Friday, February 10, 2017

'Houston, we've got a problem.....'

8:08 am - MT - Friday - 58º F, 77% humidity, wind 6 mph out of ENE......partly cloudy skies with a forecast high today of 86º F, however, our destination for today will see a week of temperatures in the 60's and 70's....cooling off just a tad.

Thursday was a day of many accomplishments for the Newell team!  You may recall I first wrote a few days ago about a 12 volt electrical issue we were having, and I suspected either a short somewhere in the system, or a battery on the verge of dying which would also cause the drain.  The problem began to present itself a few days ago in the least that is when I first became aware of a problem.  Typically we would lose 4-5% of our charge overnight from wherever it was when we turned out the lights and went to bed.  The third morning at the Parker Strip I got up to find that the batteries had gone down 19% overnight, and was immediately alarmed.  I first thought I had left something on somewhere that was causing the 12 volt drain, but could find just one LED basement light left on accidentally, but that would not explain the extreme drop in voltage.  Nothing I could find anywhere explained even remotely the large drop overnight.  At a result of my inability at the time to diagnose the problem we began using the small generator a lot more to keep the voltage from dropping, and then I would turn off the house batteries at night to stop the drain, but whenever I would turn them back on I could see that the drain was amounting to about 9, or 10 amps per hour during the day.  Normally when nothing is on the drain is about 2-3 amps per hour at most, sometimes less, so I knew there was a big problem somewhere.

Initially I was leaning towards it being one of the two house batteries that was not holding a charge and, therefore, draining the other, but both batteries passed the initial test which is to disconnect each of them from the system, let them sit for about 15 minutes and then check their voltage.....they were both fine coming in about 12.9 to 13.1 volts each when at rest.  Because of that initial test I then switched my focus to a possible short somewhere in my 12 volt system, but after our move to the 'Q' from the Parker Strip I was no closer to a solution when Wednesday night as I was going to bed I decided to check my analog battery status gauge over the drivers seat.....the switch has three tells you the condition of the house batteries which are hooked together in parallel, the second gives you the status of the passenger side chassis battery, and the third the status of the drivers side chassis battery....the first two checked out, but when I switched to the drivers side battery it showed DISCHARGED!......oh my......there it is.....there is the problem!  The drivers side battery had gone bad and was draining the rest of the system down.........  

......if you look at the far left side of the gauge you see the little red line......if the needle (now in the black, or middle of the gauge showing full charge) is all the way to the left in the RED when everything else is in the black you have a problem.  Well, it was after 11 pm at night and I didn't want to get into the weeds on this issue, so I walked outside, opened up the drivers side chassis battery bay and turned the switch to the 'OFF' position, which disconnects it from the rest of the system, and stops the drain, and then went to bed.

Thursday morning after dispensing with my daily missive, I went out and disconnected the cables from the bad battery, and just to be sure, tested it with the was ready under 11 volts, and dropping quickly, so I had confirmed my suspicions and then set about calling my ERS (emergency road service), which in this case was AAA, however, they were of no use.....they had no one who could deliver an 8D battery to my location.....I knew I had to pay for the battery, but I expected my ERS who advertises they have battery service to at least deliver the battery.  You will recall that two winters ago I had a similar experience with AAA while were boondocking at Goosenecks State Park in southern Utah.......where were stuck in Mexican Hat, UT in our VW with a failed fuel pump.  It took them close to 4 hours to get someone to our location to just tow us back to our camp, and lied continually in the process about who was coming, and how long until they were there.  I'm not sure why I renewed my membership them, but I know now that I will not renew with them this coming March.  Of course, being the OCD kind of guy I am, I also have ERS with Good Sam, and they have always come through for me, and they did this time, once again.....within 45 minutes after calling them an 8D was delivered by Pablo of Martinez Tire Service and Mechanic, LLC.  I gave them my bad battery and they installed the new Interstate 8D 1400 CCA battery in just a couple of that is what I call service!  So, order is restored in my Newell world.  The new Interstate 8D batter set us back $275....a little high, but it is an Interstate, which I prefer.......the delivery service was free, as it should be.

Next it was on to installing the new 'knock sensor #2' on the VW Beetle.  You will recall that I took the first step of determining if my old one was really bad by loosening the bolt which affixes it to the engine block, and then retorquing it at 15 foot pounds.......this worked for about 1,700 miles, but engine light came back on again recently.  As a precaution I had ordered a new Bosch knock sensor while we were still in Wittmann in case this happened.  However, I also needed a torque wrench that had a lower range than the one I currently have which goes from 20 foot pounds to 200 foot pounds.  While we were at the Parker Strip we drove into Lake Havasu City to the local Harbor Freight and bought a torque wrench with a range of 5 foot pounds to 80 foot pounds.  It took about 45 minutes to remove and replace the knock sensor, and then retorque it, but now it is fixed.  The new knock sensor cost me about $18, and the torque wrench was $19....had I taken it in to the VW dealership it would have cost close to $200, and I still have the torque wrench!

Around 3:30 pm we drove into Yuma stopping a the Home Depot to pick up some weather stripping for my next project of relining all the storage bay doors....the old weather stripping is just that......very old, and not doing its job anymore.......then it was on to the Harkins Theater to see 'Rogue One', the latest Star Wars offering (it is the immediate prequel to the original Star Wars movie).....we had not seen it the first time around.  We thoroughly enjoyed it, and now we have come full circle.....really looking forward to the next installment!  Since it was only 6:30 by the time we exited the theater we decided to stop by 'Prison Hill Brewing' on Main Street to complete our date night.....

......we quickly ordered some brews......a PHBC Chocolate Pumkin Brown for moi, and a Morning Buzz Coffee Stout by 'That Brewing Company' for TLE.....TLE still has a sore mouth and didn't feel like eating a lot so she ordered their famous Deep Fried Avocados, and I ordered their BaiLouT sandwich (a BLT, obviously).  We sat talking, eating and slowly sipping our delicious brews for close to an hour.....a nice way to end our stay at the 'Q'......Friday we are off for Borrego Springs!

We watched the final episode of 'Alone', then the current episode of 'Berring Sea Gold', and then 'The Blacklist', getting to bed by midnight....haven't been up that late in a while!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Another blogger (OFM) had his house batts go bad too, must be that time of the year.
    Have you looked at Coach-net for ERS? They've done well for me.

  2. Nice to get those issues fixed and electrical all well and good again. Travel safe and enjoy Borrego Springs gonna be 86f here today then cool down a bit


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