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Author Topic: Do I really need four group 31 batteries with no road A/C or heat?  (Read 3355 times)
belfert
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« on: July 26, 2006, 03:08:12 PM »

Do I really need four group 31 batteries if I don't have coach A/C or heat anymore?  I've heard I can maybe get by with fewer batteries without the blowers and such for the A/C and heat.  This is a Dina with a Series 60 engine if that matters.

I need new batteries as mine aren't holding a charge anymore.  I hate spending nearly $350 on batteries if I can help it.

I tried to call MCI Fleet Support, but MCI took the phone number off their web site.  Of course, MCI keeps giving me wrong answers on the Dina.  I asked them what the original tire size was on a Dina and they told me 12R24.5 I think.  It turns out the original were really a metric size.  (I went with 11R24.5.)

Brian Elfert
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JackConrad
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2006, 03:27:55 PM »

Brian,
    2 group 31 batteries connected in series will give you 24 volts and adequate amperage to start your bus with no problem AS LONG AS you do not need to crank for a long time (like in cold weather). We have ran 2 group 31 batteries in our MC-8 for 6 years. We have had to replace 1 of those batteries about 3 years ago. We live in Florida and have never had any problems starting our bus with 2 batteries (coldest start temperatures was in the 30s).  Hope this helps, Jack
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2006, 03:54:01 PM »

Brian, as Jack said, 2 group 31's do the trick. I bought mine at Sams club so that it would be easy to get warranty service on them across the country. I paid $74 IIRC for each battery in Atlanta.
 I use and reccomend a 120 volt engine coolant (block) heater on the bus. Just plug it up a few hours before you need to start when its cold, and its easier on the starting system as well as the engine-
hope this helps
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 05:55:45 PM »

Brian,

Your in the north, I would use 8D's for the extra crank power when you need it..

And being new in the bus, you may {like many of us] forget once in a while and leave something on to drain the batteries.  LOL

Sams Club also sells 8D's for $110.00 each

Nick-
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belfert
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 06:10:18 PM »

Your in the north, I would use 8D's for the extra crank power when you need it..

And being new in the bus, you may {like many of us] forget once in a while and leave something on to drain the batteries.  LOL

Leaving the disconnect on is how I killed the batteries in the first place.  But, the batteries were fully charged and left with the disconnect off for two weeks or so.  The bus BARELY started when I turned power back on this past weekend.  I left the bus to run for a while on high idle, but I forgot to turn off the disconnect again and the batteries were down to no voltage within 24 hours.

Dina actually used 8Ds on the first 30 coaches for the American market and then switched to four group 31 batteries instead.  I'm not sure if I can go back to 8Ds because ioif how the holddowns are in the compartment.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 06:15:27 PM »

Just another thought, I have been digging around in the 18 wheeler wrecking yards for awhile now  and like the 2001 Volvo tractor I pulled the series 60 out of all it had was a couple of group 31's and I would think these tractors would travel up north also. Ray
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 06:25:27 PM »

Good to see you are back on the bus!  Are 2 group 31's enough, Lots of people do it with no problem, that is the route I went. Are they sufficient in Snowshoe Maine when it is 18 below zero? Depends, Are you going to have a block heater and generator? If you run the noisemaker and block heater a reasonable amount of time, yes the 2 group 31's will do it.
 Are you going to have house batteries? are you going to have a selector switch? My selector switch has 4 positions, off, bus batteries, house batteries and both. Most of the time my switch is set on both so I am drawing off the 2 31's and the 4 house batteries to start the bus.
 The naysayers say not to do this you will run all your batteries down if the bus wont start! I'm really not that stupid! And even if I did I still have a genny to make things right!
 So a simple ansewer would be yes 2 group 31's will do it.
 Now in anticipation of the next question, WalMart battteries are best! followed by Sams and Sears.  They are best becuse no matter where you are in the US there is always one nearby, I buy my toad tires at WalMart for the same reason.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2006, 06:41:56 PM »

There are 5 times as many NAPA stores as Walmart's. I priced group 31's a week ago at NAPA for $78 ea.

Ed.
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2006, 07:10:57 PM »

NAPA open at 7 p.m. When you need a Battery??  Undecided
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belfert
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2006, 08:08:25 PM »

There are 5 times as many NAPA stores as Walmart's. I priced group 31's a week ago at NAPA for $78 ea.

$78 at Napa is a good price.  They are $78 or $79 at Sam's Club.  Usually Napa is pretty high on most stuff in my experience.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2006, 09:12:33 PM »

Just bought 4 group 31's from NAPA "maintenance free" for $69 'maintenance free' 'fleet prce' - retail $105 - FWIW
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2006, 09:15:00 PM »

At Freightliner, when a sleeper is specified, 4 batteries are also chosen.  While two may start alright in warm weather, if you have to crank the engine when cold, or to regain prime if prime is lost, you may be a bit un happy.  Course if you have a tie in solenoid with the deep cycle batteries, these too can help out (I've started my 8V-71N on the deeps alone when the starting batts went dead).  My choice from both past experience is to get the best battery, and that is the Trojan size 31 with 1000cca each.  They are long lasting batteries and have good standby amperage (they are the choice for ambulances).  True they cost around $90 each, but are worth it.  Would suggest you stay with 4.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2006, 03:08:39 AM »

I would mame NAPA number 4 on my list, they are not open at night or on Sunday.
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2006, 03:44:19 AM »

Your in the north, I would use 8D's for the extra crank power when you need it..

