Battery Failure Mystery

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Battery Failure Mystery
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Howard D. Dennis Byron, Georgia on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 12:49 am:

Anyone know anything about batteries? My 1917 Maxwell has 2 new batteries 15 months ago, 1/2 hr running time, maybe a dozen starts and one 1/4 mile drive. Been stored in my heated garage. Car has twin battery shut/off switches so no load or draw or shorts during storage. Went to show visitors on Christmas and found dead batteries. Found these cracks around cell connectors. You can see inside batteries and it looks like something wanted out??? No lose of acid. What the heck happened???

Howard Dennis


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank van Ekeren (Australia) on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 01:08 am:

Several other car/tractor and WW2Jeep forums talk of the same problem, this clip seems to be consensus on it.
The optima battery inside the case is a popular solution.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 09:09 am:

Defective?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 11:26 am:

Sorry but I know of no solution that will help. Lead acid batteries are filled with very corrosive materials and do have a limited life. They need to be used on a regular basis. A storage battery left full charged and disconnected will self discharge over a period of a few months, it is just the way it is.....
The splitting around the terminals is certainly a defect, you MIGHT be able to get a little off on purchasing a new device. There again it may just be on the surface and would present no serious problem, however given how little you have used the batteries, they have probably sulphated and are useless.
To get a reasonable life out of lead acid batteries, they must be gently exercised on a regular basis..


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 11:36 am:

When you purchase a "new" battery, always look for the date of manufacture. It should be a recent date. Batteries can deteriorate just setting on a shelf. The 6 volt batteries are not as commonly used as 12 volts and so, you need to be sure the battery is a fresh one when you purchase it.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stephen, South Texas on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 11:39 am:

Most likely battery sulfation. It occurs when a lead acid battery is left/stored uncharged for a long period. Being dead is a sure sign. Sulfate builds up inside the battery and can actually split the case.

Those batteries are toast. I bet that if you opened them up, the plates are swollen and most likely shorted out. They won't charge when they're like that. Makes that $30 battery maintainer sound cheap now, huh. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Menzies on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 11:39 am:

I would suggest your cable was not tight and it over heated while cranking. The tar/plastic appears to be melted from the outside and the post is discolored. It is a good check after cranking to feel the posts for excessive heat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Howard D. Dennis Byron, Georgia on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 01:24 pm:

Terminals spotless, clean and tight. What appears to be discoloration is actually CRC battery terminal protector spray recommended by the Interstate dealer and he gave me the anti-corrosion washers on each terminal. My $60.00 battery maintainer was used less than a month ago. I did everything by the book and still got burned.
I just wished we could still buy products made as well as these old vehicles we are using them in!!!!!

Howard Dennis


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By keith g barrier Savannah Tn. on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 03:36 pm:

If my memory serves me right, this was always a problem with tar top batteries. KGB


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 03:41 pm:

Sorry to hear about your battery troubles. :-(

Here's one idea - there are companies that make period-looking covers that fit over the tops of modern batteries, although they specialize in the higher volume muscle-car market.

http://www.batterytoppers.com/

Using them as inspiration, perhaps you can make your own Maxwell battery toppers by using one of your failed batteries as a master for a mold, then mold your own "battery topper" to fit on top of a modern 6V battery. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Layden Butler on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 03:59 pm:

"My $60.00 battery maintainer was used less than a month ago. I did everything by the book and still got burned."

My experience with battery maintainer chargers is to hook them up, plug in and leave it plugged in. Lead acid batteries in my experience with motor homes, cars, tractors and burglar alarm systems all last longer when continuously maintained or used (and thus recharged when in use) often (daily or maybe weekly but not longer).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 04:30 pm:

Two batteries - one maintainer...

and that statement:

"My $60.00 battery maintainer was used less than a month ago.

Is it possible that the equipment was hooked up in such a way that the batteries became "overcharged" and off gassed enough to expand and crack the cases rather than exploding?

Maybe the maintainer continued to charge??? rather than shut itself down???


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 04:33 pm:

Nothing wrong with your memory Keith. It's a common normal happening. Nothing to do with a battery maintainer either. The caps are vented and the red part would blow off before any pressure got that high and the vents were plugged so it's not a pressure problem. "No fluid loss" as stated is because the cracks don't usually go down that far. They have a habit, under certain conditions, (moisture/humidity) of mysteriously draining and might come back with a slow charge. Might is the operative word.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Menzies on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 05:21 pm:

Question?? If the battery is near new why is the neg. terminal so pitted?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Howard D. Dennis Byron, Georgia on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 05:39 pm:

Battery maintainer was hooked up to one battery and left overnight. Next morning green light tells me first battery fully charged. Switch battery, repeat.

David you have to give me a break on your interpretation of my lousy photo. Actually photo was crystal clear but by the time I got done reducing it to fit on this forum it got real fuzzy. Terminal is not pitted, CRC coating got scratched hooking up battery maintainer, battery came back to life but is useless with these cracks.

Howard Dennis


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 05:42 pm:

Howard, if you don't mind, can you tell us where you got the batteries from? Are they modern sealed AGM batteries made to look like the early type?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chad Marchees _____Tax Capital, NY on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 06:36 pm:

Howard, I had a similar situation with a Napa (Exide made) battery. Mine was not on a maintainer though, but I was still shocked to see the case cracked, mine cracked around the post.

I still bought another Napa battery to replace it with, but it struck me as odd that it would do that. Again mine sat without a maintainer on it fora bit of time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Howard D. Dennis Byron, Georgia on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 08:22 pm:

"Howard, if you don't mind, can you tell us where you got the batteries from? Are they modern sealed AGM batteries made to look like the early type?"
I got them from Interstate Battery. They are replacements for various English cars such as MG's and Jaguars. Part # 17HF. These are built with tar topped cells. My Maxwell, when new, had a single battery that had 6 cells and 4 cables giving a 6/12 volt function. I found this was the best way to duplicate that with what is available today even though these are pricey little suckers! Someday economics or lack of availability may force me to modify the under seat area to take a pair of group 1's like you guys use.
Howard Dennis


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