Tuesday, August 17, 2010
New Batteries for the Tour
Our Tour motorhome carries 5 batteries to serve both the chassis (engine start) and for the coach needs. These are carried in a special battery compartment as seen above. The 3 coach batteries are located in the top drawer and the chassis batteries are below them. We have felt that the batteries were getting weak for a while and finally, Rick decided to replace them all at one time.
Rick started with the chassis batteries as seen above. This task is made much easier with the pull-out tray that allows reasonable access to the batteries. Before starting, Rick disconnected the batteries using the cutoff switch above and unplugged the coach from 110v external power.
Once I had the chassis batteries disconnected, it was time to pull the three coach batteries. I made sure to take several pictures of the batteries and wires before work started so I could be sure to put it back together the right way.
The three 12 volt batteries are connected together to form one large 12 volt battery. By connecting all the positive terminals together (and negative terminals), we end up with one big battery as seen above. You can also see that we have experienced some corrosion that we will clean up while we are at it.
Here is the tray after the (heavy!) batteries were removed. I had to deal with some minor rust, but things looked pretty good.
The next step was to clean off the grime from the ends of the connecting cables. I used my trusty Dremel tool with a sanding wheel to shine things up nicely. This works surprisingly well and was very quick to boot.
Finally, I sprayed some battery sealer on all the connections after I installed the new batteries. This is supposed to keep corrosion at bay, but we will see how that works. The batteries will naturally vent while charging, so this is a common issue.
Success! I have all the batteries replaced and the trays cleaned up. After getting things connected and the coach plugged back in, I was delighted to see the coach voltage was now nice and high -- much better than when the old, weak batteries were installed. I think this will work well in the future when we dry camp.