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Old 07-09-2007, 08:47 PM   #1
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Today, while filling (pushing the button) the batteries, I noted that corrosion has been accumulating on the hold-down bolts and terminals.

My question is how is the best way to clean off the corrosion? With all the electrical connections, I hesitate to do too much water spraying.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:47 PM   #2
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Today, while filling (pushing the button) the batteries, I noted that corrosion has been accumulating on the hold-down bolts and terminals.

My question is how is the best way to clean off the corrosion? With all the electrical connections, I hesitate to do too much water spraying.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:18 PM   #3
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I may have done this wrong, but this last weekend was warm, and I sprayed off the entire battery compartment with a spray nozzel. I then sprayed the battery terminals with an anti-corrosion spray from NAPA.

I figured in a heavy downpour, water gets everywhere. So why not!
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:51 PM   #4
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Water is your friend! The best way to clean the batteries is.........

1) Rinse the batteries with lots of water.

2) Sprinkle baking soda on top of the batteries and spray some kind of liquid soap on top of this (I use simple green). Using a long bristle brush mix and scrub this mixture into and all over the batteries and terminals (this will neutralize any acid and clean everything).

3) Rinse the areas with lots of water.

4) After the batteries and terminals are completely dry, spray silicone all over the battery surfaces and terminals (this will make it very hard for any dirt or contaminations to stick) Silicone is not conductive!

5) When the area becomes dirty again simply spray with water and because of the silicone the dirt will rinse off.


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Old 07-10-2007, 03:44 AM   #5
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Just be really, REALLY careful to not get any of the Baking Soda in the cells of the batteries.
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:04 AM   #6
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Bob, fortunately I have the automatic fill system on our batteries so getting Baking soda in them is more or less impossible. Why should you not get baking soda in your batteries. Is it because it will neutralize the acid?

I would wear goggles or better yet a face mask when you clean the batteries.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:24 AM   #7
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Ted,

You are absolutely correct. Baking Soda will neutralize the Sulphuric Acid in the Electrolyte of the individual Cells.
When in the Navy aboard Fleet type Diesel-Electric Submarines, we would clean the batteries with Baking Soda taking special care to not get the solution in the Cells (each cell, weighing 1800 pounds, held 54 gallons of Electrolyte solution and required the deck to be cut away in order that they be replaced).
Obviously, none of us wanted to be held responsible for damaging a single Cell of the 126 in each of the Forward and After Battery compartments (GUPPY II Boats had twice that many).

The watering system is a good thing but I don't believe it addresses removing the build-up that will occur on the top of the cells over time. This build-up is what must be cleaned periodically because it is Acidic Electrolyte and will conduct current, compromising the battery's ability to hold a charge. It is also the main contributor to the white corrosion that forms at the terminal posts.

Depending on severity of build-up, when cleaning the batteries with a Baking Soda/water solution you will see a foaming action. After the "bubbling" stops, the batteries MUST be thoroughly rinsed with clear water. There is no real need to wipe them down after a THOROUGH rinsing.

Also, never use tap or bottled water for filling. Replacement water must be distilled to eliminate the conductive minerals from it. Fortunately, distilled water is inexpensive and can be bought by the gallon at most Supermarkets.

Lead-Acid batteries are pretty basic items but they do need an amount of care if they are to be relied upon over the long-haul.
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:17 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of the input.

PS - to Gary - when is dinner served in that battery compartment? I am a little embarrassed at the look of mine!
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:47 AM   #9
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Ted,

All battery caps have to be vented which means that there is a small hole in them somewhere. If water with baking soda in it is splashed on them in a certain way it will get into the battery. I never use baking soda on the top of the batteries for cleaning, just water.

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:42 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by lundy:
PS - to Gary - when is dinner served in that battery compartment? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Gary gives us all high goals to meet!!

Here is what I ended up with ...

