Can't get battery terminal off post! Help!


paqman
07-12-2010, 11:26 PM
So the negative terminal on my 97 ford escort was all corroded. I cleaned it up a bit with some baking soda and water. But I really should replace the cable end. However, it looks like the bolt has fused itself with the nut, and it is not going ANYWHERE. In fact, the bottom of the nut has broke off, and it's just not coming off. I tried cutting the bolt with a dremel, but it looks like it's been melted around the terminal, meaning, it is not going to help cutting it off. So any ideas how I can get this thing off? The battery itself seems to be fine, so if at all possible, I'd rather not replace the battery. But if I have to, I could cut the cables and just get a new battery. However, that brings up one other problem...

There is a little electrical connector connected directly to the negative terminal, and I'm not sure how to get it off either. I've scoured the web looking for these cables and can't find them anywhere. I may go to the pick n pull soon, but not sure how successful I'll be there. I just need some help how to remedy this situation. Here are some pics to illustrate:

Here is the terminal, with evidence of my dremmel attempt (sorry, they're huge):
http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/closeup.jpg
And here is a pic of the little cable connector coming off the terminal:
http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/connector.jpg

MagicRat
07-12-2010, 11:37 PM
A battery terminal puller will make quick work of those.

Also, replacement battery terminals are widely available and will work well with the existing cables. The clamp-on ones are easiest to use but the solder-on ones give a really good permanent repair.

paqman
07-12-2010, 11:57 PM
A battery terminal puller will make quick work of those.

Also, replacement battery terminals are widely available and will work well with the existing cables. The clamp-on ones are easiest to use but the solder-on ones give a really good permanent repair.

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I forgot to mention in my post that I've already tried a terminal puller. If you look in the first pic, you can see where the base of the terminal was snapped off from the puller. It's too tight on there to get it off with the puller without first loosening the bolt.

And as far as replacement terminals, I've already got a pair ready to put on, but the problem is that little electrical connecor. I don't know how to get it off the old cables to put it on the new ones. And I don't know why it's calle to order a new one. Anyone know what that connecor is called?

paqman
07-13-2010, 11:23 AM
I found this site that happens to mention this part, I think he's referencing it when he mentions a "Data link connector." But can't be sure. Can't seem to find it anywhere.
http://www.askamechanic.info/askamech2/content/view/50/47/

denisond3
07-14-2010, 07:42 AM
You probably like those Ford OEM battery terminals as well as I do. I am fairly sure the terminal of the negative bsttery cable wouldnt be fused to the battery post in any metallurgical sense, just a tight clamping with some crusty acidic stuff. So I think if you have a dremel tool, slicing down the side of that terminal will allow you to peel away the two halves after you have finished the cut, or even when you have cut down most of the way. And I wouldnt worry about the slicing making a small cut into the battery post; the post is solid lead.
But since you will need a new battery terminal anyway; you could use a short piece of hacksaw blade to cut through the heavy negative cable behind that terminal (its copper, nice and soft), to get the battery out of the car, so you can slice away at the terminal in better conditions: Such as hacksawing sideways through the terminal between the corroded nut and the clamp around the post.
We have three Escorts in our family, a 91, 92, & 94, but I think they are very similar to the later ones. On mine The Data Link Connector has two or more wires in it (depends on the year), in the space behind the battery, between the wiper motor and the fender. On the negative cable terminal there is a black connector, with four or more wires coming to it (it would depend on the year of your Escort). Those are all simply grounded by the battery terminal, and were probably made that way to facilitate testing at the factory. On all of our Escorts I have cut the wires to that small connector that is attached to the negative battery terminal, and soldered them together; along with another short length of thicker wire that I solder to the bundle. Then I soldered the end of the thicker wire to the replacement battery terminal. On one of our Escorts I used a replacement battery terminal made of brass (the lead kind dont last very long), and soldered the old negative battery cable to it. On the other two the original battery cable was corroded quite a ways back inside the insulation, so I got a 36" black battery cable, bolted the far end to one of the bolts on the bell housing next to the starter. I connected my short length of thicker wire to the bolt where the original Ford negative cable was connected to the body right close to the battery; since the other end of that cable is also bolted to the transmission. I didnt do this just for fun, it was needed to solve goofy little problems; like a temp gauge that read differently when I turned the headlights on!

