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Old 08-19-2013, 06:25 PM   #1
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House Battery replacement

I have a bank of three house batteries on a 2004 Winnebago Journey.

I replaced all three of them when I bought the HM used about 3 years ago.
I bought deep cycle Marine type batteries from Sam's.
When not in use, I put a Battery tender on them. I service the batteries, but to be honest, this was the inner most battery, and I use a mirror when servicing and sometimes guess.

I returned from a trip and was getting it ready to store when I noticed that one of the batteries had blown off the servicing cover and the battery had exploded. I say exploded, but what I mean is the top had separated from the case and I assume al fluids had leaked out. There was corrosion all over.

I have read a couple of threads and will clean it up tomorrow with baking soda etc.

what I want to know is what are the best type of batteries to replace them with. Should I just get one new battery and hope for the best for the other two, or just replace all three. I would like to get the safest, and most maintenance free batteries I can get. I bought the RV used. The two "car" batteries are the gel type I believe. I assume that they are original equipment which makes them 8 years old. Can I use gel type batteries for house batteries. What are the best type.

Brand names and part numbers would help. Also where to buy them, ie. RV place, parts America, Flying J (do they sell batteries), Sam's etc.
Thanks for the help.


Jim and Vicky, Belleville, IL
2004 Winnebago Journey
2012 Explorer Toad
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:54 PM   #2
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I removed your type batteries a year ago, two 6v wet cells and replaced with two 12v AGM's from Sam's, tray nice and dry and clean now.
You do not want to have mixed batteries.

Battery info and more.

98KSCA, 99MACA, 03 KSCA-3740- 8.1 Chev-- ALLISON Trans, now in good hands
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:09 PM   #3
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We have four Interstate GC-2 batteries that replaced the four Interstate U-2200 batteries after one month short of 10 years. I added 4 oz of mineral oil to each cell to cut down on the need to check the fluid level sometime in 2004.
Even after almost 10 years they were still in pretty good shape but we were headed out on a trip and I didn't want trouble on the road.
Here are two pictures of my batteries after four years of never needing to nor being cleaned.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:10 PM   #4
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Yeah, I think if you put one new one in the other two will drag it down to their level pretty quickly. After three years on those batteries it's probably about time anyway.

I've used the Costco/WalMart Deep Cycle Marine batteries for several years too and, at least in my application, I've only gotten about 18 months of good service out of them. We never boondock so it's not a big deal but they are clearly pretty weak after that time.

I'm sure someone with suggestions on higher quality deep cycles will be along soon.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 08-19-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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I assume all three were 12 volt batteries connected in parallel. Most marine labeled batteries that say deep cycle are not true deep cycle, they are a hybrid and will not do what your are asking. There are marine deep cycle batteries, you just have to be carfull what your buying. Typically if thay have a Cold Cranking Amps rating they are not true deep cycle.
For house, not chassis, you want the most amp hours you can put in the space available for the cost your willing to pay. Many people use pairs of 6 volt flooded cell batteries in series to produce the necessary12 volt supply. Two will supply about 220 amp-hours at 12 volt. Four, or two pairs, would give about 440 amp-hours.
A 12 volt true deep cycle of equivelant amp-hours is going to cost more, if AGM then more still. The advantage of AGM is no maintenance.
Hope this helps.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
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Given the Accessibility issues, AGM's....not GELS!!....would be a good choice BUT
1. You have to have a good 3 stage charger
2. There ARE differences in performance between brands in terms of # of cycles in a lifetime and charge acceptance rates...but ANY AGM from a brand name supplier will be OK. Best IMO is the Odyssey thin plate pure lead... also sold as the Sears Die Hard Platinum Marine AGM. Long life contruction and the ability to suffer deeper discharges and FASTER recharges IF you can supply more current through your charger.
Trojan AGM's would be another top of the line choice...and Full River AGM's are good performers at relatively good prices. The costco/Sams models will be just fine for most folks but fulltimers can benefit from the premium brands more readily.
3. Sounds like your battery was either defective...unlikely...or murdered by poor use/care. AGM's NEED to be charged FULLY to 100% at least once every couple of weeks using the proper 3 stage charging Bulk 14.5V, Absorbtion 13.8V and float 13.2V .... unlike wet cells or SEALED wet cell batteries...they lose way less of their charge through unattended self discharge and so are less susceptible to winter freeze damage or simple deep discharge damage if left unattended.
4. House deep cycle batteries should not be discharged more than 1/2 their 20 hour amp hour capacity. In other words a 100 amp hour deep cycle battery should NOT be discharged more than 50 amp hours before recharging begins. Many batteries die early due to deep discharging before recharging.
5. Wet batteries will RECHARGE at about 20% of capacity...so that 100 amp hour battery should be paired with a 20 amp charger or so. AGM's can be recharged at HIGHER rates...usually 30-40% (but 100%+ with Odysseys!) So you can save generator time and charging time with a charger about double the size of the appropriate wet cell size.
6. A permanently installed battery amp hour use meter is a great way to monitor what is going on with your house bank if you dry camp a lot. The Victron BMV600 is a great monitor and easy to install. It is your fuel gauge for dry camping!
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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AGM/VRLA batteries have very different requirements, manufacturer data sheet will specify rate of charge, most only about 25 amps or so.

Some are float service, others are cycle service, there is great difference in performance.

The "Pure Lead" batteries are unreal in their performance, we had a demo set of 170 amp hr that performed better than 200 amp hour units, but the cost was a budget buster.

Lots of information to read here, search battery design or engineering and you can learn a lot.

But before you spend a dime do your own engineering, know your loads, expected run times, charging and physical space.

Select your battery type that fits, then review the data sheet to insure your expectations are met and you properly charge them.

Tony & Lori
1989 Country Coach Savannah SE
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battery, replace, replacement

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