Even though the two 12 volt starting batteries on our coaches are Maintenance Free, they can still be serviced (add water). Several months ago, "Stuart W" told me that his starting batteries went bad on his 2018 Dutch Star (this applies to both Spartan and Freightliner). When he removed them, he cut the label on the top of the battery and was able to remove the battery caps, even though it's called a maintenance free battery. He found the water in several cells were below the battery plates.
So....following Stuart's suggestion to check my batteries, I pulled them out today. You can only access maybe 3-4 of the battery caps while they're in place, because the rest are blocked by cables and the battery hold down.
Removing them is pretty simple, as the cables are all bolted together and there is no need to mark them. On mine, both batteries had handles.
Tools you need...….
9/16 deep well socket and ratchet
4" strip of duct tape
plastic gloves as it's a dirty job
***A cordless electric ratchet makes the job effortless***
Before you start the removal process, turn the master battery switch off, above the batteries.
There are two long carriage bolts holding the battery bracket in place. On the forward bolt, hang onto it as you remove the nut (9/16) and washer. If you don't it falls to the ground. Once the nut and washer are removed, lower the bolt out of the bracket and replace the nut (this will keep it from falling out). When you remove the rear nut and washer, the bolt will fall to the ground.
As stated earlier, the battery cables are all connected and nothing will fall off or come apart when you remove them. Remove the plastic caps from the four battery studs. Remove only the four nuts, two positive and two negative from the battery studs.
Once the four nuts are removed, lift the cables and the batteries will slide out. I sat in a patio chair, right in front of the battery bay, so I was comfortable. I put a towel on my leg and lowered the first battery to the top of my knee and then to the ground. To keep from having issues, I placed the batteries on the ground in the SAME orientation as I had removed them.
Once the batteries are out, you'll see the outline, through the label, of the six round battery caps. I cut the labels with a razor knife and then used a flathead screwdriver to unscrew them (slot in the center of the cap).
I found my two batteries took about four cups of distilled water. I wiped the battery bay, clean up the batteries and then reinstalled them. As you slide them back in, they will slide right under the cables and line up perfectly. I replaced the hold down bracket and then took a 4" piece of duct tape and crawled under the corner of the coach with the bolt that fell out. Looking up, you can see where the bolt goes through the bottom of the battery bay and you can even see the hole in the hold down bracket. I inserted the bolt through the hole and the bracket, then used the duct tape to hold the bolt in place.
I reinstalled both nuts on the hold down and then the four nuts on the battery cables.
This is a worthwhile project if you want to extend the life of your starting batteries. Here are some pictures of the project.