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Old 07-07-2010, 07:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by philip1 View Post
most likely you have several things against you... the worn out tie rods and poor alignment that will inevitably result will have your tires trying to go down the road sideways. a battery that is low on water could be a sign of an overcharging alternator. These two alone can make the car feel sluggish but combined they will make it feel like you are trying to push a wall.
Astute deduction sir. Thank you. I believe the battery is indeed simply old, but it was low at the hot post and lower at the cell on the other side next to the negative terminal. My dad used to work in the 80s servicing for Interstate Battery. I could do an Alternator test to be sure, though. I say this because we had trouble starting in the winter, though it always finally would, and left the headlights on a couple of times for 15-20 minutes because we simply didn't hear any indicating alarm with this car. Must be spoiled with newer cars. Ugh.

...as for the alignment, I know my MPG will stink more for it, but I may just have to drive these old Via2s into the ground, since they are simply old, and when I need a new set, finally get the outer tie rods/boots/alignment all at once.

Those things are indeed putting a strain on the engine, as far as feel at least, than anything else. I wasn't connecting the two before, so focused on the tire pressure change. Maybe it was a long day?
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:43 AM   #12
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Oh crap... OP, you majorly messed up!

Get this:http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-V...pr_product_top

and charge that car battery! You battery is obviously severely discharged and needs to be charged up again. Problem is, you added water and you should never add water to a fully discharged battery because when you charge the battery, it's going to overflow. Get that battery charger and charge that battery up because it's unreasonable to expect your car to fully charge a discharged battery. I've seen far too many cars with partially or fully discharged batteries, on the brink of not working at all, I then charge the battery and everything is well again. Your battery is probably fine, it's just that it needs to be charged.

If you get that battery charger which I highly recommend because it's a "smart" charger unlike the sears diehard garbage, charge your battery at no higher than 6a. On batteries like yours, I prefer using 2amps but that takes well over 28 hours to charge, but if you care to do everything you can to preserve your battery, I'd do the latter rather than the former. Another FYI is that MOST battery chargers won't charge a battery with a voltage less than like 7v because that causes it to think you've either got the wrong battery hooked up or that there isn't a battery hooked up at all. The solution to this is to hook up another battery with proper voltage (like 12v) in parallel to the battery needing to be charged and then charge with this setup for like 2 hours, then disconnect the battery that doesn't need to be charged and continue with charging..

I've recovered batteries with voltages as low as 0V back to perfect working order again, just be patient and it should work out. A few things to look out for is to see if the battery is bulging on the sides as you charge and on your first charge, if you hear "boiling", I'd ease up on the charge rate or continue with that charge rate for like another hour, disconnect and then come back the next day and resume charging. There will definitely be "boiling" when charging a battery that is half full and this is ok, just don't charge at too fast of a rate. These battery chargers work great, it's just that they're also working hard not to cause a fire hazard or to damage your battery.

I've charged well over 30 car batteries, about half of them with a battery voltage less than 3V. Your battery is obviously not as low as 3v but it's more than likely fully discharged (less than 11.8V).

You cannot reasonably expect your car to fully charge that battery up to 100% (this is important) unless you plan on driving for like 28hours straight. I know this because the battery in my sister's Volvo was at 11.8V and I had driven on the highway for 4 hours straight, came back, waited for the battery to cool down (this takes at least 12 hours!) then measured the voltage only for it to be 11.9V and not 12.65V for a fully charged battery. I charged that sucker up and its current voltage is around 12.3v, which while not great, is expected of a sulfated battery.

If you're interested in knowing more about batteries and charging them, check out this site as it explains a lot.
http://batteryuniversity.com/partone-13.htm


One more thing:
Make sure your battery terminals are clean and when you charge the battery, while it's ok to charge with the car still attached to the battery, this could depress the voltage slightly and not let the charger get a good idea as to the condition of the battery.
Nice read, man. We have a battery charger outside. Its not the best but it will do with what you're mentioning here. If some boils out, I may just buy 1Q of battery acid to top off the cells again, but it was filled with distilled water so the excess will have to boil out first.

Ironically, my battery is a Sears DieHard.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ************* View Post
If you get that battery charger which I highly recommend because it's a "smart" charger unlike the sears diehard garbage
{...}
Another FYI is that MOST battery chargers won't charge a battery with a voltage less than like 7v because that causes it to think you've either got the wrong battery hooked up or that there isn't a battery hooked up at all. The solution to this is to hook up another battery with proper voltage (like 12v) in parallel to the battery needing to be charged and then charge with this setup for like 2 hours, then disconnect the battery that doesn't need to be charged and continue with charging..

I've recovered batteries with voltages as low as 0V back to perfect working order again, just be patient and it should work out.
{...}
I've charged well over 30 car batteries, about half of them with a battery voltage less than 3V. Your battery is obviously not as low as 3v but it's more than likely fully discharged (less than 11.8V).
I didn't know it was even possible to buy dumb chargers anymore, except for really expensive, large, heavy shop models. I've been wanting a dumb charger for a while because my damned smart chargers refuse to charge batteries that I think can still be revived.

