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Discussion Starter #1
Hahaha! No, seriously, my battery is barely a year and a half away from the factory and it's giving problems. It charges up to 14 volts and then drops to 12.5 volts when the charger is removed. Normal behavior for a battery, right? Turn on the headlights with no motor running and it's down to 10 volts in a matter of seconds. Oh yes, and the green eye goes black almost as fast. Removed, the battery charges fine but self discharges in a few days. I was down to 8 volts after three days of sitting on the bench. Charging system in the Element seems fine and it does charge back up to 14 volts when the motor's running and drops right back to 12.5 - 12.25 volts in moments with no load.

It's that green eye that worried me. Maybe it's low on water? I opened the tops and couldn't even see the plates through the acid because it looks like thin silver paint. The liquid is filled with metal particles. I have decided that this battery is going to be replaced with something different than the oem battery. This one was a real pain last winter and I need more capacity.

Is there anyone here -experienced- in the Honda charging system that recognizes a problem that would cause so much loose metal in the battery? I've never seen anything so bad before and am wondering if there's a reason for it.
 

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Its not metal as that would short out the battery. Its the coating onthe plates that has fallen off and with a little lead coating. It happens almost all the time. It sounds like you have one shorted cell in the battery and there is a lot of different batterys out there to replace it with and it depends on what you do with the car. Big stereo ect. Just make sure you get a battery that will fit good in the holder and with the posts in the right direction. I have seen too many people put a battery in backwards and not the posts are close to the core support. Usally you will want a battery with a R after the battery number witch means reversed poles. Heck I can't complain on my battery from Honda as its still the original and like the energizer bunny just keeps on going.
 

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Could it be the alternator is overcharging the battery or overcharged the battery in the past? The symptoms you have seem consistent with that cause.
I have been happy with my Sears Duracell replacement.
 

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well now that you have opened the battery you cant take it back to the dealer(if you were under the milage that is) to have it replaced.
Or do what the rest if us did and reat a real battery. Look at Ramblerdans site to see this. I put a duralast battery in (the next size up from the stock battery)
 

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Could it be the alternator is overcharging the battery or overcharged the battery in the past? The symptoms you have seem consistent with that cause.
I have been happy with my Sears Duracell replacement.
Sulfation, is what the OP sees, and that is typically a sign of deep discharges, age or boiling. It could be the charging system but I would doubt it, the battery's are just not all that great. I go with diehard etc, then no more problems with the OEM battery.


Chris
 

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Shorted cell. 'steam' is right about the sulfation, because with the one cell "missing" the rest are being constantly overcharged - it's now a 10V battery being charged as if it's 12V.

Replace it. No need to get fancy about it unless you want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Its not metal as that would short out the battery. Its the coating onthe plates that has fallen off and with a little lead coating. It happens almost all the time. It sounds like you have one shorted cell in the battery and there is a lot of different batterys out there to replace it with and it depends on what you do with the car. Big stereo ect. Just make sure you get a battery that will fit good in the holder and with the posts in the right direction. I have seen too many people put a battery in backwards and not the posts are close to the core support. Usally you will want a battery with a R after the battery number witch means reversed poles. Heck I can't complain on my battery from Honda as its still the original and like the energizer bunny just keeps on going.
I know that mine sat on the dealer's lot for a few months, suffering through many "demonstrations" that used the battery but never let it charge back up. They're known for putting a row of vehicles on display with the hazard lights flashing on all of them to attract attention, and then (I'm guessing) they burp the batteries back up with a high amp charger to save time.

I know that mine offered really dismal starting during the last winter. I never go anywhere without a portable jump starter in the back end, ready to take over when it won't turn over, and now I'm wondering if all my grumbling about Honda's lousy undersized electrical system might've been caused by a battery crying for help.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
well now that you have opened the battery you cant take it back to the dealer(if you were under the milage that is) to have it replaced.
Or do what the rest if us did and reat a real battery. Look at Ramblerdans site to see this. I put a duralast battery in (the next size up from the stock battery)
Most batteries are designed to be opened so you can check the acid level inside the cells. It doesn't void the warranty. Consider it more like pulling the dipstick to check the oil.

The battery from Honda is called a "low maintenance" battery. The manufacturer hopes that it won't run out of water during the normal service life but it does happen and like just happened here, you can look for other problems too. I haven't seen Ramblerdan's stuff yet but I'd already decided on a Duralast Gold battery in the stock size.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Shorted cell. 'steam' is right about the sulfation, because with the one cell "missing" the rest are being constantly overcharged - it's now a 10V battery being charged as if it's 12V.

Replace it. No need to get fancy about it unless you want to.
Thanks! I've never seen one this bad before. You usually see few particles on top or a thin layer floating on top but this battery appears to be filled throughout. I tipped it to look down at the plates and every surface is coated in lead particles. "Maybe it's a new technology?" I thought. :rolleyes:

See my other replies for more thoughts on it and thanks for the advice. I'm used to trucks and larger applications and this Element has been something of an adventure and a learning experience. Too many of the components are used at their maximum efficiency with little reserve left over - and while most of it's been good, some, like the oem tires that won't roll in a straight line or the battery and starter that have just enough capacity to start the engine if everything is working right, made me wonder if buying it was a good idea.

So far, driving my E always makes me smile and say "Ya!"
 

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Most batteries are designed to be opened so you can check the acid level inside the cells. It doesn't void the warranty. Consider it more like pulling the dipstick to check the oil.

The battery from Honda is called a "low maintenance" battery. The manufacturer hopes that it won't run out of water during the normal service life but it does happen and like just happened here, you can look for other problems too. I haven't seen Ramblerdan's stuff yet but I'd already decided on a Duralast Gold battery in the stock size.
didnt realize that...my bad
when mine went (and mine sat on the lot from oct of 05 till may of 06) I lucked out and fount the next size up on sale was a red top at Auto Zone or Advanced
for $100
 

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It sounds like the newer models have 'improved' batteries. The original battery in my 2004 has covers that can be removed without special tools. I've been thinking about possibly replacing it since March, but it still shows no sign of deterioration.

I dunno whether it's clean living or a fluke, but I have no complaints about the ability of the 51R to do what it's supposed to do, it's like the energizer bunny. .
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just thought I'd mention that the new battery is in, Duralast Gold in group 51R and aside from having to reset the radio (which is fun when you can't remember where the code card ended up being stored) and having just a tad of stress getting the auto up/down setting on the driver's window to reset, everything seems just fine now. Yup, one cell with very little capacity left and the charging system seems to be a bit smoother now and the headlights a bit more even when the regulator cuts in and out.

Thank goodness for Labor day, when the overworked, under appreciated workers can relax and cut the grass, trim bushes, replace car batteries, search frantically through old records for a radio code card, cancel an appointment for an hour of range time, take the siblings grocery shopping, stop for a quick hot dog and coffee at the local Super America station, and then go home to collapse after running four loads of laundry and cleaning up a bunch of Kitty barf on my chair. (He loves me)

Tomorrow I go back to work, well rested and ready to serve the public once more.
 

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that is all you did?
I mean really you should have been a little buzier
 

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that is all you did?
I mean really you should have been a little buzier
Gimme a break, OK? It was a holiday and I was resting. At least you can grab a quick whiff of oxygen when you need it.
 
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