Here we will feature technical tips pertaining to our cars.   


This month's article was written by our own Rich Fiore for Peter Giordano's Long Island Classic Cars.


"The Care and Feeding of Your Repro Battery.”
By Rich Fiore  

Yes most of us like to get our engine compartments down to the point where it looks like it just rolled out of the factory. We go out and buy the reproduction battery which finishes things off nicely. Usually to the tune of about $135 dollars .... yikes !!!. But some of us neurotic types have to have it just right. So comes the issues of maintaining, and if need be, bringing the battery back to life along with getting your warranty honored.  

First things first. This time of year (late fall to early spring) your battery should really be pulled and brought in to a warm climate but never on a cement floor (It drains batteries). If you are not able to do this it should be left in its battery tray with the negative cable disconnected. The water level should always be above the plates and if low, use only distilled water. In both cases connect a battery maintainer and not a trickle charger. The difference being a maintainer will shut off when 12 volts are achieved as opposed to constantly charging the battery as the trickle charger does. That can cause an overcharge and a potentially damaging situation.

The reason to leave the battery in a fully charged state is to preclude internal damage when left in a partially or completely discharged state. When a battery is left in a discharged condition ( low specific gravity ) over a period of time, or battery plates are exposed to air, the lead materials will crystallize causing sulfation. It will not hold a charge and cannot usually be brought back. If your battery is sluggish check the specific gravity. If all readings are low, the best you can do is put a light charge ( 2 - 4 amps ) on the battery, and monitor the charger gauge and again check the specific gravity every 4 hours. If the battery is ok and ready to be reinstalled it’s a good idea to give it a bath in a solution of baking soda and water, or use some of the commercial battery cleaners found in a spray can. Never get any inside the battery. It is also a good idea to set the battery on a battery pad to help eliminate the battery acid from eating up your battery tray along with giving it a little cushion when you lift the front wheels! [ Big smile !! ]

Another item to use on installation would be the chemically treated washers before installing the terminals. ( No big point deduction at the local shows ). Of course it’s obvious the terminals must be clean and tight along with the battery hold down keeping that bad boy from moving.

Now comes the issue of needing warranty work: If you have a dead cell or two, or it just won’t come back to life, it has to go back to the manufacturer. Take your hydrometer readings prior to calling. The first order of business is to let them know of your findings. Next inform them that you do keep it on a Maintainer and do drive the car every 2 weeks .... correct ? ( Hint, Hint ). They will usually give you a warranty number and you will ship it to them. They will open it up and determine what the problem is. Keep in mind one of the companies on the east coast will try and hit you for the return shipping back to your door. My advice is to fight them on this one. It was their battery that went bad and you had to ship it to them and already pay shipping charges once for a defective product! Why should you pay the twenty some odd dollars again? I know people that have fought them on this and the company agreed to it.

The bottom line is take care of your repro battery and it should take care of you.

Quick and Dirty: Have you checked the rubber fuel lines that come out of your gas tank?