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Old 05-12-2015, 11:53 AM   #1
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Bungled Battery Box

I have probably struggled with the battery box on my Escape more than any other item. The most pressing matter is the bolts that fasten the lid are too long. I have cut off the bolt ends but the wing nut is still too high and it's causing damage to the underside of the lid.

If you have ever lost the bolt in that tight space shown in the photograph, it is nigh impossible to get it back in position.

I can see replacing the wooden board with a piece of metal will alleviate one issue with the wing nuts. This still is a cumbersome system, I envision the metal fasteners at the bottom of the battery box bending and pulling out as you tighten the wooden (or metal) closure. The rubber grommets are getting chewed up in the tightening process, you can see I added fender washers. Using a piece of metal will alleviate one issue, this still is a system in need of a redesign.

OK, done venting. Do I have a one of a kind or have others had this issue?

Any ideas? Or do I just live with it?
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I have probably struggled with the battery box on my Escape more than any other item. The most pressing matter is the bolts that fasten the lid are too long. I have cut off the bolt ends but the wing nut is still too high and it's causing damage to the underside of the lid.

If you have ever lost the bolt in that tight space shown in the photograph, it is nigh impossible to get it back in position.

I can see replacing the wooden board with a piece of metal will alleviate one issue with the wing nuts. This still is a cumbersome system, I envision the metal fasteners at the bottom of the battery box bending and pulling out as you tighten the wooden (or metal) closure. The rubber grommets are getting chewed up in the tightening process, you can see I added fender washers. Using a piece of metal will alleviate one issue, this still is a system in need of a redesign.

Any ideas? Or do I just live with it?
Maybe replace the wood strip with a thinner piece of steel or aluminum?
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:32 PM   #3
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They make "clips" that attach to the long bolts that hold the battery in place.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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Looks like a rubber washer underneath the metal one; mine only has the metal one. Would removing the rubber washer make a difference?
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:24 PM   #5
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How about taking a piece of flat bar, say 2" long, 3/4" wide and 3/16" thick, drilling and tapping a hole to make a "flat" low profile wing nut. You could still remove it without tools.

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Old 05-12-2015, 02:34 PM   #6
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The rubber washers are down at the other end of the threaded rods on mine, keeps the bent part from falling off. Mine is a long dual 6v box.

I do get a distinct smell when the batteries are charging at a high voltage, up over 15 volts. Need to find a better way to vent them. These boxes are side vented as opposed to top vented.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:50 PM   #7
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The lid on my battery box came from ETI fastened down with nylon straps, no bolts.
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
..... Do I have a one of a kind or have others had this issue?

Any ideas? Or do I just live with it?
How about a knurled nut or thumb screw. If you have a hardware store like mine nearby, they'd have such a thing.

Or, if you can silver solder or braize, you can make one.

Get seven hex nuts the proper thread size, position six in a hexagonal ring around the center one, and solder or braize them all together. It will give you plenty to get your paw around, and total thickness is one nut high.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
How about a knurled nut or thumb screw. If you have a hardware store like mine nearby, they'd have such a thing.

Or, if you can silver solder or braize, you can make one.

Get seven hex nuts the proper thread size, position six in a hexagonal ring around the center one, and solder or braize them all together. It will give you plenty to get your paw around, and total thickness is one nut high.
Drilling and tapping a hole in a short piece of flat bar is just so much quicker

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Old 05-12-2015, 06:42 PM   #10
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Drilling and tapping a hole in a short piece of flat bar is just so much quicker

Ron
True that. (I confess: I saw "flat bar" and assumed,
instead of reading the rest of your post,
so I missed your actual solution.)
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:15 PM   #11
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True that. (I confess: I saw "flat bar" and assumed,
instead of reading the rest of your post,
so I missed your actual solution.)
Not that I'm any expert on finding the most efficient way of making things. Sometimes I amaze myself how I can ignore the most obvious simple solution and come up with the most complicated and difficult way. It's also amazing how the simple solution pops up just after you've finished doing it the hard way.

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Old 05-12-2015, 07:50 PM   #12
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It is interesting that every responder who mentioned their battery box had a different style or a different method of fastening the top. Either we cover alot of different manufacturing dates of this is something that has not been standardized at Escape.

