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First Generation 2004-2006.5 [NCP31]

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Old 03-09-2010, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default Battery - Mainenance Free?

Batteries have certainly changed from when I was a child.
* First, you had to unscrew individual cell caps to add distilled water to "top it off".
* Next, you had two plastic lids with 3 plugs molded into it to remove and then add distilled water.
* Then, came the Maintenance Free battery that was completely sealed.
- Nothing to do but use it and throw it out when dead.

The battery in my xB says "Maintenance Free". (I think it is original - 2005).

Today, I looked at the eye/cell indicator and it shows RED.
A sticker on the battery says to ADD WATER when RED.

HOW do I do this?

There are two raised blocks of plastic on top of the battery, each with 3 caps built in. They seem to have what looks like flat blade screw heads on top.

Thank you.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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I have the same concern....i have an 07 tc and was wondering how to maintain a maintenance free battery? stupid question i know, but i dont want to be left stranded somewhere if my battery goes....
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:45 PM   #3
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Well, the owner's manual says for blue, it's good, for white, it needs to be charged, and for red, have it checked at the dealer. Being on these boards, you know that most of what the dealer does can be done at home. Is there a min and max fill line on the battery? You could always check on the battery manufacturer website or call them.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:26 PM   #4
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Simple.

The cap you see is basically a big screw. Just use your biggest straight slot screwdriver and unscrew it. I used a quarter ($.25) once when I didn't have a driver handy.

Look inside and you'll see a plastic lip. This is the fill mark. And if the battery is that low, you'll probably see the top of the battery plates, which should be covered with the electrolyte at all times.

Next, using DISTILLED WATER ONLY, and something like a measuring cup to pour carefully, fill the battery back up to the plastic lip you see down inside the battery. You will know when you reach this level, because the water will kind of bend when it touches the lip. Never fill the battery all the way to the top. It needs this air space to expel the dangerous and highly explosive gases a car battery produces when it charges. So use caution when working around your car battery, and mostly....... No smoking when nearby!!

Finally after adding the water to the proper level, and if you own one, put a charger on it for about an hour. Its best to charge at about 12 amps if your charger allows this adjustment. Anything more, like 50 amps, gets the battery boiling and off gassing too much. And once again, watch the smoking while charging or else the battery will go BOOM in your face and that battery acid does not feel good !!!!
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:42 AM   #5
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Maintenance Free is another word for we need to sell more batteries. I used to have a Sears Die Hard (the 1st ones out) Guaranteed for life, they quickly found out building better batteries was akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Now batteries can be bought "Maintenance free 36 month, 48 month, 60 month, etc..... this means how thick of lead plates do you want to pay for cus they are eventually eaten by the sulfuric acid during charge/discharge cycles. And if we cover the add water holes with a decal then we can charge you for something else....water. Other than a Gel Cel all batteries vent Hydrogen gas out tiny vent holes under the decal LOL if they were sealed they would blow up..
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help.
Found that there was a single black vinyl tape (with holes) over each raised block of 3 caps.

Peeled off the tape and removed the caps, added DISTILLED WATER, replaced the caps, charged the battery... and we are still driving.
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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nice info davetoaster; learn something everyday
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:08 AM   #8
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Great info here on this topic. Believe it or not. I'm still on the OEM battery from May of 04'. About once a month I throw a Battery Tender Plus on it to keep it full but didn't know I could add some distilled water. Gonna check that out tomorrow. Thanks for the info! Also, whenever charging a battery it's best to go as slow as possible wich usually means charging at a lower amperage like 2.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:25 AM   #9
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I'm kinda confused on what to do...one of you said to unscrew the circlular flat head part (if it's red) and fill that with distilled water....then someone else said to pry off the caps and fill the two sets of 3 holes w/ distilled water like you would w/ any other battery...so i'm wondering which i should do??
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:03 AM   #10
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Every day I set a new personal record for longevity with the OEM battery in my '02 SE-R. 8 years and 2 months, and she still cranks over every time.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jatman81 View Post
I'm kinda confused on what to do...one of you said to unscrew the circlular flat head part (if it's red) and fill that with distilled water....then someone else said to pry off the caps and fill the two sets of 3 holes w/ distilled water like you would w/ any other battery...so i'm wondering which i should do??
The bottom line is each battery has 6 ports to fill. Some batteries you have to pry off the cap, and it usually covers 3 fill ports. Some batteries have what look like large screw caps. There will be 6 of these.

