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Old 02-09-2014, 09:09 AM   #1
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Cleaning Coach Battery Terminals

I have been waiting for the weather to warm up enough to clean the terminals on the coach batteries as I think they need cleaned. I have four six volt Interstate batteries that were installed new last September and I had posted about the lights dimming when the furnace comes on (no it's not the furnace motor as it is new) and one poster suggested I clean the terminals and the ground. I am thinking I will do that tomorrow as the temperature is supposed to be tolerable but I am wondering now if there is a procedure I need to follow. I have cleaned terminals before and am mechanically minded but I have never done a cluster of batteries before. I plan to take pictures and mark cable locations as well as draw a schematic of the cable layout. I also plan to take off all the cables so I can test the batteries for charge. I plan to also remove the positive cables first and cover them with tape to avoid accidental wrench touching. Don't ask me how I learned this! Even though the batteries are new and the dealer installed them I saw first hand the job they did on the chassis batteries and a few other items they worked on. I am guessing the old batteries came out and the new ones went back in bing, bang, boom. Probably no cable cleaning at all. I look forward to any procedure recommended.

Thanks,

Alan
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:03 AM   #2
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Dittos on taking a picture to help with reconnecting the cables. I have used both a baking soda / water slurry and the commercial battery cleaning spray (available at Wally World) as well as a wire brush. Also a wire brush bit and a cordless drill, Strongly recommend eye protection and wearing old clothes. Also have copious water available for irrigation. I also clean the metal battery slide out and touch up any painted surfaces with black BBQ paint.

addendum: Also nitrile gloves!
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #3
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I pour some Coke on the terminals and rinse it off. If they are really bad I use a battery terminal brush. I then spray each terminal with NCP-2 (Battery Corrosive Preventative). If you find loose ground connections, dab a bit of Loctite and they'll never come loose again.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:11 AM   #4
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If you use battery corrosive preventative DO NOT spray on terminals until they are
connected back together.
I just finished working on one that the owner sprayed everything then put it back together and wondered why no power.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the responses. I bought a wire brush for the drill yesterday. My battery tray does not slide out but it is a huge opening for the beater rises that can easily get to. The terminals all look good on the outside just as the chassis batteries did but when I took the cables off the faces were corroded to the point that one battery did nothing at all and could not even get a charge from the alternator. I cleaned them up and all works fine now but that experience is exactly what prompted me to think about the coach batteries possibly having the same issue. They were new as well. I have dielectric grease for assembly and the spray on protection for the finish.

Alan
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:28 AM   #6
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Sorry to say, but the Negative cable should be taken off first, and installed last, ALWAYS.

If you do it your way, with the positive taped but accidentally let a wrench span the positive battery post, and any part of the frame (ground) you will dead short the system, letting the magic smoke out.

By pulling the negative lead first, the circuit is dead, no taping required.

Ed
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:34 AM   #7
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Ed you beat me to it. I was going to give the same advise/warning. Never remove positive terminal first.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:38 AM   #8
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Lol! You guys are correct. Remove the negative first. I was remembering my Dads Allis Chalmers. It was a positive grounded tractor that the positive came off first. Thanks for the reminder. Almost let the magic smoke out, again!

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Old 02-09-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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And if you use Baking Soda to clean the Cables, be Real Careful not to get any near the Cells or you will be buying new batteries.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis45 View Post
And if you use Baking Soda to clean the Cables, be Real Careful not to get any near the Cells or you will be buying new batteries.
Not planning on baking soda. Visually the terminals look clean on the outside so I am thinking sand paper or a wire brush will clean them right up, at least it did on the other batteries. I should have done them all at the same time but it was 15 degrees but there was not enough battery to start the MH which is how I found out the chassis batteries were not clean on the face of the cable or post. Just too darn cold to do all of them then. About froze my fingers getting them cleaned up.

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Old 02-09-2014, 11:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
If you use battery corrosive preventative DO NOT spray on terminals until they are
connected back together.
I just finished working on one that the owner sprayed everything then put it back together and wondered why no power.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:04 PM   #12
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Years ago while in the yachting world, I discovered Boing T-9 Boshield to keep battery terminals and cable connections corrosion free. If you use it on battery connections, you'll never have corrosion on battery terminals ever again.

I had a yacht dingy with an exposed starting and light battery in the stern of the dingy. The battery lived with salt water spray on it constantly. With T-9 Boshield, the terminals remained clean without many other care.

You can use T-9 anywhere superior liberation and corrosion protection is needed. Locks of all types and tow bars comes to mind immediately.

Boing developed T-9 to protect aircraft electronic equipment. It is truly great stuff.

You can find by goggling Boshield, and it is available at West Marine.

Let me add that it does a great job on the joints of motor home step joints.
Good Luck!
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:05 PM   #13
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Years ago while in the yachting world, I discovered Boing T-9 Boshield to keep battery terminals and cable connections corrosion free. If you use it on battery connections, you'll never have corrosion on battery terminals ever again. I had a yacht dingy with an exposed starting and light battery in the stern of the dingy. The battery lived with salt water spray on it constantly. With T-9 Boshield, the terminals remained clean without many other care. You can use T-9 anywhere superior liberation and corrosion protection is needed. Locks of all types and tow bars comes to mind immediately. Boing developed T-9 to protect aircraft electronic equipment. It is truly great stuff. You can find by goggling Boshield, and it is available at West Marine. Let me add that it does a great job on the joints of motor home step joints. Good Luck! Wil
Thanks for heads up Will. I have never heard of it but I will look for it. Steps and tow bars do come to mind.

Alan
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
Sorry to say, but the Negative cable should be taken off first, and installed last, ALWAYS.

If you do it your way, with the positive taped but accidentally let a wrench span the positive battery post, and any part of the frame (ground) you will dead short the system, letting the magic smoke out.

By pulling the negative lead first, the circuit is dead, no taping required.

Ed
X2.....
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