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Old 12-02-2019, 09:10 AM   #1
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Exploded engine battery

On Saturday I drove my 2018 Aspire from FL to SC with no problems.**Charging voltage was a consistent**13.8V.

Plugged into 50A and all appeared OK.

Yesterday I noticed some pieces of plastic on the ground at the rear and thought it was debris from something.**It rained and when I noticed some white stuff I wondered if it was excess soap coming off the roof.

This morning ground is dry and I thought the white stuff was DEF, maybe some kind of overflow or broken line.**I was shocked when I opened the door and saw the rear engine battery had exploded and fluid gone.**

Magnum shows charging 13.6V and EC30 shows both batteries 13.6.**Batteries are wired in parallel and voltmeter on battery shows 13.6 on both, even though Iím sure the exploded battery is not doing anything.

Entegra CS was not any help, said to get it to a Spartan shop to check the alternator.**We did go through charger settings on Magnum to ensure they were correct.**Spartan says batteries out of warranty and both need to be replaced.**Problem could be inverter so need to talk to Entegra.**Does not appear to be alternator since system dash readout shows consistent 13.8V charging and no check engine.

Obviously both batteries need to be replaced.**Any recommendations on brand and source?**I am located near Augusta, Ga.**

Any immediate action suggested to prevent any other problems?**Everything in coach is working and I am at home so not critical to get moving right away.**

Any suggestions welcome.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:30 AM   #2
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I think you should wash down the entire compartment with baking soda as soon as possible to neutralize and avoid damage from the battery acid.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
I think you should wash down the entire compartment with baking soda as soon as possible to neutralize and avoid damage from the battery acid.


Good idea, thanks.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:10 AM   #4
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My coach is a '19 and 18 months old. I felt that the Cummins was rolling over slowly several times, and separately, needed to get to a Cummins shop for some problems with DEF level readings. While there, Cummins tech said that I had one engine start battery that was cracked across the top of the battery and it was leaking battery acid. He said I definitely needed to replace it and that "you never replace just one of a pair of engine start batteries... you need to replace them both." So I did.

Now, I watch my voltage heading down the road pretty carefully and Never saw any over-voltage from the alternator (although about 6 months ago, needed to replace the alternator as it had failed) and the Magnums always were putting out appropriate voltage and charge.... what I had noticed before getting to the Cummins shop was that on several days when starting, the engine rolled over slowly, and then also noted that sometimes the voltage on the engine start battery bank was 12.5 or 12.4 volts (which according to 757Driver, as soon as the voltage drops below 12.6 on that battery bank, the BIM relay is to kick charging over to the chassis battery bank to bring it back up to full charge (mine wasn't)).

So, cracked case and battery acid versus exploded battery..... one would guess that they might be related. My understanding of the whole thing was that I had gotten a bad battery from the manufacturer.... (and I can tell you that battery warranty on a Spartan/Entegra product is 1 year... Even if a battery needs replaced because of a manufacturing problem, the replacement is out of your own pocket (my two batteries ended up being replaced under warranty, but for a different set of unique issues))

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Old 12-02-2019, 11:14 AM   #5
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I think Gary is on the right track. There are several manufacturing issues with batteries that could have caused this, and it sounds like this might be the case. In the absence of an over-voltage condition or physical damage, I would suspect a shorted cell that overheated while charging and caused off gassing and your small explosion.

As mentioned, clean the area thoroughly with baking soda and water, replace both batteries, and then check both alternator and inverter/charger systems to make sure they are getting appropriate charging voltage.

FWIW, checking batteries or charging systems in the absence of known good and known charged batteries will not give reliable results.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:20 AM   #6
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Ironically US Battery is located in Augusta, but they don't distribute there. For chassis batteries, I would go with Deka or East Penn or Delco. Any good truck battery should work, though I would steer clear of house brands. I'm not familiar with Augusta, so can't help with a shop recommendation.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:08 PM   #7
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Two places East of the Mississippi that carry ( last time I checked ) East Penn manufactured batteries is Sam's Club if I recall correctly under the Duracall label and Freightliner under the Alliance label. Admittedly this could have changed but it should be a simple phone call to check.
You should find both in the Augusta area I would think.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:18 PM   #8
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I had a battery blow up once as soon as I hit the start switch. The battery had shorted.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:59 PM   #9
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I would go with either Interstate AGM 31-D or Exide AGM 31-D ... AGM's are a far better design and don't do this kind of stuff. If you keep them on a battery tender when parked [ and not being charged by the inverters ] they will last a long time. Warranty is usually 2x as well.