In both cases you just simple remove the caps, look down inside and add the distilled water until it reaches the fill mark. You'll see the little plastic fill part that kind of sticks down in the battery. Never fill the battery to the top. It needs lots of air space at the top.

That red thing you are talking about MIGHT be the built in charge indicator. Do not remove this thing. Besides, these charge indicator are more or less useless and stupid. The only real test is a specific gravity check. Or when the battery starts gassing and bubbling freely when charging. All 6 cell or fill ports should bubble.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:05 PM   #12
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I'm still on my original '04 battery. Just my luck i'll go outside today and it won't crank up...
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Old 04-20-2010, 12:25 AM   #13
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My original died. Replaced it with one from Costco for $50 bucks. Had no idea I could have salvaged it with some distilled water... Would have been nice to keep the Panasonic battery in there...
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:13 AM   #14
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so is it not good enough to just put distilled water in there? is it absolutely necessary to charge the battery to feel the effects of the added distilled water? if so, how long do you charge a battery with a 1amp trickle charger like this?

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/cat...ame=Schumacher

thanks in advance guys
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
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so is it not good enough to just put distilled water in there? is it absolutely necessary to charge the battery to feel the effects of the added distilled water? if so, how long do you charge a battery with a 1amp trickle charger like this?

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/cat...ame=Schumacher

thanks in advance guys
Spend 10 bucks more and spring for the automatic one that shuts off after it's done.
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/cat...oductId=513702

Or Walmart has this one for about the same 20 bucks. I have one for my lawn mower and it works fine.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher...i_sku=13005742
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:36 AM   #16
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Since Jan 04, OEM battery still marches on. Never added any water, yet, and the indicator is still "green". Hope to check the water level soon!
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:30 AM   #17
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Two weeks ago the original battery in the 2004 croaked. Not bad considering New England winters. The AAA guy shows up, charges and tests Ė itís requiem time as itís holding under 10 volts and its Amps are MIA. He offers to sell one of their batteries. I say that Iíd prefer to keep it OEM as the original did so well. He said no problem as heís not on commission but that the dealerships here donít sell JDM batteries with the last couple he saw being sourced in Indonesia.

We talk 60ís Chevyís and 70ís water cooled VWís for a couple of minutes and as heís passing the test of being reasonably knowledgeable and has probably seen more batteries than a gynecologist has seen problems I ask him which battery heíd recommend. He runs three of his family cars on Autozoneís gold battery for its price, quality and warrantee.

As thatís what I used to run all my previous cars on, that is whatís under the hood of the XB now.
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:38 AM   #18
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I swear i have tried everything to get those 6 caps off, and they don't pry off and they don't unscrew, the only thing that comes off is the Blue indicator thing w/ the flat head slot...i swear i don't see an opening on this thing anywhere, i have a 2006 scion XB w/ maintenance free battery, anyone know if these really do come off?
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:05 AM   #19
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What is the longest one of these factory installed scion Xb mainten. free batteries have lasted for you guys??...i'm at 4 years right now and i really want to replace it, but i know that would be dumb, but i hate to be that guy that asks for a jump. I guess the indicator will turn red before it dies right, i check it every couple months and it is always been blue/green in color...but it could still die right even though the indicator was showing blue?
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jatman81 View Post
I swear i have tried everything to get those 6 caps off, and they don't pry off and they don't unscrew, the only thing that comes off is the Blue indicator thing w/ the flat head slot...i swear i don't see an opening on this thing anywhere, i have a 2006 scion XB w/ maintenance free battery, anyone know if these really do come off?
If they have the little cross hatches that look like a big "x" or screw drive hole, They unscrew.

The problem is that you have never done it, and after 4 or 5 years of intense heat in the engine bay, the little screw have become stuck. Under each port you will find a rubber gasket. That's where the sticking takes place.

If you have some WD-40 or LPS1, don't be afraid to squirt>>> JUST A LITTLE>>> around the port. Don't drench it cause you don't want any in the water, or electrolyte.

A trick to get those off is: Get a quarter ($.25) and stick it in real tight into the screw part. Then turn the quarter with a pair of pliers. Usually when those fill ports are jammed, a regular straight slot screwdriver just tears them up. Then you'll never get them off!!

Report back........
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:12 PM
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