Wednesday, February 6, 2013

3 Day Engine Battery

Why 3 day battery?

Because it took me 3 days to install!!! 

Follow photos for story:

Day 1. 1-31-2013

Old engine battery finally croaked. It didn't like me filling that empty minded tire every other day. So it died & could not be resusitated. 

I tried. 

I made it live when I charged it up. Then I ran the engine for awhile. Then I shut engine off & battery just wasn't to be anymore. 

So I got out my 1/2" wrench & took the sad dead battery out & away. Went to WalMart to buy a new sparkling battery, full of life! 

 Look Ma - No battery!
Wheeee, new battery!!! Booooo, new battery would not fit battery tray! Back to Walmart to do some exchanging. Brought home another brand & went to work. Brought home  a Champion brand this time around. And well, makes sense to stick a Champion battery in the same RV that I stick Champion Salukis inside of. Right? BTW, old battery was from 2005, so that's a pretty long time for a battery to work. 
(The Salukis are easier to install than the battery was though)

Day 2.  2-01-2013
Took EverStart Battery back & got the Champion Battery in it's place. 

Oh, did you notice the funky battery insulation jacket in the no battery photo? Well, mice did. 
They made themselves a great home out of it at one time! I think perhaps it's been there since I bought Ellie in '06. One day when I was fixing my utility drawer, I pulled it out & found a mouze nest behind it. This was right after I bought Ellie. Then I noticed a small corner of a dinette cushion missing as a chunk was eaten out of it. Those cushions are gone now anyhow. As is/are the mouze/meese!

But look at what I discovered on day 2 of my battery installation! Had the first battery fit, I would never have noticed this mess! They ate part of the battery insulated jacket & set up their mouze houze! 
Check it out below. The insulation is in a cavity behind my drivers side headlight area. 

I got a grocery bag full of the stuff out with my reliable little shop vac. And it smelled of rodent too! Yuck.

So day two. Lubricant to loosen the post that holds the battery in place.  You won't find this lubricant in stores as it's actually left over from when I had my dog grooming salon. I used it on my clipper & clipper blades. Now I use it around the RV. It's better than WD 40, but I need to get some of that PB Blaster to have on hand for future projects.

 Note the black plastic thing. It holds my battery in place & the other side of the tray has rivets that the battery fits into. Well, this darn thing was backwards! So my previous battery was always a little loose & I thought I was missing a part. Nope, just that the last person put it on backwards! Now the new battery is nice, solid & stable.

 Day 3.  2-02-2013
Let that post soak overnight, was finally able to get it out on day 3. But wasn't easy! My hands hurt trying to turn that thing, but finally, it budged!!! I finally got it off! Yay!

OK, got the post off, now to work setting the battery in place. 

Now to change out the battery terminals. Note how rusted the old ones are. This could be a problem, so I decided to tackle it now while I'm working on all this anyhow. 
I should have lubricated & soaked them over night too! 
But did I?
So I sprayed them, let them sit for a couple of hours & had to spray them again.
Then I had to hunt, hunt, hunt, hunt & hunt for a pair of vice grips. 

Finally found a pair. 
Under the lawn mower seat. 
Isn't that where most folks store them?
My friends apparantely do! Ha!
She was changing out her battery on her lawn mower & left the vice grips there. I thought it the last resort to look when I remembered that little detail. 
So I get the vice grips so I can hang onto the rusted terminals so I can use my wrench to loosten the bolds. This took a 7/16" tool. 

Removing/installing the bolts that go through the terminals at the end where you see no bolt right now, requires a 1/2" wrench.

Then I got my wire brush & cleaned off the wires & grounding wire. 

You can see the rust over the wires. The ground wire had rust over it too. So I used the brush carefully to remove what rust I could, then I slathered petroleum jelly over them to protect them from future rust/corrosion. Note the new terminals! 
Pretty huh?

I also slathered petro jelly over the terminals & posts, including the new bolts.

Also, before I set the battery down into the tray, I lined the bottom of the tray with newspaper. 
Now it won't get bored. It has something to read. Unless the articles are boring. 
And without futher adieu - NEW BATTERY INSTALLED & WORKING! 

I kind of had to because the other battery was removed to go fetch the new one ;-) 

This project should have taken a half hour to an hour, but with all the complications I ran into it took me 3 days. 
On the 2nd day, I did not have much time to devote to this project as something else came up, so I was gone most of the day. 

I'm thrilled that this is DONE!! I could have saved myself  a lot of grief had I gotten it in when I noticed the battery was low, but then, with two bad tires, one going flat, it was safer that I chose to do this job in this manner than to attempt to drive the RV anywhere. And I doubt that most places would have changed out the terminals unless I asked them to. 

Thank you to those that gave me advice along the way on one of the Women's RV lists that I asked about this project when I ran into brick walls. 
Ya'll ROCK! 
Just one more thing on my resume of life!! 

~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after them on your travels & respect your neighbor~ 


  1. Good job! I like the play by play, very helpful to someone else needing to do the same job.

  2. Your attention to detail should serve you well in the future. A lot of folks would have just slapped the new battery in, hooked it up and been good to go. You did the right thing.

    1. Yes, that was tempting! But partly, since the battery support was backwards & I could not get the battery on the tray without removing the post first, I could not just slap the battery in. And my fear of the terminals rusting away & breaking loose from the battery while driving was utmost in my mind! So better safe than sorry, or hurting someone else on the road!

  3. Awesome job!!! You are truly multi-talented. I am playing catchup on reading blogs I missed some while the hubby was in the hospital for his surgery to become a bionic man (lol).

    1. I hope he's doing better. Was surprised when I caught up on your blog. OUCH!

  4. Now that it's finally in hopefully it will last more than three days. Which is what I was afraid the headline was gong to mean.

    1. Me too Linda! Maybe I should crank her over soon?

  5. Awesome that you can do these things for yourself! a great confidence booster.... makes one realize they can excel in other areas of life. Just look at all you do!! From re-furbishing a bicycle to understanding tech-y things to mechanics.... wow. I can do many things but am a total whimp in these areas :)

    1. Nah Sunny, you can do it too. I know you can! It's the benefits of growing up where we did!

  6. Good job. I always considered replacing a battery to be a simple job but my ex-husband managed to put one in backwards (and having to pry and force the terminal onto the wrong side). Yep, that completely fried the entire electrical system in that car. I always thought he was so stupid that time to punish me for something. He was good to his own car and otherwise quite intelligent and handy ...

    That rust is really pesky. Makes things a lot harder than they should be.


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