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OK, so I have been searching all over the internet for why my passenger side battery is leaking acid. I have found lots of good intention people giving lots of advice. However, none of the advice did not fix the problem. I stumbled across a post that stated the battery was being filled with rain water. Guess what, they were right. When I popped the cap off my battery, I found the 3 cells closest to the cab over-full of electrolyte. The 3 cells on the other side of the battery were in the normal range. So to prove the theory, I sprayed water on the windshield and watched the water run down the windshield, down the the cowl, and right onto the top of the battery. So here is how I fixed this problem:

1) Remove the air filter housing
2) Loosen and reposition the coolant surge tank to where the air filter box was
3) Disconnect BOTH batteries (You will be sorry if you don't and you short the B+ cable)
4) Remove the passenger battery

(The next steps are only necessary if you plan on replacing the battery tray)
5) Remove the battery tray side support bolts (4 - 10mm bolts)
6) Remove the battery tray nuts (4 - 13 mm nuts)
7) Remove the battery tray and side support.

I had to do some extensive repairs. The battery acid had got onto the firewall and damaged the surface. I neutralized everything with baking soda and water, and then thoroughly rinsed the area. Once everything dried (I helped with compressed air), I painted everything with a rattle can of white paint and allowed to dry. I replaced both the battery tray and the side support with new GM parts I ordered online. They were is very bad shape. I had thought the rust was caused by my air conditioner...oops :rolleyes:

Before reassembly, I had to lower the electrolyte level in the battery. Here is how to safely do this:

Note: EYE PROTECTION AND GLOVES RECOMMENDED!!!!!

1) Obtain a red solo cup or equivalent (or in my case blue solo cup). DO NOT USE STYROFOAM!
2) Add about 1 table spoon of baking soda to 1/2 cup of warm water and mix thoroughly
3) Obtain some type of plastic suction device to remove the electrolyte. (I used a battery hydro-meter. You should be able to find one at the local auto parts store) I ended up sucking out 6 hydro-meter full amounts of electrolyte from each of the over filled cells
4) SLOWLY pour the electrolyte into the baking soda/water solution. (It will bubble up quickly. Make sure you do this somewhere safe and on a surface you don't care too much about. Once the water in the cup stops bubbling, proceed with the next amount of electrolyte. If the water does not bubble when adding electrolyte, SLOWLY add additional baking soda)
5) Repeat step 4 until all the overfilled cells are below the bottom of the battery case opening. (Refer to the other 3 cells that are not overfilled for a reference)
6) Clean up the battery and replace the battery blanket. (Some people will just toss the blanket, but it not only helps the battery when cold, but it also protects the battery when hot. Both cold and hot are very bad on batteries. How many of you have had a battery fail in the middle of summer?)

Now that everything is ready to go, install the new tray, support, and reverse the removal process.

The final fix is to install what I call a "Battery Umbrella". I went to my local big box home improvement store and obtained a piece of clear acrylic. I cut the acrylic to slightly larger than the battery. I attached the acrylic using some double sided tape. The acrylic is only intended to be a water deflector, but still allows the battery to breathe. So far, so good.

Here are the GM part numbers I used and everything was less that $50 :

15246518 - Battery tray
15705122 - Battery tray support
10246636 - Battery blanket

The first picture is what I found with the battery in the truck. The 2nd picture is how I neutralized the battery acid, the 3rd picture is what the acid level looks like after lowering, and the 4th picture is of the new tray installed.

I hope this helps. :drink
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, with the battery removed, it was a great time to replace the fuel filter. It took longer to prime the filter than to install it.
 

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Pulling the batt for a fuel filter change gives the room for both arms to have good leverage on the filter. :thumb

I discovered the same batt scenario, noticing a dampness on the battery top. Opened to check levels and it's overfull. Found it early on before any tray damage. Lowered the level to correct and replaced leaking caps.

Then, cleaned the cowl drain areas and cleaned and lubed the rubber hood gasket. Now it drains properly and haven't had any more issues. Although, we're in a drought. So storms are few and far between. But no water entry issues with hand washing.
 