In doing your work, I presume you have the positive cable terminal removed from the battery already. You should have anyway, to save the cars electronics from rude surprises. I plan to replace that same feeble battery post clamp that is on the postivie cable of our Escorts with a replacement brass 'solder on' battery terminal, at the first sign of any trouble with each one.

paqman
07-14-2010, 09:41 AM
You probably like those Ford OEM battery terminals as well as I do. I am fairly sure the terminal of the negative bsttery cable wouldnt be fused to the battery post in any metallurgical sense, just a tight clamping with some crusty acidic stuff. So I think if you have a dremel tool, slicing down the side of that terminal will allow you to peel away the two halves after you have finished the cut, or even when you have cut down most of the way. And I wouldnt worry about the slicing making a small cut into the battery post; the post is solid lead.
But since you will need a new battery terminal anyway; you could use a short piece of hacksaw blade to cut through the heavy negative cable behind that terminal (its copper, nice and soft), to get the battery out of the car, so you can slice away at the terminal in better conditions: Such as hacksawing sideways through the terminal between the corroded nut and the clamp around the post.
We have three Escorts in our family, a 91, 92, & 94, but I think they are very similar to the later ones. On mine The Data Link Connector has two or more wires in it (depends on the year), in the space behind the battery, between the wiper motor and the fender. On the negative cable terminal there is a black connector, with four or more wires coming to it (it would depend on the year of your Escort). Those are all simply grounded by the battery terminal, and were probably made that way to facilitate testing at the factory. On all of our Escorts I have cut the wires to that small connector that is attached to the negative battery terminal, and soldered them together; along with another short length of thicker wire that I solder to the bundle. Then I soldered the end of the thicker wire to the replacement battery terminal. On one of our Escorts I used a replacement battery terminal made of brass (the lead kind dont last very long), and soldered the old negative battery cable to it. On the other two the original battery cable was corroded quite a ways back inside the insulation, so I got a 36" black battery cable, bolted the far end to one of the bolts on the bell housing next to the starter. I connected my short length of thicker wire to the bolt where the original Ford negative cable was connected to the body right close to the battery; since the other end of that cable is also bolted to the transmission. I didnt do this just for fun, it was needed to solve goofy little problems; like a temp gauge that read differently when I turned the headlights on!

In doing your work, I presume you have the positive cable terminal removed from the battery already. You should have anyway, to save the cars electronics from rude surprises. I plan to replace that same feeble battery post clamp that is on the postivie cable of our Escorts with a replacement brass 'solder on' battery terminal, at the first sign of any trouble with each one.
Thanks for the reply. It's funny you mention taking off the postive terminal during all this, because I was always under the impression that you need to take off the negative terminal before taking off the positive terminal, and wasn't sure what happens if you take the positive off first, so I haven't yet. Luckily nothing has happened yet. So if you say I should do that, then I will next time I work on it.

I'm going to be running to a salvage yard today to pick up a tail light for my inlaws minivan, so while I'm there I'll look and see if there are any Escorts with those little connectors still sitting on it. But if not, you say that it's ok to just clip it off completely and just run those two cables directly into the negative terminal? I have a blow torch, so maybe I'll pick up some rosin and do them up the right way. The other thing I was going to do was just hack saw the whole thing off like you said, then just drill another hole in the metal plate coming out of the connector and try to screw it into the next terminal, but I like your way better.

And you're right, the negative terminal is not fused the the post, just the bolt and nut holding the terminal on have melted into one big mess. So I think I should be able to saw it off right next to the post. Once it's off, I should be able to dremmel the terminal off the post ok.

Thanks again for your post, you've been very helpful. Now that I know I can just snip that connector right off, I'll just cut all the cables and pull the battery out, which will make easy work of getting that terminal off. I'll keep you "posted" on my progress. :iceslolan

denisond3
07-14-2010, 02:15 PM
The entire reason for disconnecting the ground/negative terminal from the battery first, is safety - of you and of your car. If the wrench you are using to loosen or snug the negative terminal accidentally contacts something metal under the hood (like the strut tower or the battery hold down clamps) it does no harm, that terminal being at 'ground' potential already.
On the other hand, if you are undoing/installing the positive terminal, when the negative terminal is still connected, and your wrench contacts any metal under the hood - then you have a short circuit, and will have sparks. This can damage the electronics of the computer, maybe the radio, etc. And what is worse (though more rare) is that the sparks might ignite any hydrogen gases that had been driven out of the battery, such as when you are charging it. Batteries have been split open by such events, which also sprays hydrochloric acid all over the place.
So if you undo the positive cable while the negative one is still connected, be really careful. A breezy day will essentially eliminate the danger of hydrogen gas getting ignited.
,

