As I already mentioned in a previous post, the battery terminals of my Ford truck required cleaning. Because of this, I needed to prepare myself for the endeavor with a few tools. Since I didn’t have a battery terminal cleaner, nor did I have any dielectric grease, I was forced to purchase these items. Luckily, they didn’t cost very much.
In the post below, I’m going to walk you through the exciting process of making my truck perform the way it’s supposed to again. Hold on to your hats.
First, let me explain that this truck has two batteries. It’s got a huge diesel engine and I’m sure that’s the reason for all this electric power. Here, take a look at the engine. You can see both batteries on either side.
All this means is that I had to clean four terminals as opposed to two. Not a big deal.
Before I began, I inspected each of the terminals. The two negative ones looked fine. Both of the positive ones had corrosion crud on them. Here’s a photo of one of the negative terminals. They were both pretty much identical.
They say there’s an order to disconnecting the battery. I guess you’re supposed to remove the negative terminal first, tuck it away so it doesn’t wander back into place and then remove the positive one and do the same thing. Since the negative side had a longer wire, I didn’t have any issues with that. The positive side, however, had a much shorter wire, so all I could do is stuff a rag between the terminal and the connector, so they wouldn’t touch. That worked well.
The socket size for the terminal nuts was 3/16. I used my new DeWalt socket set to loosen all of the nuts.
Here’s a glimpse of one of the positive terminals with some corrosion. This one isn’t too bad. The other side was worse.
After I removed the connectors from the battery, I used my handy-dandy battery terminal cleaning apparatus to do the dirty work. Check this thing out.
This is the side you put over the battery. All you need to do is twist a few times for the wires to clean off the buildup and to score the metal.
To clean the battery connectors, I pulled off the cap of the tool and used the male end of the brush. Again, all I did was twist it around a few times.
Once everything was cleaned and I blew away all the dust, I reconnected the connectors to the posts on the battery. Then, I pulled out my new Permatex Dielectric grease.
There are many things you can use to seal up the connectors. The goal is to cover as much area with a non-conductive air barrier as possible. There are sprays available which are really good. Many folks use dielectric grease.
After squeezing a blob or two on each terminal, I used a q-tip to smear it all around as much metal as I could find.
Now, you may be tempted to apply this grease directly to the battery posts. Since this grease doesn’t conduct electricity, that’s a bad idea. In my heart of hearts, I feel that the car or truck would work fine, but still, it’s a bad idea. Also, the reason you want to use a sealer that doesn’t conduct electricity is because batteries sometimes get wet on top with oil or other things. This thin film of liquid can actually transfer current from one battery post to another, eventually draining a battery. The goal is to avoid this, so if you can seal the posts with this type of grease, there’s less of a chance for the current transfer to take place.
After applying the grease to all four posts, I was finished. Here’s what one of them looks like. She’s a real beauty.
You know, I find that I really enjoy working on cars. As long as the weather is good and nothing is too terribly wrong, it’s a lot of fun. Thanks for reading!