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Two questions: fridge OOPS! and battery boost relay

BillHoughton
Explorer II
Explorer II
Two questions on our 2007 Itasca Navion. I've asked these questions of Winnebago Friday, and will surely hear back next week, but I'll appreciate hearing from the brain trust here, too. Later edit: I talked with a Winnebago rep yesterday and got some good advice; and then learned some more by inspecting the RV. I'm posting what I learned here as a reply down below, for the use of future folks with these issues.

Fridge oops and testing: at the end of a camping trip recently, I accidentally left the fridge (Norcold NS series) on, running on propane (even left the propane valve open), while parking twice, for periods of 20 minutes or so each time, at front-to-back angles for the RV of more than two degrees - probably more like five, although I didn’t look. The manual calls for side-to-side tolerances for the fridge (and thus front-to-back for the RV) of two degrees. As soon as we realized the problem, we pulled over and turned off the fridge and propane.

The RV is now parked in its level parking spot. Can I safely test whether I fried the refrigerator by turning it on to run on propane for several days? Are there tests I can perform/components I can examine to determine whether I broke it?

Boost relay: This relay connects the house battery to the motor battery, to jump-start the RV if the motor battery’s gone flat. It hasn’t worked since we bought the RV used; I can hear it “hit” somewhere near the cab when I sit in the driver’s seat and toggle the dash switch, but I’m not clear that it’s connecting the two batteries.

I thought having one of those boost packs would make repairing this unnecessary; but the battery went bad recently (at home, yay!), and I found that Mercedes, and the battery manufacturer, make it almost impossible to get alligator clamps on the battery terminals. So fixing the boost relay is now on the “must do” list.

The parts manual, often helpful here, doesn’t call anything a boost relay, as best I can tell. There’s a part, #008188-01-000, that looks like it might be the part, from the drawing; but the manual doesn’t show the location.

So, to test it, I have to find it first; any ideas where it is?

I think I know how to test it for function: trace the cable from the house battery to the relay, then pull the battery-size cable from the other terminal and activate the relay; I should find voltage on the "out" terminal when it's engaged. If not, it's relay replacement time. If the relay's OK, I then trace the cable from the relay to the motor battery and run the same test, with the cable disconnected from the motor battery. If that's not showing voltage, the cable's bad. Yes?
11 REPLIES 11

bobndot
Explorer II
Explorer II
:C:). Glad it’s solved. Tnx for the update.

BillHoughton
Explorer II
Explorer II
As mentioned up top, I talked with Winnebago yesterday and got some advice. I then went out to the RV and tried some stuff. Below is what I learned:

Fridge: The Winnebago rep thought it should be OK. I turned on the propane, set the fridge to run on propane (rather than the dual-fuel electricity/propane/fridge chooses option), and, after 24 hours, it's running fine. I'll let it run for a few days just to confirm, but the freezer's down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, so it seems to be OK. Yay.

Boost relay: On the 2007 Navion (and, likely, other, similar Itascas), the relay, and some circuit breakers, are under an extension of the "house" floor than runs forward between the cab seats. The Winnebago rep said, "you just lift the carpet." It turns out that you lift a heavy flat metal cover, carpeted on the top, that's hinged on the passenger side, and there's a cover, held down with screws, over the relays (that's what it says on the cover, anyhow). That cover's toward the rear end of the extension; the circuit breakers are behind a cover that's down in a well in the front end (wow! Another weird storage spot!). There's no obvious handle; I started tugging on the carpet in random spots, and the cover hinged up.

It didn't occur to Winnebago, as far as I can see, to put any kind of catch to keep the cover up; so, if I need to work in that space, I'll need to come up with something to hold it up so it doesn't crush my fingers.

The relay (aka solenoid) comes out to a battery-cable-sized cable (that is, a heavy/large cable) that's held on the battery clamp with a nut. I've realized that I can test relay function by removing that cable from the battery clamp and testing for voltage with and without the boost relay (momentary) toggle switch activated. If I'm not getting voltage, I can then open the cover and explore further.

I generally do electrical fault tracing from the origin point to the end, but no reason I can't work backwards.

It's a small cover; I bet if I have to remove the relay/solenoid, I'll be exercising my 56+ years of mechanical skill and my 74+ years of learning curse words.

