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Old 01-27-2021, 02:13 AM   #1
C52
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1997 SW2
Default My latest problem

After many times disconnecting and reconnecting the positive battery cable recently, the time before last it was very difficult to get the threads to "catch" to tighten down, and the last time whenever I tried to tighten the cable to the battery it would let loose and not ever tighten enough. Now when going to restart my car, I get only a click, and have to get out and move the cable around to different positions, try to get it just a bit tighter before it lets loose again, etc. just to get it started. Not sure if a new cable is what's needed, it looks like the threaded part of the bolt only had maybe 3/8 of an inch of thread to catch in the battery, or if the battery itself is stripped out where the cable connects?
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Old 01-27-2021, 06:42 AM   #2
mattwithcats
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Default Re: My latest problem

I replaced the bolts on my car...

https://www.walmart.com/ip/EverStart...teel/626482067
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: My latest problem

The threads in the battery are usually softer than the bolt threads and are prone to stripping out. If you can visibly see that the bolt is compromised then I would look to changing those out. If that doesn't work then you could try a thread chaser in the battery threads.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: My latest problem

GM batteries are amazing self-sacrificing devices. They'd rather die than let your very, very, expensive battery cable bolts die (never seen them for more than $10/pair...). They're just that awesome.

I don't think you can even add lead to them to fix them like you can with top-post batteries used by literally everyone not GM because you'd have to lay it on it's side and that'd likely mix up the lead-acid mixture into places it doesn't belong inside the battery.

If you have stuff on hand to make new battery cables, this is a great time to upgrade it to top post. Likely not worth the effort/cost if you have to buy pre-made cables as they will likely add another $50 to the battery replacement cost ($70ish at Walmart).
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: My latest problem

Buy longer bolts. There are still good lead threads at the bottom of the hole.
Use washers to shim the long bolt to the proper length.
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Old 01-27-2021, 03:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: My latest problem

My dad always takes the chinsy little factory bolts out and uses a bolt long enough that it will 'bottom out' in the battery, with a washer and nut on said bolt. Tighten the bolt in until it bottoms out and then tighten the nut to secure the cable end. This allows you to use all the available threads, and make the connection as tight as possible without worring about stripping threads with the tiny factory bolts. It also makes it much easier to attach jumper cables directly to the battery.
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Old 01-27-2021, 07:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: My latest problem

^^^ +1

That is the best way to save stripped female threads, in anything. Install a stud that grabs as much of the thread depth as possible.

I gotta ask... why so many removals of the battery cables? I doubt I do that even five times in the life of a battery (and I have had some last 10 years).

PS: I like side terminals, easier to R & R the cables and less corrosion.
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: My latest problem

C52, are you using a side terminal or top post battery? Some improved side terminal batteries have what looks like a steel threaded shell to reduce stripping tendencies from many over tightening the 5/16 or 8mm bolts. My previous batteries from AutoZone used these steel threaded shells with zero issues when I tightened original cable bolts to them. I don't know if other battery brands do the same with their side terminal batteries. You'd have to remove each bolt and examine the side terminals. If your battery is a top post then several solutions may help to keep both battery cable terminals tight.

One method with expandable lead battery cable terminals that stretched until clamping fails are lead caps (AutoZone) that act as shims over each to post. Just enough shim to allow stretched cable clamps to tighten around for better electrical connections. Another trick is using a sheet metal screw (stainless or brass for corrosion prevention) screwed between lead clamp and battery post. Inserted into the split clamp before tightening the clamp bolt.
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: My latest problem

I agree with all the above posts follow their advice it's good advice.
= = =
To answer your question: I am 99% sure it's the sidepost bolt that is not attaching correctly and firmly to your battery. Poor electrical connection resulting in CLICK CLICK no start. The same or similar situation has happened to me several times. It's an easy, quick, and cheap fix: buy a new sidepost battery bolt. I am 99% sure your battery cables are fine.
= = =
I have noticed not all sidepost bolts are the same. Many only have threads on 2/3 of the bolt -- or 4/5 of the bolt -- the point is the threads don't run the entire length of the bolt. I usually see this on GM factory sidepost bolts. This is a stupid design decision. Look carefully at your sidepost bolt: does it have threads the whole length of the bolt? Replacement bolts easily purchased cheaply at Walmart, NAPA, etc. Be sure to get bolts with threads all the way down the length of the bolt. Be sure and use a 6 point 8mm wrench or 6 point 8mm socket. It is _very_ easy to mangle the hex heads of the sidepost bolts because they are so small. In the unfortunate situation you have stripped the threads inside the battery you should be able to use a flat bottom tap to chase the threads. First try a longer fully threaded sidepost bolt -- that should do the trick. Do _not_ overtighten. The threads inside the battery are not strong or deep. Overtightening is asking for more problems. Good luck.

Last edited by CaptainBlood; 01-27-2021 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: My latest problem

Those heads on the screws are small so you won't be tempted to tighten them too much with a 1/2" or 3/8"-drive socket wrench. They won't get "mangled" if you use a 6-point wrench and tighten properly, about 50 inch-pounds is enough.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:58 PM   #11
C52
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Default Re: My latest problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I gotta ask... why so many removals of the battery cables?
If you view some of my many recent postings, I have been doing many repairs lately, and have perhaps removed the battery cable more than needed, like when replacing the fuel filter, and preparing to swap out the fuel rail.

@fdryer, it is a side terminal battery. It turns out the threads of the battery cable bolt that was inside the red plastic casing had severely worn threads.

Ideally I would have liked to get a threaded stud that would bottom out completely inside of the battery, but my local flaps only had this available, I've installed it, I had to cut away the red plastic on the original cable to get the bolt out, and it seems to have tightened up OK inside of the battery. Going forward, there will be no need to ever remove the part that seats into the battery itself.

Many thanks to all who have provided assistance here and elsewhere, it is much appreciated!

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Old 01-28-2021, 12:16 AM   #12
C52
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Default Re: My latest problem

Here is a picture of the finished connection.

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Old 01-31-2021, 02:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: My latest problem

The cable is actually supposed to go next to the battery, and the spot where you have it is for additional connections. A regular bolt and a nut would have been cheaper. You're essentially using this extension bolt to reach a few more threads in the battery this way..... it'll work, but you spent about $6 instead of $1.50. Since you've got an issue with the threads in the battery putting the cable under the bolt probably wouldn't work for you, as you'd use up the extra length you need.

I've got a pair of these on my truck with a pigtail for a battery charger attached.
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