Our 2007 23 Safari came from the Airstream factory with two Lifeline GPL-24T Deep Cycle AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) RV batteries
. Earlier this month they were five and a half years old and were beginning to not adequately hold onto a charge over the typical 5 days of non-hook-up camping that we like to do. So it was time to change the batteries and I wanted to do it safely and correctly, especially since our trailer came with the Airstream factory installed solar charging system
I found Disconnecting the batteries
posting and How to Change Batteries in an RV
article helpful, but not comprehensive enough for my needs. The following information is how I went about changing my batteries, which worked well for me, and is presented here in the spirit that it might be helpful to others, but note that it is not intended to tell you how to change your batteries.
I found a list of local Lifeline Battery Distributors
and obtained two Lifeline GPL-24T AGM batteries.
I took close-up photos of my existing batteries and wiring configuration (which included wires from the solar charging system and the Super Jack) as originally set up by Airstream.
I made a diagram of the wiring connections (see below).
I gathered my tools (socket wrenches, screw driver, wire brush and petroleum jelly).
I attached a label to each wire and assigned it a number (starting with #1 for the first wire to be disconnected), which corresponded to the illustrated diagram.
I physically disconnected the 30-amp AC shore power cable.
I put the Battery Disconnect Switch
to Store position (the red light went out).
I covered my solar panels with a bedspread (just as a further precaution).
I removed the ½ hex nut and disconnected the wires that were connected to the negative terminals first, beginning with the top shiny black wire with blue rubber end (solar), then the thick red cable connecting the two negative terminals, and finally I could loosen the clamp and remove the large black negative cable. (As a further precaution, I put each wire end in a Ziploc bag.)
I then removed the 5/8 hex nut and disconnected the wires that were connected to the positive terminals.
I unscrewed the battery compartment clamp and lifted the batteries out.
I cleaned the battery tray and compartment.
I lowered the new batteries in place and secured them with the clamp.
After I cleaned the wire ends and applied a thin layer of petroleum jelly, I reattached the wires, starting with the thick red positive cable with clamp to the positive terminal. The wires were reconnected in the reverse order of their removal. (I referred back to my diagram and photos to make sure which wire went over or under the other to avoid a bulge of wires that could make compartment lid closing difficult.) The wires were secured by tightening the nuts and a thin layer of petroleum applied to the terminals.
I put the Battery Disconnect Switch to Use position (I heard a click and the red light came on).
I verified that I had power in the trailer by turning on the stereo.
I uncovered the solar panels and saw that they were providing power to the batteries as verified by the solar monitor.
I plugged in the 30-amp shore power cable and checked appliances, such as the microwave clock.
I returned the old batteries to the Lifeline distributor (which enabled me to originally purchase the batteries at a lower price).
I let the new batteries get fully charged on shore power for two days and then I disconnected shore power and ran a test for several days to make sure that the batteries were being properly recharged via the solar panels.