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Old 10-10-2016, 08:15 AM   #1
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Forza Coach Batteries - Have you checked yours?

Be sure to check your coach batteries to see if your coach batteries are NAPA brand premium Marine RV Deep Cycle like mine are. I was checking over the batteries again as I had added another battery for more capacity, a Duracell Group 31 deep cycle AGM Maintenance Free battery from Sam's Club. I read the labels on the top of the NAPA batteries, and found the information stating "Maintenance Accessible Battery" on a label over the fill ports. If I had not stopped to read that closely, I would have assumed it was a "Maintenance Free" battery. And that would not have been good!

So I peeled the labels off of each of the four batteries, and found the caps over the cells to add distilled water if needed. In order to access some of the caps, I had to remove the hold down straps and the battery cables. So I started by turning off the "coach battery" switch by the front door, and then disconnecting the inverter by turning the battery disconnect switch beside the inverter.

Next step was to remove the negative cables and the top hold down straps from the batteries. Then I could get to the screw caps on each battery, and only had to take 2 positive cables loose on a couple of batteries to get to some of the plugs.

The battery water levels were below the tubes that make a meniscus in the water. Every cell still had water above the plates, but each cell took almost 1/3 of the plastic cup I was using to fill them, about 3-4 ounces each. I chose to fill my batteries while they were still in the coach rather than pulling them out, and I used an inspection mirror and flexible LED flashlight to view each cell.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:14 AM   #2
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If you have added an AGM battery to same bank as the two wet cell batteries, consider that AGM's need a different charging scheme. You should not mix them. Modern multistage inverter/chargers can be set for one or the other but that works only if all the batteries are same type.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:02 AM   #3
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Interesting. The folks at a local parts store sold me a regular group 31 instead of a deep cycle battery telling me it was the same as a deep cycle for them. I found out that was not true, and took it back. They didn't say anything about AGM and non-AGM when we talked about deep cycle RV/Marine batteries.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GTobey View Post
Interesting. The folks at a local parts store sold me a regular group 31 instead of a deep cycle battery telling me it was the same as a deep cycle for them. I found out that was not true, and took it back. They didn't say anything about AGM and non-AGM when we talked about deep cycle RV/Marine batteries.
I would suggest that most auto parts store folks know little about the real differences in batteries. The fact that they told you 'to them all group 31 batteries were deep cycle' should be evidence enough.

You can Google AGM vs flooded cell charging and find much info. For example, flooded cell deep cycle batteries benefit from periodic equalization but most AGM's don't. Charge rates (bulk, absorb and float) are different. If you have a modern inverter/charger, the manual will likely refer to different charging setting if you are using AGM. Mine does.

AGM's are great but I suspect if you mix one with flooded cell and just charge away, the life of one of the other will be shortened.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:38 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the heads up. I'll go check and see what I should do, probably revert the AGM to use with my warn winch, and go to NAPA to buy another flooded deep cycle battery just like the others.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:16 PM   #6
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spend the money and put in ALL AGM batteries, that way you don't have to worry about putting in water, less maintenance especially in such a small space.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:15 AM   #7
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Yup, definitely check them. I was thinking about adding 2 more batteries on our 15 36G and was writing down the battery info and one the hold down brackets was rubbing slightly on one of the batteries and that's when I noticed that they all had stickers covering their covers. I pulled all the batteries and I used 95% of the gal of distilled water that I bought.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:53 PM   #8
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spend the money and put in ALL AGM batteries, that way you don't have to worry about putting in water, less maintenance especially in such a small space.
Thanks for the great advice! I'd like to, but I guess I am going to go back to Sam's and get the flooded batteries, cause if I can return this one, I can get almost 2 flooded ones for the price of the AGM. We'll see what they can do...
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:13 PM   #9
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If you are going to go to flooded cell batteries, do yourself a big favor and get a Quick Fill battery watering system. You will thank yourself many times.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GTobey View Post
Be sure to check your coach batteries to see if your coach batteries are NAPA brand premium Marine RV Deep Cycle like mine are. I was checking over the batteries again as I had added another battery for more capacity, a Duracell Group 31 deep cycle AGM Maintenance Free battery from Sam's Club. I read the labels on the top of the NAPA batteries, and found the information stating "Maintenance Accessible Battery" on a label over the fill ports. If I had not stopped to read that closely, I would have assumed it was a "Maintenance Free" battery. And that would not have been good!

