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Old 04-12-2024, 09:56 PM   #1
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Default dodge rt battery box

The house battery for my 1999 RT 170 is located in passenger's side rear. It is in group-24-sized box recessed under the storage space under the rear dinette area, covered by a wooden panel, accessed from the rear door. The box is starting to rust, and I would like to replace it. The current box is has large openings in all four corners, which I guess is because the original battery had flooded cells (the box is underneath the van, so open to the outside air). Is it necessary for an SLA battery to be vented in this way? Has anyone done something like this or have any recommendations on how to proceed?
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Old 04-13-2024, 01:01 AM   #2
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The house battery for my 1999 RT 170 is located in passenger's side rear. It is in group-24-sized box recessed under the storage space under the rear dinette area, covered by a wooden panel, accessed from the rear door. The box is starting to rust, and I would like to replace it. The current box is has large openings in all four corners, which I guess is because the original battery had flooded cells (the box is underneath the van, so open to the outside air). Is it necessary for an SLA battery to be vented in this way? Has anyone done something like this or have any recommendations on how to proceed?

Sealed lead acid batteries are not actually sealed, the just don't have the vented caps for adding water and checking specific gravity. They will have vent out of the top somewhere usually on each end.


They do gas, but not as much as a true deep cycle battery as with low water use versions have different chemistry. They do still need to be vented though.


Going to an AGM battery would get rid of most of the venting issues but still good to have some vent in a small sealed up box like you have. I think some of that style came with gel batteries even because the box is so hard to get to when needing to add water.
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Old 04-13-2024, 01:18 PM   #3
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I seem to recall that my 1996 Dodge RT190P battery in that location could also be accessed by removing the twin bed mattress above the battery compartment and there was an access door above the battery. I think I discovered this after replacing the battery the first time from the rear. It was a lot easier to lift the battery out with a battery lift than fighting it up and out from the open back door.

OR, am I dreaming this or thinking of another B?
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Old 04-13-2024, 07:42 PM   #4
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The battery box on my 1997 RT corroded away some time ago, and, yes, it was a pain to get to. I finally moved the battery to sit above the old spot, on the floor of the storage area. It is enclosed in a vented battery box that is strapped to the floor. This is the same type of box seen on boats. Any further venting has not been necessary, since the storage area is a fairly large space.
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Old 04-13-2024, 07:47 PM   #5
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The battery box on my 1997 RT corroded away some time ago, and, yes, it was a pain to get to. I finally moved the battery to sit above the old spot, on the floor of the storage area. It is enclosed in a vented battery box that is strapped to the floor. This is the same type of box seen on boats. Any further venting has not been necessary, since the storage area is a fairly large space.

What chemistry battery did you put inside the van. Wet cells inside are something that the manufacturers don't recommend because of the possibility of acid spills if damaged and generation of flammable and corrosive gasses.
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Old 04-13-2024, 09:29 PM   #6
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What chemistry battery did you put inside the van. Wet cells inside are something that the manufacturers don't recommend because of the possibility of acid spills if damaged and generation of flammable and corrosive gasses.
It's a flooded lead-acid deep cycle, sealed. Yes, it is not recommended to do this, but the battery is enclosed in a battery box and is secured in place. I have used this arrangement for 10 years with no problem. My boats have all had a similar setup in the cabins with no issues. The old RT's don't offer many alternatives, and I only offer this as a possible solution.
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Old 04-14-2024, 05:26 PM   #7
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Going to an AGM battery would get rid of most of the venting issues but still good to have some vent in a small sealed up box like you have.
So it sounds like with an AGM battery, I could fabricate some kind of a replacement box with just some holes along the top, which would be much better -- the current box it wide open on all sides and is underneath the van just behind the rear tire on the passenger side.

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I seem to recall that my 1996 Dodge RT190P battery in that location could also be accessed by removing the twin bed mattress above the battery compartment and there was an access door above the battery.
Yes, you can get to the rear storage area and the battery access door from the top if you remove the dinette cushion/bed matress and open up the wood panel that the cushion sits on. There are screws in that wood panel but in my van they are not there and there is a hinge in the back that allows it to be lifted, but that might be a mod.

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The battery box on my 1997 RT corroded away some time ago, and, yes, it was a pain to get to. I finally moved the battery to sit above the old spot, on the floor of the storage area. It is enclosed in a vented battery box that is strapped to the floor. This is the same type of box seen on boats. Any further venting has not been necessary, since the storage area is a fairly large space.
TomF - Yes, I might need to to something like that instead, but I would really prefer to rebuild the box -- did you consider trying that?
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Old 04-14-2024, 06:46 PM   #8
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So it sounds like with an AGM battery, I could fabricate some kind of a replacement box with just some holes along the top, which would be much better -- the current box it wide open on all sides and is underneath the van just behind the rear tire on the passenger side.



Yes, you can get to the rear storage area and the battery access door from the top if you remove the dinette cushion/bed matress and open up the wood panel that the cushion sits on. There are screws in that wood panel but in my van they are not there and there is a hinge in the back that allows it to be lifted, but that might be a mod.



TomF - Yes, I might need to to something like that instead, but I would really prefer to rebuild the box -- did you consider trying that?
Yes, I considered rebuilding the box, but there are too many negatives involved for me. First, I live 5,000 mies from where I store my RT, and a long term project like that gets difficult for me, since I live in the van when I am there. Secondly, I never liked the difficulty of removing the battery from under the floor, and I feel that exposing the battery to the elements is not a good thing. The new location works for me. I can slide the battery out and disconnect it easily for storage each fall, and the connections are protected and easily accessed.
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