Is that CRAP I smell?
A while later a smell returned. Jack said it smelled like omelets. We sprayed air freshner and turned on fans- I figured I would work on it the next day. However it got so bad I couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed to go check the Macgyver fix in the engine room to find a corner of the room streaming and full of condensation. Now clearly I’m not the mechanic of the pair of us, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t right. I had to wake Pat up :(
“Hey Pat, should there be steam coming out of anything in the engine room?” Yeah, he got up pretty quickly- turns out the answer is “no”.
He removed the cover from, what turned out to be, the condensation covered battery compartment and found that our giant 8D starting battery was steaming from 2 sides. That's a really bad thing. He moved faster than I've seen him move in awhile turned on the engine room blowers and, after creating a few sparks, disconnected the power (just like you would a car battery). The steaming slowed to a stop. He checked the temperature with a heat gun and found parts of it to be nearly 200 degrees!
As it cooled down, we debriefed what had just happened:
- We now know what hydrogen, oxygen and pure sulfuric acid smells like - It stinks. While Hydrogen and Oxygen are non toxic, sulfuric acid is not something one should inhale.
- We should always check out strange smells.
- Replace old batteries - we have no idea how old this battery was, but apparently it was at the end of its life.
- Keep goggles and a mask in the engine room.
- Steam in an engine room is not good.