2005 Honda Odyssey battery problems

batteries

#1

OK - I’m new here, and going to try and keep this as short, and clear as possible :slight_smile:
Last summer, my husband and I were camping, and the van died on us while driving. Started back up and we got to the camp ground…when we got there, we left it running to charge the battery back up (thinking maybe the battery died or something…) When we opened the hood, there was a softball size ball of acid build-up on the + battery terminal. (at this point, my husband noticed the connection on the + terminal was somewhat corroded) We cleaned it off - no more issues until we were almost home - when idle at a traffic light, the van would shake a bit, as if it was going to die again. We took it to the dealership for service when we got home - they told us it was the spark plugs - so they replaced them. A few months later, we take it back for similar issues - suggesting maybe it’s the battery - they come back saying it’s not the battery.This time, that connection on the + terminal had completely corroded and there was no connection at all. Now first of all - wouldn’t that connection have corroded because of the battery acid? THey tell us No - battery acid build-up (sulfation??) is normal…that doesn’t seem right to me. January comes around and we again, have issues. We ask for the battery to be replaced under its warranty, with no success. They wouldn’t replace it b/c they said there’s nothing wrong…(my husband temp. fixed that connection on the battery terminal) so, no real issues since then. So fast forward to now. We take it for inspection, we get that cable replaced along with general oil change, etc. Husband gets the car home, looks under the hood to check their work and battery acid is coming out of the terminal. After calling and complaining, they agreed to give us a new battery - my husband brought it home, bc he wanted to do it himself since they’d been giving us such a run-around it seems. 2 days after that, we go to leave and van doesn’t start. (new battery wasn’t installed yet) after 2 dozen tries, he finally got it to start. My husband wasn’t sure if it was the battery by this point, b/c typically when the battery is dead, the windows, radio, and sliding doors won’t work - but they all did. Now, last night, he put the new battery in and voila! the van starts right up!
Now, my questions are:

  1. could some sort of leak cause all the battery acid build-up? and if so, wouldn’t the mechanics have been able to detect that when it was serviced all of those times?
  2. if it was a dead battery, could that have damaged any other parts, such as the starter?
    We are leaving for camping again next week and I am apprehensive about taking it b/c I obviously don’t want to break down! We’re thinking of taking it to a different mechanic to check everything out - if something else is wrong with it, that maybe is draining the battery - would they even be able to tell if it’s all running properly now?

I’d appreciate any help!! Thanks!


#2

When that much corrosion forms on a battery cable clamp it means that battery post is leaking acid. And that corrosion can cause a poor connection between the battery post and clamp causing all sorts of electrical problems.

Now that the new battery is installed, and the corrosion formation problem has been resolved, the vehicle should be good to go.

Tester


#3

Great, thanks for your response - we figured we should be good to go now, with the new battery. Just wanted an opinion from someone other than those goofs at the dealership. We don’t know any mechanics in real life to ask - lol.
What’s so frustrating is that we’ve repeatedly told them it was the battery, and asked for a replacement, but they repeatedly told us we were wrong. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out :confused:


#4

I had a similar problem with the battery on my 2011 Toyota Sienna. I didn’t have a starting problem, because I keep an eye on things under the hood. At any rate, I cleaned the terminal, bought the impregnated rings that go under the battery clamp along with some anti-corrosion spray. I found myself cleaning the terminals about every three months. The last time I was going to clean the terminals, I found that about half of the positive clamp was eaten away. I didn’t have time to do anything, so I took the Sienna to my independent shop. They told me that the clamp was made of steel instead of lead and replaced in with a lead terminal clamp. They also said the battery was marginal under a load test, so I had them replace the battery as well. The problem is called “out gassing” where the sulfur dioxide fumes leak around the terminal. The Toyota service manager admitted to me that they had seen a lot of these problems with the batteries that came in some of the Toyotas My particular battery was made by Johnson Controls, but any battery can have this problem.
Years ago, my trusted Sunoco service station would clean the battery terminals, if needed, every time I brought the car in for servicing. I was living in an apartment at the time and had no place to do my own oil changes. I was never charged for this service. When I did my own servicing, I always checked the terminals. Today, this service of cleaning the terminals is often overlooked.


