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Old 08-31-2010, 08:16 PM   #1
Cardiff Giant
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Default Battery cable/corrosion issue?

Hi,
I've noticed for the past couple of months, my car will sometimes make a strange noise when starting (sort of a slight whine or screech sounds electric as if coming from near the ignition area when i turn the key) as I'm starting it up. It starts up fine however. One day I popped the hood and noticed a ALOT of corrosion on the positive battery cable. I removed a bunch of it reconnected it and the noise was still present.

Tonight I had my car parked for about and hour and I went to go start it. I heard the slight screech and then everything went off before the the starter fired as if the battery cable was removed(clock, dash lights, etc). I pulled out the key, put it back in and it started right back up but the clock was reset as was the radio. I popped the hood when I got home and noticed more corrosion on the positive terminal.

Couple of questions. First, do you think the noise I'm hearing is a result of the corrosion causing a poor connection to the positive battery terminal? Could that have caused the problem I had with the car not starting and then acting as if it had had the battery cable removed when I started it the second try? I noticed the battery connector (the part from the car that attaches) is starting to look like it is slightly corroded (along with the surface stuff near the terminal), so If it sounds like that is the culprit I guess I'll replace the battery connectors. Second, the battery is a Duralast gold top, just under 3 years old. Is there any ideas what could be causing the corrosion or how to prevent it (I know about cleaning it with a toothbrush and a baking soda/water mix). Could the battery need to be replaced as well as potentially cleaning/replacing the connectors?

The starter seems to be fine because as soon as it does fire, it turns over no problem. Thanks for any advice and tips!
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:36 PM   #2
Henry H
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I doubt the corrosion on your battery is related to this screech.

You may have done yourself a disservice when you attempted to clean the terminals.

First off, your battery. Get a battery terminal cleaner (its a steel wire brush) and scrub the inside of the terminal and outside of the battery post to remove the corrosion. Any encrusted powder should be knocked off carefully (dont let the powder get to your eyes or lungs). Clean off the residual corrosion with baking soda and water, or ammonia. Use a battery terminal protectant. There is commercial stuff out there but light Vaseline has never failed me. Make sure you attach your terminals nice and TIGHT, it should not move a bit when you try to jiggle the cable.

As for the whining and screeching, it sounds like you either need new accessory belts or need to tighten them.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:53 PM   #3
ezil71
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I just had a duralast fail on me at 3 yrs, 5 months (would have been a free replacement at 3 yrs).

Do you have amps hooked up to your battery? do you run them much with the car off?

I was told by someone recently that the corrosion on my setup may be because of my amp (s) running while the car wasn't on, which I don't do that much.

that said, my alternator tested bad too, so new on is on the way

Could the whine be from a bad ground on your amp\hu? worth a look.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:42 PM   #4
Cardiff Giant
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Hi thanks for the replies. I don't think the screech is a belt as it sounds like it's coming from the general area of the ignition/steering column. It doesn't sound the same as a belt squeal either, not really sure what it could be. It's hard to describe sounds electrical to me for some reason, maybe I'll see if I can get a sound of it. It also only occurs when I'm starting the car, not when it's running.

I don't have any amps, all I have is a Alpine head unit (using a wiring harness) which has a XM unit and iPod controller connected to it (but none is directly wired to the battery, the head unit to the wiring harness and the XM and iPod unit to the head unit).

I never really do much with my ignition off. Sounds like I should clean the battery terminals, get the battery tested, and maybe have the alternator checked. The corrosion was so bad initially that that the actual bolt that goes with the battery clamp was partially corroded so seems like replacing the connectors might not be a bad idea either. Any other thoughts?

Forgot to say in my initial post, the car has only about 55k on it in case that helps.

Last edited by Cardiff Giant; 08-31-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
Henry H
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Just get a new bolt instead of changing the terminals. No sense in making a bigger job out of it and have something else possible go wrong. Just be sure the contact surfaces are clean. As long as the wires and the clamp itself is in decent shape, you'll only need to fixed the damaged parts (like that bolt).

