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Old 01-09-2021, 11:57 AM   #1
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Cedar Rapids , Iowa
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Lithium upgrade in Interstate-removing the battery box

Decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to lithium in our Interstate. Looking to increase our time unplugged for boon docking and eventually hope to run our air conditioner for lunch when the pups are along for the ride.

Not being super into the electric wiring scene, I’ve watched the Irene Iron videos about one hundred times now. Luckily their Interstate is almost the same as our 2014.5. Having a video has helped immensely to know where the cables should be ran.

If anyone decides to tackle this project, I can say that removing the battery box was a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be. One trick to know is there are two tabs set way down on either side of the box. They hold the box down to the van floor. They are hard to see and locate. You have to peel the plastic guard off to see the left hand bolt next to the box. The tab on the right was hidden by electrical wiring and also hard to find.

As you try to move the box around, it is impeded by the sofa overhang. Ours was about a 5” overhang, larger than the one on the video as they have a different model than ours. There’s the pipe Aaron refers to that goes down to the generator.

FYI ****if any of you have had mice in your battery box*** there’s a large hole that has no obstruction what-so-ever that this pipe extends down to allow the generator wire to come up into the battery box. I wondered how we had the darn critters in the box both winters. That’s exactly how they got in. I would recommend pulling out your battery tray and spray foaming that hole shut if you’ve had any issues to date with mice getting in there, and even if you haven’t, it’s good preventative measure.

There’s also a ledge that the box sits on that extends down into where the floor is cut out. You have to clear a large wire loom that sits in this cut out area. I was getting hung up on the tabs and the pipe. If you watch Irene Iron’s video on upgrading their batteries, you will see what I am referring to.

It works best to pull the right edge of the battery box toward you, the left edge is pushed away from you. If you get one side of the tabs over the wire loom, and grab the back right edge (which is under the sofa bottom) as there is a little part sticking out back there to hold on to. You have to lift the back of the battery box up in the back after clearing at least one of the the tabs over the wire loom to get the pipe out of the hole that back pipe is stuck in. Once you do those two things, you can wiggle the box out and look below to see what else is left to clear. Mainly the other side tab and to get that pipe over the loom and the lip of the floor. Once you do that, it’s pretty free and clear to get out. At least on our model.

I found the floor needed to be built up, so you might plan on getting some scrap wood as it is nice to put your lithium batteries back in this area.

It probably took us two to three hours to get the cables disconnected. Had I studied the video better, I think we could have eliminated a bit of time to get the box out. It’s way more frustrating than I thought it would be. My fiance’ was trying to lift the front edge out first, and that didn’t work at all. I found you really need to grab the back edge and lift it higher than the front to get the pipe to clear the back, but also to watch those side tabs as you can’t see that’s what’s getting hung up to start.

I’ll try to get a picture posted of what the bottom of the box looks like in case anyone would like to see what the problems are that you need to clear to get it out. I think they are in the video, but sometimes having a visual helps to start.

Thankful to have so many tips to help work on projects or fix the problems we’ve run into as new owners. Hope this helps for anyone who is tackling the project.

By the way, I’d suggest having a good three days to take your system down and get it back up too. It could probably be done in one full day, but it’s so much easier to take this project step by step. Breaking the days apart has helped not to get super frustrated and give our bodies a bit of a break as it’s not the easiest positions to be in working in about a three foot space if that. Appreciate what techs do so much more after tackling projects like this!

On our final day of making cables and installing components. Wish us luck!
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:16 AM   #2
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Good, detailed description. Did you document with any pics?


No excuse for un-foamed openings into any rv.
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:06 AM   #3
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
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I did not video the process, it would not make the sensors or would need to be muted!!

In all seriousness, I think the video on Irene Iron Travels documents the removal very well. My reproduction of their removal would have not been any better.
I can say that everything went almost the same as their video, other than our sofa sits a bit further back over the battery box, and we have more room than they do beyond our sofa to the back as we have a Lounge EXT where they have a double wardrobe.

I think a picture of the box out of the Interstate is needed though. To understand how the tabs, the extension the box is held up on, and the pipe is hard to explain. You cannot see any of them as you are trying to remove the box as the floor is cut out in this area and the box sits on the metal van floor. Everything you are working with is below the subfloor and you can’t see anything that it’s getting hung up on, that’s what makes it so much more challenging.

See the removal on their page on You Tube. Starts around 12.50 in.

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Old 01-11-2021, 10:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
I did not video the process, it would not make the sensors or would need to be muted!!

I understand fully as I've been frustrated and upset when doing repairs and have needed a bad word sensor to censor my bad words.

There is also a high probability that my DNA can be found here and there is the hidden crevices of my rv. I agree with the saying "If there's no blood involved, the job probably wasn't worth it."

But as you did, I persevered. And that ultimate satisfaction is what makes it worthwhile.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:42 PM   #5
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Up and running and probably 95 percent done. Need to load the lithium profile on the Magnum inverter yet. Glad not to have jump started myself so far!

Iíll post some pictures in a couple days. Trying to get the project done before it gets extremely cold.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:44 PM   #6
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Looking through my pictures I now realize I have none of the almost finished project. Next time.

I am attaching the pictures of the battery box in the Interstate and out so you can see the lip, tabs, and pipe I was referring to. All sit under the subfloor.

On the picture on the top, the back of the box when it is in place is to the bottom of the picture. You can see the tab that is on the both sides that anchors the box to the floor.

On the picture on the bottom, the back is to the top of the picture. The lip and the pipe you need to get over the wire loom is pictured.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:48 PM   #7
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Pictures of the box in place. Our back area is not usually this dirty but it was too cold to clean at this point!

Sorry they are turned the wrong way, I canít get it to correct today.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:57 PM   #8
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Here are the Battle Born batteries hooked up, none of the finish work is done with the floor or connections. Remaking some of the cables and relocating the neutral on the bus bar.

Itís harder than I anticipated to work in this area. Trying to hold tools while being bent below the lip of the sofa is challenging. Also having to reach over the sofa mount is not as easy as I thought it would be. Made it a bit easier to have a few days to work on this project, some not as easy in 30 degree weather, but could have been worse.
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:04 PM   #9
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Would it be easier to have removed the lounge seat frame to make it easier to remove the battery box and work in that area?
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Old 01-22-2021, 09:40 PM   #10
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We thought of that, but youíd be surprised how long it takes to get the bolts out of the frame. We tried to loosen the right side of the frame and it wasnít budging to much, so we scrapped that idea. It didnít help on our frame, thereís a little piece of iron that extends out near the bolts in the floor, and ours was turned 90 degrees toward the box, so we had to also get around it which made it even harder.

Itís really the fact the floor is cut out so you are wiggling the box around and catching on the wire loom that crosses under the box. All the while things are getting caught on the wire loom, you have to lift that back pipe high enough to clear the hole in the floor. Itís like a game of twister but being stuck to the floor. You canít see any of this happening very easily either, as itís all below the box. Itís almost like wiggling it free by feel. I studied the video of it on Irene Fitness after we struggled for maybe an hour. It came out in about ten minutes once I saw exactly how he wiggled it free. We were really getting caught up on the tabs and the wire loom. We didnít have the issues pulling the box out that he did once we cleared all the obstacles below because we have a little more room between the back of the sofa frame and the edge of the door, plus he forgot to move his sofa forward at first. They have a double closet which must set the sofa back a bit further than our EXT model.

I donít remember if I put a link to the video but if I didnít, hereís where the video is of the box being removed:

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