Grit_dog
Explorer III
Explorer III
Maybe you have side to side and front to back correct. I can’t believe you just shut the fridge off at that point and never turned it back on.
Just go turn it on. It will work. And then you can sleep better.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Grit_dog
Explorer III
Explorer III
There’s nothing wrong with the fridge and you can stop fretting that.

You’re mis interpreting something with the fridge angles.
Re-research the reccomended max operational angles and also understand which direction is which. Also makes no difference what “mode” the fridge is operating under.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

bobndot
Explorer II
Explorer II
Have another person repeatedly push the switch and you listen to where the solenoid is clicking.

Its usually near the house batteries in a protected area out of the weather. It might be behind a plate with screws. A wire may be loose from bouncing down the road not allowing the house bank to fire up the starter.

You might also have a BIM that might be bad. Don’t worry, a BIM is not a medical condition , its a Battery Isolation Manager. Sometimes looks like a black box the size of a pack of cigarette's located near that emergency solenoid. If you don’t have a BIM you can add one.
Its the brain the directs current between the batteries. Some brands are junk others are better. If you have one , it should be wired to control the charging of the house and vehicle batteries be it while driving, parked while plugged into shore power or generator. The BIM flip flops the current between the batteries to reduce the load from the alternator.
If you add a solar panel, that will also keep all batteries charged through the BIM while parked. Hopefully then, you’ll never need that emergency switch bc your batteries should stay charged if you have solar. You only need one panel to keep it all topped off. I use a single 100w panel for 3 sometimes 4 grp 27’s.

Fridge should be ok. I have done the same a lot more often than 2x for 20 mins. An NR model too. Turn it on for 8 hrs with a thermometer inside. See if it reaches a satisfiable temp in the fridge and freezer.
The gas must flow thru the fridge tubes. When parked off level the gas can crystalize inside the tubes eventually building up causing a blockage. Over time bc of off level use, the fridge will not run as cold as when new.

CloudDriver
Explorer
Explorer
Go to this link at Winnebago.

https://www.winnebago.com/owners/owner-resources/guides-and-diagrams

Scroll down to Wiring Diagrams then select your year and Itasca model. Find the diagram that shows the "Battery Mode Solenoid", which is what Winnebago calls the solenoid that connects the House and Chassis batteries when the ignition switch is on.
2003 Winnebago Minnie 24F - Ford E-450🙂

StarkNaked
Explorer
Explorer
Fridge oops - Can you smell ammonia, or see yellow stains anywhere inside fridge or in the compartment on rear of fridge?

While the smell of ammonia is oftentimes enough to alert your senses that something is off, there is something else you can look out for: yellow staining near the refrigerator. If you notice yellow coming from your refrigerator and yellow stains begin to appear in and around your fridge, it is pointing to a likely ammonia leak.

If you have a leak, you will need a replacement.

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-leaking-ammonia-1918/

TenOC
Traveler
Traveler
BillHoughton wrote:


The RV is now parked in its level parking spot. Can I safely test whether I fried the refrigerator by turning it on to run on propane for several days? Are there tests I can perform/components I can examine to determine whether I broke it?



Test it what is the worst thing that can happen? IMO it should still work.
Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.

Travel Photos

BillHoughton
Explorer II
Explorer II
MDKMDK wrote:
Is the fridge a Dometic 3-way?

No, Norcold NS series.

Ed_Gee
Explorer
Explorer
Technically, that relay is called a solenoid. It should likely be silver in color, cylindrical in shape, and have two large terminal posts on opposite sides and a smaller terminal post ( switching control ) in the middle. It should also be providing a path when the engine is running for the alternator to charge your house batteries as well as being a path for the engine battery boost feature.
Ed - on the Central Oregon coast
2018 Winnebago Fuse 23A
Scion xA toad

MDKMDK
Explorer
Explorer
Sometimes the relay will be located under the passenger side seat, which is relatively close to the coach batteries, if they're located under the side entry steps. The 2007 Navion Operator Manual calls it the "Battery Boost Switch". I don't know what the parts manual calls it.
Is the fridge a Dometic 3-way? (AC, DC, LPG)? Odds are it's fine, and you can test it any way you want. Just keep an eye on it, in case there is a problem.
I had a 3-way in my Roadtrek and we were rarely 2 degrees from level, and it ran like that for years. I think they're pretty forgiving for that, like the Shurflo water pumps are for running dry for hours. They're bulletproof, too.
Mike. Comments are anecdotal or personal opinions, and worth what you paid for them.
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)