If the sound only happens when you're cranking your engine, you might want to also listen to your starter under the hood. Sounds "coming" from the cabin can be misleading.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #6
Cardiff Giant
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Well I cleaned the battery corrosion and after cleaning it off, realized the positive terminal wasn't really in bad shape, it just had a pretty thick layer or corrosion on it. After reconnecting everything after cleaning it, the car has started perfectly the 4 or 5 times I've driven it since then. Also each time it hasn't made that odd sound (and usually it would make the sound maybe 60% of the time). I'm keeping my fingers crossed but I think the cause of both issues was just a lot of battery corrosion.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
Cougar4
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It is amazing how many problems are caused by the simple lack of maintenance of the battery connections and it is such an easy thing to take care of also. It must rank as one of the top highest troubles for electrical problems in vehicles.

When you have cleaned the connections well I suggest you then use a spray on sealer or brush on protector to keep the corrosion from returning on to the connections.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
Cardiff Giant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar4 View Post
It is amazing how many problems are caused by the simple lack of maintenance of the battery connections and it is such an easy thing to take care of also. It must rank as one of the top highest troubles for electrical problems in vehicles.

When you have cleaned the connections well I suggest you then use a spray on sealer or brush on protector to keep the corrosion from returning on to the connections.
Thanks for the tip, I was about to ask if there are ways to prevent the corrosion from returning. I'll have to swing by the auto parts store and pick that up.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:07 PM   #9
Cardiff Giant
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Looks like I definitely need to go to autozone to get that sealer, it's already starting to return. I had to pop the hood today to put my windshield washer fluid in and noticed there was a bit of it already. Is it possible that my battery needs to be replaced or do some batteries just produce lots of corrosion? I can't remember ever seeing any on my stock subaru battery that I had on the car for over 4 years (and I was doing a lot of work on the car stereo wise at the time so I was disconnecting the battery a bunch and would've noticed). My warranty is almost up on this battery (Duralast Gold) so if there's a chance the battery itself may be the cause I want to get it replaced while I still have the warranty.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:32 AM   #10
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It may be a good idea to have the battery tested since winter is approching and it can cause weak batteries to fail. There may also be a bad seal around the post and acid is being wicked up through the seal and causing excessive corrosion.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:24 PM   #11
Cardiff Giant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar4 View Post
It may be a good idea to have the battery tested since winter is approching and it can cause weak batteries to fail. There may also be a bad seal around the post and acid is being wicked up through the seal and causing excessive corrosion.
Well I went to go start it just now as I seemed to have somehow bumped into something and my fog light is now slightly out of position and the cover won't go on. I was going to fix that and went to back out of my garage so I could put it up on the ramps I have and it wouldn't start so I think it's a pretty safe bet it's the battery, it'll click for a second then die. Autozone here I come.

Edit-Went to autozone receipt in hand and they swapped out the battery for a new one no questions asked. I noticed the little mounting bracket that secures the battery on top had started to corrode on the side that made contact with the battery so I really suspect it was indeed a leaky battery causing the issue and corrosion not something else wrong with the car. I got some of that anti corrosion jelly, popped the new battery in and it started up like a champ. Drove to my brothers about 15 minutes away, stayed there for a bit and drove home and no issues so far so keeping my fingers crossed.

Last edited by Cardiff Giant; 09-14-2010 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:01 AM   #12
Cougar4
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I think you will be good to go now.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:54 AM   #13
therealmsurfer
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Default Random Cable in Engine Compartment

I have a 2006 subaru impreza outback (no turbo). I was changing the starter and noticed a loose cable coming off the positive side of the battery just hanging in the engine compartment.

Off the positive side of the batter, i have a cable that goes down to the starter, a cable that goes to the fuse box area, and this third random cable just hanging in the engine compartment.

Anyone have any idea what it is or what is should be attached too?
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:49 PM   #14
txl146
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I have corrosion issue where noticeable amount of white powder stuff built up on battery tie down/terminal.

I really need to get an anti corrosion jelly.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:20 PM   #15
Imprezzedwitsubies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar4 View Post
It is amazing how many problems are caused by the simple lack of maintenance of the battery connections and it is such an easy thing to take care of also. It must rank as one of the top highest troubles for electrical problems in vehicles.

When you have cleaned the connections well I suggest you then use a spray on sealer or brush on protector to keep the corrosion from returning on to the connections.
X2. Working at Advance Auto I see it all the time lol. So many batteries and alternators ruined because terminals are not maintained properly. ESPECIALLY with alot of Ford and Subaru models who do nothing to protect the terminals at all lol
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