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Old 10-21-2003, 11:29 PM   #1
SL2abuser
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Default 2000 Saturn Batteries - All failing??

We own two 2000 Saturns - an SL2 and an SW2.

Last month my battery suddenly failed. Working fine one day (lots of power), the next day it wouldn't start. It turned out the positive terminal had somehow corroded internally and effectively fell off. So - new battery. I figured it was a one of a kind flaw with my battery.

This evening my wife tried to go to the store and no go with her car. Turns out it's the exact same problem - same battery, same terminal, same acid leak, same mess.

Since we needed a solution right away I went to Walmart and picked up a battery. Guess what - while I was there another guy was picking up a new battery for his 2000 SL2 - Same problem!!

The sales guy who happened to be near and hearing us chating said that it was wierd - he had sold another battery 2 days ago to someone else owning a 2000 Saturn!!

So - is this another common problem with 2000 Saturns? (Along with the exhaust resonator cracking after 60,000 kms, slow coolant leak at the intake manifold, thermostat's rubber gasket falling apart every couple of years and muffler hanger rusting out every 3 years).

Last edited by SL2abuser; 10-21-2003 at 11:35 PM..

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Old 10-22-2003, 05:17 AM   #2
Gerry Proctor
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I had the same failure on my old '00 LW2 when the car was about 1.5 years old. I was very pissed -but not just because of the battery failure- it was the acid that ran out onto the fender panel and down the frame rail. Nothing like acid eating your steel on a near-new car. Lots of baking soda and washdowns and a new Interstate battery. It's a Delco battery thing which is why I didn't bother going to the Saturn retailer and just got the Interstate. No point in putting in another suspect battery even under warranty.

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Old 10-22-2003, 08:13 AM   #3
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It may not be the battery. I've seen this happen with other brands of side post batteries. And it occurs when the terminal is over torqued and it punctures the seal in the battery. And it may not show up right away.

It almost sounds like someone at the factory is using the wrong torque specs during assembly.

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Old 10-22-2003, 09:33 AM   #4
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I find this very interesting. Perhaps it is just luck or the way I drive, but I have the original battery in my 2000 SL2 with almost 214,000 km's on it. In fact, I have never had a starting problem and the green eye on the battery is still there! We'll have to see how this winter is on it. I figure by the spring I will probably put a battery in it (assuming it lasts til then).

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Old 10-22-2003, 09:51 AM   #5
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Car batteries are a maintenance item every 3-5yrs. You will get used to it. The leaking though, that is a new one to me. I have never had one do that. Better than exploding.

...
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Old 10-22-2003, 11:25 AM   #6
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my uncle has a 2000 SL2, I'll have to ask him about it or have him pop his hood. good luck with this crap.

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Old 10-22-2003, 11:56 AM   #7
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I bought a used 2000 LS2 back in May. It had a brand new battery, but had evidence if a big acid leak. the paint is peeled off of the battery tray and off any part under the tray.

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Old 10-22-2003, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by rossao1
Car batteries are a maintenance item every 3-5yrs. You will get used to it. The leaking though, that is a new one to me. I have never had one do that. Better than exploding.
I've owned many cars over the past 25 years. Typically I do get 3-7 years out of a battery. Normally they slowly get weaker and weaker - sometimes there's much less warning, but still more that what's happening here. I've never had a battery leak before, not even in my off-road truck. The batteries in it see all sorts of shock and vibration abuse.

My biggest complaint about these failures is they aren't a factor of how much the battery has been abused, instead it's corrosion related (I'd call it a defect). Also when the strong acid (it's fully charged) leaks out it soaks in to the battery "blanket" and severely corrodes the battery hold down bracket and hardware as well as strips the paint and corrosion protection off portions of the chassis below the battery. The battery hold down bracket lower bolt on my wife's car had to be drilled out it was so badly seized up (from the acid).

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Old 10-22-2003, 02:10 PM   #9
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Actually, on the 2000+ S cars, when they turned the battery 180 degrees from the '99 and down, this problem became much more apparent.
~D.J.~

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Old 10-22-2003, 06:13 PM   #10
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Happened to me about 3 months ago. Positive post came out. I thought it was due to vibration from a bad motor mount. Interesting.

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Old 10-22-2003, 06:27 PM   #11
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Yes this is a well-known condition.

