Battery Smell and Access Problem - 21C - Escape Trailer Owners Community
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Problem Solving | Owners helping each other
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-29-2022, 02:18 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Trailer: 2020 21C
Posts: 25
Battery Smell and Access Problem - 21C

Hoping someone can help. We have an Interstate Deep Cycle Battery SRM-27.
A few months ago we topped up the battery with distilled water using an automatic shut off battery filler (cells #1-5, not 6, see below). Over the past couple of months we have noticed a distinct smell coming from the battery area at certain times, initially only faint but it has grown stronger in recent days. We noticed the smell on mornings when the dinette was used as a bed overnight, with the gas seemingly collecting under the bench area while the table was lowered. The smell is a chemical-like smell, like burnt plastic or a strong rubbery smell, and is not "rotten eggs". Last night we turned the Battery Disconnect switch to off to avoid continuing to charge the battery (we are connected to shore power). This made no difference in terms of the odour the following morning. The battery fully-charged today (about 24 hrs after disconnect) measures at 13.0 V. We looked for signs of leakage and also looked at the cells as best as we could and it seems the water levels are good. The vent tube to outside seems clear. Any ideas on what could be causing that odour (gas collecting when the table is in the low position) and what to do about it?


Related to the above issue, the battery has six cells; however due to the location of the battery box and the location of the battery in the box, we cannot access cell # 6, which is closest to the passenger side of the trailer. This makes it very hard to visually inspect the acid level and impossible to top it up with an auto shut off battery filler. To access cell #6, we tried to remove the wooden top of the passenger bench; however, after removing all screws, the top will not come off. We also removed the wooden bracing inside the battery box to slide the battery all the way towards the table; however, this is still insufficient space to access cell #6 or to lift the battery out of the box. Lastly, we removed six screws that hold the battery box in place to then be able to slide the battery box closer to the table. However, the battery box seems to be connected to a drain hose in the bottom of the box (see picture with black rubber ring) so we could not move the box. Any suggestions on how to fully access the battery?

Help!
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_20220928_191333.jpg   IMG_20220928_191347.jpg   IMG_20220928_192023.jpg   IMG_20220928_182538.jpg  
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2022, 07:35 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Iowa Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Benton County, Iowa
Trailer: 2013 Escape 21 Classic Number 6, pulled by 2018 Toyota Highlander
Posts: 8,313
I am fairly crude but usually effective. To assess whether or not hard to reach cells need distilled water I use as many popsicle sticks or small clean wooden sticks as I have cells. I grip each stick with a long nose set of pliers, one at a time and dip them into the cell hole. When I remove them I observe how far up they are wet. This tells me whether or not the battery cell needs water.

If they need water, I have a clean soup can with distilled water and a rubber bulb “turkey baster”. I can then suck up some water, line the tip up horizontally with the cell, tip the bulb up and gently disperse the water into the cell. This has worked for me since we got the 21 several years ago. Cheap, accurate, effective. I check them spring, mid summer and fall while winterizing. Some gas station paper towels to mop up a few drops and dry the stick(s) help accuracy.

I’m sure others have better systems but this works for me.
Now you can stop laughing
Iowa Dave
__________________
Ain’t no trouble jacking a double Burma Shave
Dave
Iowa Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2022, 09:30 AM   #3
Site Team
 
MrLynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: Framingham, Massachusetts
Trailer: 2019 Escape 21C, NTU April 2022
Posts: 1,088
We have two 6-volt flooded batteries in our 2019 21C. One row of cell covers is under the passenger side wood board, but I was able to add distilled water by pouring from a little cup, using a flashlight to see the level. I spill a little, but no matter.

Never heard of an "automatic shut off battery filler." What is it?

Your post had me go out to look again—glad I did, as apparently I forgot to put the cover back on the plastic box before our Maine trip a few weeks ago. 'Senior moment', but no harm done. The cover is basically redundant.

