Perfect day for a ride. Went over a bump and stalled. Turned out to be a bad battery connection (no starter wires, just coils).
Cleaned them up and all is fine, BUT here is the question:
What tricks have you used to keep battery connections from corroding? I've heard of everything from chassis grease to those little red and green felt circles.
What works for you?
If you are running 6 volt, my experience from tractors is that every once in a while pull them off and clean them, seems like 6 volts need to be cleaner and kept tight more than 12 volt connections.
Red & Green felt circles AND the little tube of red battery terminal corrosion preventative spray...
And: Make sure you solder the repro wires before you put them on...
I have had good luck on all my cars with the red and green felt circles.
I have always had very good results with coating the terminals with Vaseline.
Just in case you don't know this - the procedure is to clean both the battery posts and then also clean the battery cable mating surface. Put the cable clamp fully down on the battery post so you have maximum surface to surface contact and tight it up. THEN you smear the grease over the entire terminal and post remembering that the main culprit in corrosion will occur at the POSITIVE battery post. I have had folks who think they are supposed to grease the post and clamp and then assemble it. While with some greases you can actually do that by mistake and have it still work, the main purpose of the grease is to keep air out and thus prevent corrosion.
I just squirt a bit of oil on them after they are installed. Works for me. Dave
Old rule is Clean and Tight Makes it right, Yes I agree fully that NOTHING should be between The connections, The coatings are for AFTER the connection is complete and tight
Karo Syrup or plain old syrup.
Years ago I was a high level sweep tech for cable television. I also took care of power supplies. We always used syrup on the battery banks. Works quite well and dries hard. Grease is a bit messy and that red spray cost too much. Just to throw something else into the mix.
Here's the perfect chance to dig out that can of white lube you stored years ago and haven't used since you last lubed/changed a set of ignition points! Of course clean & tighten the connections and coat libberly.
Good point about putting it on the outside! The one and only time I put Vaseline on the terminals I of course put it on the connections and the terminals then reconnected them to the battery, sizzle sizzle! I don't think I have ever saw anything that stated to jut put on the "OUTSIDE", just put it on the terminals. Learn something new every day. Thanks
What always bothers me is that no matter how careful you might be to "completely" coat the installed battery cable terminal end when it's tightened to the battery post, I've never figured out a way to coat the BOTTOM of the cable terminal as it is almost flush with the surface of the battery. So,.....it would stand to reason that corrosion would eventually STILL take place on the bottom of the cable terminal, no matter how careful one might be to coat all of the rest of the thing!
I have used nothing but Vaseline for a few decades now. I apply it all over the terminals and work it into every nook and cranny on both cable clamps and then put them on and tighten them down good. I've never experienced any failure or power loss or anything ... just nice corrosion free terminals. I don't use a battery for more than seven years in my diesel truck, and when it comes time to replace it, the terminals are nice and clean.
Garnet - Your post is a very interesting addition to this discussion, and undoubtedly the best way to coat the terminals, rather than just a quick spray of that "red stuff", however, it DOES prompt a question in my feeble mind:
I'm wondering if the batteries you speak of in your diesel truck might be of the modern "SEALED" 12 volt type as compared to the old fashioned 6 volt "VENTED" batteries that we use in Model T Fords??? I'm a firm believer that the corrosion comes from the gasses produced by the battery during charging that are vented from the old type 6 volt "non-sealed" batteries in our Model "T's.
I am thinking that even the modern so called sealed batteries have vents of some sort. The process of charging is going to produce gas and it has to vent some how or build up.
My racer is a sealed 12 volt, same as my truck Harold, but my roadster pickup has a typical 6 volt with caps. As has been mentioned before it always seems to be the positive cable that corrodes so I don't think it's a venting issue, but then I also don't have the smarts to offer any other reason.
Harold, I've had the same experience using Vaseline as I posted earlier.
For 20 years I used that on the fire pump engine batteries. These were the big D8 type. Each engine had two sets of two batteries and were always on a float automatic charger. A ton of caps on top and sometimes a little acid residue. The terminals were always super clean. Of course these got supreme servicing and maintenance each month.
Besides that red stuff makes a mess on your clothes and hands.
To summarize, it sounds like corrosion proofing divides up into 3 classes.
1. Oil or petroleum products to keep air/gases from the terminals.
2. The red/green disks (which appear to forestall corrosion by chemical means)
3. And finally ....Karo syrup! I guess its purpose is to keep air/gases out as in #1 above.You gotta admit though, its one of the most unique methods.
I think I'll try #3, because it sounds like the most fun ;o)
Many "corrosion issues" on battery terminals come from trace amounts of the electrolyte essentially leaking thru the case along the post. The corrosion I am talking about is when you see the white powdery corrosion or crust around the posts and cable connections.
One of the major challenges in the modern lead-acid battery manufacturing industry is still the effective sealing of the battery terminals where they go thru the case. Some battery manufacturers have very effective methods that they have developed, other manufacturers may use something less effective. This is something that manufacturers consider proprietary, and I believe some methods are even patented or otherwise protected.
The red and green felt circles you can buy for under $1 are generally saturated with a little anti-acid chemical of some sort and the idea is that the trace amount of electrolyte that might seep past the case around the post will be absorbed and neutralized by the felt ring. The felts don't usually come with any instructions, but if you understand how they work, you will realize that they should contact the post all the way around. Most of the felts have one or two inner rings you can remove in order to get them to fit tightly around the post. If the felts are tight to the post, the idea is that the trace amounts of acid will not reach the connection. And they do seem to work quite well...
Some brands of batteries tend to leak while others are much more durable. My preference is any brand of battery that was manufactured by Johnson Controls (available at Fleet Farm stores around here). For what its worth, the biggest problem I have had with leaky 6v batteries have been Interstate and Batteries Plus brand.
On both of my show cars, I remove the batteries every couple of years and give them a good washdown with water and dishwashing soap, then I rinse them with water, then give them a rinse with a baking soda/water solution, then a final water rinse and dry. If nothing else it keeps them clean.
In addition to what Mark mentioned about keeping the tops of the batteries clean, some batteries will carbon track across the top from not being clean. I have actually read voltage on the plastic with a meter where it has happened. Problem is, after it happens there will always be a slight discharge from it.
The reason Karo Syrup works is the little animals come and lick the terminals clean every night. You just think the syrup is working but it is all that tongue action.
I have use vaseline.
One old timer at work decades ago would mix Vaseline with naptha so that it could be brushed on. The naptha dissipated, leaving a thin coating of Vaseline on terminals.
I like Dennis's explanation. I think he's onto something.
I would think Karo syrup would attract ants. Not to change the subject, but have you ever seen ants get into the contacts on a well pump pressure switch? You gotta wonder what attracts them to that.