My husband and I have a purchased a Chevy Colorado to tow our Off-road Aliner Expedition camper that weighs under 3,000 pounds loaded. The truck accomplishes this just fine except for one major “hitch”. The Colorado’s charging system does not sufficiently charge our camper battery after a 3 - 4 hour tow, even though we bought the tow package which includes a 7-pin plug. The owners’ manual says the following:
“If charging a remote (non-vehicle) battery, press the Tow/Haul Mode button, if equipped, on the center stack. This will boost the vehicle system voltage and properly charge the battery. If the trailer is too light for Tow/Haul Mode, or the vehicle is not equipped with Tow/Haul, turn on the headlamps as a second way to boost the vehicle system and charge the battery.”
Here’s the problem:
June 13, 2015 tests – battery charging logic seems to be inadequate for effectively recharging a camper battery. Readings made 6/13/2015:
- When the truck battery gets low, the alternator produces 14.45 volts and quickly (within a few minutes) recharges the battery. When the truck battery gets up to about 13.5 volts, alternator output drops to 12.87 volts.
- Unfortunately, this means that truck alternator output is only 12.87 volts for the vast majority of the time the truck is running. This is inadequate voltage to recharge the camper battery at other than a slow trickle rate. When dry camping and moving from one site to another in two hours or less, this is insufficient time to adequately recharge the camper battery for reliable use.
- The camper battery will last less than 24 hours when charged to 12.87 volts. The camper refrigerator stops cooling (even while running on propane) when the camper battery voltage drops below about 10.8 volts (it’s supposed to operate down to about 9.6 volts, but that’s a refrigerator issue we’re looking into separately). The control circuitry stops functioning at this voltage level and shuts down the refrigerator.
- When charged via 110 volts AC, the camper battery gets up to about 13.6 volts. It lasts nearly 72 hours when charged to this level.
We have taken our Colorado to two dealerships and both concluded that the truck is operating the way it is designed. One dealership, under the guidance of GM Chevy techs, built a device to test the battery charging capability of our truck, one other Colorado and one Canyon and all 3 trucks performed almost identically. The Chevy folks have given us a case number but refuse to return our calls or contact the dealership where we bought the truck. We want this problem resolved even if it means installing an after-market device. We are unable to utilize the truck for our “off the grid” camp trips, which was the whole idea for purchasing this truck. My question to you is how can we get this problem resolved?