Computer Aided Design - one of the bragging points of motorhome manufacturers on how efficiently they can utilize space. I mention this "selling point" because we have discovered we are now victims of CAD. Now I'm not saying CAD is a bad thing, just that sometimes what looked good on a computer monitor loses its luster when applied in the real world. Such is the case with the battery installation in a Fleetwood Excursion.
With 4, flooded cell, 6 volt coach batteries I decided to make the preventative maintenance a bit easier by installing Flow-Rite battery watering systems thus ensuring a quick method of topping off the cells and in general, taking care of them. All was well and good, from the spec sheets the Flow-Rite is a real easy installation (something critical for me, reference the vent cover posting) and can be well worth the costs. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, CAD reared its ugly head when I went to actually install the systems.
First a little personal history. When I was growing up one of the jobs available for us kids was moving irrigation pipe. These 3" diameter, 30 foot pipe sections were not really heavy but were quite cumbersome until you got practice. At the first of the year we could usually find various critters who used the pipes as quick, secure dens. Now, put a brain dead teenager just learning the job, a bunny rabbit and an irrigation pipe together, all underneath a power line and you have the makings of a tragic accident just waiting to happen.
You guessed it, bunny runs into pipe. Teen, without thinking raises the pipe vertically to shake the bunny out. Pipe touches power line. Teen quickly learns electricity is not necessarily his friend by tossing him a good 10 feet away and giving him some nice burns. The bunny escaped unscathed. Of course, I didn't learn of the last bit until I regained consciousness in the emergency room. Since that day I've carried a significant amount of respect and wariness when it comes to working on anything electrical. Now, enter the batteries whose placement was determined by CAD.
The first 2 were arranged for a classic installation and posed no problem at all. The third was even easier, set by itself with lots of room and all the cells simple to get to. Tucked all the way back and high in the battery compartment the 4th battery definitely made up for the ease of installation of the other 3. Having only a couple of inches clearance on top and with the heavy cables taking up that room it was a far cry from the nice, neat battery installations on sliding trays shown in so many motorhomes.
The end story? Watering system for 3 batteries installed in approximately 20 minutes. 4th battery install was a good hour and half trembling hands and all. Fortunately, no arcs, sparks or severe cuss words.