Back on topic ... after spraying down the batteries with a baking soda solution and rinsing with plenty of water, I'll take an air hose from the compressor in the garage and blow most of the water off of the surfaces in the compartment.
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:57 AM   #11
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Gary
Great picture and tip! Word of caution. When spraying the batteries do it off any concrete pad. The battery acid discolors the concrete. Be sure to have all the batteries vent covers on tight.
Baking soda getting inside the battery cell will neutralize the battery acid making the battery inoperative. Power Sprayer users be aware.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:28 AM   #12
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Gary- I buy 2 boxes of baking soda, one to spread on the concrete slab below the batt's. First I wet down the concrete fully, then spread out the buffering compound, i.e. Bak'g Soda (I'd use an abbreviation here but the editor's won't let me) below the batt's on the wet slab. Then do the sprinkling on the batt's taking care not to sprinkle on the caps. When I hose down batt's, the effluent lands on the soda below, and I flood the slab till it is all washed into my side-yard lawn.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:32 AM   #13
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Here, thanks to Bill Zucker wherever he is, is the most intelligent battery maintenance/analysis write-up I've run across:

" Just finished some battery work on our '04 Discovery with 25k miles:

All four house batteries are located aft of the rear wheel, alongside the muffler. The specific gravities showed a linear progression, with the highest (best) closest to the front, and worse farther back. It's probable that either heat or vertical motion is harming the batteries, with both factors increasing the farther aft the battery. But in addition to the abuse they may have suffered at the dealer before we took possession, there were two instances of being run down when service took longer than expected (and they didn't plug in despite promising to), and one instance of the inverter not turning off, as detailed in a previous e-mail.

After two equalizations, here were the average Before/After specific gravities:

Batt 1: 1.260/1.275
Batt 2: 1.250/1.270
Batt 3: 1.250/1.255
Batt 4: 1.250/1.250

Battery 4 had cells varying from 1.245 to 1.255 even after the equalizations, putting it only into the "fair" category. With all loads and chargers removed from the battery banks but with the two 12-volt banks tied together, there was a persistent soft percolating noise coming from this battery, indicative of Batts 3 and 4 being "forced fed" by the other 12v bank. A check with a DC Clamp Ammeter confirmed this, with a 300ma draw from one bank into the other. Not good.

The front two T-105s are still in great shape, but the rear two were only "fair". Assuming that the rearmost batteries might require replacement on an accelerated schedule, I've replaced just the rear two with golf cart wet cells similar to the T-105s. There is no detectable current flow now between the two banks. When there is another mismatch in voltages, I'll replace the faulty bank. Someday maybe all AGM's, but I can't justify the added expense because we rarely use battery power.

As for the battery tie-downs, the rubber-coated metal brackets had been seriously corroded, allowing the batteries to move a little. After calling quite a few places looking for replacements, I only found them at the Fleetwood dealer ($4 each). The tie-down rods are okay, but I treated them with corrosion neutralizer.

As for cable connections, although they were frequently checked for tightness, I was disappointed to find several connections somewhat loose. It's clear now that as the tie-downs corrode and allow the batteries to move slightly during travel, the connections will get worked until the nuts get loosened. All connections were cleaned with a Dremel tool and steel brush bit, and I've added spring lock washers. If your 9/16" post nuts have wide flanges with locking ridges (ours don't), fine. Otherwise I'd recommend split-ring lock washers like the battery manufacturers recommend.

Although the cable end connectors were always shiny clean after the frequent wash downs, close inspection revealed some had lost an appreciable thickness of copper. If you can actually bend the ends up and down with your fingers, you might need to replace them.

Finally, the front-most battery had been mounted more forward in its bin than was necessary in our coach, requiring one 24" cable (Batt 1 Neg to Batt 3 Neg) to obstruct vent caps at both ends. After searching fruitlessly for a slightly longer pre-fabricated cable of suitable gauge, I was able to get one made at Camping World (2-0 gauge 30" $20). And by changing the routing of one additional cable slightly, we now have unimpeded access to the tops of the caps, allowing use of a water filler can, Water Miser Battery Caps or Hydrocaps.
Bill Zucker, 2004 Discovery 39J
"
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:55 AM   #14
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When battery acid/water level is properly maintained. None or very little acid is expelled through the cap vents.

After talking to several lead acid battery experts and working on large battery plants myself, this is how I maintain my batteries.
Add distilled water only after the tops of the lead plates are just starting to become exposed. Add enough distilled water until it is 1/2inch above the lead plates. NEVER fill to the bottom of the fill lip!

When you purchase a new battery look at the liquid level this is the proper level. Never fill above this level! By over filling you dilute the acid concentration and you will experience excise gassing from the batteries. This gassing contains hydrogen with acid (very explosive).

By following this fill method I get long life from my batteries and I have never experienced any acid on the outside of the batteries other than an occasional drop when I remove the caps for inspection.

I wash the batteries with the baking soda and water only as a precaution.
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