Speaking of old tractors, I can't get a good contact to the battery
terminal on my old Ferguson. I cleaned the post and connector off with
a (3M) green scrubbie, but when I clamp it together and push the starter
button I get a puff of smoke from the terminal as I vaporize some small
section of lead where the terminal connector meet. Is there some goo
or other tricks I can use?
The puff is at the battery, between the terminal and post, right?
The smoke indicates vaporized lead from a whole bunch of current
trying to go through a small area of post/terminal. It indicates that
you either didn't clean it properly or the connection is loose. Are
you -sure- the terminal is tightening properly on the battery post?
Sometimes the post is worn down by cleaning and the terminal doesn't
tighten onto it. If that's the case, remove the terminal, remove the
clamping bolt, and run a hacksaw between the ends to remove material.
Reinstall the clamping bolt and try again. There should be a gap at
the terminal end where the clamping bolt goes through. If not, saw
I have used several methods over the years to reduce corrosion between
the two, but I have always used round brush (or blade-type) terminal
end cleaners to get bright lead for the contact surfaces. The oiled
felt pads under the terminals can reduce corrosion, but I used to use
wheel bearing grease to cover both the terminal and post. Now I use
the spray terminal protector. It's usually red, so I'm sure you've
seen it. I clean and tighten the two, then spray with protectant.
Don't know what kind of terminal this is, but make sure that a) you have a
shiny, clean surface. if all you have done is polish up the corrosion, that
isn't going to help. b) make sure you have a solid contact with as much su
rface area as possible. If you're clamping two flat surfaces together, make
sure the bolt head is large enough, or use a washer. Otherwise you will di
stort the terminal enough to reduce contact area. You shouldn't need any "g
oo," though that would be helpful for discouraging future corrosion. Vaseli
ne works pretty well.
Right, The dang thing is as tight as I can make it. The terminal is
pretty old... weak/"distressed" on the edges maybe. I was think of
just buying a new terminal/
Yeah I've done that... not the problem in this case.
Right, (thanks) I'll stop at Napa or some place and let them sell me
Maybe the cable connection within the terminal has corroded.
That happen to my 1991 truck and I replaced the (+) terminal with a
brass one from Autozone. I had to retighten the cable (not post) clamp
several times because the brass yielded. It seems OK now.
New battery clamps or lead foil shims. Even other metal shims may
work, but lead foil works best. I have in the past, while working
where you could not easily get ANY parts, pounded out a lead weight
into a small sheet to shim a loose battery clamp.
I just went through this George. Cleaned battery clamp with the wire
brush made for this. No go. Got out my pocket and went at the inside
of clamp. There was a very hard oxide coating on the inside of the
clamp. It shines up nice with a wire brush but doesn't conduct
electricity worth a damn. After scraping this hard coating off, and
you can certainly tell it's hard because it almost chips off, I could
feel the knife blade dig into soft lead. After scraping the inside it
was nice and bright and the old tractor spun right over. With a 6 volt
battery. Probably the same as your old beast.
That was one of my points. You can tighten the bolt 'til the cows
come home but if it isn't squeezing the post, it won't work. But if
you have frayed wire at the terminal to cable connection, you're
losing current there and the terminal should be replaced.
If you can apply a load away from the battery, such as from the frame
to the starter or its relay, a voltmeter will reveal any voltage drops
across poor terminal connections. Several amps of charging current may
be enough, too.
A headlight bulb draws around 5 Amps.
Guys... Jim, Tim, Dan, Clare, Larry, Eric.. and whomever I missed.
Thanks for all the ideas!
I'm going to try scrapping (with a knife) the inside of the terminal, and also stop by the auto store and pick up some new terminals.
So a related story. My pick up was having battery issues.
I couldn't figure out what it was. (new alternator/ battery..
old truck) I have an electric winch which raises/ lowers the plow on
the front. Using the winch would often cause the battery light to turn
on, and the battery voltage (as read by instrument cluster) to drop.
I finally had my son engage the winch while I measured the voltage
right at the terminals. No drop! Turns out someone (it could have been
me or the previous owner) had put a washer between the lead terminal and
the copper ring that was bonded to the wire. Dang washer had corroded
over time, and now had ~1 ohm of resistance.