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  #1  
Old 06-18-2000, 08:59 PM
palio
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Can you please tell me what would cause a battery to explode and what is the proper safety cleanup/issues. thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2000, 09:57 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Bedford, MA USA
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Usually excessive charging->creation of hydrogen gas->mix with atmosphere->spark or some type of ignition source->BOOM. Battery explosions can be pretty impressive. Had one on a race setup '67 Camaro years ago. Battery had gone flat between races. Push charged it. Started up for second round and KABOOM. Took out the front edge of the hood, part of the radiator support, radiator, grille on the left and headlight. Pretty powerful blast. Cleanup involves flusing with lots of water and neutralizing acid with an alkaline substance. Back then we used baking soda, but now any alkaline cleaner with sodium hydroxide in it will do the trick. Watch your eyes and clothing.

------------------
Jeff Lawrence
1987 300e
1989 300e
1987 BMW 325

[This message has been edited by jeffsr (edited 06-18-2000).]
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2000, 06:39 AM
LarryBible
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This probably won't be very accurate, but a tired battery begins "sulphating", putting out a sulpher gas. When you touch the jumper cables they make spark.........

There are two things I do in an effort to prevent this, and thank my lucky stars, I've never had a battery explosion.

The first is to hook up the jumper cables to the DEAD BATTERY FIRST. This way you won't make a spark at the possibly sulphating battery. Second is to wave your hand or a piece of cardboard or blow air, if a chuck is handy over the battery. This will dissipate most of the accumulated gas above the battery before you hook up the cables which may make a spark.

Won't Deezel be proud of me?

Hope this helps and good luck,

------------------
Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2000, 03:22 AM
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Location: PA
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I agree with Larry when he said his answer wouldn't be very accurate. "Sulfating" is lead sulfate that forms on the surface of the plates and decreases the efficiency of electron transfer from the plates to the electrolyte.
Its the oxygen and hydrogen that explodes. These 2 elements are created by the electrolisis of the water inside the battery when it is being overcharged.
Newer batteries have a substance added to the lead plates to prevent this electrolisis and that why it not necessary to add water as often or never to modern batteries.
P E H
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2000, 03:33 AM
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Location: PA
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Another way to prevent an explosion is to connect two jumper cable clips to both positive terminals on the batteries and then connect the other 2 cable clips to a solid metal part on both engines away from the batteries. This will keep sparks away from the batteries should hydrogen and oxygen be present.
But still an explosion is possible without using battery cables. I had one battery explode on an old 190D just cranking the engine with the starter.
P E H
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2000, 07:51 AM
LarryBible
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PE,

Thanks for the clarification. I'm no chemist, just an ol' software guy. The chemistry I took in college related to semiconductors, and I only barely got through that.

Have a great day,

------------------
Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2000, 09:52 PM
palio
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Thanks to everyone for the responses. I now have a better understanding of a battery. I realize now that it would be natural to assume that I was working on the battery and/or that the battery is old. Not the case, I battery is located in the trunk and it exploded while I was driving. The car/battery are 13 months old. -Help!!/??
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2000, 12:07 AM
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Location: PA
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Is there any kind of a venting system? All batteries out gas and therefore if the battery is not vented properly, hydrogen gas could build up in the trunk and explode. It could have been a defective battery if the battery exploded from the inside. How big of an explosion, whole trunk or just the battery? If the battery exploded internally, I would demand that the manufacturer pay for any damage and of course a new battery.
Make sure any acid in the trunk is neutralized or later you will find damage that isn't visable now. The acid will slowly eat thru the trunk upholestry.
There are disadvantages in placing the battery in the trunk. One is the problem you had and another is the battery gasses geting into the trunk if not vented properly. Another problem is the long cables necessary to connect the battery to the starter and the resultant voltage drop.
The advantage is the battery does not get as much heat from the engine which should increase the life of the battery.
P E H
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2000, 11:34 AM
palio
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Hi-thanks for the info-I am not sure if there is a venting system. I am going to ask. The model is a 1999 c230??

The battery exploded from inside out and the liquid poured out of the car, underneath the car.

One of our biggest concerns is that if the battery exploded while driving do we have an on-going safety issue here...it was pretty scary..and just as important is the problems you described of future damage etc--it seems we will be forced to have a damaged car or sell it and take a huge $loss---
Do you think it would be fair to ask MB to warranty the problem?

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  #10  
Old 06-25-2000, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I am not familiar with MBs warrantee on batteries, but I am relatively sure that the battery was the sole cause of the problem. The battery should be vented but a bad circuit inside caused the spark, I'm not sure what caused the gassing, probably the bad circuit (internal).

Your greatest concern now should be the total neutralization of the battery acid that got all over the area. I would ask MB to warrantee all carpeting which is destroyed by the battery acid. Unfortunately most of the real damage will occur over time especially if the acid isn't neutralized. I've seen holes basketballs could fall through due to battery acid spillage not delt with properly.

------------------
Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2000, 09:59 PM
Deezel
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The teamwork and safety conciousness wants to make me cry!!! Isn't it nice to have a place to go to ask questions? My hat is off to all who helped out Paliuo, but most of all I want to commend Palio for asking the question. The practice that PEH recommends is definitely the preferred and gets the Good House Keeping Seal of Approval!!

Ciao Baby!

------------------
Deezel
87 300TDT
150,000 miles

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  #12  
Old 06-25-2000, 11:20 PM
palio
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Thanks to all who have helped on this issue, all the comments and advise are greatly appreciated.....
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