With the style that I have, the problem is the bolts are just too long, Or they have been fastened into the side of the battery box at such a distance to make them too long. In either case, any work with 144 lbs of batteries in a difficult position to reach is a challenge. I do not want to remove the batteries, I cannot remove one of the bolts due to clearance issues so I think your suggestions are correct, a metal bar of some sort. The nylon webbing would work but at this point I do not believe it could be passed underneath the box without removal.

Bob, the mention of the odor when charging is what brought this up. My propane detector kept going off during a charge. Researching this further it appears it is fairly common in RV's. Some propane detectors find the carbon element present in the off gassing and alarm. I was hoping I could improve on the seal of the battery box, thus my efforts with the cover.

I am not worried about the off gassing, all my charging at the high voltages (15.5) is using solar. Since that has to be day time and a sunny day the trailer is empty. Opening a window and turning on the Fantastic Fan solved the problem. Like you, I wish there was a better battery box design and venting. My understanding is the outlet for the vent on the battery box has to be lower than the outlet on the outside of the trailer, that may preclude a top vent box.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
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... It's also amazing how the simple solution pops up just after you've finished doing it the hard way.

Ron
Yup. Like this weekend: I cleaned my workbench, and got a sore neck from 2 hours of bending/leaning over to sort a 10 yr. collection of containers of bolts nuts screws, etc.
My wife walked out into the garage and said "why don't you put the sorting tray on top of a coffee can so you're not bending over so much?"
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:15 PM   #14
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Paul, is there a battery hold-down clamp inside the box, or just this wooden bar and bolts on the outside?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
The lid on my battery box came from ETI fastened down with nylon straps, no bolts.
If the wooden bar is only holding the lid - not containing the batteries - then a strap (or pair of straps) seems like a much lower-profile and more convenient solution to me.
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:47 PM   #15
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Have heard of this battery smell now at least twice. We haven't had a trace of it with the single 12V(Group 29) and have not had it go below 3/4 charge. Am glad I resisted the suggestion of going for the dual 6V. Like so many say in discussions about TV I would say try it first to see if it works for you. Can always change out later using same battery box if needed.
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Old 05-13-2015, 02:00 AM   #16
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Have heard of this battery smell now at least twice. We haven't had a trace of it with the single 12V(Group 29) and have not had it go below 3/4 charge. Am glad I resisted the suggestion of going for the dual 6V. Like so many say in discussions about TV I would say try it first to see if it works for you. Can always change out later using same battery box if needed.
It may be more a product of the charging system you have then your choice of battery/s. Just my thoughts... If you have the GoPower solar system and or just the WFCO converter, the charge voltage doesn't go high enough to cause the batteries to produce the off gassing, hence no smell. Both Paul and I use other brands that charge in the mid 15 volt range, per Interstates specs. The GoPower hits mid 14's as does the WFCO converter, sometimes.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:15 AM   #17
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My box, like Dave W. came with a hold down strap, similar to ones you see on exterior battery boxes. The box is attached to the floor and the strap secure the top. I had to remove mine when converting to from group 29 to dual 6 ers and re install. No issue with either the dual or single set up. Concerning the odor and propane detector alarm. My box had foam around the top which sealed it when closed. A piece of foam was disfigured so I replaced it and there is a tight seal around the perimeter. I have not had any issues with odor nor alarms going off and I'm plugged in 24/7/365.
Upon review of the pictures it appears you also have the foam. But with such close tolerance to the seat lid, why not put a piece of foam or other material that will compress and hold the lid when the area is closed. I have a table cloth folded and stored on top of my box and it just fits when shut. The lid should remain on top and closed with the dinette seat closed would it not?
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:00 AM   #18
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I moved the hold down for the rod to the floor of the trailer with a eye bolt which is adjustable, this shortned the rod enough that it does not hit the bench. Only one hold down is used, the other end of the wood stick is captured under the bench supports. I have some more work to do under the bench when I return from this trip so I will post some photos.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:55 AM   #19
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Lots of nice ideas, I would look forward to a photo of your system Strawbarry. That may be the easiest and not a big deal to try. I like the nylon web as Plan B, easy to test if I can get it under the box without removing any thing. There is such limited space and having the solar controller, shunt and heavy gauge cables makes it all the harder. I have examined the foam inside the cover but will check that again. Finding a piece of metal of the right dimensions and fit is the least attractive option, it still requires cutting more off the bolts.

Thanks for all the ideas.
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