6:54 am - Wednesday - January 11th - GNHS - 50° F, humidity 73%, wind 6 mph out of the north......mostly clear today with a forecast high of 67° F. The view this morning......↴
I don't remember writing about our recent chassis battery (starting batteries) woes, but about two weeks after we arrived at GNHS the passenger side 8d chassis battery began to sulfate. These batteries last 7-8 years, so it is a long time in between failures, so when I first began to smell that rotten egg smell given off by a sulfating battery we thought it was a propane leak, just like every other time this has happened. However, in our defense, the gasses given off by the failing battery set off our propane alarm about 2 am one morning, so we began, as logic must dictate, searching for a propane leak, but could not find one. Finally I began opening up every single bin and ultimately found the culprit, the passenger side battery. The simple solution is to disconnect the battery, which is what I did. The battery become so hot, and was sulfating so badly that you could hear a hissing sound coming from it, and it was difficult to handle the cables as they were so hot, but I got it done. We have actually started the coach with just one 8d battery for a number of months, so being down to just one battery, and not planning on traveling anywhere in the Newell until near April, we decided to wait to replace it until sometime in March.
Fast forward to Monday, when we returned from our overnight trip to Poway. As soon as we disembarked the VW we could both smell that all too familiar rotten egg smell again.....wait what? I quickly checked the disconnected passenger side chassis battery, and found it was not the source, but I could smell, faintly, that rotten egg smell in that bin, so I concluded it must be coming from the driver side chassis battery, and what do you know? That battery had just begun to sulfate, and was getting hotter by the minute, so I quickly disconnected it. In the almost 15 years we have owned the Newell we have never had two batteries fail within the same year, and now we were down to ZERO functioning chassis batteries, and now we had to do something about it sooner than later.
These 8d batteries are quite big, and very heavy. I figured, if need be, that we could load one battery into the back of the Beetle, but for sure we could not load two of them, so I called Casey, our boss, and asked if we could use the company van to pick up two new batteries in Indio, and without hesitating, he said "Yes, of course". So one problem solved. Now where to find two 8d batteries. I first called the Napa in Calipatria, which is only 25 miles away. They wanted over $310/battery, plus core charges, which would bring the total to well over $750. Next I called an O'Reilly's in Indio, and was quoted $250/battery.....much better....with core charges the total came to $578 for both batteries....not too bad......
The two new 8d batteries
.....we had planned to drive into Indio on Wednesday, but then we remembered we had a rental on Wednesday, so we decided to drive into Indio Tuesday. According to Angel at O'Reilly's they would have both batteries at their store by 2 pm (they only had one in stock, and had to get one delivered from another Coachella Valley store), so we decided to drive into Indio around 1 pm. We usually prefer to drive into Indio/La Quinta in the morning to avoid bad traffic, but we had no choice this time.
We left a little after 1 pm to make the 40+ minute drive. We stopped at Home Depot first so TLE could buy another flower pot for her burgeoning garden, and were at O'Reilly's by 2:30 pm. As promised the two 8d batteries were ready for pickup, and within 20 minutes we had unloaded the two bad batteries, and loaded the new ones into the van. By this time the rush hour had begun, and getting back to the Interstate took twice a long. By the time we arrived home it was well after 3 pm, and the day was about over. We decided to leave the two batteries in the van until Wednesday after our rental has left on their 6 hour tour. That will give us time to unload them, and install them before the customer returns.
Well, we've got to open the office at 8 am, and it is now 7:35 pm, so I had better get cracking. TLE is already getting dressed for work, and it takes me a little longer than her to get ready for work, so I'll end this post now. Just another day in the life of Vagabonders Supreme!
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