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What causes battery crusties


Ranger850

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RonD

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Thanks, everything seems to spec then. As I said startup voltage is about 14.6 to 14.8, then drops to about 13.6 after a few minutes at idle. Cruising on the highway at 2,500-3000rpm voltage stayed around 13.6 to 13.8 (had scanner hooked up while driving). Resting voltage with the truck off showed 12.6.

Cleaned and coated terminals with dielectric grease, tightened them up good and just threw my little 1 amp automatic battery maintainer on there for good measure. Also changed my cameras so they are not on when the truck is not. They never drained the battery (at least not enough to ever cause it not to start) because they barely use any power but again, just in case.

We will see if the problem re-occurs. I've had this issue on other old cars but like I said, in 12 years it's never happened on the ranger.

How long have you been using the "maintainer"?

The corrosion occurs when a vehicle is parked, no air movement under the hood to dissipate the gases
So just after shutting off engine battery is warm from being charged while driving, so its venting the gas until it cools down
Even trickle charger will cause some venting, so try to have hood open a bit to get some air flow over the top of battery to dissipate the gases
 

Dirtman

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How long have you been using the "maintainer"?

The corrosion occurs when a vehicle is parked, no air movement under the hood to dissipate the gases
So just after shutting off engine battery is warm from being charged while driving, so its venting the gas until it cools down
Even trickle charger will cause some venting, so try to have hood open a bit to get some air flow over the top of battery to dissipate the gases
Haven't put the charger on it in 2-3 years (never with this battery that is only 1 year old). I just put it on an hour ago and the hood is open. Just did it to see if maybe it needed a Lil bit of a charge but it already automatically shut off so it's not doing anything and as soon as I go back outside I'm gonna disconnect it.
 

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I’ve also had leakage where the terminals exit the plastic case, and coated the area with dialectic grease. Seemed to help.

-Jazzer
 

fixizin

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Never had crusties on my 1999 Ranger until 2015 when the "blanket" disintegrated while installing its 4th battery--also the felt washers were shot, big mistake not coming back and replacing those. RonD says they have some kind of chems embedded, but I just slather them with dielectric grease and no more crusties. Will also be replacing the insulator blanket soon with a higher tech version from Design Engineering/Performance Products... should extend battery life (and reduce out-gassing) by reducing the RATE of internal temperature change.
 

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Insulator blanket? I don't recall mine ever having one. Bought it two years old in January 2000 with just over 10,000 miles on it. Anyhow, mine has never had much trouble with batteries. An Optima red top lasted 11 years. But Man!, When it went bad, it went bad. No grace period, Blam, Dead! Current battery is one of Advance Autos top-of-the-line items, three years old this month.
 

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They work even better when soaked with:

 

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YouTube's Scotty Kilmer is an irritating loud mouth, but he does occasionally have good info.
Here's his tutorial on batteries, terminals, & such; skip to about the 220sec mark in the video:

Another good video on batteries
 
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fixizin

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An Optima red top lasted 11 years. But Man!, When it went bad, it went bad. No grace period, Blam, Dead!
IMPRESSIVE... wonder if it would be significantly shorter lived in the toasty Vegas-Phoenix-Miami environs my 1999 has lived in...?

Ironically, the best battery I've had, by far, was the strangely undersized FoMoCo factory unit--7.5 years--every batt since lasted 5 years or LESS. Only time I've let the "blue cotton candy" slide was on a Sears Die-Hard--big mistake, 3.5 years, died without warning, just outside warranty.
 

fixizin

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YouTube's Scotty Kilmer is an irritating loud mouth, but he does occasionally have good info.
I know, his popularity numbers are baffling... 15 minutes to deliver 45 seconds of useful tips... peeps seem to love his hand-waving, I'm-a-raving-old-dude-and-I-don't-give-a-damn schtick. I think YT is his full-time gig.
 

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My experience with this issue has generally been because acid slowly seeps out from under where the vent caps are pressed on, and eventually the acid makes it's way over to the terminals, causing the crusties (the caps are just a plastic-against-plastic seal, and not a very good seal at that).

Since realizing this some 20 years ago, first thing I do with every new battery I buy that has removable vent caps (except for AGM types) I pull the caps off and wrap 1½ turns of teflon pipe thread seal tape around each cap plug (being careful not to block the vent holes), then firmly reseat the caps back onto the battery. This stops the acid seepage and subsequent terminal corrosion (I don't use grease or felt washers either, no need for them if there's no acid leaking).
Teflon is not affected by the acid, so it maintains the seal well (however if you pull the caps off to check the fluid level, you may need to re-wrap them again).
 

fixizin

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RE: Teflon tape on vent caps... so you're saying a thin film of liquid acid seeps out and causes the problem, but the vented gasses from the same caps is not a problem?... sounds plausible... certainly the greased felt washers seem to neutralize whatever leaks around the terminal posts themselves...
 

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"Maintenance-free" batteries having lead-calcium plates produce very little gas under normal circumstances (virtually all conventional "wet" batteries are this type nowadays).

Older "low-maintenance" type batteries of decades ago (with lead-antimony plates) gassed out much more while charging. This gassing sometimes also could carry microfine acid droplets out through the vents (and is something that also contributed to corrosion). Excepting for the occasional specialty deep-cycle type, such batteries have become mostly obsolete in the automotive world.
 

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The battery may not be bad right now, but I would keep an eye on it. If it does show signs of failing, you might be able to get it warrantied before the warranty runs out (depending on the warranty).
 

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Do the AGM batteries do better? I know they have tighter voltage requirements and may get killed on older vehicles, but they seem more sealed.

Unrelated story but somewhat same subject: My dad had a Navy story of sacrificial anodes on the ships. They replaced them on a ship, but plugged them in backwards so the ship became the sacrificial part. It sat in port for a couple days before they noticed. That ship had to be scrapped and the ship next to it had to be taken to dry dock for critical repair.
 


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