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Username Post: Negative battery cable terminal heats up        (Topic#255843)
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-13-11 12:46 PM - Post#2031475    

When the battery is low or darn near dead and I try cranking the motor, the cable terminal heats up and soders off some of the connector. I have to keep the battery charged so that it doesn't occur. What could be the reason for that issue?

 
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acardon 
Senior Member
Posts: 9907
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
01-13-11 12:57 PM - Post#2031480    
    In response to bagel3856


I would start by cleaning and tightening the battery cables on BOTH ends. A bad connection causes resistance which will heat the connection, which will cause more resistance which will, ect. ect.
If some of the strands are broken at the end of the cable, replace it.
Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


Edited by acardon on 01-13-11 01:11 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
sedandelivery55 
"8th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 2736
sedandelivery55
Age: 54
Loc: Moore, OK
Reg: 02-20-02
01-13-11 04:19 PM - Post#2031584    
    In response to acardon

Is the other end of the ground wire connected to the block or the body/frame? If it's the body/frame, you may not be getting a good ground to the engine block, therefore the starter.
Lee

http://www.picturetrail.com

The '55 is home again!
92 GMC Sierra short/stepside
4.3 V6, 5 speed





 
wagonman100 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 13553
wagonman100
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Reg: 11-27-04
01-14-11 04:16 AM - Post#2031758    
    In response to sedandelivery55

Lee makes a good point. You can't have too many ground wires and have them connected properly. I always run a ground directly from the battery to the engine block or head and put a toothed washer under it so that it will bite into the metal. Then I run one from the block (or head) to the frame and one from the block (or head) to the body. You usually have a pigtail on the main cable from the battery that lets you put one from the battery to the body as well.
Jay
Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints.

1999 Silverado Z71 4X4 extra-cab short bed
1983 Malibu Fauxmad - tubbed
1978 El Camino Kustomized
1972 Monte Carlo
1957 210 handyman wagon
1957 Nomad sport wagon


 
MikeB 
Senior Member
Posts: 9523
MikeB
Loc: Plano, TX
Reg: 08-28-03
01-14-11 08:19 AM - Post#2031839    
    In response to bagel3856

Heat at a terminal means a poor connection.

This battery and cable terminal cleaner might help. Any auto parts store should sell it.



You may also want to look into an intelligent trickle charger to keep the battery charged when the car sits for more than a couple weeks.

1982 C-10 SWB pickup -- Unmolested, original paint, 250 six, 3-on-the-tree
(Soon to be 350 w/Vortec heads & TH350)

Sold my 55 sedan in June 2014, having owned it 11 years.


 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-15-11 09:32 AM - Post#2032292    
    In response to MikeB

Thanks for getting some info for me to chew on everyone. I'll visibly research how the battery cable is connected on or near the motor.

 
acardon 
Senior Member
Posts: 9907
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
01-15-11 11:33 AM - Post#2032334    
    In response to bagel3856

As Mike said, the bad connection is the one that heats up. Clean it of all oxidation on the post and cable eye.
Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
swbatt 
West Coast Show Support
Posts: 3810
swbatt
Reg: 03-25-01
01-15-11 11:37 AM - Post#2032337    
    In response to wagonman100

"You usually have a pigtail"

Thanks for pointing that out!

"Which do I prefer? Chess or sex? It depends on the position." - Spassky


 
C57Heaven 
Senior Member
Posts: 1994
C57Heaven
Loc: Ohio USA
Reg: 08-02-00
01-16-11 07:53 AM - Post#2032660    
    In response to swbatt

Way back in the day I had my 55 painted nicely.
Firewall, frame and starter. While trying to start the car with a remote starter switch...I watched one of those 1"x6" braided ground straps glow orange!
Peace,
John H.
55 BA 2dr Sed owned since 1979, sold 6/1/09;
1957 Conv (starting to restore)


 
wagonman100 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 13553
wagonman100
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Reg: 11-27-04
01-16-11 08:47 AM - Post#2032678    
    In response to swbatt

  • swbatt Said:
"You usually have a pigtail"

Thanks for pointing that out!





