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Thread: battery smells like sulfur??

  1. #1
    Evil Twin nathanTLX's Avatar
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    battery smells like sulfur??

    OK, so I'm out trying to troubleshoot my (suspected starter relay) problem. I notice there is a slight sulfur sort of smell. But I can't tell exactly where it is coming from. I pull the battery because I'm thinking it might be worth having Pep Boys or somebody check it out to make sure it isn't causing/contributing to the starter problem. Sure enough, once the battery is out, I can definitely say that it is the item that smells like sulfur. I mean, rotten egg, dead animal, my ass after a night of drinking cheap beer capped off with eggs mexicana from my favorite all night taco place, kind of smell. I've never heard of a battery smelling before it goes bad, but my spidy-senses say, hmm, SULFURic acid in battery, SULFUR smell, get that thing out out of the garage and by the back fence pronto. It isn't leaking, bulging, warm to the touch or anything else that would make me think it has a problem. So, I guess my question is, what does it mean when a battery smells like sulfur? It's only two years old, but it is just a Wal-Mart brand EverStart, so I guess it wouldn't hurt to replace it regardless. I've just never heard of batteries smelling?? Open to suggestions...
    Nathan
    2001 Ducati 996
    Former 1997 TLS Owner

    Of all manifestations of power, that which most impresses is restraint - Thucydides

  2. #2
    Upside Down Super Mod
    Steve TLS's Avatar
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    What is it's voltage just sitting there?

    Sometimes when a cell goes bad, it will gas pretty badly when the battery is charging or under load (like trying to start the bike).

    Before you go ripping into the bike any further I'd try a known good battery or try jump starting of another non running vehicle.
    My $0.02c, always just my $0.02c Steve

    "I spent most of my money on Scotch, women and cigarettes. The rest I just wasted"

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  3. #3
    One Liter Duc Eater Tillers_Rule's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bad battery to me also.
    What-Me Worry?

  4. #4
    Evil Twin nathanTLX's Avatar
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    Well, the voltage on the hot post on the starter relay that I was checking was fine. It read between 12v and 13v. Just checked the battery itself and it read 12.8. I put it on a charger the other day after the bike spent some time with the key in the on position while trying to track down the starter relay issue, and it seemed to take a pretty long time before the charger went to float. Like over 24 hours, which I don't think it should do on an otherwise fully charged battery (had ridden it 60+ miles home two days before). So, that is one reason I was thinking I should have an auto parts place with free battery checks hook it up to see what sort of cranking power it was putting out under load. That's when I smelled the sulfur and am wondering if maybe that is why something is tripping in the starter circuit when the button is pushed??
    Nathan
    2001 Ducati 996
    Former 1997 TLS Owner

    Of all manifestations of power, that which most impresses is restraint - Thucydides

  5. #5
    Upside Down Super Mod
    Steve TLS's Avatar
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    Try measuring the post voltage when you hit the starter button and see what it drops to
    My $0.02c, always just my $0.02c Steve

    "I spent most of my money on Scotch, women and cigarettes. The rest I just wasted"

    TLZone Forums Staff - Resident Antipodean
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  6. #6
    Superbike Twin
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    That sulpher smell is common on the near new Yuasa batteries i have had let go, it is a bad cell and severe gassing while under heavy discharge like starter motor turning a loaded engine. The other lads are correct in siting what battery terminal voltage under load, however to do it correctly you need a fast sampling loging voltmeter.

    Cheap dual slope multimeters will jump all over the place while the voltage fluctuates.

    BTW it is VERY dangerous to graphite pile test a battery with a suspect cell. I have had them explode, throwing acid and plastic everywhere

    HTH

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