'94 Vovlo btty cable terminals

My son who ferried a Tahoe to Alaska a few summers ago is in El Paso, TX, for a year. He has a hand-me-down 1994* Volvo 940 that we have had some adventures keeping running. I mostly provide long-distance advice.

He has discovered that the battery cable terminals are not properly tight, and it seems that he cannot tighten them because: a) they have a weird configuration that we can’t figure out how it is supposed to work (see the photo); b) some part/s is/are missing.

The bolt that tightens the terminal goes vertically through it, rather than cross-wise like all the others I’ve seen. I gather from this link (Google is our friend) http://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-850-16/battery-terminal-fix-43815/ that there is supposed to be some special washer that (I guess) squeezes the terminal when you tighten the bolt. Is that right?? If so, I think the washer is missing on the “positive” terminal in the photo. (The other terminal does not even have the bolt or the special nut – the hole is empty!)

Is this a Volvo-specific part that he would have to get from a dealer (salvage yard is not practical)? I realize that an alternative would be to replace the Volvo connectors with after-market generics. Any other ideas for a fix?


  • He originally thought it was a '95, but now thinks it might be a '93; we’re using the average. The Owner’s Manual with the car is genuine, but seems not to be original.

I’d start with a Volvo Dealership parts department. If they don’t have what you need, then I’d just buy new battery cables.

While manufacturer’s do like to fancy-up their terminal connections, there’s no need for it. A terminal’s job is really simple - to just connect the cable to the battery posts. Any design will do it. I would just go to an auto parts store, get some standard terminals, cut the old ones off, and replace them. Or even just replace the cables altogether. They are old enough.

The connector has broken. This kind of thing happens by over tightening the connector. All you need to tighten it enough to keep the terminal from twisting.

My '88 Toyota came with alloy posts that long since rotted away. I cut the terminals off and used generic lead post connectors. Every so often, I need to replace then as well. On my 3rd set as we speak. Typically, I can buy them at any parts store around $6 a pair.