1998 Toyota Sienna battery cable question



Well I already know I’m going to sound like a maroon for my chewing gum and bailing wire approach to temporarily repairing my van, so I go ahead and accept the criticism in advance.

Sunday morning, woke up and the van would not start…typical clicking you get when A) bad battery, B) bad starter or solenoid C) corroded terminals/posts or D) bad alternator…

Popped the hood and had a good bit of corrosion on the terminals and posts. Pulled out the tools and proceeded to disconnect the battery in order to clean the terminals and posts and then retest the battery. In the process of removing the terminals, the corrosion was so bad that both terminals broke, leaving me with factory attached terminals (crimped on) that no longer served any useful purpose.

I went ahead and cleaned the battery posts then tackled the problem of the terminals. I could not “de-crimp” the terminals so I was left with one option (I think). I cut the terminals off…Now’s the time when you gasp…I happened to have new terminals in the garage, but the amount of cable on the positive side (two cables, one very thick, probably 4 gauge…I’m assuming to the starter and one smaller cable) left was not enough to reach the battery posts with the new terminals in place. There was no slack in the cable and I cut them right below the crimped connectors. What to do, what to do??? I pulled out a spool of 10 gauge insulated stranded copper and made a strong physical connection with both cables and soldered in about 7 inches of additional cable and insulated it with electrical tape. I connected it to the terminals and hooked it up. I did have to end up buying a new battery, but that isn’t relative…I connected it up to another battery from another car and it started right up, ready to go.

So, what’s the question? How big of a risk am I running with this spliced line? Can I get replacement “positive side” cables for my Sienna? How easy is it to replace those two cables? Did I just completely FUBAR my van by cutting those corroded, broken terminals off?




If you catch corroded terminals in time on Toyotas, you can usually just replace the terminals only since they are separate from the cable itself. However, I understand what you’re talking about as I have dealt with a similar situation with a Toyota Previa van and a Supra. I don’t know about the Sienna specifically but battery cables from the dealer are fairly expensive but nonetheless, I recommend biting the bullet and getting one. It is an exact fit and includes any necessary extra supporting connections and bracketry.

That said, you can probably buy a length of battery cable and solder in a bigger gauge section than with your temporary fix. Wrap it with tape or shrink wrap it.