I considered trying what you suggest with hooking up another battery but I was afraid it could destroy the other battery. Since it worked for you I may give it a try. I have a few batteries that may be revived by it.

Edit: Should I wait until it's NOT 100?F outside before I try this?

Quote:
You cannot reasonably expect your car to fully charge that battery up to 100% (this is important) unless you plan on driving for like 28hours straight. I know this because the battery in my sister's Volvo was at 11.8V
What's the output rating for the Volvo's alternator? Maybe I've always had high-output alternators but I've never had a battery fail to charge fully after a reasonable time with the engine running. Edit: Well, I can't say that I've measured to the precision that you did, so maybe they weren't charged fully after a single drive, but even after a short drive it's above 12v, starts the engine easily, and never runs down again until I leave the headlights on again.

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I may just buy 1Q of battery acid
...and that's another thing I've considered, but I don't know where to buy it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:26 AM   #14
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According to O'Reilly's website, they sell battery acid in 1Q, 1.5 Gal, and 5 Gal drum sizes. It was about $5 or 6.99; but of course you could always go to a motorcycle parts/service shop and see if they sell some there.

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/se...d=battery+acid

...but that's really if you are super low on fluid or anticipate excessive boiling. I was somewhat low, especially by the posts, but not depleted completely anywhere. Adding distilled water in that case, or better, won't dilute the acidity level much. If you have a dry cell, though, you may want to fill with the battery acid itself; which should already be properly diluted according to my pops.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Okay, I've got my battery off and its only a 'trickle-down' medium charge of 6A. When we first hooked it up it wouldn't take the slowest possible 2A, though. On the next highest rate, it was only accepting 5A so we'll leave it for at least 12 hours, but I'll probably wind up leaving it at least 24 hours to be safe, once it gets down to 2 or so for a long time. Though, it will probably be by late tonight anyway.

No need for battery acid, thankfully, and it shouldn't boil out(we popped the caps just to relieve pressure) and cause the fluid to go down again.

The battery is a DieHard 425CCA 2/08 from Sears, so it should have a good 1-2 years left possible. Perhaps it can make 1 more winter.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:22 PM   #16
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I didn't know it was even possible to buy dumb chargers anymore...,I've been wanting a dumb charger for a while because my damned smart chargers refuse to charge batteries that I think can still be revived.
Well I have a neighbor who was having issues charging is batteries that were at 0V and he had a schumacher "trickle charger" (4amps) that had to have been at least 40 years old. The difference with his and my smart charger is that mine has an actual LCD that gives error codes when it's charging while his simply has a dial. If you don't have a digital display, then you can be guaranteed you don't have a smart charger. I guess it would appear that most chargers for the sake of safety won't charge a battery with 0V.
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I considered trying what you suggest with hooking up another battery but I was afraid it could destroy the other battery. Since it worked for you I may give it a try. I have a few batteries that may be revived by it.
Well if you're paranoid (I know I was!) just monitor the charging of the batteries to make sure nothing is happening. What I found which is a little weird is that if you have a 100% charged battery and a fully discharged battery, when you charge them while hooked up in parallel, not only will the discharged battery charge first but it will actually drain the charged battery! Once the batteries were past a certain threshold, I then charge them individually until they're full. Putting the batteries in parallel is mostly for getting these batteries past that low voltage threshold.
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Edit: Should I wait until it's NOT 100?F outside before I try this?
If you truly have a smart charger (I don't know if you do) then it will detect the ambient temperature as it's charging. One of the reasons not to charge a battery that was recently used is because it could have been heated up by the engine bay, raising the temperature higher than ambient and since the charger only knows ambient, it can overcharge it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
What's the output rating for the Volvo's alternator? Maybe I've always had high-output alternators but I've never had a battery fail to charge fully after a reasonable time with the engine running. Edit: Well, I can't say that I've measured to the precision that you did, so maybe they weren't charged fully after a single drive, but even after a short drive it's above 12v, starts the engine easily, and never runs down again until I leave the headlights on again.
Yeah a battery that is at 12v and starts the engine easily isn't necessarily charged at all. Most car batteries should be able to crank the engine as low as 10.5V yet 11.8V is considered a "fully discharged" battery. Also if you apply heat to the battery, the battery's voltage will go up so it will appear to be charged when it really isn't at all.


Diehard batteries aren't necessarily bad but a lot of chargers I've seen are not smart chargers. If you can, just bring up a link to a charger and I'll let you guys know if it's a smart charger.. Pretty much the only way to know if it's a smart charger is that not only does it say it but it says something about "stepped charging" and "microprocessor controlled".
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:08 PM   #17
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If you don't have a digital display, then you can be guaranteed you don't have a smart charger.
These seem to be in most stores around here:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher...arger/13005743
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher...arger/13005742

Based on those, I wouldn't look for a digital display to determine if a charger is smart or dumb...neither has a digital display but both are definitely smart chargers.

