Old tractor and battery terminals

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?
George H.

Reply to
ggherold
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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 some more.
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.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
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.
Reply to
rangerssuck
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 some gunk.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
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. -jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Have not had this probem for some time. Larry had a lot of good advice, but he forgot one thing. put some downward force on the clamp and rotate it back and forth. And then tighten the clamp. Dan
Reply to
dcaster
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.
Reply to
clare
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. Eric
Reply to
etpm
I've had that happen. Yup. Scrape it out with a pocket knife.
Someone mentioned a proper tapered reamer to do this. Maybe it's good if you live in the city...
Reply to
Tim Wescott
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.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
C'mon, guys. Keep the taper.
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My old one is from SnapOn. (Someone gave it to me. I don't have the bag of hundreds for one.)
Reply to
Larry Jaques
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. -jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Yeah, headlights were an easy test for a charging system, too. Start it up, remove a battery cable, then turn on the brights. The engine will die if the charging system isn't working properly.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Hah, I found some non-cored solder and tried to pound that into a shim. It didn't really work. (Well the 'shim' was a bit thick/ uneven, I needed some roller thing.)
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
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.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
When the terminal smokes between it and the post you KNOW where the problem is, and you KNOW the voltage drop will be very substantial. (I'd bet 5 volts on a 6 volt system would be very close)
Reply to
clare

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