Hey I have a pony tail, no big deal.
Jay
Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints.

1999 Silverado Z71 4X4 extra-cab short bed
1983 Malibu Fauxmad - tubbed
1978 El Camino Kustomized
1972 Monte Carlo
1957 210 handyman wagon
1957 Nomad sport wagon


 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-17-11 03:52 PM - Post#2033318    
    In response to wagonman100

Sorry guys, to no avail the same issue is occurring. Bought the battery cable and terminal cleaner brush and terminal cable end still is hotter than just warm. Battery is also charged. What do I look for now?

 
arnieg141 
Dedicated Enthusiast
Posts: 6353
arnieg141
Loc: nj
Reg: 10-06-08
01-17-11 04:27 PM - Post#2033336    
    In response to bagel3856

did you run grounds
GET ER DONE .. AS I GET OLDER I LIKE FAST CARS I CAN STILL DRIVE. AND VERY SLOW WOMEN I CAN CATCH while still able..arnie garrison


 
100 CHEVY 
Dedicated Enthusiast
Posts: 5632
100 CHEVY
Loc: Helena,Missippi,U.S.A.
Reg: 12-09-04
01-17-11 04:28 PM - Post#2033337    
    In response to bagel3856

Try another battery.
I had a battery(on my tractor)that had a bad post.
It was leaking battery acid around the post,which kept it corroded all the time,no matter how much I cleaned it.
The post finally got so hot it melted.
New battery.
Mike.
"You gonna leave it like that?
http://www.picturetrail.com/100chevy


 
OldDad 
Senior Member
Posts: 1921
OldDad
Age: 70
Loc: The Great NorthWest
Reg: 06-06-04
01-17-11 04:42 PM - Post#2033341    
    In response to 100 CHEVY

Or at least try another battery before you buy one. I've got shelves full of stuff I should have tried before I bought something I didn't need. Most automotive places that sell battery's can test them for you as well for free. Since I'm very cheap and old, I didn't say smarter, but double check everything before spending your cash.
The S.O.B. from the factory...
71 1/2 ton, 64 Chevelle SS, 57 2dr Hardtop, 57 2dr Sedan, 57 Corvette, 52 2dr Hardtop, 52 2dr Sedan, and now a 49 Plymouth Coupe


 
acardon 
Senior Member
Posts: 9907
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
01-17-11 04:43 PM - Post#2033343    
    In response to bagel3856

If the cable connector is making good connection to the battery post and there are no broken strands at the cable end, I would suspect that the battery post is loose inside the battery. A poor connection is the only thing that will cause heat if the conductors are large enough to carry the current.
Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
MikeB 
Senior Member
Posts: 9523
MikeB
Loc: Plano, TX
Reg: 08-28-03
01-17-11 06:14 PM - Post#2033415    
    In response to acardon

  • acardon Said:
If the cable connector is making good connection to the battery post and there are no broken strands at the cable end, I would suspect that the battery post is loose inside the battery.


Yep. Sounds like it's not the post the cable connection.

1982 C-10 SWB pickup -- Unmolested, original paint, 250 six, 3-on-the-tree
(Soon to be 350 w/Vortec heads & TH350)

Sold my 55 sedan in June 2014, having owned it 11 years.


 
Chrome Lugnut 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 69

Loc: Raleigh N.C.
Reg: 07-09-10
01-17-11 06:23 PM - Post#2033423    
    In response to bagel3856

I have seen it were the Battery Cable itself was bad, but looked good both ends.
1955 150 2d Sedan
1957 4dr 210 Wagon
1968 396 SS Chevelle
1996 LT1 Corvette
1999 V6 Camaro Convertible
Old Cars are Real American Freedom
Les


 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-17-11 10:15 PM - Post#2033534    
    In response to Chrome Lugnut

I've had 3 batteries in that car and each time the negative got hot. I'm going to look at the other end of the cable sometime tomorrow to see how I have it. Also, I will take the negative cable off and see if the negative terminal is loose. The cable end gets hot right at the prong that slips into the coupler for the terminal end that goes over the negative post.

