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Old 01-27-2022, 01:25 PM   #1
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House Battery Water - Thor Aria 3401

Working my way through maintenance items on a recently acquired 2018 Thor Aria 3401. Went to check the water on the house batteries and I can only get one cap out of 8 off because the cables are in the way. They are supposed to be less than a year old so replacement with AGM is not going to happen soon (hopefully). I'm going to see about repositioning cables but wanted to reach out and see what y'all do if you have a similar set up. Thanks
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Old 01-27-2022, 01:35 PM   #2
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I had the same problem and had to order longer cross-connect cables to route around the fill caps.
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Old 01-27-2022, 01:40 PM   #3
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Looking at your image, a few of those cables can be loosened and repositioned out of the way of the caps. Any that can't be repositioned would just have to be removed and then reinstalled.

You can always buy longer cables to permanently install, positioned away from the caps.

An automatic battery watering system could be used to keep from going through the trouble.
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Old 01-28-2022, 06:15 AM   #4
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Is that compartment open to the road? Looks pretty nasty in there!

I know it needs to be vented but donít understand why some manufacturers choose to build the battery compartments that way.
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:06 AM   #5
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You don't have to remove all caps on a battery to get a general idea if they need water added. I check one on each battery and if low enough to require adding water I remove the others, check and add if necessary. But I can often go a year without adding any water, so that would help.

As others have noted, either reroute or remove the cables when you have to check them all. It does look a little groaty, but isn't hurting anything.

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Old 01-28-2022, 08:39 AM   #6
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I don't see any great short cut to share as you'll need to access all cells to check/add water. The center cells of the battery typically use more water as they run warmer so you need to have access to all cells. I think your battery compartment looks pretty darn good compared to the white acid crap build up that started on my flooded batteries from new. Your coach builder didn't do you any favors setting up the connecting cables like this.
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:52 AM   #7
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Good ideas on battery water. As for the compartment itself, for years I have simply washed the battery compartment with a garden hose to clean out the mess. Because it's low voltage I never had a problem doing it.
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:54 AM   #8
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I'll just say that lead/acid batteries require FREQUENT maintenance! Anything that makes it difficult to access the fill caps needs to be changed to make it easy to do so.

We check ours monthly, and it rare NOT to need to add a little distilled water to at least one of the 8 batteries. - Paul
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:58 AM   #9
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Good ideas on battery water. As for the compartment itself, for years I have simply washed the battery compartment with a garden hose to clean out the mess. Because it's low voltage I never had a problem doing it.
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:43 AM   #10
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Generally if you're adding water to batteries more than a couple times a year you're overcharging your batteries. Water dissolution only happens at prolonged elevated cell voltage or batteries in decline. Rinsing off dirty batteries cures the symptom but not the problem. Seal off the compartment to keep dirt and road spray out and you both minimize the maintenance and also eliminate buildup of crud on top that promotes terminal/cable corrosion.

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Old 01-28-2022, 10:41 PM   #11
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Thanks all. I got in there today and got to all the covers except one. I turned off the inverter and house disconnect, unplugged the shore cable and disconnected the ground cable. I removed a couple of cables and repositioned some. A few cells took a little bit of water. I will get a couple of longer cables to reconfigure for easier in the future.

I was surprised that there was a pretty good spark when I disconnected and reconnected the ground. I wonder what was still drawing juice? I left it unplugged for the night to see if the battery is drawn down.
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Old 01-29-2022, 05:51 AM   #12
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Actually I agree with some that the compartment looks good with no corrosion visible. That seems to say charging is likely good. I would spray some batty terminal spray on them just the same to keep them that way.
I have added mud flaps ahead of places where road dirt / spray left residue like that and it really improved things. Entry steps are a common one where short mud flaps - modified if necessary - keep steps much cleaner. Batty compartment venting doesn't have to be wide open to the road so sometimes a larger rubber mat under battys can close up a lot of open spaces.
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Old 01-29-2022, 06:02 AM   #13
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Sparks in battery compartments can be dangerous and thus they are well ventilated.

Sparks can happen because of huge input surges as capacitors charge in things like the inverter/charger.

If the sparks happen if you disconnect and reconnect within seconds I might be concerned there is some sort of draw but not likely unless you have basement heat or heating pads turned on and it is cold.

Good battery maintenance is critical to an RV. They are the heart of just about everything. Removing and rearranging battery cables also let you get a feel for the tightness and cleanliness of the connections.

The buildup of dirt in there indicates a lack of maintenance in there or some real boondocking roads. In any case, cleaning and checking every battery connection so they shine like a penny is always a good thing. And you now have pictures which is really important. I would suggest taking more of everything in there for future reference.

Getting some voltage measurements on all of the connections while you have fresh photos and annotating them with those readings can aleve many headaches in the future when they come. Not if, but when.
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Old 01-29-2022, 06:17 AM   #14
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My batteries are also in a open compartment. I have removed the batteries , wiped clean the area with water . While drying ,I'll check the water. I then sprayed the shelf with undercoating . After drying I put a rubber mat under were the batteries will go. Reinstall the batteries , labeled the cables and turned on switches. I remove these batteries to check water every 4 months and will replace with AGM when the time comes. I will still clean the compartment after a several month trip.
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