Check Those Battery Cables!



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Thread: Check Those Battery Cables!

  1. #1
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    Check Those Battery Cables!

    We went to Virginia this weekend and almost got stuck about half-way up at a gas station. The van did a bunch of clicking before the starter engaged when I turned the key. When we got to my in-law's, I popped the hood and the positive battery cable end was so corroded with acid, you couldn't really even SEE the cable end. It looked like coral was growing all over it. I touched it and it almost literally disintegrated in my hand. Woah!

    Advance or Napa did not have a stock-style cable end for this thing. The cables terminate with about 3/4" of the insulation stripped off, then crimped down on a 90-degree elbow thing that bolts to a marine-type top post terminal connector. It's fairly straight-forward, but nobody sells those 90-degree bends to which you can crimp a cable, and I found out that the cables (there are actually two physical cables that join together at the terminal) weren't long enough to use a standard terminal end...they were too short because they were designed to crimp into that 90-degree bend -- and not to wrap up over the top of the battery into a standard terminal.

    The two positive cables are 6-ga cables, so I ended up getting a top post terminal with a connected length of 1-ga cable. I stripped the end of that cable and used a super-large cable butt connection and jammed the two positive cables into one end and this 1-ga cable into the other. It worked all weekend, but the van will be going to Chrysler this week for a new battery and a new positive battery cable (though I doubt they'll do much more than what I did, because one of the positive cable leads is hard-tied into the main harness).

    Why a new battery? Because the cause of the corrosion is apparently a HOLE in the top of the OE battery. There's a very small hole right near the positive post. I can't tell if it's simply a flaw in the battery, or if it was fatigued, etc.

    Anyway, make a regular check of those battery cables!
    '11 Toyota Camry | 2.5/6AT | Sandy Beach
    '07 Chrysler T&C | 3.8/4AT | Cognac Crystal
    '05 Acura MDX | 3.5/5AT | Billet Silver
    '97 Dodge Dakota | 5.2/4AT | Emerald Green

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  3. #2
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    Right on Jason.
    I sense that several problems with performance or weird things happening, that have been mentioned on this site, are directly related to poor battery connections and / or an old / defective battery.
    If one does the "key dance" and finds code P1684 showing up when it shouldn't, better check the tightness of the battery connections, condition of the battery connections and the age of the battery (If over 5 years old, might want to replace it).
    I had code P1684* show up recently, when it shouldn't have, and found the negative battery terminal connection wasn't all that tight.

    *P1684: Battery has been disconnected (power to Engine Control Module {ECM}) within the last 50 starts.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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    Our 2003 suffered from the same fate (at least for the cable). Our 1998 has good old fashioned lead (or some other solid and soft(ish) kind of metal) that are easy to clean and easy to cover with that spray gunk that prevents corrosion, however, our 2003 has these cheap stamped metal things that will corrode all to dust if they aren't perfectly sealed.

    Keep us posted on what your dealer does for you.
    Sold: 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 (Final odo: 178,000 miles)
    Sold: 1998 Chrysler T&C LXi 3.8 (Final odo: 190,000 miles)
    Sold: 2003 DGC ES 3.8 (Final odo: 172,000 miles)
    1998 Audi A4 Quattro (5-Speed manual)
    2001 Honda Accord EX V6 (4-Speed automatic)
    2009 Mazda3 i Touring (5-Speed manual)
    2012 VW GTI (6-Speed manual)

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    Thanks, I checked my battery and the + was pretty-well corroded, too.

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    checked mine, and the positive cable isn't looking too great.
    Im 25 and my parents own a 2014 Grand Caravan R/T (3.6l, 56 miles) 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT (1.8l 76k miles 5spd), a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT(3.8l 41TE 113k miles), a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser ((which is mine) 2.4l 116k miles 41TE), and a 2000 Ford Mustang base (3.8l, 4 spd auto 27k miles)

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    I'm going to clean the contacts on the Lexus's batteries this weekend (we'll be driving it a lot next week). They don't look corroded, but they look pretty dirty. The hold-down is a little corroded, so that makes me a little nervous, but I didn't notice any holes. I'll have to look more closely. It's one of those "maintenance free" batteries that seems to have vent covers on it (I always thought that was silly, btw--maintenance free should mean you CAN'T do anything to it, not just that they don't think you will need to)
    Michael
    Centreville, VA
    Currently driving:
    2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, 99K mi.
    Former owner of:
    1988 Dodge Caravan SE, 2.5L I4 (1988-1995, 99K mi); 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE "Rallye", 3.3L (1995-2004, 169K mi); 2003 Grand Caravan Sport, 3.8L, (2004-2008, 106K mi), 2008 Nissan Quest, (2008-2010, 25K mi)

