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 Post subject: Battery Help
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 10:01 pm
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Location: Pittsburg, KS 6662
Year and Trim: '89 LeSabre T Type
Ok, this is on my '89.

Is it possible for a battery to have a bad terminal internally? The reason I ask is because my car just completely shut down on me on the drive over to my girlfriends place (where I am now). It was kinda scary since I didn't have any lights and it was a busy road. When it died, I just flashed my lights at a semi as a "you're welcome" for letting him lane over when the car died and I coasted to the side of the road.

I replaced the long battery bolt yesterday because the old one would no longer thread into the battery well and it was pretty chewed up from wrong-sized tools anyway. I thought that maybe it was loose so I wiggled it and it was still tight but I could move the cables up and down on the bolt.... not good.

BUT... as soon as I opened the door the dome light came on so I started the car and had no problems.

So... is the problem a bolt that is too long or do I have worn out battery cables or an internal short in my battery? I'm really tempted to just replace my battery with an Optima red top (I get 10% discount with my student ID) anyway because I'm running a 2 year old crappy wal mart battery.

Suggestions are appreciated :)

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-Eric
"Energy and Persistence Conquer all Things" --Benjamin Franklin
-1989 Buick LeSabre T Type: 220k miles
-1987 Fiero GT: 224k miles
-2012 Honda Civic (boring, but its a good DD)


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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:00 am 
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Location: Ames, Iowa
Year and Trim: 98 Caravan is the daily driver 215K
It is possible that the internal connections in the battery can separate, but when that happens, it is not too likely that the problem will be intermittent as you have described. The flat terminal connectors at the battery connection must be clean and tight. If you have run the bolt in as far as it will go and the terminals are still loose, the bolt is too long. And remember, you are threading into soft lead - it is pretty easy to strip out those threads if you are not careful. A bolt that is too short will only catch one or two threads and is far more likely to strip the threads in the battery than a properly sized bolt. You should be able to buy a proper sized replacement bolt at NAPA or O'Reilly's, etc.

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1998 3.8 Dodge Caravan 214K
2000 3.3 Dodge Caravan 175K
1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4-dr sedan 25K (needs some work!)


Last edited by bill buttermore on Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:52 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 10:01 pm
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Location: Pittsburg, KS 6662
Year and Trim: '89 LeSabre T Type
No problems on the way to school this morning.

I can check the dimensions of the replacement against the original bolt with a pair of calipers when I get home but when I was swapping them out I noted that they were almost identical. The only real differences was that the replacement was threaded more on the shaft of the bolt.

Would a washer be OK to use to try to tighten it or should I try to grind off some of the end of the bolt?

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-Eric
"Energy and Persistence Conquer all Things" --Benjamin Franklin
-1989 Buick LeSabre T Type: 220k miles
-1987 Fiero GT: 224k miles
-2012 Honda Civic (boring, but its a good DD)


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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:32 pm 
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Location: Ames, Iowa
Year and Trim: 98 Caravan is the daily driver 215K
Alibi wrote:
Would a washer be OK to use to try to tighten it or should I try to grind off some of the end of the bolt?

If you bought a battery terminal bolt, the hex end of the bolt should have a shoulder that fits under the insulation of the outer cable end. If that bolt is too long, it would probably be better to cut or grind away some of the threads, presuming you will have plenty of thread left after the shortening. Run a nut up onto the bolt before you cut it. Then file and wire brush the cut or ground end so it looks smooth. Undo the nut across the cut end to make sure the starting threads are good. Make sure the nut runs smoothly before you try to start it in the battery. Keep in mind that it is easy to mess up the soft internal threads in the battery.

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1998 3.8 Dodge Caravan 214K
2000 3.3 Dodge Caravan 175K
1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4-dr sedan 25K (needs some work!)


Last edited by bill buttermore on Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 10:01 pm
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Location: Pittsburg, KS 6662
Year and Trim: '89 LeSabre T Type
I got it! turns out it was kinda the bolt being too long but not really. It was actually the spacer in the cable end itself that was worn too small. I bought a new one from O'Reily for all of $2, popped it in, and the bolt was just the right length to be tight.

I'll post pictures when I get home of the worn parts.

The car starts up fine now and the cables have no wiggle.

The only problem I have left with the battery is the hold down bolt is really rusty so I need to source one of those now.

Edit: Here are pictures of the old parts, the fix, and one of the battery holder bolt just for good measure.

Image
Image
Image
Image

_________________
-Eric
"Energy and Persistence Conquer all Things" --Benjamin Franklin
-1989 Buick LeSabre T Type: 220k miles
-1987 Fiero GT: 224k miles
-2012 Honda Civic (boring, but its a good DD)


Last edited by Alibi on Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Location: Manitoba
Year and Trim: 1996 SSEi
Real museum piece that battery hold down bolt.

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 Post subject: Re: Battery Help
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 10:01 pm
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Location: Pittsburg, KS 6662
Year and Trim: '89 LeSabre T Type
yeah... it was a bugger to get out. My battery tray is the most rusted out part on the whole car too. It really needs to be cut out and new metal welded in but I suppose that may happen if/when I swap in a SII motor.

I didn't see the bolt on Rock Auto so I guess its either a junkyard part or a dealer part.

_________________
-Eric
"Energy and Persistence Conquer all Things" --Benjamin Franklin
-1989 Buick LeSabre T Type: 220k miles
-1987 Fiero GT: 224k miles
-2012 Honda Civic (boring, but its a good DD)


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