Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

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A_luck
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Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by A_luck » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:28 am

Hi all,

Thank you for being such a helpful group of people, been a 1985 Tercel 4WD owner for a little over a year now, and I don’t know what I’d do without this resource. Not a car guy, I’m a car-penter, so forgive me for dumb questions.

Yesterday I was driving and my Check Battery light came on, as well as my Brake light. I then made sure my emergency brake handle was down and it was. Must be fluid I thought. Checked the brake fluid, was full - Brake light still on..

Checked the battery cosmetically, had a good amount of corrosion on the positive terminal. Figured I’d take some baking soda to it and cleaned it up. Now it’s nice looking and the connections are tight - Check Battery light still on..

Now, what other troubleshooting can I perform before I declare this to be an alternator issue? I’ve read that corrosion on the positive terminal can be from over charging. I do not have shop tools, I’ll need to take it to my mechanic. Just want to know what I may be getting into.

Unfortunately I do not know when the Alternator was last serviced, I’ll attach a photo.. The battery may be from 1995, 2005, or 2015 if I’m understanding how ACDelco uses serials. Maybe this is just a “replace the battery you dummy” issue.

Thanks for taking a look and happy kick off day!
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Mark
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by Mark » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:42 am

When the alternator goes bad, the brake light comes on too on every Tercel (and old Camry) I've ever had. The difference is, the brake light comes on a bit dimmer than it would if there was a brake problem, if that makes sense. The brake light looks about half as bright as the battery light. If you have a volt meter, check the battery voltage when the car is shut off. It should read between 12-13 volts. Then start the car and check the battery voltage when the car is running. It should have increased slightly to around 14 volts. If the battery voltage doesn't change, the alternator is not putting out. Usually, it's just the brushes in the alternator. These wear out naturally over time and new ones can be soldered in. They cost a few dollars.

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Petros
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by Petros » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:26 pm

I agree with mark. sounds like the alternator is not charging the battery. an other easy check if you do not have a volt meter is to wait until after dark, turn on your head lights first shining on a wall or garage door, than start the car. the lights should get noticeably brighter if the alternator is charging the battery at 14 volts.

Another test is to drive it to an Autozone or Napa store, most will check your battery for you, as well if the alternator is charging. If your battery is bad they will sell you a new battery and install it for you. if it is your alternator, they will be happy to sell you a new or rebuilt alternator.

If it is not charging you can still drive it short distances, but will need to put a battery charger on it each night, and do not drive after dark. the lights will draw down battery real fast. You are driving only on the battery, and once you draw it down the car will stop where ever you are, no brake lights, on flashers, no power at all, even if in the middle of traffic. so either get it fixed, or make sure you keep it fully charged with a batter charger and take only short trips to get parts, or have it repaired, etc.

Replacng the brushes and cheaper and not too difficult of a job, these alternators are very reliable and usualy it is rarely necessary to replace the bearings, bushings, windings, and other parts they replace when they rebuilt the alternators. BTW, if you choose to replace the alternator (presuming that is what you need), get a new one, not a remanufactured one. Not worth the savings, the remans are usually junk.

good luck.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
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Mark
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by Mark » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:12 pm

Another check if you don't have a volt meter is to start the car and turn on the windshield wipers. Get an idea of how fast they move. Then turn off the car and turn on the windshield wipers again. They should move noticeably slower. If they move at the same slower speed regardless of if the car is running or not, the alternator is not charging the system.

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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by The Professor » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:09 am

If the alternator is still good and only the brushes are worn out, its a very cheap (if a bit fiddly) to fix with a soldering iron. My replacement brushes cost me $7.10.
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A_luck
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by A_luck » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:35 pm

Alright,

Took everyone’s advice and had the brushes replaced in my alternator. Your diagnoses were accurate. Car runs good.

Now if I can only figure out why my front end clicks when I turn the wheel. Had my car on the lift this morning, rack and pinion looks good..

Thanks again,
A

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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by BaileySims » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:01 pm

Clicking when turning is usually a sign of the cv axle on its way out. Unless your click is happening when the car is not in motion?
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Petros
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by Petros » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:21 pm

CV axle joint clicks when it starts to wear. you can check this by reaching up to the axle and try and rotate it back and forth across the joint. if there is any play in it, it means it is has wear. This is more likely to happen if the boots are torn, grit gets in and wears it out faster. But it can happen even when the boots are still good.

This is normal wear, and not an emergency yet, you can keep driving it until you have a chance to replace the axles. I once wanted to drive mine to see how far I can go before it became undriveable. 18 months later they still held together but were jurking the steering wheel around on turns so bad I finally replaced them. so usually they can get quit worn and sloppy before you need to replace them. OTOH, on rare occasions the worn CV joint can separate and could damage other parts of the car around the suspension when one end of the axle comes loose at speed and batters anything within reach of the free end.

Clicking of the joints is just the first sign of wear, by itself it is not usually a problem. Eventually it slowly progresses into a clunking on turns, than eventually a heavy thumping that will feed back through the steering wheel. Best replace the CV axles assemblies by that time, if not sooner.

BTW, do not waste your money on "remanufactured" or rebuilt cv axles assemblies, most are junk out of the box. if you can find them, only buy new replacement axle assemblies. They usually will last longer and give you better service. Most of the reconditioned axle assemblies will be sloppy and click when new, do not waste any time or money with them if you have a choice. If you do not, before you accept them, pull them out of the box and rotate the cv axle joint around by hand, it should be smooth and tight. if it feels like you are cutting metal with a hacksaw when you rotate the joint, or there is any rotational slop or play, ask them for another set.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

A_luck
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by A_luck » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:34 pm

Right,

The clicking is only happening on turns while accelerating. After fishing around on the forums, seems like yall may be right about one (or both) of the cv axles being nearly shot dead. The noise has been happening for months. I’ll check the boots like you said, Petros.

Even if they’re grimed up and the boots are split open, I’d feel better about replacing the whole cv axle rather than just the boots, bearings, whatever else. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of pick and pull Tercels nearby for me out here in Brooklyn, and if there were I believe it would be in poorer shape than mine due to salt on roads in winter, weather conditions, etc.

*Found a few posts on forum about CV axle assemblies. Will look into them all further.

Thanks again.

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Petros
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by Petros » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:31 pm

rockauto has new manufacture Tercel cv axles on sale for only about $37 each. here is the link, buy yourself a set, and perhaps a extra set for the future.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/toy ... embly,2288
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

A_luck
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by A_luck » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:46 pm

That’s what I’ll do.

A

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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by dlb » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:15 pm

Don't buy any remanufactured CV axles. Numerous forum members have had terrible luck with them, myself included. Only buy new ones.

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marlinh
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Re: Battery Corrosion/Brake Light on

Post by marlinh » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:46 pm

Anyone have experience with that manufacturer HERI? Never heard of it.

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