The Interstates are "pure lead" and believe it or not cost a lot less than the Exide "pure lead". About the same price as the Exide standard AGM.



I've always upgraded to AGM's when the originals start to sag and never, ever had any issues. Well worth the investment.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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Had one of our starting batteries blow a couple years ago. At the time the battery was dated 3 years since it was put into service. I never knew what caused it since I check the water monthly, both the alternator and charger / inverter were working as they should. The explosion happened as soon as I hit the starter, sounded like a shotgun at very close range. Battery was blown in half with many small fragments spread all over my garage. Acid was everywhere, we quickly washed it down and hit it with a baking soda and water mix. The concrete will be etched forever and my jeans look like the moths had a party. I replaced them with AGM's. I have a much different respect for batteries now.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:12 PM   #11
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Agree with going with a Deka/East Penn though most aftermarket batteries will be better than the OEM equipment.

When I was working in the battery industry, the worse batteries were OEM. Typically "give us the cheapest battery that will make it 1 to 3 years", whatever the warranty from manufacturer was.

Off brand batteries are usually made by one of the "big boys". Additionally there are some exceptionally good smaller brand batteries. Crown battery is my personal favorite.

Exide is my least favorite. They have always been the low cost provider and as such are closer to OEM quality than others. Actually back in the day, Exide couldn't buy OEM business due to their quality.

Also not a fan of AGM in a chassis environment.

Bottom line, I would go with the best CCA rated flooded battery with the longest warranty you can find. Any 4-5 yr battery off brand or not, will be better than the OEM batteries.

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Old 12-02-2019, 10:51 PM   #12
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My dad has 2018 Anthem and one of his batteries cracked and had to be replaced. Gary, I have noticed my 19 Cornerstone turns over slower than the 18 Anthem but this has been the case since new. I will definitely inspect the cranking batteries as soon as I get back to the coach.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:43 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the responses. Cleanup took awhile and fortunately I had a bag of baking soda.

There is an Interstate dealer near so I went with the Interstate 31T. Partly for convenience, time, and form factor so that everything fit in that tight space with no need to change cable configuration.

So here is my theory.**The batteries are located on the other side of the wall from the big DPF tank that gets really hot.**The battery that exploded is closer.**In normal running there is airflow through that area so it does not get too hot.**But when sitting or crawling slowly on the Interstate as I was doing at times on Saturday due to accidents ahead, there is not much cooling going on. The same has happened many times before.**So my thought is that heat buildup has caused the acid in the battery to boil away.**Considering the size of the batteries I did not see much liquid in the battery tray or in the exploded battery so maybe it was not full when it exploded.

Now that the new batteries are in this is what I see.
Dash readout of alternator says 13.8 but actual voltage at battery is 14.

With engine off and connected to power voltage is 13.7

With charger turned off voltage is 13.5 right away and have not left charger turned off for any length of time.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:50 AM   #14
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Just my experience with the Entegra OEM batteries. I also had one of the house batteries short out, thankfully under the 2 year warranty. It sounds like from others post that Entegra only goes by the battery warranties now and not the Entegra two years. The OEM batteries are not of top quality, to bad yours exploded causing a mess. Before going into a lot of work with the charging system, I'll bet you will be fine replacing the batteries.

I am also a fan of the East Penn/Deka line. My house batteries were replaced with East Penn and they held a charge much longer than the OEM batteries which never made it through the night from the time they were new.

There have been several posts where the OEM starting batteries were replaced as the would just not spin the engine over fast enough. Sounds like they are of a lower quality, with one of yours exploding.
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