Jump to content

Tried and True??? How to Refurbish Car Batteries


Guest ReattaFan1

Recommended Posts

Guest ReattaFan1

Im in need of a new car battery and Im just a bit tight on cash to spend $85 battery at the moment. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Being frugal isnt always bad, why not ant least try stretch a dollar... I found this article that I'd like to share.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4927788_refurbish-car-batteries.html Is this tried and true? Is it a better formula? It makes sense about the sulfur buildup causing the demise of the battery. The battery with the magnesium sulfate solution, when on charge the solution dissolves the sulfur with a boiling like action. But was I was confused at the end. Why not flush out the water solution and remove the contaminants then refill with battery acid? I wouldn't think Epsom salts would make for a good battery acid. If the old battery acid is still good and clear it must be better than magnesium sulfate.

Eurobat.jpg

Edited by ReattaFan1 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand your points on hard times and tight money. Being retired and on a fixed income I fight the same issues every day. Please don't take what I'm going to say as being rude.

I believe I read where you are an apartment dweller with no where to work on your car. If that is the case, performing the operations on the battery described in the article can be dangerous to you and the environment. Battery acid is very dangerous to work with. The gas given off is explosive. Not something you would want inside your home or in a parking lot.

I have looked a bad batteries that were cut apart at a parts store for the customers to inspect so they would get an idea of what happens to the battery when it goes bad. What I saw was a thick paste made up of what appears to be lead settled in the bottom of the battery cells. I was told that paste shorts out the battery slowly as it builds up over a period of time. I can't imagine it being easy to wash out.... but maybe.

Over the years I have seen people wash out bad batteries, put additives in them and refill them with new acid in an effort to put new life in them. So far I never seen any bad batteries that were refurbished last any length of time before giving trouble again. In my opinion your time would be better spent doing something else to make a little extra cash to buy a battery. If it was that easy to refurbish batteries you would hear about more mechanics routinely doing it.

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ReattaFan1

Thanks Ronnie. Sorry about the bad link. It's fixed. Yeah, I live in an upscale complex. They would freak if they knew I was even working on the car. Ive got a car cover so the work is concealed. Ive been cleaning out the insides of the Reatta in my dining area. Bring in the pieces I had to be careful not to disturb anyone. I waited until 2 am when everyone was sleeping then I brought it all in a few trips. I've laid down plastic and sheets to keep down the cleanup afterwards. All the carpet pieces are cleaned, dyed and seats conditioned. All stored on my patio until ready to reinstall them. Dont get me wrong my place is clean. Im a minimalist I hate clutter. It's really cramped my style a bit but it's the price you pay living in a condo This is my extent on working on the car in my house. I wouldn't rebuild an engine or anything lol

I'll take your advise on the battery. That is a little hazardous

Edited by ReattaFan1 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Kitskaboodle

In regard to new batteries.....

The cheapest I have found is either Wally Mart or Costco.

About $65.00 give or take... :(

Kit

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have two Vector (now Black and Decker) desulphating battery chargers. Basically they hit it with a high frequency a/c to remove the supher from the plates and put it back in the suphuric acid. Takes about 24 hours for the cycle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Richard D

The Advance auto store near me sells "refurbished" Batteries for $19.95 with a 6 month warranty. No one I asked had ever tried one and when I asked the sales person what is done to the batteries I got a "I donno, they have new paint". Just a thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We help people thru our church's car ministry. I buy batteries from the local u-pick. I pay $15.00 for them. Some batteries aren't even very old. The winter always brings a bunch in as people are trying to get their old beaters started and they wear out their old battery

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slightly off topic is that I have revived rechargable power tool batterys that would not charge and the charger indicating a bad battery. One basically grounds the negative terminal and taps the positive terminal with a 12 volt source. My two drills have their original batterys probably on their fifth life doing so. Of course I am doing this at my own risk behind a lead wall 3 feet thick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Richard D

You are probably melting small tin "fingers" that can form and short ni-cad cells. I use a 30 volt 1/4 farad capacitor and hit them at 25 volts with that. Large spark, batteries usually come back to 60/70 %. Never had one vent (yet) The discharge is less than half a second so not much chance of blowing one up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ReattaFan1

Thanks Richard, Ive called a few Advanced and they did cary refurbished batteries but nothing at the time thats large enough for the Reatta. Padgett, I was tempted on brining over the battery but I see one of the side posts has a leak. I'll just get a new one from Wal-Mart. Plus they have a 3 year free replacement.

But on the subject of refurbishing batteries this would be a good subject for Mythbusters on The Discovery Channel. Sometimes an older ni-cad battery pack can have shorted cells. By "blasting" the cells with a large current you can sometimes clear the short The cell shorts because of dendrite growth through the internal insulator. 'Blasting' the NiCd removes the short but the hole in the insulator remains and a new dendrite will soon re-establish that short. A safer approach is to use a large capacitor charged up to about 3 times the pack voltage and then connect that across the battery. The battery pack may be useful for a while but the damaged cells will probably fail again in a short time. Be warned though. Do not try this with other battery chemistry such as lithium ion as they can become violent.

Edited by ReattaFan1 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the side post is leaking, it indicates that the bolt holding the cable on may have 'bottomed' in the battery and the connection was not tight. The POS connection is particularly a problem on a lot of GM vehicles because there is often a lead washer in there that can get squished from overtightening. If the bolt then bottoms in the battery, the cable can be loose. Heat builds up, battery housing melts, acid leaks out onto the cables. Acid can then wick into the cables, eventually causing intermittent problems. Also the loose connection can cause havoc with the alternator...

So be sure to really examine and clean the battery cables and connections.

After all of the above happened to my Suburban, I switched to buying Optima AGM batteries because they do not leak. But they are costly. And despite their advertising, my very limited experience is that they don't last much longer than a quality non-AGM battery. Perhaps the longest lasting battery I've ever bought is the Die Hard in my beater Regal. It was made for Sears by Delco and is probably 10 years old, if not older. Survived an alternator failure and still going strong. (Knock on wood.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Richard D

Thank You for clearing my brain lock for the word DENDRITE. I just could not think of it so used the tin fingers term, not accurate but similar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The nicad batteries are from a 16.6 volt Sears Craftsman drill at least 15 years old and a Skil 14 volt hammer drill at least 10 years old. I just use a car charger on 10 amps and tap the positive only several times. The "repair" lasts about 6 months (and the Sears is a super high torque model) and then I just repeat the procedure. I tried a Porter Cable at work and it did not work, so your results may vary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...