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Lugnut, Thank you for posting this! I have been researching this same problem. I also have read about several ideas about this: for example, ideas that included buying lead-calcium, or absorbed glass mat (AGM), or gel batteries so they won’t gas and/or leak, and because of one theory that regular batteries can‘t handle the higher charge Duramax alternators supposedly have and apparently some newer type of batteries need and can handle that higher charge. And other suggestions included replacing the batteries, alternator, checking connections and wires and grounds, and keeping the battery from getting hot. I am going to try your idea first. I hope you are right, and it seems to make sense since that battery did have some higher levels of electrolyte.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have been in this business for over 25 years. I have never seen a battery grow acid...LOL. I too read all the suggestions. What finally clued me in was when I swapped batteries, the passenger side filled up again, while the drivers side battery was happy as could be. We have had a very rainy summer, and everything makes sense now. In fact, I spent 4 hours today pressure washing my driveway with muriatic acid to remove the rust stains. I got about 90% up, so I am pleased. Post back on your findings.
 

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This weekend I did everything you did to include putting a piece of clear acrylic on top of the battery (but I attached it with Velcro). Then I closed the hood and tested it by spraying water all over with a hose to simulate rain or it being washed and one thing that would work much better is if the acrylic top was curved down at all the edges so the water couldn't make it's way to the battery on the underside of the clear acrylic top. That is what happened to me. So I am going to adjust it for the acrylic to sit at an angle so the water immediately goes away from the battery.

I hoped a regular battery cover and box that are usually used for boats and RVs would work, but the space is too small there for that. But you are definitely right, there is a bunch of water that drains right on top of the battery and finds it's way into it which causes acid to seep out everywhere. It was a big mess to clean up.
 

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I am glad to know I was able to help. I placed the acrylic sheet as close to the cowl as possible. The water does run down the back of the battery, but it was away from the vent. I think Velcro is a great idea. I had some extra double side tape laying around, so I used it. If I ever take the acrylic off I will switch over. If you can post a picture. Cheers!

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If you get AGM batteries when you replace your batteries, this problem doesn't happen. The batteries that come in the original truck are AGM. AGM are completely sealed batteries. Just an FYI.

I had this same problem in my truck. The previous owner put in regular batteries which were unsealed like AGM's. My passenger battery had got to the point it was holding a charge, but once a load was put on it it would fail. I replaced both my batteries with the Super Start Platinum AGM from O'Reilly. They are made by DEKA (there are only 2 battery manufactures in the U.S.). At the same time I replaced my battery tray. I have yet to have any problems since then.
 

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I am glad to know I was able to help. I placed the acrylic sheet as close to the cowl as possible. The water does run down the back of the battery, but it was away from the vent. I think Velcro is a great idea. I had some extra double side tape laying around, so I used it. If I ever take the acrylic off I will switch over. If you can post a picture. Cheers!

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
Here are two pictures. From my testing this a few times with a water hose, I know there is an excessive amount of water that gets on this battery when it rains or when the truck is washed, so I made the clear cover big enough to cover the terminals too and I angled it and put a little weather stripping on it (experimenting with whatever would work to keep from cleaning up battery acid again).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you get AGM batteries when you replace your batteries, this problem doesn't happen. The batteries that come in the original truck are AGM. AGM are completely sealed batteries. Just an FYI.
Thanks for joining the discussion mjonesjr. I do have to respectfully disagree with you on the batteries are originally AGMs. I have been working on these trucks since their debut in 2001, and I have never seen an AGM battery roll in from the factory on a D-max rig. All the D-max trucks use flooded cell batteries. Now I will say the early Freedom batteries were sealed, but they were not AGM. They had a hydrometer and were a flooded cell design. GM has changed battery manufacturers over the years. The 2014 trucks have a sealed top battery with a shielded vent, but they are still flooded cell batteries. The only AGM I have seen from the factory are in Corvettes and some Cadillac's that have the battery in the trunk. If you can provide me the specific years the D-max trucks came out with AGM from the factory, I would love to know about that. :drink
 

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As far as the OEM batteries, I was going off what my local dealer's parts department.

For the $20 extra, I'd get the AGM batteries. I haven't had this problem with mine since I replaced the batteries with the AGM batteries.
 

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Oh, OK. I do not disagree that the AGM will also remedy the problem, but I will argue with any dealer who states the truck came from the factory with them. They are not telling the truth and trying to up sell a more expensive battery. Thanks for the clarification.
 

