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Old 06-17-2008, 02:47 PM   #1
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central FL
Posts: 337
Propane Leak?, Dead Animal?, or Batteries!!

Short story should it happen to you. We left PA on our first 2008 journey about 4 days ago. The day before we left my wife spent a night in the RV with my grandson. The next morning she complained about a foul odor so we shut down the fridge thinking that we had experienced a failure to light off and subsequent propane odor. Out on the road a day later the fridge was working great but the odor when we stopped was pervasive. It was particularly bad around the entry door and forward area neat the engine. Likely cause we thought was a dead mouse family that must have wintered over in our rig. The next day, in attempting to locate the dead critter, I opened the stair tread over the battery compartment. I darn near passed out as the sulfur smell permeated everything.

Yep, a simple boiling of my coach batteries was taking place. Even though I had checked the electrolyte level before the trip they were darn near bone dry and hot as a tin roof boiling under the Florida sun.

I'm very lucky and feel really dumb! The batteries could have melted in place or exploded had I put off the inspection another day. I did a layman's check by starting the engine on the coach batteries and they certainly were capable of starting the chassis engine. BUT, THERE WAS NO WAY THEY WOULD ACCEPT A CHARGE WITHOUT BOILING AND OVERHEATING.

New batteries solved the problem and are working great. I was going to go to two 6 volts versus the 12 volts Winny put in but after checking some prices figured 2 to 3 years and a long winter on my 12 volt originals didn't justify nearly a $100 bucks more for 6 volt deep cycles. Wal Mart had some deep cycle Marine/RV batteries with a higher rating than the stock ones in my rig so I'm giving them a try.

Moral of the story ------------------------ even though everything is working 4.0, if you smell a propane leak or a dead animal, -------------- check those coach batteries. ------- They may just be melting on the tray!
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:47 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central FL
Posts: 337
Propane Leak?, Dead Animal?, or Batteries!!

Short story should it happen to you. We left PA on our first 2008 journey about 4 days ago. The day before we left my wife spent a night in the RV with my grandson. The next morning she complained about a foul odor so we shut down the fridge thinking that we had experienced a failure to light off and subsequent propane odor. Out on the road a day later the fridge was working great but the odor when we stopped was pervasive. It was particularly bad around the entry door and forward area neat the engine. Likely cause we thought was a dead mouse family that must have wintered over in our rig. The next day, in attempting to locate the dead critter, I opened the stair tread over the battery compartment. I darn near passed out as the sulfur smell permeated everything.

Yep, a simple boiling of my coach batteries was taking place. Even though I had checked the electrolyte level before the trip they were darn near bone dry and hot as a tin roof boiling under the Florida sun.

I'm very lucky and feel really dumb! The batteries could have melted in place or exploded had I put off the inspection another day. I did a layman's check by starting the engine on the coach batteries and they certainly were capable of starting the chassis engine. BUT, THERE WAS NO WAY THEY WOULD ACCEPT A CHARGE WITHOUT BOILING AND OVERHEATING.

New batteries solved the problem and are working great. I was going to go to two 6 volts versus the 12 volts Winny put in but after checking some prices figured 2 to 3 years and a long winter on my 12 volt originals didn't justify nearly a $100 bucks more for 6 volt deep cycles. Wal Mart had some deep cycle Marine/RV batteries with a higher rating than the stock ones in my rig so I'm giving them a try.

Moral of the story ------------------------ even though everything is working 4.0, if you smell a propane leak or a dead animal, -------------- check those coach batteries. ------- They may just be melting on the tray!
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:05 AM   #3
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Interesting tale, and one to file away, in case I ever start smelling something wierd. I didn't know they would smell so strong.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:35 AM   #4
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Interesting tale Paul T,

Went thru similar issue last weekend. Sudden foul odor after making a tight turn on the way home.Temps here in Az were in 110s. Thought it might have been holding tank odor after long trip and loss of trap fluids in the drains.

Got home and refilled all sink traps but odor got worse and was strongest at the entry door step.

Chassis battery was steaming and the whole compartment was covered in hot moisture like in a shower.

Hosed everything down with cold water and let it air out. Disconnected chassis battery and also coach batteries as I wasn't sure what failed and why. Suspected overcharging boiled the chassis battery. After cooling down, chassis battery was sitting at 9 volts and needed to be replaced. Still evaluating the 6 Trojans. They all have water and seem to be at full charge of 6.4 volts each. Being that all batteries are over 6 years old I may replace them all before next trip.

As I recall, we had the genny on to run the roof acs because of the heat that day. With the gen on, the Heart inv/charger was also trying to charge the chassis battery and probably helped it to fry.

Marty
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Better keep a check on them something may be making them boil, in our case our inverter/charger was doing it.
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #6
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Thanks BeaBop will do
I did find state of charge setting was for wet cold instead of wet warm which may explain overcharge to the chassis battery.
Ran some load tests on the old T105s using the inverter as a load while boiling water using the microwave. All 6 T105s(3banks of 12 volts each) delivered total of 150 amps dc to the inverter for 30 minutes. During the load test, each of the 6 T105s had voltages within 5-7 mv of each other. At the end of the test and after several hours of no load, the 105s no load voltage were also within 10 mv. and state of charge voltage was at 12.5V Water levels were all good.
Topped off water and cycled the Heart/inverter thru several charge cycles for warm wet cell operation. Then did an 8 hour equalization . The Heart/ interface system did everything by the book.

This inverter is 12 years old. I used it in previous motorhome with excellent battery life (8years). These have 6 years on them and still test quite strong.

!50 watt regulated solar panels also help battery banks stay fully charged and unsulphated.

Only thing left outside of just plain worn out 6 year old chassis battery is the engine alternator. Next trip I will watch. to see if it is regulating properly.
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