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house battery leaking

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Hello everyone…


I have a 2003 Ford F-53 RV


I have noticed a small leak in one of the house batteries ( I have two 12 volt batteries)

To give you a better history, both batteries are exactly 3 years old, I have driven the RV for 3000 miles on the first year, and since then it has been hooked up for 6 months then another 6 months in storage, I check the batteries and add distilled water every few months, there is no corrosion or any other issues, the RV has a built-in charger that keeps them charged when I am hooked up to shore power.

The RV has been in storage from March till November, last time I added distilled water was in March… when I operated the RV in November ( the chassis battery had died so I had to jump start it ) I noticed that leak or overflow on side of the caps of the second battery… I thought it was because I drove the RV on bumpy road from storage to the spot… last week I changed the chassis battery, turned the RV on for few minutes then changed the oil… then I noticed that small leak again… the panel light indicators ( with the 4 dot lights )  show the batteries are fully charged so I ruled out the issues with charging, also cannot be too much distilled water since I haven’t added any since March… the leak seems very light / small, barely wet area on the top next to the caps… so what could that be acid or water? And what are the possible causes based on the history of the RV I mentioned above ?


Thank you all for taking the time to read my post

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20 minutes ago, Sir Traveller said:

the panel light indicators ( with the 4 dot lights )  show the batteries are fully charged so I ruled out the issues with charging,

Those lights are only slightly better than nothing at all. All that they do is measure the voltage at the point in the system where the panel is located and not very accurately. The best way to check battery voltage is to lift the negative cable and allow it to sit that way for at least an hour, then measure voltage with a good, digital meter that has at least 2 decimal places in the display. Check a battery charge chart for exact numbers but the voltage of a resting battery that is fully charged should be about 12.6V.

Since the wet is on the top I suspect that you are seeing signs of the battery boiling from overcharging. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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1) While the water should be at least above the plates, its possible too much water might be added to a battery in which case should it be subjected to a heavy/over charge or there's excess vibration or not being level, "some" water might overflow out the top.  IE Maybe its just over filled??

2) While modern quality RV Converter/Chargers (so called Smart 3/4 stage chargers) are multi stage, better regulated and prevent over charging, some older cheaper OEM Converter/Chargers which aren't as well regulated can actually overcharge a battery if left on too long causing excessive outgassing plus some boiling over the water. 

3) A hydrometer can tell you the specific gravity in EACH CELL and that plus a quality volt meter USED ONLY AFTER THE BATTERY IS AT REST AND STABILIZED with no loads and no chargers attached is an indicator of the State of Charge MUCH better then any idiot lights lol

4) Inspect each individual cell for the correct water level,,,,,,,,,insure no cells exhibit an off or gray color as compared to all others,,,,,,Give it a charge let it set at rest with NO loads attached for at least 30 minutes, then use a quality DC voltmeter to see its reading. The chart copied below is ONLY for 77 Degrees while Kirks URL link lists the voltages for different temperatures.

 I suspect it may be overcharging orrrrrrrrrr has a bad cell orrrrrrrrrrrr maybe its just overfilled to begin with???? CROSS YOUR FINGERS YOU MAY BE OKAY ????????????

Many battery shops will inspect, charge, and load test a battery for free if you lack the skill or equipment to do so  HOWEVER you need to insure your Converter/Charger isn't bad which could given time damage even good batteries. I have no idea of its charging voltages but Id expect something like voltages of 14+ initially then once charged maybe back off to 13 + then once at rest with all removed Id expect 12.6 or so BATTERY volts subject to temperature and battery condition 

Temperature: 77 degrees Fahrenheit

 Percent  Hydrometer  Unloaded
  charge     reading   voltage
     100       1.265     12.63
      75        1.210     12.30
      50        1.160     12.00
      25        1.120     11.76
       0         1.100     11.64

let us know what you find


John T

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I  want to add ( in case this could be a factor ) that I am in South California close to the dessert area, in winter it is warm during the day but cool down to mid 30s at night ( at summer when the RV in storage it is usually over 100 degrees at day and maybe 70s at night ) so there is always fluctuation in temperature between day and night but never gets below freezing 32 Fahrenheit

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