As for the "burnt plastic or a strong rubbery smell," you should check all the connections; might be a lose one that's arcing. Look for slightly-burnt insulation. Since you notice the smell when the table is down, it could be coming from any of the compartments under the benches, so check all those connections, too (e.g. water pump, solar controls, inverter, surge protector, outlets, depending on what you have). You said the odor was present even with the battery switched off (check that switch, too). Were you still on shore power?
__________________
• "The Molded Fiberglass Obsession," https://walkingcreekworld.wordpress....ass-obsession/
MrLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2022, 10:10 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: USA, Texas
Trailer: 21
Posts: 652
They make a battery filler that looks just like a Turkey baster. You can get them at any automotive or Walmart. I use one for our 21
__________________
REMEBER PEEPS WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND and PAYBACK is a #%$&$&
Rockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2022, 02:34 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 7,146
John: Regarding the burnt plastic smell I would check all of the connections in the WFCO power center. Another owner had a loose neutral that was arcing and caused the wire coating to burn away.
https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post238079

As far as battery access it is clear from what I have seen that this wasn't very well planned in the 21C. If you are not ready to take the plunge to lithium I would suggest you consider replacing with an AGM battery. This eliminates any maintenance and off-gassing of hydrogen from the battery while charging is eliminated so it's really a win-win.
__________________
Mods to Rubicon: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post249508
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2022, 12:41 AM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Trailer: 2020 21C
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrLynn View Post

Never heard of an "automatic shut off battery filler." What is it?

Your post had me go out to look again—glad I did, as apparently I forgot to put the cover back on the plastic box before our Maine trip a few weeks ago. 'Senior moment', but no harm done. The cover is basically redundant.

As for the "burnt plastic or a strong rubbery smell," you should check all the connections; might be a lose one that's arcing. Look for slightly-burnt insulation. Since you notice the smell when the table is down, it could be coming from any of the compartments under the benches, so check all those connections, too (e.g. water pump, solar controls, inverter, surge protector, outlets, depending on what you have). You said the odor was present even with the battery switched off (check that switch, too). Were you still on shore power?

Thanks!
Battery filler with auto shut off: https://www.amazon.ca/Performance-To...003EHIFE4&th=1


Yes, we were still connected to shore power.
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2022, 12:45 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Trailer: 2020 21C
Posts: 25
Thanks all for your suggestions - much appreciated.

I reached out to Escape and they responded:
- Have the battery checked at an automotive shop
- The fitting at the bottom of the battery box is to allow the gases to escape from the battery box
- Battery removal: There should be enough room with just the lid of the bench removed as the batteries are installed with the plywood in place.
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2022, 09:26 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Kent, Ohio
Trailer: 2017 21c Sold, 2023 Bigfoot 25RQ
Posts: 1,420
Buy a battery lifter strap for about 10 dollars when you need to remove them. Also check the crimps on the battery cable to the terminals , on my old 21c one was inadequate and vibrated off early on . Also the way the battery box was attached to the floor was screws from underneath and eventually they rusted and the battery box broke loose. I replaced it with a rather elaborate frame and third party battery box before I sold the unit. I wasn’t impressed with the design from 2017, it may be better now. They are heavy and the lift strap works well. My next trailer will have lithium, my back will thank me even if my wallet won’t. I see you only have one battery, I had two 6 volts. It does look like the battery might be moving around ?
oldwave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2022, 07:07 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 7,146
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
I reached out to Escape and they responded:
- The fitting at the bottom of the battery box is to allow the gases to escape from the battery boxes
Strange answer. The hydrogen produced when charging is lighter than air and *should* go out the larger hose near the top of the box. This assumes the box is well sealed because otherwise it’s coming into the trailer interior. Maybe the thought is some air is allowed to come in through the bottom hole to promote the flow of hydrogen gases out the upper tube.
__________________
Mods to Rubicon: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post249508
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 07:12 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Trailer: 2020 21C
Posts: 25
Following the response from Escape, I removed the lid of the bench. The opening from the edge of the plywood to the edge of the battery box is ~10". The width of the battery is at least 12", which doesn't fit through the opening. How have other 21C owners removed the battery from the box? Thanks for any advice!
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_20221003_134806.jpg   IMG_20221003_134221.jpg  
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 08:28 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Kent, Ohio
Trailer: 2017 21c Sold, 2023 Bigfoot 25RQ
Posts: 1,420
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
Following the response from Escape, I removed the lid of the bench. The opening from the edge of the plywood to the edge of the battery box is ~10". The width of the battery is at least 12", which doesn't fit through the opening. How have other 21C owners removed the battery from the box? Thanks for any advice!
I wonder if you can tilt it up ?
oldwave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 10:00 PM   #12
Site Team
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 5,209
thats odd. this is the battery box in my 2014 E21 Classic, which has the U shaped dinette when it still had lead acid golf cart batteries.



and with the cover on.



the batteries easily lift straight out. IIRC, a GC-2 battery is considerably larger than a group 27M.
John in Santa Cruz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 10:00 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Southern, Wisconsin
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19
Posts: 164
Pretty much what I do, Dave. -Tom
mtnest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 10:33 PM   #14
Site Team
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 5,209
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrLynn View Post
.... The cover is basically redundant.

um, no, its not. the cover is to prevent any hydrogen gas from the battery from entering the passenger compartment... Hydrogen is highly explosive, and flooded lead acid batteries emit it when they are being charged, possibly in profuse quantities if something goes wrong and they are overcharged. The battery box cover should have a gasket around it, and the wires going out of it should have sealant around where they leave the battery box, and this whole case should be attached to a vent hose that leads outside.

