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Old 02-19-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
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Angry Maintenance Free Lead-Acid Battery Leak

We have a 100 hr. maintenance free marine battery that somehow managed to fall on its side while sitting on the floor of our Expedition. (61 lb. battery). While getting something else out of the vehicle, we discovered the battery had leaked.
Not sure when it fell, but it's was on its side long enough to make a stain that covered the area between the front passenger seat and second row.

The battery is less than a year old and hasn't been used much. Right now, it's not kept in the trailer all the time. We had taken it to test some items before the AS went to a shop for axles. Forgot to bring the battery back into the house.

Has anyone else had issues with a maintenance free battery leaking?
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:06 PM   #2
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They are obviously not designed to be on their sides. Insure it is tied down to stop a reacurance and you should be good to go if it did not spell too much acid. Note, neutralize the spilled acid as soon as possible to prevent serious long term damage.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:43 PM   #3
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As you may know, sulfuric acid does not dry or evaporate. Baking soda solution, ASAP.
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:56 PM   #4
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Has anyone else had issues with a maintenance free battery leaking?
Only when the casing was damaged (vandalized by means of an ice pick by an irate ex-girlfriend) or it was in some position other than upright (broken cheap-arse plastic battery tray in a Dodge Caravan).

I second Siegmann's baking soda recommendation.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:35 PM   #5
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Thinking the battery may have been sitting just a bit on a small tissue box that made its way to the floor. Found the box smashed under the battery where it fell. Since we live in a large urban area, plenty of opportunities to hit the breaks. Probably heard it fall, then forgot before getting home. Middle age memory - not a good harbinger for the future.

Did the baking soda.

We're just a bit miffed because we didn't want a lead acid battery, but AGM instead. Unless it's hidden in some tiny print, lead acid is not on the battery's label. Does say "maintenance free". Doesn't specify AGM. We bought it in the store. The only reason we know it's lead acid is the retailer's website. Looked the item up after we discovered the leak. It left a rather big mess on the carpet, so going on a limb to say it's not usable anymore. Put it where it can't do any harm & will take it to a retailer we know sells AGMs. May as well get the core charge out of it.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:51 PM   #6
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If the floor has carpet, it will be gone, better get every thing washer out asp...
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:17 PM   #7
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We're just a bit miffed because we didn't want a lead acid battery, but AGM instead. Unless it's hidden in some tiny print, lead acid is not on the battery's label. Does say "maintenance free". Doesn't specify AGM. We bought it in the store. The only reason we know it's lead acid is the retailer's website. Looked the item up after we discovered the leak. It left a rather big mess on the carpet, so going on a limb to say it's not usable anymore. Put it where it can't do any harm & will take it to a retailer we know sells AGMs. May as well get the core charge out of it.
AGMs are lead acid too, but they are sealed. They are the only wet cell battery that can be shipped to you. I don't think standard lead-acid batteries are sealed, they have a small vent at the top of the battery where acid can come out
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:51 AM   #8
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From what we know of standard lead-acid batteries they're not maintenance free either. Just feel like that designation on the battery label is misleading, because we were looking for an AGM specifically. And it appears that's not what we got. If it hadn't fallen over and leaked, we wouldn't have known it's a standard battery.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:36 AM   #9
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I said standard lead-acid batteries but I meant maintenance free. Standard batteries have removable caps so you can check the water levels. Maintenance free do not have removable caps but they do have a vent at the top and can also leak. AGMs are lead-acid but are totally sealed.

If it's an AGM it should state it on the side or top. AGMs are more expensive that marine. When transporting batteries I usually put them in a box that won't turn over, or if they somehow did, wouldn't dump acid into the car. Batteries are messy and dangerous, I hate dealing with them.

Some carpeting in cars is nylon and isn't dissolved by sulfuric acid. It may discolor, however. You need to neutralize it with the baking soda solution.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:53 AM   #10
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Some carpeting in cars is nylon and isn't dissolved by sulfuric acid. It may discolor, however. You need to neutralize it with the baking soda solution.
Checking underneath the carpet to see if the acid has soaked through to damage the metal floor pan would not be a bad idea, either.
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:12 AM   #11
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A "maintenance-free, marine battery" is not necessarily a sealed, AGM battery. For example, West Marine sells for $99 a Group 24 "marine battery" that it states to be "maintenance-free" for which there is no indication of its being a sealed, AGM battery:

http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-m...6rHRoCo2vw_wcB

Among other things, if this were an AGM battery, it would likely cost twice as much. And in fact, a comparable AGM battery West Marine sells for $199:

http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-m...ecs-_-MB-_-PDP
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Old 02-21-2016, 09:23 AM   #12
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It left a rather big mess on the carpet, so going on a limb to say it's not usable anymore. Put it where it can't do any harm & will take it to a retailer we know sells AGMs. May as well get the core charge out of it.
Actually, it probably IS usable anymore. All you need to do is clean it thoroughly on the outside (baking soda again), fill it with distilled water, and bench-charge it with a good multi-stage charger.

After it's recharged, check to see if it's holding a charge. If it is, you've avoided the cost of a new battery. If not, you're only out a some time, baking soda, and distilled water, and you can still trade it in.

But don't get an AGM for your Airstream unless your trailer's inverter/charger is capable of handling one. Wet-cell and AGM have different charging regimes, and the charger that charges a wet-cell just fine can ruin an AGM, or vice versa.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:11 PM   #13
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Actually, it probably IS usable anymore. All you need to do is clean it thoroughly on the outside (baking soda again), fill it with distilled water, and bench-charge it with a good multi-stage charger.

.
Could be an interesting experiment.

The loss of water during normal charging is just that, water. So refilling with water, just gets the electrolyte back to its original concentration.

He said it left "a big mess". So I'd assume that it leaked a fair bit of the acid. Refilling with distilled water would dilute the remaining electrolyte. I do not know how sensitive a lead-acid battery is to the concentration of the acid, but I assume its performance could suffer significantly.

I hope he tries your suggestion and reports back on the results.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:42 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting your problem with the battery so we get the benefit of your experience. Frustrating when stuff does not work the way we believe it should.

A plastic box is relatively inexpensive, protects the vehicle/coach, and gives you hand holds to carry the battery. Works for about anything that might spill or come-a-drift in a traveling environment.

We better pack a box of baking soda for this type of incident. Safe travels. Pat
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