    Other vehicles:
    2008 Lexus RX400h (Dark Gray), 65K mi; 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT (Blue), 65K mi

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmahamm View Post
    It's one of those "maintenance free" batteries that seems to have vent covers on it (I always thought that was silly, btw--maintenance free should mean you CAN'T do anything to it, not just that they don't think you will need to)
    Our OE Chrysler battery is "maintenance free" with the vent covers as well. But it seems like ever since this issue has surfaced, there are some chalky deposits around the very bottoms of the vent covers, too, like acid is leaking from there as well.

    Van is at the dealer today; hopefully they'll get it fixed up and we'll have it back home tonight.
    '11 Toyota Camry | 2.5/6AT | Sandy Beach
    '07 Chrysler T&C | 3.8/4AT | Cognac Crystal
    '05 Acura MDX | 3.5/5AT | Billet Silver
    '97 Dodge Dakota | 5.2/4AT | Emerald Green

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    Well, unfortunately, they had to order some of the wiring harness and they don't know if it'll be in tomorrow or the next day. So the van is at the doctor for a few more days. Fortunately, they're doing the right thing with the repair, and not a wire crimp, which is what I did for the short-term, and which is what I figured they'd do for the long-term.

    So until then, the baby seat is in the back of the Dakota and my wife is riding that ol' boy around town. It's the only other automatic tranny-equipped vehicle we have, so that's hers for now. She doesn't even have an interest in learning how to drive the Corolla. It's fine...fortunately, the A/C still works perfect in the ol' truck and it's still a solid runner.

    Another bit of trivia. Hendrick Chrysler is the only Chrysler joint in town, and I've been thoroughly unimpressed with them. Crown Dodge is better, but still just passable in my opinion. I bought the Corolla from Hendrick Toyota, an immensely better outfit than the Chrysler dealer (owned by the same Rick Hendrick of racing fame) and 100% a positive experience. In a bit of weird happenstance, Hendrick Toyota moved into a brand new facility about a year ago, and shortly thereafter, Hendrick Chrysler moved into Hendrick Toyota's old shell, which is directly across the street, quite literally, from Crown Dodge. I'm hoping that the new duds (and competition) have injected some inspiration and class into Hendrick Chrysler's folks, and they're who has the van now. Even more ironically, when the service writer was writing up my ticket yesterday, she looked up at the van and said, "that's Sienna". I looked back, "no, that's a Chrysler...a Town & Country." She was talking about the color and I said back, "I know this place USED to be a Toyota dealer, but I figured you folks moved out when the rest of the circus left." We both had a laugh. I don't think the color looks remotely brown. I informed her of the official color name, Cognac Crystal. Chrysler got an additional $225 for that color -- their folks should know what it is!
    Last edited by Hokiefyd; 08-19-2008 at 03:57 PM.
    '11 Toyota Camry | 2.5/6AT | Sandy Beach
    '07 Chrysler T&C | 3.8/4AT | Cognac Crystal
    '05 Acura MDX | 3.5/5AT | Billet Silver
    '97 Dodge Dakota | 5.2/4AT | Emerald Green

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    its is nice having a third vehicle around! we operate our house hold with three cars and two drivers also! the third is really just a spare and a fun car (1991 yj wrangler) it works out great when we are down to two cars and the kids love it! mike

    pic below:
    2001 Short Caravan 3.3L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Even more ironically, when the service writer was writing up my ticket yesterday, she looked up at the van and said, "that's Sienna". I looked back, "no, that's a Chrysler...a Town & Country." She was talking about the color and I said back, "I know this place USED to be a Toyota dealer, but I figured you folks moved out when the rest of the circus left." We both had a laugh. I don't think the color looks remotely brown. I informed her of the official color name, Cognac Crystal. Chrysler got an additional $225 for that color -- their folks should know what it is!
    The color she was referring to was the same as for the Jeep at this site.
    http://www.tomoateschevy.com/VehicleDetails/1004946914
    That's an identical color combination to my Jeep. People generally refer to it as maroon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maroon_(color)
    Last edited by Jeepman; 08-19-2008 at 05:54 PM.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 115,600 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 314,240 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 246,430 kms

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