I am getting ready to winterize my 2000 Fleetwood Southwind motorhome. It will be idle for four months. Is it best to leave it plugged into my house current or unplug it and completely shut down the batteries during its hibernation?
Hi, I usually disconnect my batteries, via the battery disconnect switch, and then charge them every couple of months with a battery charger. If you leave it pluged in all the time, its best to check the battery water level every 3/4 weeks so they don't get low and cook the batteries. Besides your coach battery isn't charged via the converter so it will be with out charge for the period, unless your put a charger on it.
Thanks for your reply. It's what I expected, but I needed a second opinion. I think I will disconnect the batteries. Would it hurt to run the engine every week or so and keep the batteries in good condition that way?
On your inquiry on starting the engine every few days. Most experts agree the this is not a good idea. I also think it is a poor idea.
When you start an engine cold several bad things happen. Lubrication is poor or non existent until circulation gets going. The colder it is the longer it takes for the oil to circulate. Metal to metal contact inside the engine is more likely during cold start up. When the engine is cold, air that is drawn into the intake brings significant amounts of water with it. You may have noticed that water comes out of the tail pipe on a cold engine. Some of that water is also left inside where it combines with combustion byproducts to form acids. These acids collect in the oil and attack engine parts.
So they say that if you are going to start it, run it long enough and hard enough that the engine rises to full operating temperature and stays there long enough to vaporize all the water in the oil and exhaust system. Generally that means driving for 20 or 30 miles. Letting the engine idle is not good. Most engines do not carry enough oil pressure at idle for good lubrication. In addition, cold idling engines run rich. The byproducts of cold, rich combustion end up in the oil further adding to the acid problems.
So the bottom line. When you put her away for the winter, change the oil, make sure that the antifreeze is clean and 50/50 water/antifreeze. Drive the vehicle to get it fully warmed and park it and let it set until next spring. I've never got less than 140K miles out of an engine I treated this way.
All good advice: don't connect to shore power; keep batteries fully charged; and don't run the engine. However, if you have a genset, run it monthly with the roof air on for about an hour. I can't tell you why not running the engine and running the genset makes sense, but running the genset is recommended by the mfgr. By most accounts, underused gensets can be more troublesome than ones that are used more frequently.
I can give two good reasons for running the generator and air conditioner occasionally.
If you run the generator under load for 1 hour that is about like driving for 60 miles. That is sufficient to drive all water out of the oil. Air conditioners develop refrigerant leaks around the motor shafts if they sit idle.
I would add that if you are running the genset, get a moderately fast charger that has charge monitoring capability and use it to recharge the house batteries one month and the truck battery the next. By alternating like this you keep your generator, air conditioner and batteries well maintained.
Thanks to everyone for their great feedback. It looks like I need a battery charger. Please, another favor. Could you recommend what type of charger I need. I don't want to spend too much, but I do want to get the correct one.