Now, AGM batteries don't vent under normal operations (however, they can if they are overcharged). And, lithium batteries don't vent at all. When I replaced my golf cart batts with Lithiums, I got rid of the battery box entirely, and installed the lithiums all the way in the curbside rear corner of the dinette bench to both shorten the cable distance, and allow more storage space. My 412AH worth of Lithiums weight about half what my 220AH worth of lead-acid weighed.
John in Santa Cruz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 10:55 PM   #15
Site Team
 
MrLynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: Framingham, Massachusetts
Trailer: 2019 Escape 21C, NTU April 2022
Posts: 1,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
um, no, its not. the cover is to prevent any hydrogen gas from the battery from entering the passenger compartment... Hydrogen is highly explosive, and flooded lead acid batteries emit it when they are being charged, possibly in profuse quantities if something goes wrong and they are overcharged. The battery box cover should have a gasket around it, and the wires going out of it should have sealant around where they leave the battery box, and this whole case should be attached to a vent hose that leads outside.
Actually, you're right; I stand corrected. Cover is now on box. I should check the gasket, though.
__________________
• "The Molded Fiberglass Obsession," https://walkingcreekworld.wordpress....ass-obsession/
MrLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 11:00 PM   #16
Site Team
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 5,209
the gasket in mine was pretty crappy, I'm glad to be rid of it. it was some sort of double sided foam adhesive strips, with a plastic cover on the outside, and it was made from various lengths fit together... I never trusted it to be properly air type.

my batteries now look like this...



5260 watt*hours (412 AH) of lithium-iron-phosphate
John in Santa Cruz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2022, 11:19 PM   #17
Site Team
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 5,209
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Strange answer. The hydrogen produced when charging is lighter than air and *should* go out the larger hose near the top of the box. This assumes the box is well sealed because otherwise it’s coming into the trailer interior. Maybe the thought is some air is allowed to come in through the bottom hole to promote the flow of hydrogen gases out the upper tube.
odd, my 2014 had only the white vent hose out the top/side of the box, there was nothing in the bottom but the screws that held it to the floor.
John in Santa Cruz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2022, 09:53 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 7,146
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
odd, my 2014 had only the white vent hose out the top/side of the box, there was nothing in the bottom but the screws that held it to the floor.
I agree. I don't recall Escape ever putting a drain in the bottom of the battery boxes.
__________________
Mods to Rubicon: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post249508
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2022, 10:41 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
Perry Butler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Lanesboro, MN, between Whalan and Fountain, Minnesota
Trailer: 2016 Bigfoot 25RQ - (2018 Escape 5.0 sold)
Posts: 2,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
I agree. I don't recall Escape ever putting a drain in the bottom of the battery boxes.
We have a drain in our battery box that we purchased new in October 2018. However, I don't remember our drain hole being as big as shown in post #1.

Enjoy,

Perry
__________________
Those who know everything use pens. Intelligent people use pencils.
Perry Butler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2022, 11:41 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Ron in BC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, sold; 2019 Escape 21, Sept. 2019
Posts: 8,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
odd, my 2014 had only the white vent hose out the top/side of the box, there was nothing in the bottom but the screws that held it to the floor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
I agree. I don't recall Escape ever putting a drain in the bottom of the battery boxes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry Butler View Post
We have a drain in our battery box that we purchased new in October 2018. I don't remember our drain hole being as big as shown in post #1.

Enjoy,

Perry
Maybe they didn't install one in the older models, but my E21 certainly has one.

Since I like my redundant two 12s setup I had to junk the white battery box and fabricate my own. The white box had the end of a vinyl hose protruding slightly from the bottom of the box. The hose goes through the floor and drains to the exterior. I retained it for my new bottomless box. It's sealed to the floor.

Ron
Attached Thumbnails
23-09-2019 5-48-03 PM_0003_resize.jpg  
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
access, battery, smell

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2023 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.