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Old 08-12-2008, 12:54 PM   #1
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When our APEX was built we had LifeLine AGM batteries put into it. We have talked these batteries up to everyone and refered numerous Alpine Owners to LifeLine in Azusa, CA.

When we arrived at the Fairgrounds for the FMCA Rally in St Paul, our inverter would turn off after a few hours - even after the gen set ran for 12 hours and we thought the batteries always showed 12.4 + charge. The gen would stop at 10:30 pm and by 2 am the inverter would shut off. During the day it didn't last even that long.

We were pretty certain that the Lifeline Glass Mat batteries were OK. (We consumed a heck of a lot of fuel running the generator 5 days constantly) We had Cummins ck the generator - it was OK. We had Xantrex update & ck out the inverter & it was OK. We had Silverleaf do cks and they said it was the batteries.

We went to 2 different places and paid to have the batteries checked. Everything pointed to the batteries being bad (4 of the 8 - when 1 goes bad it starts taking the others down).

On the way home we had Guaranty in JC,OR check the batteries & in a conference call we called LifeLine in Azusa,CA. After talking with Andy the Rep there (who sold us the batteries) we were told to bring them back and they would exchange them.

4 days later we are back in CA and we go up to Azusa to the factory. The guy (Andy) who said they would switch them out for us turned us over to the owner's brother (he could be part owner too) who gave us a <span class="ev_code_RED">MAJOR</span> run around. After having it tested twice and being told the batteries were bad, and Silverleaf saying they were bad, Dave trys to tell us that there was nothing wrong with the batteries, they just needed to be equalized and deep charged - that they had been discharged too low. (XANTREX SAYS NEVER TO EQUALIZE AGMs) He went around and around with us - even told us that having the wet cell chassis batteries with the gel cells was a problem. He finally agreed to exchange them for 50% of what we paid for them 2 years ago! (SO MUCH FOR A 1YR & 5YR EXTENDED PRORATED WARRANTY!)

We are VERY disappointed to find out that they won't stand behind their batteries!!! And we no longer recommend Lifeline of Azusa.

- I have found a place in CO on line who will sell Lifeline AGMs for $100 less than Lifeline in Azusa & free shipping! Their link is :http://www.bdbatteries.com/ if anyone is still interested in getting AGM batteries.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:54 PM   #2
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When our APEX was built we had LifeLine AGM batteries put into it. We have talked these batteries up to everyone and refered numerous Alpine Owners to LifeLine in Azusa, CA.

When we arrived at the Fairgrounds for the FMCA Rally in St Paul, our inverter would turn off after a few hours - even after the gen set ran for 12 hours and we thought the batteries always showed 12.4 + charge. The gen would stop at 10:30 pm and by 2 am the inverter would shut off. During the day it didn't last even that long.

We were pretty certain that the Lifeline Glass Mat batteries were OK. (We consumed a heck of a lot of fuel running the generator 5 days constantly) We had Cummins ck the generator - it was OK. We had Xantrex update & ck out the inverter & it was OK. We had Silverleaf do cks and they said it was the batteries.

We went to 2 different places and paid to have the batteries checked. Everything pointed to the batteries being bad (4 of the 8 - when 1 goes bad it starts taking the others down).

On the way home we had Guaranty in JC,OR check the batteries & in a conference call we called LifeLine in Azusa,CA. After talking with Andy the Rep there (who sold us the batteries) we were told to bring them back and they would exchange them.

4 days later we are back in CA and we go up to Azusa to the factory. The guy (Andy) who said they would switch them out for us turned us over to the owner's brother (he could be part owner too) who gave us a <span class="ev_code_RED">MAJOR</span> run around. After having it tested twice and being told the batteries were bad, and Silverleaf saying they were bad, Dave trys to tell us that there was nothing wrong with the batteries, they just needed to be equalized and deep charged - that they had been discharged too low. (XANTREX SAYS NEVER TO EQUALIZE AGMs) He went around and around with us - even told us that having the wet cell chassis batteries with the gel cells was a problem. He finally agreed to exchange them for 50% of what we paid for them 2 years ago! (SO MUCH FOR A 1YR & 5YR EXTENDED PRORATED WARRANTY!)

We are VERY disappointed to find out that they won't stand behind their batteries!!! And we no longer recommend Lifeline of Azusa.

- I have found a place in CO on line who will sell Lifeline AGMs for $100 less than Lifeline in Azusa & free shipping! Their link is :http://www.bdbatteries.com/ if anyone is still interested in getting AGM batteries.
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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Have you tried doing what Lifeline suggested? Following their equalization process, or having them do it? Seems you have nothing to loose at this point. If they think they can restore them, let them try, if it doesn't work, then tell them to replace them as their warranty said they would. Just my thoughts. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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I think there is still some testing time to be done to the AGM batteries. I just replaced my 6 wet cells and the push button fill system works perfectly. I am certain I am old school but three years on a battery is long enough. I saw some very bad experiences with the AGM's in boats and most of the marinas on the Chesapeake would not handle them.
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #5
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by afrank1971:
Have you tried doing what Lifeline suggested? Following their equalization process, or having them do it? Seems you have nothing to loose at this point. /QUOTE]
Alan - We had had 3 weeks of hassle with them already and it was not worth another 90 miles driving up there or being stuck on another trip. We had talked daily with the Rep at the rally and felt we had done everything that he had told us. It was a different story when we got to the factory. It was easier to buy the 8 batteries and not have to deal with them any more.

