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Old 12-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #1
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Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

I was charging my house battery last night and when I got up this morning it smelled like sulfur and the CO meter was going off.

Can someone tell me what's going on?
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

I suspect that you have a shorted cell in a battery. It could be the house battery or the van battery or batteries, if you have a separator. Stop the charging process, one of the batteries should be warm.

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Old 12-07-2010, 08:39 PM   #3
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Is it possible to disconnect the house battery and drive the van into the shop to get looked at? I think it's the house battery as that's where the smell is the strongest.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Disconnecting the house battery should be no problem. The easiest way is probably at the separator if your van is 2005 or newer, or the isloater if earlier. Make sure you have some electrical tape as the wires will still be hot from the house battery and you don't want arcing on the way to the shop.

If you have a separator you should just be able to disconnect the negative wire from separator to ground, this will keep the separator from closing which will keep the house battery from charging off the alternator.

Otherwise negative is your best bet, which should be somewhere on the frame, coming from the house battery or through the floor.

Last I wouldn't pull any positive cables, probably a bad time to create a spark. Also try to remove any load from the house battery before disconnecting if you can't go the separator route, as load causes sparks.

HTH, follow at your own risk (I'd open all the windows for 10 minutes before proceeding...)
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:54 PM   #5
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

If I remove the 10 amp fuse, will this cut power to the house battery from the starter battery? I don't want the house battery charging while I drive it to the shop.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:00 PM   #6
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Is the 10 amp fuse going from Ground to the separator. If yes, you should be able to pull that to disable the separator. You might want to pull the other fuses just to remove any load from the battery also.

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Old 12-08-2010, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Curious. Does your van have a propane system? If it does I would also put it under suspicion just to be on the safe side.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

no propane on the van. I had the van towed. After airing out the van all night it still had a strong sulfur smell and I didn't want to chance it.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:39 PM   #9
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum
no propane on the van. I had the van towed. After airing out the van all night it still had a strong sulfur smell and I didn't want to chance it.
Always a good option if you've got it!
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
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Re: Sulfur/ rotten egg smell

Just curious, you have a wet cell as a House battery? If so, chances are it might have boiled out and you need to make sure the metal area all around the battery is neutralize. If the shop does it makes sure they really do a proper cleanup with the right agent. Even baking soda works good if used properly.
If the battery is in a bank, consider whether the second should be replace...most of the time it's necessary.

You might consider an AGM house battery as a replacement...just a thought.

I've had the same thing happen twice but I have a diesel and it was one of the starting batteries, and I'm glad it wasn't either of my AGM house batteries.

Good luck and post back what you find.
Dave
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