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  #1  
Old 02-24-2011, 10:04 AM
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Top of Battery Wet: Cause for Concern?

A couple of weeks ago, I topped off the battery cells (Mercedes battery, 4-1/2 years old) with distilled water. It is POSSIBLE that I slightly (though not by much) overfilled some of the cells, but I'm usually pretty careful about such things. The caps were definitely properly tightened.

This morning I noticed that the top of the battery was wet. If I overfilled slightly, would this force the water out and account for the wetness? Or does it sound like I have a leaking battery? And if the latter, how critical is it that I replace the battery?

Thanks.

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  #2  
Old 02-24-2011, 10:22 AM
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I'd remove any excess water with a turkey baster if your level is too high.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:27 AM
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Sprinkle baking soda on the wetness to neutralize the acid.... let it sit a day, wipe it off.


Same goes for anything else that got wet in the area.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:28 AM
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Well. it really can't "leak" out of the top. I would say it is overfilled and active charging will force the level up a little, (I think).
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmcphee View Post
Sprinkle baking soda on the wetness to neutralize the acid.... let it sit a day, wipe it off.


Same goes for anything else that got wet in the area.
x2
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:32 AM
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Make sure your alternator is not seriously overcharging the battery. This is done by measuring the voltage at the battery with the engine running. The battery fluid could have been low from boiling it off with any overcharge.

Somewhere around 13.5-14 volts is what you are looking for. More and you need a new voltage regulator in the alternator. A self changeable part.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:32 AM
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It's also worth putting a voltmeter on the battery to make sure you're not overcharging which will cause the battery to boil.
I've always mixed my baking soda in water and poured it over the battery to clean off any acid. Is that a bad idea? Is it better to sprinkle dry soda on it?

Ooops, looks like Barry and I were breathing the same ether at the same time at different ends of the continent.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:41 AM
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Wetness can be caused by over charging. Check the voltage at the battery with engine around 2000 rpm and all accessories and lights off. If the voltage is above 14.7 or so, replace the voltage regulator. The battery itself can also cause this problem. Actuallly the amperage of the alternator needs to be checked also but this requires equipment most DIYers dont have and most Autozone type places dont understand. If the water was down and that is why you needed to add some wwater, than there is something wrong. Be careful working around a battery that is subjected to over charging as they give off hygrogen(sp) gas that can blow up.

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Old 02-24-2011, 10:48 AM
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While we're talking about my battery....I've also got "acid cake" (I'm sure there's a better term for it) building up on one of the terminals. I neutralize it, then it comes back. So that indicates a leak, right?
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2011, 10:54 AM
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Smear petroleum jelly on the terminal after you've brushed it clean.
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmcphee View Post
Smear petroleum jelly on the terminal after you've brushed it clean.
yeah, this will cut down on the formation of the crud, but does not address the cause of it.
be sure and check your alternator for overcharging, and if the cable has serious crud infection, it should be replaced.
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:26 AM
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May not be true, but we've always associated crud forming on the cables with "older" batteries that are usually within two winters or so of failing.
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:31 AM
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yup.
crud formation is from acid fumes collecting on the positive terminal. then the lead breaks down and forms that crud. good batteries do not do this. good alternators keep good batteries from doing this.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2011, 11:52 AM
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When I had a Sears International DieHard have the white powdery stuff at the positive terminal build up, I replaced the battery in 2009. It was in use since 2001.

Alternator was replaced in 2006 I think, with 65A.

Cleaned the terminal and cable, no more build up. But there are some residuals in the small holes on the cable terminal surface, maybe I need to dunk it in some Coke.
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2011, 12:02 PM
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I had AAA come out. Battery and charging system all check out fine.

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