This problem is basically caused by someone over-torquing the cable mounting bolts. There is actually a service bulletin on the problem (not a recall or campaign) )1-T-26 .The condition can occur on ANY year and model Saturn or otherwise with a side post battery. But for what-ever reason the bulletin specifies only 2000-2001 S-Series. (over-torqued at factory??)

The "corrosion" you speak of is actually ACID corrosion caused by distortion within the internal nut inside the lead cable connection. This damages the seal to the internals of the battery, and (as I said) has been attributed to over-tightening the cable mounting bolts.

This corrosion also damages the threads of the bolt. The bulletin outlines to replace the bolt if corrosion is evident and torque to spec.

The torque spec for the battery connection terminals is only 13 ft lbs. Use a torque wrench and see just how low that is (for a 3/8" thread). Since the root cause is someone over-tightening the bolt- I doubt you could mount any sort of "class action" suit or anything.

For you other 2000-2001 S-Series owners, you may want to remove both battery cables and check for corrosion BEFORE it leaves you stranded somewhere. Two of the bolts PN# 0817444 are listed in the bulletin.

HTH
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Old 10-22-2003, 07:18 PM   #12
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I took the battery out of my 2000 SW2 back in the winter of '01, as the car was out of service for 4 months. I remember taking the battery cables off. They were tight! On reinstallation I only tightened them about 1/8 of a turn after finger tight. Haven't had any problems.

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Old 10-22-2003, 08:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by WopOnTour
This problem is basically caused by someone over-torquing the cable mounting bolts. There is actually a service bulletin on the problem (not a recall or campaign) )1-T-26 .The condition can occur on ANY year and model Saturn or otherwise with a side post battery. But for what-ever reason the bulletin specifies only 2000-2001 S-Series. (over-torqued at factory??)
If they were overtorqued, they were overtorqed at the factory or possibly the dealer (if for some reason they disconnected the battery).

I have never touched either car's battery (although I'll admit I probably tightened the new batteries slightly more than 13 ft-lbs - probably more like 20 ft-lbs).

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Old 10-23-2003, 12:03 PM   #14
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The concern with the battery bolts coming loose has to do with the makeup of the battery by Delco. Has nothing to do with Saturn with the exception of these batteries are used in the vehicles. Over torquing may add to the concern, but it is not the cause.

There is a newer design battery 75s-5yr has been redesigned to keep this bolt concern from occuring. I have not had any bolts coming loose in the 2nd design battery.

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Old 10-23-2003, 01:47 PM   #15
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Interesting, I had this EXACT same issue with my 2000 LS2.. Hummmm

It also happened that the battery cables were coroded and also needed to be replaced.

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Old 10-24-2003, 12:39 AM   #16
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Wow, I was left stranded in a strange town by a correded positive battery terminal in my 00 sl2.

lol this is kinda weird so many of us have had this problem.

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Old 11-11-2003, 11:52 PM   #17
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Guess what? Now I've had the same problem. Postive battery cable is corroded and leaking battery acid. Now I know it's because of overtorquing, I can make sure that doesn't happen when I put my battery in.
People with 2000 Saturns - CHECK YOUR BATTERY!!!!

Here's my question, where the heck do you get battery cables? At the dealership only or are there cool colored ones out there that work on Saturns of my year?

...
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Old 11-12-2003, 12:15 AM   #18
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I'm not convinced at all that it is "CAUSED" by overtorquing.

I would say more like: It's a design flaw that "might" show it's head less frequently if the terminals are not torqued as much.

I've had many cars with side terminal batteries over the years and I've never had a leak (or any problem with them) like both my 2000 Sx2's have had.

In the past I have also been guilty of overtorquing the bolts without any problems whatsoever. This includes overtorquing the battery bolts on my 1984 Pontiac Grand Prix (with a side terminal ACDelco battery). I even replaced the OEM battery with a new ACDelco somewhere around 1990 and didn't have problems (the battery lasted until the car was put out to pasture behind my barn in 1999).

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Old 11-12-2003, 09:00 AM   #19
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Duralast from Autozone is what I have found to be the best. You can get up to a 7 yr battery. More economical than other batteries in relation to the length of warranty on the battery. Autozone even put it in for me. It lasted 5 yrs (probably about 70,000 miles), so they prorated for the last 2 yrs, so I got another 7 yr battery really cheap. That was in my 1994 SL. The battery that Saturn had put in it last just a little more than 36,000 miles. My 2002 SL had almost 38,000 when I traded it and never changed the battery. Of course, my numbers are sure to be reflective of living in the hot state of Texas. Batteries don't like heat as y'all know.

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