House Battery Workover

House Battery Compartment

One of the really bad things about a bus or a large Recreational Vech. (RV) are the batteries it takes to run one of these monsters of the highway.  We are battery poor.  Eagles take 3 starter batteries, 8 House batteries, and one battery for the generator.  We just replaced the starter batteries and now because of age, we are replacing the house batteries, all eight of them.  This is no simple chore, and it is not cheap, around $1100.00 for the batteries alone.  The old batteries were WallyWorld Golf Cart (6 years old) and the replacements are Interstate, made in St. Charles Missouri, USA. First order of the day is to get them out of the compartment, they weigh about 160lbs each and lifting them straight up and then out is no easy task.  Some buses have them on a slide out tray but we do not have that luxury.  After removal of the batteries, then it is time to work all the connectors.  You take them to the grinder and do a number on them to remove all evidence of corrosion. Word to the wise.  It is a good idea to make a working diagram of the position of all the cables when you disconnect or at best, take a shot of them with a camera.  It will be a LOT BETTER DEAL later on when you go to re-hook everything up and you cannot remember which way all the cables connected and where all of them went to produce power to the coach.

Next come the new batteries … one at a time.

All eight in place, and re-connected.

Now the real fun begins.  Cleaning up and detailing out the entire compartment.  Which means a lot of masking tape, a lot of scraping and cleaning and then repainting all the surfaces.

Masking and Paint Prep

Polish and bright work

One improvement was a case for the battery maintainers.  And more illumination in the compartment with LED work lights.  The next thing to go in were two utility work lights and a battery maintainer station and its own light set up.

Battery Maintainers and Light Setup

I also felt the need to add a heater box and do something with the back wall which looked awful plain and just downright ugly.  So I fabricated some wood trim and made some improvements in that area at the same time.  In the winter time I close off the compartment and run an electric heater to keep batteries warm and to ward off freezing.  So the back wall got a covering and battery box too.

The following three shots are the bay at about 90% completed.  All that remains are a few odd’s and ends, and it will be a wrap.  This is the final bay restoration on the bus, they have all been reworked and completely refurbished, this is also the last project for the year.

Back wall in place, heater in heater box, almost finished.

Most everything in place … down to detailing it out and wrapping it up.

Comments section is open if you want to leave a reply.

BCO

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6 thoughts on “House Battery Workover

  1. I’m always so impressed with how neat and tidy you are… everything looks organized and well cared for! Very impressive, my friend!

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    • I try real hard to follow up on what I call loose ends or the details. It is not completely finished, there are somethings that need to be completed before I would consider it done. The electric heater in the box for instance, it was black, I repainted it red, because I just thought it would look better.

      That is just the nature of the beast, I don’t suppose it will ever get done, and it will always be there waiting for you the next time.

      Looking pretty good for almost thirty-years old.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Don

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  2. When are you going to point the bus north and come to Alaska?

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    • As much as I would love to see you and catch up on old times, it just isn’t in the card my dear. The cost of the fuel would be astronomical just to get there, and then it would be empty, and you know the rest don’tcha? Everything is expensive in Alaska.

      Thank you for your comment. Oh yeah, did you know Joey Pinkey, he lived on Goodwin Street, just down the way from your house.

      Don

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  3. Looks good. what kind of heater did you use?

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    • Greg, I used a small ceramic heater that they sell at hardware stores. They are usually in the 1500-1800 watt range, inexpensive, less than $30. You can find them just about anywhere, WallyWorld will have some in the fall.

      I disassembled it, painted the grillwork bright silver, and the body red.

      In the winter time I have two plywood sections cut to fill the grillwork on the doors, I clamp them on and that helps to hold the heat inside the bay where the batteries are located. My shop often will get down into the low teen’s in the winter as it is not heated, so I have about three heaters that I use to protect appliances and whatnot.

      Thanks for stoppin by, hope this answers your questions.

      DS

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