paqman
07-14-2010, 03:07 PM
The entire reason for disconnecting the ground/negative terminal from the battery first, is safety - of you and of your car. If the wrench you are using to loosen or snug the negative terminal accidentally contacts something metal under the hood (like the strut tower or the battery hold down clamps) it does no harm, that terminal being at 'ground' potential already.
On the other hand, if you are undoing/installing the positive terminal, when the negative terminal is still connected, and your wrench contacts any metal under the hood - then you have a short circuit, and will have sparks. This can damage the electronics of the computer, maybe the radio, etc. And what is worse (though more rare) is that the sparks might ignite any hydrogen gases that had been driven out of the battery, such as when you are charging it. Batteries have been split open by such events, which also sprays hydrochloric acid all over the place.
So if you undo the positive cable while the negative one is still connected, be really careful. A breezy day will essentially eliminate the danger of hydrogen gas getting ignited.
,
Got it thanks. Guess paying attention in electronics 101 in college might have been usefull after all. Anyway, I just got back from the local salvage yard. Picked up the tail light for my inlaws van, and found a couple of those little data link connector things, which they threw in for free. So since I have one, would it be worth it to rewire in one of these replacements, or will it do absolutely no harm just to cut the thing out completely and wire it all to the negative terminal?

Intuit
07-14-2010, 04:46 PM
Tried any type of penetrating oil like pb blaster or other ? Tried *lightly* heating the terminal with a heat gun prior to applying the lubricant ? That may help draw in the lubricant. I ordinarily have to use a screwdriver to pry the ring apart, then dig up under the opposite side while wiggling and lifting it off.

paqman
07-14-2010, 05:04 PM
Tried any type of penetrating oil like pb blaster or other ? Tried *lightly* heating the terminal with a heat gun prior to applying the lubricant ? That may help draw in the lubricant. I ordinarily have to use a screwdriver to pry the ring apart, then dig up under the opposite side while wiggling and lifting it off.
No I haven't, I didn't even think of trying to pry it off with a screw driver. The stinkin terminal puller from autozone didn't do jack, it just snapped the bottoms off. Maybe I could get under it better with a screw driver. And I'll try picking up some PB on the way home as well. Don't think I have any at the moment.

Intuit
07-14-2010, 05:20 PM
Use the short, thick, stubby one with the big fat handle. I have no idea what effect oil may have on a battery... may just sit on top of the water. But probably a good idea to make sure it doesn't seep into any of the vents.

paqman
07-14-2010, 05:32 PM
Use the short, thick, stubby one with the big fat handle. I have no idea what effect oil may have on a battery... may just sit on top of the water. But probably a good idea to make sure it doesn't seep into any of the vents.
Yeah, I think I'll try the screwdriver before applying any type of lubricant or anything. I'm just going to snip all the cables, so I'll be able to work on it on the bench rather than under the hood.

denisond3
07-14-2010, 09:24 PM
Whether you replace the original black connector that was attached to the negative battery terminal, or solder the wires from it all-together and then solder that bundle to a ground connection - is your call. Just so they are well grounded. I have read most of the OEM Escort/Tracer Service Manual and all of the Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual, and nowhere do I recall that disconnecting those individual ground wires a part of any procedure.
I have pried up on battery terminals to get them off of the post - and cracked the post loose from the battery casing as well as from the matrix that supported the plates in the last cell. The only good thing about it was that it was a very old battery; it wasnt a big loss.

And when I was explaining in my earlier posting about the danger of a big spark when disconnecting the positive battery terminal while the negative one was still connected, I said that Hydrochloric Acid could get spattered around. Wrong! The battery has -Sulfuric Acid- in it. Nasty stuff anyway.

paqman
07-15-2010, 10:09 PM
Just thought I'd post a follow up. I finally fixed it tonight. The PB got that stubborn terminal off with ease. The connector part was kind of easy because I found a replacement at the salvage yard. So I was able to unplug the connectors from the old one, and just plug the old connectors into the new one. The problem was that I had to cut the battery cable so far down to get past the corrosion (which didn't actually happen, because the corrosion just kept going) that it was hard to get the connector situated in a way that I could bolt the terminal on and allow it to be easily accessible later on. But I finally got it, and the codes were cleared. (was it mentioned in this post that the reason i wanted the battery off in the first place was to clear some trouble codes that I had fixed?) Anyway, all is well now. Here are a couple after pics. (The red crap is just that battery corrosion protector spray you get from autozone.)

http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/afterwide.jpg

http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/afterclose.jpg

Intuit
07-16-2010, 12:22 AM
Can't necessarily recommend it, (because aluminum isn't the best conductor,) but what I've been doing for several years and works for me is covering the battery posts in a thin layer of aluminum foil, then with the terminals on, cover with a little oil, then sprinkle baking soda on the posts which sticks to the oil. (the battery vapors and air-exposure seem to largely be responsible for the terminals' corrosion) Never have to clean the battery posts this way.

