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Old 08-15-2008, 01:21 PM   #1
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My '06 Newmar Ventana recently had both chassis batteries to explode, one explosion separated by a few weeks from the most recent one (I didn't discover the first one for a few days). Nothing unusual - the unit was at home, hadn't been used for about 4 months, was plugged in to a 30 amp outlet to keep things going (the same plug that has been used for a 5th wheel and 2 motorhomes in the past). As maintanance free batteries, there wasn't anything to keep up with. It has been about 6 weeks since the generator was on. There are only about 2 months left on the warranty. I'm getting it towed to Freightliner with the batteries in place and am taking two new batteries to them to install for me. It all promises to be an expensive "non-use" of the unit. Has anyone had a similar experience?
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:21 PM   #2
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My '06 Newmar Ventana recently had both chassis batteries to explode, one explosion separated by a few weeks from the most recent one (I didn't discover the first one for a few days). Nothing unusual - the unit was at home, hadn't been used for about 4 months, was plugged in to a 30 amp outlet to keep things going (the same plug that has been used for a 5th wheel and 2 motorhomes in the past). As maintanance free batteries, there wasn't anything to keep up with. It has been about 6 weeks since the generator was on. There are only about 2 months left on the warranty. I'm getting it towed to Freightliner with the batteries in place and am taking two new batteries to them to install for me. It all promises to be an expensive "non-use" of the unit. Has anyone had a similar experience?
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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Can you describe what you mean be "explosive?"
I can envision stuff from the hydrogen gas generated from charging igniting to one of the fill caps popping off to the case cracking to ???
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Old 08-16-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Well, the entire end of each battery was blown outwards. With the front one - the one I can see best - some other parts came loose, but they were not blown out from that cell - they were blown loose from the initial explosion from the end cell.
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #5
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Normally it happens from no fluid in the battery. Gas blows up. But if they are truly maintenace free, posibly a leak.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:37 AM   #6
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Make sure your inverter/charger unit is set for maintenance free batteries. There are different settings for traditional lead acid, maintenance free, and the AGM batteries. It has to do with the charging and trickle voltages.

It should be in your manual for the charger.
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #7
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And I thought I was the only one with bad luck!

I just replaced both of my chassis batteries because of the same problem. Maintenance free batteries both had the ends separated from the rest of the battery. It was the positive side of the battery.
I purchased two replacements from Sam's Club, cleaned up the battery shelf and was back in business in 3 hours.
My batteries were original equipment (Alliance Battery) dated Jan 2001. I couldn't complain with the service I had received from both of these batteries.
I noticed the ends were bulging a little 6 weeks ago when I was replacing 2 of the coach batteries. I could have save some clean up time if I had replaced them at the same time.

Note: The coach batteries were replaced due to small leaks caused by the brackets that the retaining straps go through. I removed all brackets and routed the straps through the slots in the tray.
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's input. Since everything is fairly new and under warranty, I want freightliner to look at it with the batteries in place. I'm having it towed in the morning - Newmar was concerned with a fire hazard. For that reason I never tried the switch allowing use of the coach batteries to start the engine. I know they are supposed to help the chassis batteries, so I'm wondering if they will start the engine by themselves. Anyway, now I want to check about the inverter. My house batteries are the traditional lead acid, and I know they are the primary batteries for the charger, the chassis batteries benefiting from the charger only after the house batteries are 100%. With lead batteries for the house and maint. free batteries for the chassis, would you keep the charger dialed to lead batteries?
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:45 PM   #9
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"Maint free" or "low maint" or "sealed" batteries - unless you know they are specifically AGM or Gel - will still be lead acid. No filler caps can not be used to determine battery type.

Dial the charger to the house battery type. That is the primary charging type for the charger.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:01 PM   #10
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Just to keep you posted on the outcome: I picked up my coach today (it was ready yesterday, the day after I took it) and found out that the problem was a faulty alternator. I always thought that an alternator only worked in a moving vehicle. Anyway, the folks at the freihtliner place in San Antonio - Opus Kane - exit 585 on IH 10 - are top notch.
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