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 > Towing truck camper (expecting first experience today)

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bobbolotune

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Posted: 09/12/22 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm the original poster.

So from these responses maybe it is only the battery. At first I thought not because the dash lights up without struggle. But maybe turning the engine takes much more power.

Another hint that made me think it could be the battery is that this started at night. The next day in daylight with the solar panel pumping in some power the engine turned slightly versus the night before I was getting nothing.

My understanding is that the camper batteries are connected to the engine batteries. There is a shutoff which prevents the camper from running down the engine batteries, but I thought not in the other direction. So if the engine battery is dead I would think the camper batteries would turn the engine. The camper batteries are showing fully charged. But maybe deep cycle camper batteries don't have enough cranking power to turn an engine???

A service of my Good Sam towing is battery replacement. So if it's the battery they should be able to get me going. But I still have to be prepared for if I need to get towed.

I left voice mails at a couple local mechanics on Sunday. One called back and left a voicemail this morning. I'm about to call them then Good Sam. Wish me luck.


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Buzzcut1

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Posted: 09/12/22 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

the only way your camper batteries can run your truck is if you pull them from the camper and put them in the engine compartment in place of your dead batteries.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 09/12/22 11:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A new battery and a wire brushing the cable ends is where I would start. Wish you well.


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 09/12/22 12:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Its not uncommon for a battery to not work then work a tiny bit after setting overnight. Just get a new battery and install with cleaned terminals. Then you will be on the road. I am not sure how your truck and camper are tied, its usually only feeding power when the truck is on. I don't believe the power from the camper feeds the truck unless a special circuit has been installed.


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midnightsadie

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Posted: 09/12/22 12:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

question,your at wal mart why can,t you just go get a new battery?AAA is not going to give you a free battery,

valhalla360

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Posted: 09/12/22 01:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If there are no bridges and the driver knows the route, it might be OK on a flatbed. traffic signals and other overhead lines, typically have a 17ft minimum bottom height, so even on the flatbed, it might be OK.

As suggested there are alternate ways to tow the truck. If you are in a parking lot, can you simply take the camper off?

Ironically, we had a similar issue about 3 weeks ago (towing a travel trailer though). We were towing across the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Nothing crazy but a pretty good climb followed by a pretty good descent. Gave the truck a workout but she handled it like a champ. No issues, no warning lights, the gauges never budged from their normal readings. Up until this, there were no indications of any issues with the truck.

After we got to the bottom, stopped in a small town to fuel up. After filling up, hit the key...nothing. Entire dash was dark, no clicking or any reaction. Kind of lucky for us, we were blocking half the pumps and the 3 service bays, so they had to help us (actually they were really nice and helpful). After messing about with it, determined the alternator was out. $200 and 2 hour later, we were on the road again with a new alternator.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 09/12/22 02:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jump start is free, battery is cheaper than a tow and everything else you would have to deal with. And you have a battery or 2 in the camper that you could try in a pinch, if they're still charged.
Why not start there?
Long explanation, but there is no disconnect from the 12V+ on your trailer plug. It's hot all the time, unless something has been installed aftermarket on the truck or you mean there's a disconnect ont he camper side.
Regardless, camper batteries ain't going to do squat behind 30' of 8-10ga wire to start the truck. Won't carry enough current.


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CA Traveler

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Posted: 09/12/22 05:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bobbolotune wrote:

My understanding is that the camper batteries are connected to the engine batteries. There is a shutoff which prevents the camper from running down the engine batteries, but I thought not in the other direction. So if the engine battery is dead I would think the camper batteries would turn the engine. The camper batteries are showing fully charged. But maybe deep cycle camper batteries don't have enough cranking power to turn an engine???
Engine starting requires a lot of amps and very heavy cables - think 3/8" diameter and very short wires. A truck camper would not have adequate wiring to start the truck engine.

Deep cycle batteries can and do server as a backup to start a MH engine where the engine and both battery bands are close together and connected with large gauge wire.

[emoticon] But slap my head - WHY didn't I think of moving a 12V camper battery to the engine? [emoticon]


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Posted: 09/12/22 08:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why don't you see if WalMart has a battery tester they can use to test your battery?

bobbolotune

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Posted: 09/12/22 09:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm the original poster.

Problem solved. Turned out it was the battery. Thank Google and a local mechanic that I found via Google. Owner drove to me, turned key, expressed opinion it is the battery, gave me a jump. Total time elapsed 90 seconds.

He said leave it running, we punched his shop address into my GPS, I drove to the shop, auto parts truck showed up 5 minutes later.

No need for any tow.

Two lessons learned.

This was my own fault. It was original battery in 2016 truck, over 6 years old. I thought about replacing it as preventative maintenance but it was working fine. I thought a battery would give warning before failure. As above discussion said, I now know not necessary.

Now Google the topic I was living on borrowed time. Battery should be replaced after 4 to 5 years. Especially if going on a road trip I going to replace after 4 years after this.

Second lesson is if possible forget Good Sam or AAA towing. That's for when you are really stuck. If possible call a local mechanic. Same thing happened to me in a remote area of Florida. Truck was still under warranty and had towing. Talked to nearest dealer 150 miles away. It would be covered by warranty but started becoming very complicated including a 150 mile tow. Meanwhile someone who worked at the campground said call Larry the local mechanic. He drove out and had it fixed in 5 minutes.

I did consider giving it a try to buy a battery at Walmart. Since I was stuck in the Walmart parking lot for 2 nights waiting for Monday morning I wandered into the Walmart auto section. Found the batteries but the book to look up battery types didn't include my truck. Gave up. Besides at that point was before I posted here and learned batteries do die suddenly. I was convinced it was something worse and that replacing the battery probably wouldn't fix it anyway.

About the camper batteries powering the truck. The camper dealer once told me that the batteries are just wired together. Specifically he said when plugged into shore power the engine battery is being charged. That's all I know. There is a battery disconnect to prevent the camper from running down the engine battery but I thought not in the other direction. But above posts say with the distance and wire gauge the camper batteries won't be able to turn the engine. Interesting idea whether you could physically move a camper battery to the engine compartment to jump the truck.

Now here is a real laugh. From hints above I just googled and the Walmart I was stuck at has an Auto Care Center that was even open on Sunday. I could have asked a mechanic there. Oh well, I made it to my destination campground in West Yellowstone only 1 day late so all good.

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