Edited by bagel2756 on 01-17-11 10:21 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
mikeski 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1017
mikeski
Loc: Massachusetts
Reg: 03-26-05
01-18-11 05:30 AM - Post#2033596    
    In response to bagel3856

Sounds like that cable may be pretty old. As long as you are at it, why not replace the cable?

MikeSki
http://community.webshots.com/user/sroski


 
arnieg141 
Dedicated Enthusiast
Posts: 6353
arnieg141
Loc: nj
Reg: 10-06-08
01-18-11 05:35 AM - Post#2033600    
    In response to bagel3856

take a set of jumper cables hook one end to good motor ground and back to battery ground. it could be bad battery but most cases grounding
GET ER DONE .. AS I GET OLDER I LIKE FAST CARS I CAN STILL DRIVE. AND VERY SLOW WOMEN I CAN CATCH while still able..arnie garrison


 
Henrys57wagon 
Canadian Regional Coordinator &"8th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 3086
Henrys57wagon
Age: 64
Loc: Woodlawn, (Ottawa) On. Ca...
Reg: 04-15-06
01-18-11 05:38 AM - Post#2033602    
    In response to bagel3856

I have the aftermarket GM side post cables on the wagon and sometimes I would lose power to the lights. One day the fans did not come on and the engine got hot. At the show I started to fiddle with the wires and playing with the small wire coming out of the cable at the battery boot and the fans started. The wire was loose inside the cable boot. Good day.
57 B/A wagon, 408"BB with 14' Bonair travel trailer,71 Nova 355"SB, 07 2500HD with 26 Prowler 5th wheel, 09 Impala LT, John Deere lawn tractor, MF 2610 tractor
http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/listing/use r...


 
acardon 
Senior Member
Posts: 9907
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
01-18-11 07:22 AM - Post#2033661    
    In response to Henrys57wagon

  • Quote:
The cable end gets hot right at the prong that slips into the coupler for the terminal end that goes over the negative post.





It sounds like you have a repaired or rigged cable or the cable connection to the terminal end has melted away. Get a new cable, their less than $10 at the auto supply depending on the year model. It must be a 57, the 55/56 used a braided ground strap to the body. A 57 cable is Standard Motor Products part # A224.
Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
arnieg141 
Dedicated Enthusiast
Posts: 6353
arnieg141
Loc: nj
Reg: 10-06-08
01-18-11 08:05 AM - Post#2033676    
    In response to Henrys57wagon

ya henry that extra ground wire at battery cable was was used a lot of cars.some cars had head light problems. and it was that wire not grounded to radiator support good. as always groun/ground/ground
GET ER DONE .. AS I GET OLDER I LIKE FAST CARS I CAN STILL DRIVE. AND VERY SLOW WOMEN I CAN CATCH while still able..arnie garrison


 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-18-11 12:27 PM - Post#2033769    
    In response to arnieg141

I'll keep everyone posted as to what I will do and have accomplished, thanks fellas. I will have to go out of the local area to get the negative cable or have it shipped to me. The cable is 7yrs. old.

Edited by bagel2756 on 01-18-11 12:44 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
YOUNG57 
Contributor
Posts: 621

Loc: Franklin TN
Reg: 12-06-10
01-20-11 08:26 AM - Post#2034618    
    In response to bagel3856

Your biggest electrical draw / load is the starter so the battery negative terminal / cable should be attached to the engine block with a serrated star washer to cut through any paint, usually on a water pump bolt.

A negative ground cable from the battery to the engine should not get hot if it is the correct size, large enough gauge (dia.) and not too long.

