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Old 11-03-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
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Anxious!

I have had my bus for a little more than a year, and I thought by now that I would be further along with my conversion than I am, Unfortunately I have only completed the demo. I wanted to make sure that everything mechanical was addressed before I sank thousands of dollars into the conversion. One of the issues I am having is a parasitic battery drain. I took it to a local reputable diesel mechanic back in April, and he kept it for six months. I kept checking on his progress, but he didn't want to give up. After months of trying, he finally admitted that he couldn't figure it out. Fortunately he didn't charge me anything, but I lost my whole summer. Prime converting weather. I now have it at a local auto/marine electrical shop, and according to them, there are some weatherproof relays mounted under the bus that are the cause of the drain. They should have it fixed next week. Time changes tonight, so now it will be dark by the time I get home from work. Depressing. The thing that surprised me was how much I missed my bus while it was gone! Even though it still wasn't fixed, I was super happy to pick it up. I know that patience is virtue, but I hope I don't have too many more delays. There really is no point to this post, other than me being able to vent my frustrations. Thanks for giving me a place to do that!
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Old 11-03-2018, 06:24 PM   #2
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What a bummer. Sounds like you're at least on the right track now. Eyes on the prize, you'll get there!
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:37 AM   #3
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Making sure any issues are sorted before sinking the money into it was very smart. Winter sucks, but I converted mine during the winter months last year and it was no too bad with a little heater and some light.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:50 AM   #4
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Install a battery cut off switch, also batteries will self discharge normally, but if the top of the batteries is dirty, they will discharge faster. How long was it taking to drain them?
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Winter sucks, but I converted mine during the winter months last year and it was no too bad with a little heater and some light.

Same with us. We found that the bus warmed up by about 20-30 degrees above the outside temp, just from the solar gain. Our woodstove was one of the first things we put in, and with either that or our Mr. Heater portable propane heater, we were very comfortable inside the bus. And this was in a Chicago winter.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
Install a battery cut off switch, also batteries will self discharge normally, but if the top of the batteries is dirty, they will discharge faster. How long was it taking to drain them?
The batteries will drop to 2 or 3 volts overnight, so I have a pretty good parasitic drain. They have been completely discharged 3 or 4 times, so I know they are damaged. Once the drain is fixed, I will replace them.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:34 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your words of encouragement. My bus is a former bookmobile, with lighting and electric heat, and I have installed a 50amp receptacle outside of my house, so I can plug it in, so heat and light aren't an issue. I was just hoping to do the major part of the conversion during the summer so I could actually enjoy being outside. No biggie though, I will still make it happen. I did get new tires in April, and I will have the electrical issues resolved this week, so I am making progress. The next step for me is removing the rivets in the ceiling so I can get ready for spray foam. I am SO ready to make this happen!!!
Thanks again!
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:05 PM   #8
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If one battery in the bank has a bad cell it will drain any good ones overnight. My friend just had this problem with his box truck. Easy way to test is the disconnect them, charge them individually to full, put a small load like a fan on them for a few minutes, and measure the voltage. A bad battery may show good voltage (12.9-ish would be good) right after charging but will quickly drop.

I bought battery cut-offs from Harbor Freight recently for my TC2000 and they don't quite work with my cabes.
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
If one battery in the bank has a bad cell it will drain any good ones overnight. My friend just had this problem with his box truck. Easy way to test is the disconnect them, charge them individually to full, put a small load like a fan on them for a few minutes, and measure the voltage. A bad battery may show good voltage (12.9-ish would be good) right after charging but will quickly drop.

I bought battery cut-offs from Harbor Freight recently for my TC2000 and they don't quite work with my cabes.
Thank you for the information, That is good to know.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:40 PM   #10
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Hello from one slow starter to another! I live in Zebulon, not far from Raleigh and am in the same boat. I work a ton of hours and have had my bus since March and have gotten the demo done.. We're very much alike! We should become accountable partners and help each other with out builds!

I am sorry to hear about the issues, but think it's a smart thing to get them sorted out before spending a bunch of money.

If you're ever needing a hand let me know. I am a self taught kind of guy but I will help however I can.

James
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:48 PM   #11
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a couple ideas..



1. charge up the batteries.. then disconnect the mains from the batteries.. so the batteries are just sitting there..(not connected to the bus..) and disconnect the batteries from each other.. then next day go measure voltage.. if the batteries are good you should see somewhere around 12.3 - 12.6 volts on each battery.. if one is much lower than that then it is your bad apple.. and as brokedown noted.. one bad battery can take both batteries down to dead..



2. if the diode bridge is going bad in your alternator it can very much create a parasitic load.. to test that theory you can unplug the 2 pin connector (if equipped) from the alternator and disconnect the large wire from it (tape it to be safe).. then make sure your batteries are charged and connected as normal to the bus. let it sit overnight and see if the draining is still going on..


-Christopher
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieJackson View Post
Hello from one slow starter to another! I live in Zebulon, not far from Raleigh and am in the same boat. I work a ton of hours and have had my bus since March and have gotten the demo done.. We're very much alike! We should become accountable partners and help each other with out builds!

I am sorry to hear about the issues, but think it's a smart thing to get them sorted out before spending a bunch of money.

