Bulging battery - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Bulging battery

Hi, I have a new battery, off brand. I have driven the car very little. I took it for a spin and noticed a slight squeal from the alternator belt. So I tighten and take it out for about a 15 mile round trip. I now have a battery that is spewing a little water from the two upper relief points and the battery is swollen quite a bit. After I removed it and it has quit hissing and now the swelling has left what could cause this? Bad battery? My first thought or could the alternator or voltage regulator be wrong. Thanks

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 10:20 AM
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Hi, I have a new battery, off brand. I have driven the car very little. I took it for a spin and noticed a slight squeal from the alternator belt. So I tighten and take it out for about a 15 mile round trip. I now have a battery that is spewing a little water from the two upper relief points and the battery is swollen quite a bit. After I removed it and it has quit hissing and now the swelling has left what could cause this? Bad battery? My first thought or could the alternator or voltage regulator be wrong. Thanks

Voltage regulator overcharging the battery. Checking the battery voltage when running it should be around 14.2v. IF its more than that, then replace the voltage regulator.

Dont know what year your car is, but Virginia Mustangs has VRs that are period correct looking and all electronic.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveO_71 View Post
Voltage regulator overcharging the battery. Checking the battery voltage when running it should be around 14.2v. IF its more than that, then replace the voltage regulator.

Dont know what year your car is, but Virginia Mustangs has VRs that are period correct looking and all electronic.


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14.2 is the absolute maximum.
The spec is 13.8 - 14.2 volts. Check the regulator out. The electronic regulators that are on the market all vary in how well they perform.
I think maybe the Motorcraft is the one usually recommended on this forum. Doubtlessly, you will hear from other posters who have
checked out the market for quality units.

https://www.npdlink.com/product/volt...0001%26year%3D
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Last edited by GT289; 04-21-2019 at 12:13 PM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank You all.

God bless.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:25 PM
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That won't be water coming out of the battery....but battery acid.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 01:13 PM
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Whatever you do, don't let battery acid run on your car. It can rot everything it touches. A swollen battery should be replaced. There can be hairline cracks, especially where the posts come out. An AGM battery will not dump acid.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 01:25 PM
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Replacing that battery is a rubber gloves and goggles job. Battery acid can cause serious burns and blindness.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 02:13 PM
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Replace a suspect battery immediately And never use a Sears Die Hard battery - it's a crappy battery with an average warranty (sounds good until you actually need to use the warranty, then they prorate it so you spend more on the replacement than a new reputable battery would cost from another source).

Anyway, a number of years ago, about 2 years after completely detailing my engine compartment (looked like it just rolled off the assembly line, sans 'OK' stamps), my battery exploded I drove my car to work, and at lunch time went to run an errand. I got in, turned the key to 'start,' and "BANG!" I immediately ducked down because I literally thought a gang shooting was taking place right outside my car. When there were no more gunshots, I slowly raised my head to peek about and see if it was safe, and I saw a bunch of smoke/vapor rising from the front right side of my hood. Another quick glance around to make sure there was no shooter, I got out and went to the front of my car and opened the hood to find my battery literally split in half, almost in 2 pieces, with battery acid ALL OVER the entire engine compartment!

If your battery is suspect, replace it!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I did handle carefully and cleaned thoroughly. Looking for a battery now. New voltage regulator on the way with electronic internals. I used SPI black epoxy for my engine bay black and the acid did not leave a mark. The air cleaner will need re painted. Thanks all.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 07:10 PM
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"I got in, turned the key to 'start,' and "BANG!""

Did you have to make a run by the house to get new shorts...lol
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 07:20 PM
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"I got in, turned the key to 'start,' and "BANG!""
Did you have to make a run by the house to get new shorts...lol
Practically! Scared the CRAP outta me! It was LOUD, but there was only the one BANG. Sure made a mess of my beautiful engine compartment though!

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 08:17 PM
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Thank You all.

These often explode and hose down your engine compartment with battery acid. My brother had one pop and blew acid in his face. Fortunately, there was a water hose close by so he was able to save his eye sight.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 08:32 PM
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Replace a suspect battery immediately And never use a Sears Die Hard battery - it's a crappy battery with an average warranty (sounds good until you actually need to use the warranty, then they prorate it so you spend more on the replacement than a new reputable battery would cost from another source).

Anyway, a number of years ago, about 2 years after completely detailing my engine compartment (looked like it just rolled off the assembly line, sans 'OK' stamps), my battery exploded I drove my car to work, and at lunch time went to run an errand. I got in, turned the key to 'start,' and "BANG!" I immediately ducked down because I literally thought a gang shooting was taking place right outside my car. When there were no more gunshots, I slowly raised my head to peek about and see if it was safe, and I saw a bunch of smoke/vapor rising from the front right side of my hood. Another quick glance around to make sure there was no shooter, I got out and went to the front of my car and opened the hood to find my battery literally split in half, almost in 2 pieces, with battery acid ALL OVER the entire engine compartment!

If your battery is suspect, replace it!
1970 and driving a 66 Rambler Classic station wagon. 232 CI six banger, 3 on the tree. Pulled into McD's, got burger and hopped back in the wagon. Turn the key to start and BANG! FTW Over! Battery exploded. I have never had this happen since.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 12:58 AM
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I have it happen to my Cougar. It was running the old fashioned regulator. I should have had a clue... The headlights seemed quite bright. The sequential taillights were fast and bright. A few bulbs burned out. I was accelerating onto a freeway and something went boom. There was a puff of black smoke that came out of the gap between the fender and hood. Luckily the damage wasn't bad. The battery blew some acid but didn't blow up completely. Just a few acne scars near the battery.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 11:48 AM
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Yep, like SteveO_71 said, most likely a voltage regulator. Don't bother with buying a cheap VR unless you want to be stranded or boil over more batteries. The Motorcraft or NAPA brand VR's are much better quality. I currently have a NAPA (Echlin) brand and its been working great for several years. As far as battery acid leaks on metal surfaces, even painted, immediately sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda directly on the wet areas to neutralize the acid and rinse away with water after a few minutes. Always replace batteries that are swollen or have been boiled over. Even though they may start your car, they will most likely leak.

Last edited by Fuelish; 04-24-2019 at 11:50 AM.
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