Depending on where it gets hot should indicate where the problem is. If an end is getting hot it has a loose or insufficient connection. That can be corrected by making sure the surfaces are clean and connections are tight.

If it is getting hot along the entire length it is under sized. If it is getting hot in one spot in the middle or along the length it has broken, corroded, or burnt into strands. Cables are cheap and easy to replace, start there. Just make sure you attach it to the engine block

You can’t have too much or too many grounds (-). There are 4 items in our cars that have to be electrically connected (grounded) together, the battery, the engine, the body and the frame. They are all separated by rubber insulators for movement and vibration control and there by separated electrically.

The engine is usually attached to the body with 2 braided copper ground straps from 2 bottom back valve cover blots on each side to firewall screws with serrated star washers on each end. Likewise, there should be braided copper ground straps from the engine block or body to the frame with serrated star washers. Any pigtail lead from the battery cable terminal clamp can also be attached to the body or frame.

 
Rick_L 
Honored Member
Posts: 25839

Loc: Katy, Tx, USA
Reg: 07-06-00
01-20-11 11:01 AM - Post#2034663    
    In response to YOUNG57

Probably been pointed out before, but on a stock 55-57, there are no electrical connections or grounds, to the frame.

The only reason to connect the battery to the frame with a ground cable or strap is if you've grounded some device to the frame. Everything in the back of the car, like the lights and fuel sender, or in the interior, is grounded to the body.

On the other hand, though some people don't understand it or say it's wrong, you CAN ground a trunk mounted battery to the frame near the battery, and then connect a ground cable to the frame in the engine compartment and run it to the body and engine. When you do this, you have to assure that the connections are good.

Some of the above would seem to be contradictory, but it's a matter of thinking about what you have, what you need to accomplish, and how you go about it.

 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-20-11 03:12 PM - Post#2034738    
    In response to Rick_L

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn44/bagel56/n e...

The above images show the problem. I think what started the issue with the cable was an issue with an old alternator I had and it was overcharging at about 16 volts. The melted section of the cable went through a hole in the trunk and the rubber melted around the hole creating like a plug. The other end of the cable bolted up to the frame with a star washer. I neglected to tell everyone about the issue I had with the alternator and that the battery is trunk located. Anyway, I ordered a new cable from a local vendor and should have it sometime next week. I hope the above is understandable to everyone.

Edited by bagel2756 on 01-20-11 03:32 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Big T 
"9th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 2424

Loc: Simi Valley CA
Reg: 04-14-06
01-20-11 03:26 PM - Post#2034744    
    In response to bagel3856

Jim
I used 1/0 on both sides of my trunk mounted battery. Kept the (-) cable under 12 inches to a bulkhead connector (welded in all thread) used 1.5" braided off the bottom of the connector over to the all thread welded to the frame
in the front, used a braided cable (1.5in wide I believe) one from frame daisy changed to the body and then the back of the block.

I have no problems so far with heating issues along the cable.

All of the cable is "fine" stranded. Usually welding supply shops have cable by the foot. Do not go smaller in physical diameter than 1/0, bigger, within reason, is ok.

The pics of your cable appear to me to be smaller in size than 1/0. If they are, change size as above, and make sure everything is star washered and tightened down. I added a dash of Silicone dialectic grease to all of my connections in the car
Tom

55 4 door BelAir


 
bagel3856 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1378
bagel3856
Age: 64
Loc: Inland Empire CA
Reg: 06-06-01
01-20-11 03:57 PM - Post#2034758    
    In response to Big T

Tom
The cable is actually 36 in. long. Any shorter, it may not reach the frame rail.

 
acardon 
Senior Member
Posts: 9907
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
01-20-11 05:07 PM - Post#2034788    
    In response to bagel3856

I agree with Tom, although it's hard to tell from a picture, but it looks like the cable is too small.
A negative cable can not short out to the body. If the rubber grommet melted, it was because the cable itself was getting too hot.
Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
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