The batteries I've had used to (somehow) leak a lot of acid, rusting out my battery tray bolts and everything below so I grabbed a plastic bag from one of the chicken places (designed for HOT foods,) put some baking soda in the bottom, and put my battery in the bag. (Photo Link) (http://cid-0c43f28d3024191b.office.live.com/self.aspx/Public/1994%20Ford%20Escort/Assembled%20Engine/1994%20Ford%20Escort%20-%20Eng%20Compartment%20025.jpg) Never seal the bag or block the vents however. Using the bag to cover negative post seems to really slow corrosion.

denisond3
07-16-2010, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the feedback, and glad that you got it solved.

badpoor
07-16-2010, 09:52 AM
I had this same issue with my 96 wagon....battery was bad so I just cut cables and put new ones on like you have.

paqman
07-16-2010, 10:09 AM
Can't necessarily recommend it, (because aluminum isn't the best conductor,) but what I've been doing for several years and works for me is covering the battery posts in a thin layer of aluminum foil, then with the terminals on, cover with a little oil, then sprinkle baking soda on the posts which sticks to the oil. (the battery vapors and air-exposure seem to largely be responsible for the terminals' corrosion) Never have to clean the battery posts this way.

The batteries I've had used to (somehow) leak a lot of acid, rusting out my battery tray bolts and everything below so I grabbed a plastic bag from one of the chicken places (designed for HOT foods,) put some baking soda in the bottom, and put my battery in the bag. (Photo Link) (http://cid-0c43f28d3024191b.office.live.com/self.aspx/Public/1994%20Ford%20Escort/Assembled%20Engine/1994%20Ford%20Escort%20-%20Eng%20Compartment%20025.jpg) Never seal the bag or block the vents however. Using the bag to cover negative post seems to really slow corrosion.

Thanks for the tips. I'm gonna keep a close eye on this one, and if it starts corroding at all again, I'll try out some of your methods. It's gonna be time for a new battery soon anyway, and when it is, I'm thinking new cables will be in order anyway. That negative cable was corroded down so far, I couldn't find clean cable. The problem is, the cable just goes a short length where it is connected to some crimped connection that's hooked to the frame of the car, so I'm not exactly sure how to replace the cable, cause I'm not sure how to recreate that crimp connection.

RaffiBaghdo
07-19-2010, 08:02 PM
So the negative terminal on my 97 ford escort was all corroded. I cleaned it up a bit with some baking soda and water. But I really should replace the cable end. However, it looks like the bolt has fused itself with the nut, and it is not going ANYWHERE. In fact, the bottom of the nut has broke off, and it's just not coming off. I tried cutting the bolt with a dremel, but it looks like it's been melted around the terminal, meaning, it is not going to help cutting it off. So any ideas how I can get this thing off? The battery itself seems to be fine, so if at all possible, I'd rather not replace the battery. But if I have to, I could cut the cables and just get a new battery. However, that brings up one other problem...

There is a little electrical connector connected directly to the negative terminal, and I'm not sure how to get it off either. I've scoured the web looking for these cables and can't find them anywhere. I may go to the pick n pull soon, but not sure how successful I'll be there. I just need some help how to remedy this situation. Here are some pics to illustrate:

Here is the terminal, with evidence of my dremmel attempt (sorry, they're huge):
http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/closeup.jpg
And here is a pic of the little cable connector coming off the terminal:
http://www.royandstellawood.com/nathanpacker/escort/connector.jpg
Have you tried the old flat head screwdriver and hammer trick? It worked for my Escort:)

Edit: Didnt read but congrats on fixing it lol

paqman
07-19-2010, 09:45 PM
Have you tried the old flat head screwdriver and hammer trick? It worked for my Escort:)

Edit: Didnt read but congrats on fixing it lol

Lol thanks.

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