Hello FMCA Community
I recently experienced a problem with my 08 Winnebago Journey battery disconnect system that I wanted to pass along to others. I’ve posted on the Winnebago forum and have included the threads below. I hope it helps someone and saves some time, grief, and money...
Hello all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
My 2008 Journey 39Z is in storage here in Northwest Arkansas where currently it's 25 F.
Yesterday we drove to storage to put a few items in the coach. My wife asked for lights so I hit the battery disconnect switch and on came the lights. Meanwhile I decided to check the battery voltages, all looked good.
When we got ready to leave I tried to use the battery disconnect to shut things down but nothing happened. I tried multiple times but nothing changed.
Since I wasn’t prepared to work on the coach I connected a trickle charger and headed home to research the situation.
As always I’ve found all kinds of useful information and have a few ideas on improving this system in the coach.
But, for the time being, has anyone experienced this situation? Could it be just SO COLD that the disconnect solenoid worked connecting the batteries but won’t shutoff or have I had a failure of some sort?
I enjoy automatic functions until something like this happens then well here we are. It’s supposed to warm up to 37 today so I’ll go back out and try it again.
Could a circuit breaker have tripped? Switch failed? Relay/solenoid failure?
During my research I found threads about adding a manual shutoff, like the chassis battery has, and taking the auto function out of the loop. I also read about replacing the solenoid with a Blue Sea unit. If you have a better way of addressing this I welcome your ideas.
Well, I figured out why the battery disconnect wasn’t working. It wasn’t the cold weather but it certainly didn’t make my job figuring it out very easy.
The 2008 Winnebago Journey 39Z’s battery disconnect solenoid is located in the left rear exterior electrical bay. It’s mounted on the chassis behind the circuit breakers. You have to remove the panel that the CBs are mounted on to get to the solenoids.
WARNING!! The CB “Hot Bus Bar” is not protected and can easily short when removed if the batteries are connected.
The wiring behind this panel can be referred to as a “Rat’s Nest of Wire”. Multiple wire bundles in their plastic conduit randomly wrapped up with large wire ties. I guess the process is grab a bunch of wires and tie them up. Winnebago could do a better job of running and organizing these wires, I’ll explain later why this disappointed me so much.
I’m including pictures so you know what this solenoid looks like and how the control wires are connected.
Once I could get to the solenoid I figured I’d tap on it to free it up in case the cold had locked it up. BTW, I called Winnebago and they felt like the cold weather was probably the problem.
Up to the front and voila... it works again! Well... not so fast... I was able to cycle it a few times and then... nothing... Back to the rear, another tap or two and back up front... worked twice and then stuck again in the ON position... right back where I started. The only thing heating up was my temper.
Time for a closer look. On top of the solenoid is a fuse block and a 5 amp fuse. I’ve included a closeup photo. This is a fuse for the wire that carries power to the front disconnect control switch (on/off). I could see the fuse wasn’t blown but I decided to remove it and inspect it. The fuse was fine so I inserted it back into the holder. As I did I saw the power wire move down and out of the fuse block.
I’ve circled this wire in the photo. There you have it, intermittent operation. Pure coincidence the solenoid stopped working on a cold December day. I pushed the blade connector back up into the fuse block and tested the system. Everything worked great!!
The three wires that control the solenoid have their own conduit. The conduit was tied to other wire bundles and it was pulling the wires tight. You can see this in one of the photos. This is what is so disappointing and makes me wonder what else will randomly quit working because of the same situation. When the weather warms up (and the wires and working conditions) I’ll disconnect the batteries and fix that mess. I’m placing blame on Winnebago but I suppose it’s possible someone else could have messed this up but it seems to be in line with the rest of the wiring in this coach.
I feel very fortunate to have found the problem relatively quickly without spending a bunch of money. I hope my experience can help someone else that has the same problem.
Sorry Winnebago for knocking your wiring, I really do like my coach!