convenient point. Much easier than running under the body. I now run my leisure batteries and alarm from the output - so far so good, no flat leisure batteries this winter.

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  11. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    We had an 80W panel fitted to our van by Dave Newell (bit of a trek from Newcastle to Telford but you can always combine it with a holiday) which keeps our 85Ah battery charged (and, because of the way in which our van is wired, tops up the starter battery when the leisure battery is full) unless the weather is so cold that we need to use the blown air heating a lot.

    Having said that, we managed happily without EHU for 3 days at the beginning of December in very cold and dull conditions when we were using a lot of heating and could have gone on for longer. The rest of the year (from late February) the battery was kept fully charged, even in the wet conditions at Peterborough for 4 days.
     
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  12. DesRes

    DesRes Funster

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    So long as the batteries are charged before you lay it up they should be fine for a couple of months so long as everything is disconnected.
    I have three leisure batteries plus the engine battery in my van. I completely disconnect all of them and am gone off to work for 10 weeks or so at a time without any issues on reconnection.:Cool:
     
  13. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    'nother tip I've just thought of, if you don't take it for a run for as long as you store it, try to move it every week, even if it's only 150mm, this prevents the formation of "flat spots" on the Tyre, makes for a more comfortable ride.:thumb:
     
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