Jump to content
CaddyInfo Cadillac Forum

Stripped battery terminal


Recommended Posts

About 2 weeks ago I went to start my car and got the *click* from the starter and the dash lights lit up, but the car wouldn't start. My first instinct (after seeing it here oh so many times) was to check the battery cables, and surely enough the positive was loose. I tightened it down, the car started fine. A few days later the same thing happened...and again a few days after that. Then a few days after THAT, I was driving along all fine and dandy when my IPC had a seizure. All the lights flicked off then on, my speedo went all the way to 140 and back to 20 (which was my actual speed), the climate control zeroed out, and my fuel mileage was reset. After that I did a thorough investigation on the battery cable. There is nothing wrong with the battery cable, but the terminal on the battery is stripped out. Is there any way I can fix this without buying a new battery? The battery in and of itself is fine, but is old enough to not be covered under warranty anymore...and with Christmas right around the corner I don't want to buy a new one if I don't absolutely NEED to. It's getting quite tiring to have to check/tighten the cable in this 20 degree weather every time I have to go somewhere....

Any suggestions? Could I possibly tap/thread the terminal hole out and use a bigger bolt on the cable?

big4870885.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites


there is no permanent fix for a stripped side terminal battery, just for the heck of it you could try a new post bolt but I find it never usually solves the problem. I have a torque wrench for side terminal batteries, 5/16 8ft lbTQ

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why don't you check your local NAPA store and Pep Boys or JC Whitney for a fix. This can't be so rare a problem that someone hasn't marketed a kludge. Any decent kludge will get you to next summer. I'm thinking of an oversize bolt with a standard terminal and threads available for the existing battery cable and bolt.

Be very careful with whatever you do, though. The beginning of the end for my OEM battery cable was when a dealer tech used an air wrench on mine and cracked the case internally to the battery, allowing a slow acid leak into the cable.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would buy a new bolt first. Mine did that and was the threads on the bolt wore down. If the new bolt still don't work I would try just a DROP of BLUE threadlocker on the threads. Don't over tighten it, just snug down good. The blue threadlocker can still be easily broken free, not like the red.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would buy a new bolt first. Mine did that and was the threads on the bolt wore down. If the new bolt still don't work I would try just a DROP of BLUE threadlocker on the threads. Don't over tighten it, just snug down good. The blue threadlocker can still be easily broken free, not like the red.

I second that on the battery bolt. When I had battery issues a few years ago, I replaced my bolt. It was under $5.00. Other trick - like on wood if the hole is stripped, stuff a few toothpicks in there. In this case, you might want to put the bolt in with a little picture wire next to it. it will sung up the contact between the bolt & battery. Make sure you use a soft wire, and cut the excess. I think fine solder might be too soft to get the connection tight. you need a rigid but flexible copper wire or so. - if the wire is too thick, you can thin it out with a hammer & stuff it in along with the bolt. GOOD LUCK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....There is nothing wrong with the battery cable, but the terminal on the battery is stripped out.

I'm willing to bet some large percentage of side terminal battery replacements are the result of someone not taking the time to "properly" torque the cable bolt to the battery terminal. Either through ignorance or not caring.

The recommended cable bolt torque is 132 lb. in. (11 lb. ft.).

See if Santa has a 1/4" drive torque wrench for you.

EDIT: corrected the torque value.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd go with a larger bolt as well. If you try Wintersets trick I'd try a couple lengths of solder or lead as opposed to wood. You might even try a Helicoil. No reason that shouldn't work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the ideas! I think I'll give the wire idea a shot first, since it's something I can do with what I have on hand. I've done the toothpick thing many times and I never would have thought of that.

JimD, I'm guilty.:blink: I didn't even know there WAS a torque spec for the terminal....and being I'm the only one who has done anything to it in the last year I guess that would be my error. I've always just PFT'd it. Now I know.

Assuming it's more than 20 degrees tomorrow, I'll get to wrapping a wire in there. I'll let you all know how that works out.

big4870885.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the ideas! I think I'll give the wire idea a shot first, since it's something I can do with what I have on hand. I've done the toothpick thing many times and I never would have thought of that.

JimD, I'm guilty.:blink: I didn't even know there WAS a torque spec for the terminal....and being I'm the only one who has done anything to it in the last year I guess that would be my error. I've always just PFT'd it. Now I know.

Assuming it's more than 20 degrees tomorrow, I'll get to wrapping a wire in there. I'll let you all know how that works out.

Yes, if you overtorque, not only you can strip the threads but also force the threaded insert out of the battery lead bulk. That's why such a small 8 mm wrench is used for battery terminal bolts.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe it's just me, but any bolt into aluminum threads that clamps a gasket that seals liquid oil or vacuum is critical, and I will use a torque wrench. I got into the habit when I cracked an NGK spark plug in an early Honda 5750 and thought that I had stropped the thread. I have three snap-over torque wrenches now and I'm not afraid to use them.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....JimD, I'm guilty.:blink: I didn't even know there WAS a torque spec for the terminal....and being I'm the only one who has done anything to it in the last year I guess that would be my error. I've always just PFT'd it. Now I know.

Carla:

Don't beat yourself up over the torque issue. If a previous owner installed the replacement battery, there is no way you can know what, if any, damage occured to the battery terminals before you purchased the car.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that there are torque values for every bolt in the car...I just didn't think the battery was included in that list. I guess I'm used to batteries with a clamp-on post terminal, where torque doesn't SEEM to be a major issue. Next time I know better. ^_^

I did get the terminal "wrapped up" earlier. I used a heavy gauge piece of copper speaker wire...figuring a few small wires (in this case, 3) might work better than just one. I used a section about an inch long, stripped the rubber coating off, and wrapped it on the end of the bolt before threading it back on. I took this opportunity to take apart the cables and clean them as well. Then I torqued it to 11 ft/lbs, and it so far has held all day. I'd been having to tighten it 2-3 times a day, but it seems like it might be ok now. The voltage holds at a steady 14.3 volts while running, as it always had before this issue started. (Since this started it was averaging 13.8)

I appreciate the help! I hope this "fix" will hold on another month or so until I can afford to buy a new battery. :)

big4870885.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...