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Old 11-05-2018, 08:46 PM   #1
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Washington DC , Washington, D.C.
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House Battery Detaches on Highway Today

I was not sure how to title this as it is a pretty serious occurrence and so bizarre as to fail the title test of explanation and whimsy.

Basically though, this is what happened:

Today, on I-284 in Chicago, one of my House Batteries came out from it's rack and was dragging on the interstate in heavy traffic while doing 65MPH. I heard the screeching and managed to get over quickly to find it dangling by the wires and completely wrecked from a half mile of bouncing on the pavement. It's amazing it still hung there after this.

I was completely baffled. I first called Colonial and they were pretty shocked but awesome to offer as much assistance as they could. They got me hooked up with CoachNet and gave me all the info so that I could get someone out to assist.

I then texted Airstream in Vegas as they installed these upgraded batteries when I was there in August for the mess with my Fusion system. They were shocked as well and insisted they were installed exactly as to Airstream's system and assured me they would take care of everything to replace.

The roadside technician came out and was also shocked...he never saw this before. But after looking at the attachments and system for this his quote was "This is what Airstream does to secure these? My god, it's crap and flimsy and I am surprised this is not happening more." He got the destroyed battery off, tied up the loose cords, and secured the remaining battery with straps.

I am now without power. Even my Fusion is shutting down every hour for a few minutes since this occurred. I am making my way home to arrive on Wednesday and will have everything replaced and fixed somewhere (I am damned if I have to drive back to Colonial in NJ AGAIN and I really NEED a good tech in the DC area)

The warning here is that we assume these batteries are secure and the system is safe. It may not be and do not assume it ever. I am going to talk to who ever does the repairs about a secondary backup that will at least protect from instant detachment like this.

I am just grateful that I was able to get over quickly and it did not detach and cause an accident. I can not imagine a motorcycle or small compact car hitting one of these on the highway.

Will try and attach photos in a separate post. Has anyone else heard of this happening with the AI?
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:56 PM   #2
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Wow!!! Very sorry to read this!

Each battery tray is held in place with six 1/4”x1/2” stainless steel rivets. Then the battery is held in place with a strap that is secured to the tray with two bolts.

I would love to see photos. Did the tray ripped off the side beam that it was attached to?
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:05 PM   #3
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Some Photos:
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:26 PM   #4
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Now that Sux...👎

"Up-grade"= heavier?

Even if they were heavier, it looks an awfully poor way to secure them.

Hope all gets taken care of, just make sure it's done correctly. 👍

Bob
🇺🇸

Hate it when that happens....😳
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
Wow!!! Very sorry to read this!
. Did the tray ripped off the side beam that it was attached to?
The Tray was fine and is still very much attached (thank god)
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyechip View Post
The warning here is that we assume these batteries are secure and the system is safe. It may not be and do not assume it ever. I am going to talk to who ever does the repairs about a secondary backup that will at least protect from instant detachment like this.

I am just grateful that I was able to get over quickly and it did not detach and cause an accident. I can not imagine a motorcycle or small compact car hitting one of these on the highway.
EYECHIP - Dang! So, sorry for this happening. Thank goodness nobody got hurt and no other cars got damaged. That should not happen, at least not on a unit that has not even seen some real winter salt soaking yet. This will prompt me to try and figure out some type of secondary restraining system attached to the trays to at least "catch" it should mine fail. Akin to the safety loop most vehicles use around the drive shaft. Otherwise, we could all be playing Russian roulette. I hope you get fixed soon.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyechip View Post
Some Photos:
In looking at the way they were attached, it makes me wonder if the used stainless steel rivets, or rivets that were the correct size. If they did then I wonder did the use the correct size drill bit to drill the holes. It looks like to me maybe 4 may have been too big. If two rivets failed, there likely would be a cascading failure of the rest. My bet is that they were not installed correctly. If they were, then I wonder if six 1/4"x1/2" rivets is sufficient to hold that kind of weight.

That could have killed someone had the battery come loose from the cables.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:58 AM   #8
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That looks like utter crap to me.

Take a lesson from the propane tank (ours, at least): the best way to properly secure something like that is to go DOWN THROUGH the chassis floor from above. From INSide the Interstate, in other words. Nuts and bolts with a large-diameter washer on the inside to serve as a flange so that the bolts won't eventually pull through the holes.