So I peeled the labels off of each of the four batteries, and found the caps over the cells to add distilled water if needed. In order to access some of the caps, I had to remove the hold down straps and the battery cables. So I started by turning off the "coach battery" switch by the front door, and then disconnecting the inverter by turning the battery disconnect switch beside the inverter.

Next step was to remove the negative cables and the top hold down straps from the batteries. Then I could get to the screw caps on each battery, and only had to take 2 positive cables loose on a couple of batteries to get to some of the plugs.

The battery water levels were below the tubes that make a meniscus in the water. Every cell still had water above the plates, but each cell took almost 1/3 of the plastic cup I was using to fill them, about 3-4 ounces each. I chose to fill my batteries while they were still in the coach rather than pulling them out, and I used an inspection mirror and flexible LED flashlight to view each cell.
Thanks for the heads up. My 2016 Forza 36G is same batteries. Of course the idiot salesman told me they were maintenance free and since all the cabling covering the tops of the batteries makes those labels hard to read in the coach I assumed so.


Anyway, rather than mess around trying to fill with water while in the coach with the limited room over the top and the cables, I did the disconnects you did and just removed all the batteries. Washed them down to remove 5k miles worth of dust an dirt and refilled about 4 ounces of distilled water in each cell. Fortunately all of the plates were covered with water before I started, so I assume all is well.
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:00 AM   #11
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Maintenance Free?

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Originally Posted by awol50 View Post
Thanks for the heads up. My 2016 Forza 36G is same batteries. Of course the idiot salesman told me they were maintenance free and since all the cabling covering the tops of the batteries makes those labels hard to read in the coach I assumed so.


Anyway, rather than mess around trying to fill with water while in the coach with the limited room over the top and the cables, I did the disconnects you did and just removed all the batteries. Washed them down to remove 5k miles worth of dust an dirt and refilled about 4 ounces of distilled water in each cell. Fortunately all of the plates were covered with water before I started, so I assume all is well.
I try to investigate things myself, rather than trusting such fine technical details to a sales person. The owner's manual says we could have two types of batteries, either maintenance free or "flooded" batteries, so I got to looking more closely once I went to add another battery to the system, and even then I got the wrong one to add in. They sold me an AGM deep cycle which won't work with the "flooded" batteries. I returned the AGM battery and finally went to NAPA and got another of the exact type that is in there. I want to end up with 6, but am saving some cash to get another one and the cables made to connect it.
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Old 10-17-2016, 02:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTobey View Post
I try to investigate things myself, rather than trusting such fine technical details to a sales person. The owner's manual says we could have two types of batteries, either maintenance free or "flooded" batteries, so I got to looking more closely once I went to add another battery to the system, and even then I got the wrong one to add in. They sold me an AGM deep cycle which won't work with the "flooded" batteries. I returned the AGM battery and finally went to NAPA and got another of the exact type that is in there. I want to end up with 6, but am saving some cash to get another one and the cables made to connect it.
If you have already done so, the extra cabling/tie downs to add two more batteries, it looks like one would need two more each of the red and black short loops (about 8" each) and one red and one black extenders to extend the long red and black cables over to the 6th battery. And of course two more tie down straps along with the long bolts. Do you have idea of those costs? And how much was that new identical NAPA battery you bought?
I am thinking of doing the same shortly.
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:11 AM   #13
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If you have already done so, the extra cabling/tie downs to add two more batteries, it looks like one would need two more each of the red and black short loops (about 8" each) and one red and one black extenders to extend the long red and black cables over to the 6th battery. And of course two more tie down straps along with the long bolts. Do you have idea of those costs? And how much was that new identical NAPA battery you bought?
I am thinking of doing the same shortly.
I found a local Interstate Battery location who made a positive and a negative cable for me for $12 each. Don't know if that's good or bad. They made them to be exact copies of originals. The battery is about $144 from local NAPA store. Carriage bolt and nut was obtained from local bolt Supply house for less than a buck. I had a rubber washer to put around the carriage bolt so it wouldn't drop out if the nut was taken off. 1/8" thick aluminum piece obtained from Lowe's, and cut to fit, drilled holes in each end to match the original hold downs.
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Old 10-20-2016, 02:09 PM   #14
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Additional battery

OK, so here's what the addition of the NAPA 8231 looks like with the new cables and the hold down system I made. Got refunded for the AGM battery, and went to NAPA and got the same thing that was in there. Magnum Energy tells me to set the ME-MR remote control to 600 AH now. Should be all set.
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