Saturday, August 22, 2015

POP!!!

Hey guys!

Wow has it been a crazy 2 weeks since I posted!

As I stated in my last post, Tex was able to take some leave so he was off this week.  We made a last minute decision to use a few days this week and drive a few hours south of Seattle to a RV Interior Design company to get a quote for new blinds throughout the RV.  I will post more about the blinds in my next post.

Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design is located in Woodland, WA, about 2 ½ hours south of Seattle and about 20 minutes north of Portland.  They are very well known throughout the RV community as doing quality work.  As a matter of fact, there are two other RVers in the Park here in Issaquah who are getting work done there in the next couple of weeks.

We made reservations at Columbia Riverfront RV Park for two nights.  We planned to drive down this past Wednesday and stop and get the quote and then go to the RV park and stay for two nights and maybe drive to Portland to sight see.  That plan changed a bit when we tried to start the RV.

Wednesday morning we planned to leave about 9 am.  We got up and were ready to go on time.  When Tex turned the ignition, we heard a loud POP!  We rushed outside and opened the battery compartment.  Smoke came billowing out.  Our hearts sank!

There was acid everywhere and upon inspection, we found that one of the two engine starting batteries had literally blown up.  There was a hole in the top of the battery and a HUGE hole in the side of the battery.  We couldn’t see the second engine battery because it sits tandem behind the first one.  We had no idea why it had blown up but we knew we were in trouble.

Side of blown out battery

Top of the blown out battery.  It should have been a 1000 cold cranking amp.
It was dated May 2011

I immediately called Auburn Kent Valley RV who had just installed our new inverter and fridge and asked them what to do.  They were super nice and told us what brand of battery to get and looked online for places near us to call.  They also told us to call our roadside assistance to get them working on the problem. 

I hung up and called Good Sam Roadside Assistance.  We have the Platinum plan but I have no idea what that means.  They were very nice and took my information and told me that they would call me back when they found someone who could come out help.

During this time, Tex had taken out the bad battery and had poured baking soda in the battery tray to absorb all the acid.  He then was scooping out the soda/acid mixture and cleaning up the huge mess.

Acid filled the battery tray.
This was the bad battery in the back that was original to the RV.
Battery was dated 2005

Good Sam called me back in a few minutes and told me I had a couple of options.  One company could come out within 2 hours but their batteries cost more.  The second company could come out within 4-6 hours but their batteries cost less.  I told her to go ahead and call the company that could come out the quickest and hung up.

We debated what to do at this point.  Even though this was going to cost us money, we actually felt blessed and lucky that this happened at our home RV park and we weren’t rushed to get out of a site by a deadline.  We were also glad that it didn’t happen when we had stopped at a rest stop or even the following day when we were in a RV park that was in the middle of nowhere.

So, at this point, we decided to start calling around some local car repair places and battery stores to see if we could find some batteries close by.  We felt that Tex could replace them himself if we could find them.  This would save us several hours if we could find them on our own.  It would also save us quite a bit of money too!

We called a lot of places and ended up finding two batteries at O’Reilly’s, which was less than a mile from us!  What luck!  The batteries only cost us $100 a piece.  The roadside assistance company was going to charge us $170 a piece, so we saved $140 total and about 4-5 hours of lost time by doing it ourselves.  I called Good Sam at this point and canceled the call for help.

Tex went and got the batteries and then began taking out the second battery.  We soon found out why the first battery had blown up.  We bought this RV, which is a 2006 Newmar Ventana, used in Dec 2012.  The first battery (the one that blew up) was dated May 2011.  We wrongly assumed that the second engine battery that was sitting behind it was the same date.  WRONG!

The prior owner had only switched out one battery.  The second battery was the original battery from when the coach was made.  It was a Freightliner battery dated 2005!

Apparently, the old battery in the back has been dead for a while and the front battery was carrying the load.  On top of all this was that the front battery did not have enough cold cranking amps so not only was it the only battery working, it was also not big enough.  All of this combined to make the battery literally blow up!

Tex changed the batteries in about 5 minutes and while he was finishing up I took the old batteries to O’Reilly’s to get our core charge refunded.  By the time all of this was done, it was now Noon!

We made quick work of hooking up the Jeep to tow and finally pulled out at 12:30!  What a morning!

Because we were now about 4 hours behind schedule and had about 3 hours drive time, we would not be able to get to Dave and LJ’s before they closed and we needed to check into the RV park before 5 pm.  We just decided to go check into the RV park and then go to Dave ad LJ’s on Thursday. 

On Thursday, we went to Dave and LJ’s and discussed new blinds.  Like I said earlier, we have quite a bit of info regarding the blinds so they deserve their own post. 

We were at Dave and LJ’s about an hour.  The RV had been turned off and we had been powering the inside electrical needs with our house batteries.  All that was really turned on was the all-electrical new residential refrigerator. 

I went to push the switch to bring the bedroom slide back in to get ready to go and I made a comment to Tex that the slide was moving really slow.  I then walked into the kitchen and found that the refrigerator was dead.  We immediately looked at the invertor and it was showing a fault.  Our hearts just sank!  The house batteries were only showing 9.8 amps.  They should have been around 12.5 or so.  At 10 amps or below, the invertor shuts down power.

So guess what!  Now our 4 house batteries are dead!  Just the day prior, our engine starting batteries failed and we had to buy new starting batteries.  Now our house batteries (the ones that power the indoor electrical needs) are dead. Now we have to buy 4 new house batteries.

When it rains it pours.  We ended up starting the RV and driving back the to the RV park which was just 5 miles away and plugged back into shore power.  We would be ok until we got back to Seattle the next day to buy batteries because we could always run the generator driving down the road if we needed to.

So, on Friday, we drove back to Seattle and got set back up in our home RV park.  Today, Saturday, we found an Interstate Battery Center about 20 miles away and went and purchased 4 new house batteries.  Tex was able to change these batteries out as well and we now have all new batteries.  2 new engine batteries for around $250 and 4 new house batteries for around $600. 

4 new house batteries ready for installation

New house batteries installed

It has been an expensive week but at least we know all of our batteries are new and will power our needs for a few years.  Our plan is to add solar power in 2017 and upgrade our 4 house batteries to AGM and add 2 more for 6 AGM house batteries.

Like I said, it has been a crazy week!  Every day there has been something happening and I just haven’t had time to catch up with the blog.  I will post an update about our blinds soon because that is our next big project!

Until next time!






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