Oh but wait - that would take EFFORT, wouldn't it? Labor? Yes. The only way to free our propane tank is to dismantle everything that sits on top of it - the galley kitchen and then the fresh water tank. Otherwise the bolts remain inaccessible.

Lots of work, but that's life in a van. Everything is on top of everything else. Shortcuts won't work.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
In looking at the way they were attached, it makes me wonder if the used stainless steel rivets, or rivets that were the correct size. If they did then I wonder did the use the correct size drill bit to drill the holes. It looks like to me maybe 4 may have been too big. If two rivets failed, there likely would be a cascading failure of the rest. My bet is that they were not installed correctly. If they were, then I wonder if six 1/4"x1/2" rivets is sufficient to hold that kind of weight.

That could have killed someone had the battery come loose from the cables.
These were my thoughts as well. And yes, don't think the thought that this could have killed someone did not cross my mind. It was in the afternoon on one of the busiest highways in Chicago. It's a miracle the cables held it during the drag.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:28 AM   #10
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This EXACT SAME THING happened to me on June30 of this year on the Oregon Coast. Fortunately, I had just departed the busy traffic of a two lane twisty highway with no shoulder at 55mph and had just turned onto a 45mph side road. We hit a bump at a bridge seam and BAM it went. Fortunately, now we finally had a shoulder to brake to. Can't imagine the danger of this happening five minutes earlier... Eyechip: as you said... there could have been more serious consequences!

Like you, my battery was dragging by (just one) battery cable for 150 feet; the other one sheared off. I too had upgraded my batteries... from the 56lb Lifelines to the 66lb Lifeline GPL-4CT.

Since I was no longer going to trust rivets, I had a repair shop put them in the hidden trunk area of our Grand Tour. Not the ideal setup since now that 132lbs is way back another 20-24 inches from the rear axle, so more leverage action is being applied to the rear suspension. One more reason to lighten the load with lithium batteries.... hmmm...

I had not posted about this yet because I was needing to work something out with the folks that installed the modified battery boxes, and today is the day we arrive back in Portland after four months on the road.

Here's my pics of the carnage:
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:54 AM   #11
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Tronadora....wow! It looks exact as to what happened to me. I am thinking there is something going on with upgrades and perhaps Airstream dealers are cutting corners or not using Airstream specs when installing. Two of these in a few months in exact same circumstances is telling me, given the dangers this presents, that everyone who has had upgrades installed should do a safety check and consider a system for secondary back up systems in case it fails on the rack.

This is disturbing.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:57 AM   #12
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Cheese and crackers got all muddy...10lbs heavier and they fall out...margin of safety?🤬
Bob
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Cheese and crackers got all muddy...10lbs heavier and they fall out...margin of safety?🤬
Bob
Yes. Dealers are installing these heavier boxes using the same system as Airstream does for the lighter ones. This may be a widespread potential safety hazard that is going to eventually cause harm to someone.

Seems like everyone that had them installed needs to go back to the service center to have them properly secured given the increase.
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:12 AM   #14
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Wow! It looks like they used 3 self tapping screws to hold those straps in place.

Sorry to see you out of commission again.
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:20 AM   #15
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"Cheese and Crackers...." Pretty good, Bob.

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Old 11-06-2018, 09:22 AM   #16
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LB_3:

No self tapping screws. Just rivets. The other bracket is still installed but now sits empty and I see the rivets and the one on the ground also had rivets still in the bracket. The extra holes in the frame are because the modified brackets (made wider) necessitated new holes and new rivets. I don't know what type of rivets...
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:42 AM   #17
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One way to avoid this entire problem is to buy AGMs and put them under the front bed.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #18
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Hi

This all gets a bit confused as it goes back and forth between "stock AS" stuff and what this or that dealer did or did not do. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different rivets out there. Just spec'ing a size does not always get you the same strength rivet.

All that said, if these are normal / roughly 70 LB batteries .... four rivets isn't a real good idea to hold them. Even with everything done right / proper rivets / proper holes ... rivets come loose. That's just the fact of life in an AS.

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Old 11-06-2018, 10:38 AM   #19
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Came the Airstream and their self tapping..Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

My 2014 Batteries are of course inside under the lounge but I have been intrigued by the move to under-slung mounting.
I was concerned with the elements, road grime and maintenance, but WOW

This is not Sparta...this is madness!
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:08 AM   #20
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This is just awful experience for you guys, sorry to hear! I recalled seeing the DIY setup by Boxster and others were much more robust, this looks flimsy!
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