The Xantrex Inverter specifically tells you not to equalize AGM batteries and our system will not allow you to set it to equalize the AGM -you would have to change the settings to "flooded" and take your chances of ruining your whole system! And Silverleaf said not to do it.

Ted - these batteries were suppose to be originally designed for the boating and airline industries. In 25,000 miles we had not had any issues that we knew about until this last 5 week trip! We were just very disappointed in the LifeLine's attitude with as expensive as these batteries are.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:30 PM   #6
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Yeah, I know, I had Lifelines and a Xantrex RS2000 in my Winnebago. I'm aware that in general it is not a good idea to equalize AGM's, however, the Lifeline manual that came with the batteries does state that in rare occasions it may become necessary. If the manufacturer is saying that's what it needs, then why not. How to do it is another question. You're not so far from them, so put them to the task. If they really think that's going to fix them, let them show you. Like you said, you're equipment (Xantres) won't let you do it without monkeying something to make it happen, and I agree, I wouldn't go there. Take the batteries to Lifeline and let them either prove you wrong or replace them. I don't see how they could say no once you've allowed them to try. Course, they may still say no, but my dealings with them, I would think they would stand behind their warranty if what they say it takes to fix them doesn't work. Again, just my two cents. And again, good luck.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:33 PM   #7
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Oops, I didn't catch part of your post and see that you've already moved on to new batteries, so whether or not letting Lifeline do their thing would have done anything is moot. That's too bad, I liked my Lifelines and hadn't heard much bad about them. Sorry for the bad experience and hope the new batteries work out better for you.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:13 PM   #8
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I have read it's a mixed bag for AGM's in marine and RV applications. As much as I hate wet cells, I am going to stay with something that is simple and easy to check.

FWIW - I am going to remove the manual fill system from my coach, and put in new battery caps, fill the batteries that are low, charge the system for 24 hours, and then check the batteries with a hydrometer and hopefully, none have dead cells. I'm betting however, that two of them will be marginal or dead. If that is the case, can I get by with just replacing the two that are bad, or do I have to replace all 8 of them?

Although, I have not had the propane detector go off at odd times, so maybe I have lucked out on this batch. I don't think the dealer checked them in the two years they had the coach, some of them were real low when I checked it once we got it home.

Wow, what an expense if I have to do that, what I might do, is remove the bad ones from the bank for a while until I can save up the money for all 8.

Comments please?
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:31 PM   #9
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I have had a good experience changing my wet cell batteries for new Lifeline AGMs. I talked with Jim (the owner of Lifeline, who also owns an '06 Alpine) and he was very helpful. I found no problems on asking him what to do to make the installation and maintenance successful. And his special price to Alpine Coach Association members like us was a lot better than the other stores, including the one metioned in this thread.

I don't plan to equalize, and did make sure I set the total amphours on the Xantese to 880 on the 8 batteries, plus idenifying the type of batteries to the charger as AGM. So, we'll see, but so far it's been a lot better.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:47 PM   #10
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Two years ago we dealt with Jim & Andrew and they were really nice. It was Dave, Jim's brother, that we had to deal with this time and he wasn't so nice. It was his attitude that ticked us off.

We have sent many Alpine owners to them but I understand that they aren't making those ''special deals" to Alpine owners now.

Since Silverleaf controls our settings - all we have to do is identify them as AGM. Hopefully, we won't have any trouble with these. When you lay out this amount of money, you should be able to have them last longer than 2 years.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:44 AM   #11
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I plan to put my coach batteries on a slideout tray. This will make it much easier to check and keep clean. My Monaco had that and it was very convenient. Has anyone done this to their Alpine?

Ted
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:49 AM   #12
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Monty,

It has always been my understanding, that with batteries banks in parallel, it is very important that all of the batteries are matched. This is hard to achieve after the bank of batteries is over a year old. After hearing about the Swans problems, it only reinforces my concerns about switching to AGM batteries. On my system with the Hydro Caps:
1) I have the advantage of the AGM's, not causing corrosion.
2) Need to check the water is infrequent.
3) Cost to change 8 batteries, due to one failure is not so hard to handle.

Letting batteries go completely dead, as happens to coaches on the dealers lots, will sulfate them and can cause there demise. As to your problems with your batteries, I would try equalizing them.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:05 AM   #13
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On our 06 the battery caps didn't leak much; occasional minor cleaning kept things tidy. On the 08 I have 3 batt's where the caps don't seal so well and they make a big mess. On delivery of the new coach, two caps leaked so much they left a constant puddle on top of the batts. My guess is that standards have slipped at BFS
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:15 PM   #14
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Mike,

I had 2 of the factory fill system battery caps over fill and leak. My concern about this was, beside the acid getting on things, it was diluting the acid in those cells. This is not the problem of corrosion that I was referring to, but the acid vapor that escapes when the batteries are charging and gets all around the batteries, cable connectors, battery mounting hardware and tray.
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