Quote:
when you charge them while hooked up in parallel, not only will the discharged battery charge first but it will actually drain the charged battery!
Yup, I knew that; I thought the excessive rate at which it would discharge the good battery was a problem.

Quote:
Yeah a battery that is at 12v and starts the engine easily isn't necessarily charged at all. Most car batteries should be able to crank the engine as low as 10.5V yet 11.8V is considered a "fully discharged" battery. Also if you apply heat to the battery, the battery's voltage will go up so it will appear to be charged when it really isn't at all.
Ok, I'll buy that.

I guess it doesn't really matter as long as the battery starts the vehicle in cold weather for years afterwards.

When one of my batteries discharges to the point where it won't start a vehicle and I jump-start it, either of two things will happen:
1. I idle or drive for a few minutes and then never have a problem with the battery. It reads well above 12v and starts fine on the coldest days. I have to believe that my vehicle, on an average drive, charges it more than it discharges it and eventually completely charges it.
2. It never charges enough to start the vehicle. It is immediately dead.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:28 PM   #18
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Ok, I'll buy that.

I guess it doesn't really matter as long as the battery starts the vehicle in cold weather for years afterwards.

When one of my batteries discharges to the point where it won't start a vehicle and I jump-start it, either of two things will happen:
1. I idle or drive for a few minutes and then never have a problem with the battery. It reads well above 12v and starts fine on the coldest days. I have to believe that my vehicle, on an average drive, charges it more than it discharges it and eventually completely charges it.
2. It never charges enough to start the vehicle. It is immediately dead.
It's really a bad idea to treat batteries that way because driving around on a fully discharged battery, while it still works will allow sulfation to occur which will diminish the capacity of the battery. A fully charged battery is suppose to be at 12.65V and a fully discharged is around 11.65-11.9V. To put things in perspective, it may take 3 hours to take a battery at 0V all the way up to 11V when charging at 2 amps but it will take 28 hours to take a battery at 11.8V to 12.65v/highest state of charge it will accept. This is because the majority of the capacity of the battery is in the 11.65-12.65v range. Running a battery below 11.8v puts a LOT of stress on the battery. Also if you discharge a battery low enough, the polarity can reverse on some of the cells inside of the battery which can be problematic unless you can get them to flip back to the way they should be.

Also some car's electronics don't take kindly to running on a discharged battery as my mom's LS430 started to act up when the battery was at 11.8V yet the car would crank just fine. The electronics in cars these days has a tendency to discharge batteries very quickly if the car goes more than a day at a time without being driven on the highway. I know it sounds hard to believe but if someone goes to work on the highway 5 days a week and doesn't drive on the weekends, then, over the course of a year, there will be 104 days where the battery isn't being charged.

Just remember this fact: Car alternators are not battery chargers, they're battery maintainers. There is a reason why your alternator "kicks it up a notch" when you run the rear defroster or run a several hundred watt stereo but when you turn those things off, so does the rate at which it charges. This problem with battery charging wasn't nearly as much of a problem in the 70s with carbureted engines and no electronics but IS a problem with cars that have Fuel injection and even worse with those that have alarm systems and other electronic gadgetry sapping energy from the batteries. More proof that those things drain your battery quickly, on my Civic I charged the battery to full then a month later I checked on the battery and it was down to 11.6V. I charged the battery up again but it does remind me how unless you drive your car every day, it's very easy for it to lose charge. I'm going to get a solar battery maintainer so that I don't have to worry about a dead battery in the future. Pretty much every car I've come across that isn't driven every day on the highway has some level of discharge, some are 75% charged, 50% charged or 25% charged.. But then those vehicles that are driven as often as every two weeks, their voltage is around 11.8V.

On a hot day, like 100F, a fully charged 12v lead acid battery without ANYTHING attached can discharge 20% in about a month's time.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:04 PM   #19
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When my dad used to work for Interstate Battery, they would service batteries and connect them up all together(not parallel though) to charge back up to full capacity. Afterward, they wait 3 full days with the battery sitting by itself to then see how well it held the charge, thus determining if its still good enough for their customers in particular. That was the company standards, of course, but that's part of why batteries eventually die. They just wear out and would need to have constant recharging until a new battery can be purchased. If it can hold up with a 'relative' discharge, yet still stays over 11.8v during the summer I'd imagine it'd last the life of the warranty at least.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:20 PM   #20
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Did they have a desulfation or equalization option? The desulfate option sends electrical pulses in the battery to attempt to break up the crystals on the plates. Now the equalization options works by overcharging the battery so that the cells in the battery get up to a level that matches the other cells. In car batteries, there are 6 2V cells in series and over time from lots of charge and discharge cycles, some cells get lower in charge while others are higher and this condition causes some cells to be undercharged and others to be overcharged.
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