#5

I agree, the service of cleaning the terminals is clearly overlooked. Once we realized this last year, we were regularly cleaning the terminals, but also realizing that there was a bigger issue b/c of the amount of build-up there was on the terminals.
Seems so hard to find trust-worthy mechanics these days…


#6

Check the mechanics files above. Hopefully there will be one in your area. I love the 99 cent felt rings that neutralize the acid and keep the posts clean.


#7

Usually when a battery starts getting a lot of acid build up around the terminals it means its out gassing or due to a leak on a post. . A battery on its way out will start out gassing when it cannot be brought to a full charge as what the alternator is trying to do causing excess current being put into it. You can see this if charging a weak battery on a charger with the caps removed…You can see the massive bubbles in the cells and the battery gets warm.

When checking with a hydrometer the battery may only show 50% of a charge no matter how long you keep charging it. I never get any acid build up on my cars until the battery gets between 3 - 5 years old. Remember this, when a battery out gasses and starts corrosion that’s the actual electrolyte from the cells which is now lost so battery output drops and the cycle gets worse then battery finally goes kaput.


#8

Thanks for all of your responses! It’s all just confirmation that the goofs at the dealership were clearly not checking the battery, like we asked. I don’t know how it could have been missed other than they weren’t doing their job.
We definitely knew something was up when we brought it home from getting it inspected and there were bubbles coming from the + terminal on the battery. Yet, they continued to try and tell us that it wasn’t the battery. My husband argued with a manager there on the phone for 45 minutes.


#9

I would check the alternator output voltage at speed and look for overcharging. Overcharge causes the water in a SLA battery to disassociate and produce H2 and O2 gas, thereby increasing internal pressure in the cell (which the regulator valves do not release until the pressure is significantly high); the increased pressure causes the acid/water to leak at weak points in the battery’s structure, which usually occur where the terminals protrude from the case.

Put a voltmeter across the battery’s terminals at 2000 rpm. If the voltage is greater than 15.3 V, there probably is a problem with the voltage regulator or alternator.


#10
"We ask for the battery to be replaced under its warranty, with no success.

"What’s so frustrating is that we’ve repeatedly told them it was the battery, and asked for a replacement, but they repeatedly told us we were wrong.

"It’s all just confirmation that the goofs at the dealership were clearly not checking the battery, like we asked.

"We definitely knew something was up when we brought it home from getting it inspected and there were bubbles coming from the + terminal on the battery. Yet, they continued to try and tell us that it wasn’t the battery. My husband argued with a manager there on the phone for 45 minutes."


To be fair to the dealership, “bubbles from the positive terminal” may not be considered by the manufacturer as cause for replacement under warranty. The manufacturer supplies (sells) the dealer expensive test equipment to test batteries. If your battery passes the manufacturer-mandated test for a failed battery, bubbles or not, the dealer may not be reimbursed for battery replacement under warranty by the manufacturer. Sometimes the dealer will eat the warranty cost to maintain goodwill with the customer. In your case, apparently not. I don’t know why.

#11

If the battery is within the batteries warrantee period, the dealer can get reimbursed by the battery manufacturer. Batteries and tires usually have their own warrantee with a new car.


#12

"If the battery is within the batteries warrantee period, the dealer can get reimbursed by the battery manufacturer."
In this case the battery “manufacturer” was probably Honda. The problem was that the battery was not demonstrably defective, hence the dealer would not be reimbursed for a battery replaced under warranty. IMO, the OP was pushy and demanding, and things turned out as they did.


#13

I don’t think the OP was demanding and pushy at all. They were fighting this problem of excessive corrosion for a year. A softball sized clump of corrosion on the battery would stand out like a sore thumb, and yet no mechanic that changed the oil ever mentioned this???

I think that’s where ther problem lies. If the dealer had said that the battery was off gassing excessively and a new battery was needed…and it would not be covered by the warranty…the OP may have said to replace it. At least they wouldn’t have had car problems with it.

Yosemite


#14

I have owned a battery clamp puller and a terminal and clamp brush for years. I just figured that cleaning the battery cable clamps and terminals was part of maintaining a car. The Toyota dealer where I bought my Sienna did call me and let me know one time that the battery terminals needed to be cleaned. The charge for the service would be $15. I considered this charge reasonable, but since I already had the equipment and figured it was at most a 10 minute job, I declined the service and did it myself. I did buy the device that plugs into a power outlet and maintains the computer settings while the battery is disconnected.