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I am very happy to find this post....I am going to get new batteries today. I bought the Interstate MP 178 I think? Anyways they are a 85 month warranty and they lasted 2 years. So i get free replacement. But my question is why are both of my batteries shot? Is it because the passenger side failed causing more draw on the other battery? I am definately going to rig up a sheild now for keeping the water off the passenger side battery. thanks guys
 

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But my question is why are both of my batteries shot? Is it because the passenger side failed causing more draw on the other battery?
Yes, it is very possible the one battery took down the other. That is what happened to mine too. Think about each battery as a cup full of water. Now connect a hose between each cup. If you poke a hole in one cup, what will happen? Both cups will empty equally. That is what happens when one battery goes bad, it takes the other battery with it. I am not 100% sure that is the situation you are facing, but it makes sense in my mind as plausible reason the batteries failed. Good luck and let us know how it goes. :drink
 

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This is my first post although I've browsed for information several times.

I was extremely happy to find this thread. I bought a 2006 GMC 2500 HD with the Duramax a little over a year ago. I replaced the batteries a month or so after getting it. A few months later I had both batteries replaced because they were leaking. Now they are leaking again and I now believe rain water is the culprit.

The difference for me it that both batteries are leaking. But when I removed the covers the side of the battery near the cab on the passenger side had about 0.75" of space from the top to the fluid and the other side had about 1.25" of space from the top to the fluid. The same condition was found on the battery on the drivers side with the outside side of the battery holding more fluid than the inside. So I have roughly 0.5" more fluid in the side of each battery nearest the edge of the hood.

Rain makes sense too because I noticed it by seeing staining on the driveway after a storm. I'm not sure if I'm going to cover the batteries or replace with sealed. But I am thrilled to have found the problem! Thanks for posting this information.

Steve
East TN
 

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Well folks, here is an update. I pealed the acrylic off the top of the battery after sitting there for over a year, and guess what I found? The 3 rear cells of the passenger side battery were higher than the 3 front cells.

This time nothing spilled out and no damage was done. So I swapped the batteries again. I lowered the water level in the high cells and disbursed the water into the other cells of both batteries.

I am glad to see my problem has slowed greatly, but it still seems to get a little water in the vents. I am going to try tilting the acrylic and see if that helps. If not, I have an acrylic place I work with. I am going to see what they will charge me to make cover with edges that go below the top.

I am curious to hear what the rest of you find.

Happy Turkey Day!
 

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It has been raining here in Texas a lot this Spring, and I started getting an orange stain in my driveway. I figured it was coolant from the overflow, but it wasn't. Luckily a couple threads here and other forums pointed to a potential battery issue. When I removed the back cap, water was pooled up in the recess the cap sits in, overflowing the cells. I removed 8 oz of fluid total from the back three cells, cleaned up the battery tray and support with a wire wheel, sprayed them with Rusty Metal Primer, then a good coat of Rustoleum Undercoating spray and re-assembled. I also scrubbed the corroded frame with baking soda slurry and scotchbrite pads and gave it the same treatment.

Unfortunately, I didn't find this thread until after I figured out the problem, but am now going to consider making a shield to protect it until my next battery purchase, which will probably be Optima Yellow Tops. I run one in my rock crawler Jeep, and it works well, so I'll be glad to have sealed batteries in the D-Max.
 

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Optima batteries suck. I have a leaking battery right now. Should I replace both?

Edit: My almost three-year-old batteries tested slightly weak. I put a bead of rtv around the plastic where I think the water is coming from. If that does not work I think I will relocate that battery to the bed. I have several air compressors in the bed and a spot that would work fine to mount the battery.
 

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I had a big problem with my truck rusting around the right battery area. I thought it was do to the the chemicals that were used at my local car wash. Since I take it there at least once a week to be cleaned. Doing the normal baking soda and water to wash of the acid in the area was a normal routine

So with all the acid eating away at the battery tray, I finally replaced it with a new one. For extra assurance I had it powder coated. With all the rain we've been having here in the central Florida area the rusting issue came back.

After researching on the web it was the water draining onto the battery causing it to overfill and drain everywhere. So I went to Walmart and purchased a boat battery box. Taking the main battery box not the top and cutting most of the side down to just allow enough of the box to cover the battery terminals. You will have to slide the battery over enough to allow the battery box to slide on top of the battery. This will require moving the coolant reservoir out of the way.

Its been about a month now with no acid in the battery area. This was verified by pouring the baking soda solution around the area.

I hope this helps
 
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