And being new in the bus, you may {like many of us] forget once in a while and leave something on to drain the batteries.  LOL

Leaving the disconnect on is how I killed the batteries in the first place. But, the batteries were fully charged and left with the disconnect off for two weeks or so. The bus BARELY started when I turned power back on this past weekend. I left the bus to run for a while on high idle, but I forgot to turn off the disconnect again and the batteries were down to no voltage within 24 hours.

Dina actually used 8Ds on the first 30 coaches for the American market and then switched to four group 31 batteries instead. I'm not sure if I can go back to 8Ds because ioif how the holddowns are in the compartment.

Brian Elfert


Brian,

Your batteries had to have a short of some sort to drain in two weeks with your disconnect off!

nick-
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2006, 04:03:19 AM »

Brian,
   When you install the new batteries, connect a test light in series between the ground terminal and the ground cable and turn the disconnect switch off.  If you have any glow at all on the test light, you have a phantom load that will draw down the new batteries. This may prevent damaging your new batteries.  Hope this helps, Jack
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belfert
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2006, 05:42:20 AM »

Your batteries had to have a short of some sort to drain in two weeks with your disconnect off!

The batteries were not completely drained after the two , but the bus barely started.  The first time I turned the key, it didn't crank enough to start.  I tried it again and it cranked just enough to start.  I suspect the batteries were not holding a charge.

I will check for a phantom load before I put in new batteries.  I'm also going to take at least one battery for a load test.

Brian Elfert
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Dallas
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2006, 06:03:46 AM »

Brian,

You may want to check for a bad ground. Not turning when you first tried could have caused an arc to ground which let the engine turn over the next time.

Just a thought.
Dallas

Your batteries had to have a short of some sort to drain in two weeks with your disconnect off!

The batteries were not completely drained after the two , but the bus barely started.  The first time I turned the key, it didn't crank enough to start.  I tried it again and it cranked just enough to start.  I suspect the batteries were not holding a charge.

I will check for a phantom load before I put in new batteries.  I'm also going to take at least one battery for a load test.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2006, 08:52:25 AM »

Happycamper.

No, NAPA isn't open at 7PM, but the decision to buy a battery isn't made within 5 mins after finding out yours is dead. Also there are certain indications that start long before one goes bad.

I usually grab the battery charger to re-charge and check to see if it was a remote incident or the battery actually went south.

Ed
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2006, 09:04:51 AM »

Brian,

You can pick up a load tester at HF for 19.00 on sale.

You may find you have one battery taking down the others.

And its a must have in the bus tool box for when you are on the road.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90636

Cliff
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2006, 11:47:47 AM »

Ed,

Not to start a debate, but TWICE I have had to buy a battery to get me out of a jamb. Even if the battery hasn't gone south being able to find a open store is helpful.

One time was, I stopped at a rest area for a break in a pickup. Went to leave and no juice. Oh great now what. Battery was discharged, who knows why (old battery). Have to get home this evening as I have to work the next day. Just so happens a Wal-mart is just up the road. A great fellow gave me a ride and I bought a battery and made it home.

I am sure that the plates or something shorted together, because when we tried to hook up the jumper cables the sparks flew. So yea it only took about 5 minutes to decide I needed a battery. Also had to put a alternator on it a couple weeks later.

Now if I had broke at home or work and could have checked with a Hydrometer and a Load tester, Then try a recharge that would be a perfect situation, wouldn't it?, But a rest area isn't the best place to work on or diagnose vehicle problems.

I work on heavy equipment for a living and I have seen new batteries give up for no reason, and I have seen old ones last longer than they should. There is no super way to tell when they will die. The trick with being on the road is to have a "what if" plan.  Wink


Dale
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2006, 03:25:55 PM »

A friend of mine owns a starter, alternator and generator rebuilding business.  He states the worst thing on a starter is low batteries.  It will eat starters. Batteries are cheaper than starters and eaiser to replace. He says to have the highest amp batteries which will fit.  On my MCI 7 with a 8V92 I use two 8D batteries for the bus and then as an over kill I use 8, yes 8 6 volt golf cart batteries to run the bus with a 3500 inverter.  I got tired of running out of power in 36 hours, now can go over 96 hours with out starting the gen or bus, unless that is I need the air.  As is said often, do it your way.
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2006, 07:14:39 PM »

Not to disagree with anyone, we can have 10 people do it 10 different ways and none of them are wrong!

 But for me it is a 5 minute decision, if I have any trouble with a battery at all, I take it to wally world and have it replaced.Some times it takes a little pressure to get them to replace it under warrenty. A simple battery is far to complex. I do not want the headaches or hassel of battery diagnostics. Just let me have a new one and get on with my life.
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