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SPS-1 09-07-2012 09:06 PM

Battery terminal corrosion
I have an old Triumph that gets little use. I put a battery tender on it every once in a while (I get nervous about leaving it plugged in full time). Not surprisingly, I have issues with battery life. My current battery for a long time has shown a lot of corrosion on the positive terminal. Is this just par for the course, or is the battery defective/gone?

Doc Holliday 09-07-2012 09:18 PM

What's a battery tender? No harm in leaving the battery connected and starting the car a few times a week, letting it run until it's warm.

"The sulfuric acid used in batteries produces hydrogen gas, which is the primary factor behind the corrosion process that naturally occurs on your battery cables. That is because when your vehicle and battery are operating, very small amounts of gas are released through the vent cap. When released, these fumes naturally combine with the heat, dirt and humidity in the air, plus other active agents under your hood, like grease, oil and coolant, to form corrosion on your battery cables and terminals."

Read more:

"Flooded Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries (VRLAB)
Flooded or vented lead acid battery The oldest types of lead acid batteries are flooded cell types. These have been around for decades and evolved from wooden box models into the plastic valve regulated models on the market today. The electrolyte in these batteries is liquid sulfuric acid solution. This stuff is pretty corrosive and has destroyed more than a few sets of clothes and pieces of RV gear. VRLA flooded batteries generate and vent dangerous explosive gases through their valve regulation and must be vented to the outside world. These batteries also acid "mist" during charging and discharging. This leads to the corrosion of their terminals, and often-acid damage to surrounding surfaces. (look at your car battery for an example) VRLA Flooded batteries must be installed upright, can leak that acid, and require regular watering. Should they fail to be watered, they will not perform to spec."

Hope all that helps!

joecaption 09-07-2012 09:50 PM

There's lot of sealers for patterty terminals avalible at any auto parts store that will take care that.
Even a coat of Vasoline will work.

cjm94 09-08-2012 06:04 AM

Not a problem leaving the battery tender plugged in. I leave my motorcycle plugged in all winter my battery is now 8 years old and works great. Baking soda and water works great for cleaning the battery acid off.

DexterII 09-08-2012 07:57 AM

Yes, as Joe mentioned, you can get felt gaskets, as well as the red baterry terminal paste at virtually any auto parts stores, and they can be effective. You obviously have other things going on under the hood as well, crankcase venting, etc., and the felts will get matted with time, so just remember to take a look at them once in a while. It has been too long since I have been under the hood of one of them, so can't remember enough details to know how much of a job it might be to switch the cables, etc., but side post batteries ar constructed such that the problem is much less with them.

Thurman 09-08-2012 09:41 AM

A trick I learned fifty or so years ago, this works for "post" type batteries and motorcycle batteries: Put a light coat of general type grease on the top of the battery around the post, do not get it on the post. Place the cable end on the battery and tighten it up, then coat the cable end with this grease. This does not work well with the side post type batteries.

SPS-1 09-08-2012 11:25 AM

Well, I cleaned it up, charged up the battery, replaced the clamp bolts with SS, put some grease on the bottom of the post, and called it a day. Car would not crank, and I thought it was the battery, but seemed to have been the clutch switch was not quite making.

ukrkoz 09-08-2012 08:49 PM

1. here's your best buddy # 1

2. here's your best buddy #2:

which I do both, in this specific order, on all cars we own.

polarzak 09-10-2012 08:24 AM that a Triumph motorcycle or car? I had a TR-7 for many years, until it became a chain around my neck. Ah...the stories I could tell.
I used petroleum jelly on the terminals and it seemed to work well. Ukrkoz's solution is probably a better one. That is what I would use today if I had those old style battery terminals.

SPS-1 09-10-2012 11:05 AM

Its a car. Spitfire.
It's in pretty good shape actually. But its still a mid seventies British car. So I do get the opportunity to work on it.

polarzak 09-10-2012 01:31 PM

Mine was 77 TR-7. Fun car, but those Lucas electrics??? I used to enjoy the "opportunity" to work on mine also, but it eventually became a "demand". I see a green Spitfire going up and down Highway 400 (Toronto) every once and a while. It is a nice car, brings back memories of my British car days....fond memories but I am glad I sold it when I did.

Bondo 09-11-2012 05:32 AM


Originally Posted by polarzak (Post 1006995)
Mine was 77 TR-7. Fun car, but those Lucas electrics??? I used to enjoy the "opportunity" to work on mine also, but it eventually became a "demand". I see a green Spitfire going up and down Highway 400 (Toronto) every once and a while. It is a nice car, brings back memories of my British car days....fond memories but I am glad I sold it when I did.

Ayuh,.... The Prince of Darkness,....

Many years ago, I was into Austin Minis,...

Duckweather 09-11-2012 06:31 AM

We used regular grease in the Army. Terminals, (posts and clamps), have to be cleaned with wire brush or scraper until shiny to remove any hard whitish coating. Don't use sandpaper, it can leave grit embedded that reduces contact. Check where the post comes through the casing for tiny leaks of acid, Baking soda will clean the corrosion but do not get any in the battery it will neutralize the acid. Reassemble and grease. We did this as if our life depended on it, and it could.

autobell2 09-25-2012 05:15 PM

Battery terminal corrosion
Once you've cleaned the terminals and tightened them back up ,use some permatex aviation gasket sealer on the terminals , it's cheap, works well, and can be used for a lot of other car related things. It leaves a shiny red impervious coating on the metal parts too!

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