If you're ever needing a hand let me know. I am a self taught kind of guy but I will help however I can.

James
Hi James,

Thanks for reaching out. I know where Zebulon is, I have been there many times.

I think that is a great idea. Let's push each other to get these things done! I'd like to come check out your bus someday.

Burt
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
a couple ideas..



1. charge up the batteries.. then disconnect the mains from the batteries.. so the batteries are just sitting there..(not connected to the bus..) and disconnect the batteries from each other.. then next day go measure voltage.. if the batteries are good you should see somewhere around 12.3 - 12.6 volts on each battery.. if one is much lower than that then it is your bad apple.. and as brokedown noted.. one bad battery can take both batteries down to dead..



2. if the diode bridge is going bad in your alternator it can very much create a parasitic load.. to test that theory you can unplug the 2 pin connector (if equipped) from the alternator and disconnect the large wire from it (tape it to be safe).. then make sure your batteries are charged and connected as normal to the bus. let it sit overnight and see if the draining is still going on..


-Christopher
Thank you, Christopher. That is great information. The alternator has been removed and tested, and it is good. I haven't disconnected the batteries from each other yet, but I have removed the positive terminal from the batteries, and they have held a good charge for at least two weeks. I have put my meter between the positive terminal and the positive cable leading to the bus, and there is a definite amp draw. When I touch the positive cable to the positive terminal on the battery, I can hear something clicking in the fuse box, so something is pulling power.

Automobile electrics are a little beyond me. That is why I took it to a pro. I'll update this thread once I know exactly what they have determined the issue is.

Thanks again,
Burt
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:16 PM   #14
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if you hear a click, it'll be a relay. You can open the electrical panel and pop the relays out and back in and it should be obvious which one is being triggered. There should be a diagram showing which relay goes to which function.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:55 PM   #15
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I'm one who believes in getting things right mechanically and electrically before putting any effort and money or time into converting a bus.

many don't unfortunately and regret it later, so kudos for your perseverance.


The parasitic drain is easily traced with the key in the off position.



All you need is a 12 v test light.


You then disconnect the battery neg cable and secure it so it will not move.


One end of the test light will attach to that neg cable and then to the battery post as you check each circuit.



If the test light is on when you make the connection I described then continue test by pulling fuses one at a time till the test light goes out.
This may occur in more than one circuit as well so you are not done checking till you go thru every fuse and breaker.


The result you want is for that test light to never light up.



Here is a rough diagram for reference.


Good luck, bring your bus home and do this your self. No better way to learn and save lots of money.



John
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:43 PM   #16
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All good things take time, keep it up, donít stress, and good luck
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Old 11-10-2018, 04:35 PM   #17
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Neighbors

I live in Clinton, NC (about 70 miles south of Raleigh). My little shuttle is in Jackson, TN with my son. He has been a mechanic and is checking out the mechanical stuff. He went thru all the wires and removed any wires that were not connected to anything. Seats were already removed. I travel thru Raleigh to Jackson about every 2 months to go work on my shuttle. Thanksgiving week I am going out there to get the flooring finished. I am using solid insulation to insulate. I feel like I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted to either. Please keep us updated so we can provide each other with emotional support. So far I have had the brake lines (all 6) replaced, starter replaced, hoses and belts replaced, tires replaced. And those are just the things I remember paying for. Oh, and oil.
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:03 PM   #18
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I live in Clinton, NC (about 70 miles south of Raleigh). My little shuttle is in Jackson, TN with my son. He has been a mechanic and is checking out the mechanical stuff. He went thru all the wires and removed any wires that were not connected to anything. Seats were already removed. I travel thru Raleigh to Jackson about every 2 months to go work on my shuttle. Thanksgiving week I am going out there to get the flooring finished. I am using solid insulation to insulate. I feel like I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted to either. Please keep us updated so we can provide each other with emotional support. So far I have had the brake lines (all 6) replaced, starter replaced, hoses and belts replaced, tires replaced. And those are just the things I remember paying for. Oh, and oil.
Hi Sharee100. Thank for your reply and words of encouragement. I know where Clinton is. A friend of mine used to lived there. I know these things take time, but I'm looking to go full time, and I thought that I would be in my bus by now. I also have some great ideas for the build out that I want to see come together. Addressing the mechanical issues first is a must though. I will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again!
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:36 PM   #19
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lol no what u mean i have my bus 2yrs in feb and at times wished i was further along but i trust the process of life and know that I'll most likely be ALWAYS doing something to it! i just scrapped my bathroom built - partially and relocated my plotter/cutter center in that spot instead. and the more i look at the area above the windows, i see myself changing that too!
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieJackson View Post
Hello from one slow starter to another! I live in Zebulon, not far from Raleigh and am in the same boat. I work a ton of hours and have had my bus since March and have gotten the demo done.. We're very much alike! We should become accountable partners and help each other with out builds!

I am sorry to hear about the issues, but think it's a smart thing to get them sorted out before spending a bunch of money.

If you're ever needing a hand let me know. I am a self taught kind of guy but I will help however I can.

James
NC here I come!!! any room for me to park and work on my bus????? 🤗🤗🤗🤗.
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