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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So after sitting awhile the negative terminal looked pretty bad. We cleaned it all off, dielectric grease and even a new negative cable to the body. That was about 1800 miles ago. It's done this maybe 3 times now first time being when the terminal looked real bad. 2nd time about 500 miles ago so I thought maybe I had to hold the brake or something to start. Now again today. The lights do go completely out when I try to crank and she won't even turn over so I'm wondering if the 1st gen negative terminal issue can be the issue here? If it was the battery it would be more consistent. Aside from using a wire brush or sand paper to remove paint under the negative wire is there any other common issues on here for not starting randomly?
 

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The lights do go completely out when I try to crank and she won't even turn over so I'm wondering if the 1st gen negative terminal issue can be the issue here?
It's the battery. The terminal gets corroded because corrosive gases escape around the battery terminal. Stuff can fall off plates and randomly short the bottom of the plates.
Take it to a car parts store, they usually can test the battery with portable scanners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's the battery. The terminal gets corroded because corrosive gases escape around the battery terminal. Stuff can fall off plates and randomly short the bottom of the plates.
Take it to a car parts store, they usually can test the battery with portable scanners.
I would normally agree but it hasn't come back since the initial cleanup, etc. about 1800 miles ago. The car sat for at least 3 months unstarted, etc. and then suddenly the terminal issue popped up. I removed both the battery and engine ground and wirebrushed the bolt and removed some paint from under where the ends sit and put some dielectric grease down so it wouldn't rust, etc. So far so good so we shall see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well it happened again yesterday but this time wouldn't start till I got a quick jump. Bought a new battery so we shall see now! I will also be adding another ground like others have done. Weird way for the battery to go indeed being so random!
 

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As redundant as it sounds, i am still gunning for the terminals, or a connection issue. I've seen plenty of times that battery cables look and feel tight, but have poor connection. One way to quickly check this if it happens again and all the dash lights and such go out, is to disconnect the ground and hook it back up quick. If the dash lights back up like normal and then clicks out again, or starts, it's not the battery.

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I cannot recount how many times I have seen this. What happens all too often is the main starter cable starts to corrode right at the starter connection, it is most often present on cars in states where road salt, salty air is present or on cars where the undershield is damaged allowing water to splash on the starter too often. When your battery is really good you can overcome the voltage drop across that cable but if it shows any sign of weakness it will not. You can perform a simple voltage drop test on the cable and see how much it is dropping whether it is acting up right now or not. Anything over 0.5 volts is bad news. I posted pictures of performing this test, I use an oscilloscope rather than a multimeter because it graphs it for me but since most people don't have a scope you can use a multimeter but you will need someone in the car cranking it while you watch the voltage reading. The 2 scope pictures you see is the voltage drop before and after cleaning that terminal. You need to hook one lead on the main starter terminal and the other on the positive battery cable and crank the starter and read the voltage right as the starter engages. It will be hard to catch it on a multimeter but if you see it flash anything over 0.5 volts you need to remove the cable and clean it up. If you are not so inclined or don't have a helper just unhook your battery and remove that cable from the starter and clean it up anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Added another ground to the negative terminal and the body. Along with the new battery I guess we'll see. Thanks for the other ideas guys I can check the starter cable, etc. as well! :)

PS: I recleaned the terminals and applied new dielectric grease when I swapped the battery as well!
 
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