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Old 04-07-2015, 08:47 PM   #15
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I am impressed with the double-27 mount. That is certainly an easier upgrade than going to the golf batteries. The golf batteries do have greater capacity than the double-27's.

I went with the golf batteries and had to do several items:
1. Replace the 3/8" threaded rod (I think I went from an 8" to a 10", or a 10" to a 12", can't quite remember). Rod replacement is not easy because it is threaded through a nut which is welded on the outside bottom of the box, and then the rod is seal welded to the nut. You have to grind off about half of the nut in order to be able to unscrew the existing rod. (With the "undercoating" on the bottom of the battery box this was not evident, so thinking that you could unscrew the existing rod took a lot of time. I called the AS factory and the technicians went out on the floor to examine the bottom of the battery box, but still didn't know that the rod was welded. You cannot use a 3/8" rod coupler to extend the rod, as there is insufficient room for the larger gap required between batteries.
2. The size 24 batteries sit in a plastic shell at the bottom of the battery box. My local AS dealer just removes it and leaves it out, if they do the conversion. For me, I removed it, then cut out both ends of the plastic shell so that the golf batteries would sit on plastic in the bottom of the box.
3. The battery box has to be heightened. This was not a problem for my AS, but if someone has a forward storage outside door, they would have to have the box extended down, instead of up as I did it. I had some 1"X3" oak, so i just made a 2 1/2" extension on the top of the box, and moved the lid up, and it was fine.
4. The two new 6-volt batteries have to be wired in series, instead of in parallel as the 12-volt batteries were.
5. I had to use a "nibbling" tool to enlarge the propane tank cover cutout to fit the taller battery box (i.e. trim away 2 1/2" of aluminum to make the propane tank cover slip over the two propane tanks and fit properly)
6. The golf cart batteries don't use automotive type posts, so I had to cut off the ends of the battery cables, buy a heavy lug crimper (on ebay about $25), and crimp on some lugs to fit the new battery studs.

Notes: I didn't re-weld the battery hold-down rod, I just used lock nuts on the bottom outside. Also, I took advantage of having the batteries removed and scraped the corrosion out and reprimed and painted the inside of the battery box.
Sounds like you had quite a chore. You'll be happy to know that newer Airstreams do not have the threaded rod welded to the bottom of the box; you just unscrew it!

I use 2 different methods for golf cart batteries, depending on their size. for Lifeline GPL-4CT 220 amp/hour batteries (20 more amp/hours than a pair of Group 27s), I use 1 X 1-1/2" aluminum tubing to make an aluminum riser that gets riveted on top of the battery box flange. The lid is then re-attached to the riser. As you have discovered, the back center of the LP tank cover must be trimmed to accommodate the new box height.

For the taller GPL-6CT 300 amp/hour Lifelines, I use a proprietary lid made from heavy aluminum sheet. This gets screwed to the top box flange and does not use the lid, thus eliminating the need to trim the LP tank cover. Since I only install either Lifeline AGMs on the tongue, there is really no need for quick access, as they require no maintenance.

You are much better using copper eyelets on your battery cables anyway, as they are far superior to the automotive clamps that Airstream uses. I cut them off (I upgrade the battery cables anyway) to remove the old cables and replace them with 4AWG welding cable with eyelet ends and heat shrink to prevent any creeping corrosion from weather effecting the copper wire. The Lifelines don't gas so there is no corrosion from the H-2SO-4 found in liquid cells.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:02 PM   #16
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As promised, a better shot of the transverse Lifeline GLP-27T mounting completed.........
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:15 PM   #17
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Well done!!
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:24 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
I use 1 X 1-1/2" aluminum tubing that gets riveted on top of the battery box flange.
Could you clarify please? I'm having a hard time visualizing where the tubing goes. It will be one of my future projects someday. Thanks.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:37 AM   #19
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Thanks for the info on the threaded hold down rod. I was going to attempt to unscrew it by using two nuts at the top and tightening them against each other.

Kelvin
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:42 AM   #20
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I'm actually starting a battery/solar upgrade tomorrow on a new 19 and will be adding Lifeline GPL-4CT golf cart batteries to the external battery box. I'll take some shots when I add the aluminum riser.

Stay tuned to this channel.


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Old 04-09-2015, 10:24 AM   #21
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If someone made a kit for this mod.....
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
I'm actually starting a battery/solar upgrade tomorrow on a new 19 and will be adding Lifeline GPL-4CT golf cart batteries to the external battery box. I'll take some shots when I add the aluminum riser.

Stay tuned to this channel.


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Thanks Lew. I am always interested in how you do these mods.
Do you know if the aluminum riser would interfere with the front storage door on the FB model airstreams?
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:26 AM   #23
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I will be producing a mid kit for the 220 amp/hour golf cart batteries as soon as I get back to OR this summer. Watch the classifieds!!!!

The riser will not allow for full opening of the front storage door on larger FBs. I usually mount batteries under the bed in those coaches, as try are either Lifeline of lithiums.


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Old 04-09-2015, 12:34 PM   #24
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I will be producing a mid kit for the 220 amp/hour golf cart batteries as soon as I get back to OR this summer.
I'll be installing two of the GPL-4CTs this summer under an inside bed. Any advice for containment other than securing them properly?
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:49 PM   #25
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Lots of ways. Just be sure they don't move!!!!!!!


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Old 04-09-2015, 01:20 PM   #26
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Yes, that would be most important!
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:34 PM   #27
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Just waking up this thread long enough to give Lewster a quick shout-out, thanking him for the transverse-mounted group 27 battery idea. Today we put in a pair of group 27 flooded (e.g. cheaper) batteries, using exactly the same technique.

Compared size measurements to the Lifelines to be sure they'd fit, and sure enough they dropped in after a bit of fussing about. It's an incredibly tight fit. At first I was afraid we'd made a huge mistake, but a few more adjustments to get wires out of the way, and in they went. It was so tight I did not bother trying to get them out again to make any changes...just went with it.

Also followed Lew's advice and replaced those crappy 6 AWG parallel connector cables with a pair of beastly 2/0 cables I was able to make after buying the components.

Lastly, a huge shout out to Seattle Fisheries Supply where they sold me everything, including locally made Dyno batteries, and helped me make up the cables after I bought the components. They won't make the cables for you, but they will sell you all the parts and they have all the tools you need to make them yourself right there in the store (including a *huge* crimper). They even walk you through the process to help make sure the cables come out great. It was fun!

These guys are awesome (no, I don't have any affiliation with them): http://www.fisheriessupply.com/
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:25 PM   #28
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In the spirit of "pictures or it didn't happen:"

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Oh and yes, Rocinante is blessed with plenty of silver siblings where we store her.
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