Battery - testing and charging

Note: Refer to the precautions at the end of Section 1 before proceeding.

Standard and low maintenance battery - testing
1 If the car covers a small annual mileage it is worthwhile checking the specific gravity of the electrolyte every three months to determine the state of charge of the battery. Use a hydrometer to make the check and compare the results with the following table.

Ambient temperature:
Above 25C Below 25C
Fully charged 1.210 to 1.230 1.270 to 1.290 70% charged 1.170 to 1.190 1.230 to 1.250 discharged 1.050 to 1.070 1.110 to 1.130 Note that the specific gravity readings assume an electrolyte temperature of 15C (60F); for every 10C (50F) below 15C (60F) subtract 0.007. For every 10C (50F) above 15C (60F) add 0.007.

2 If the battery condition is suspect first check the specific gravity of electrolyte in each cell. A variation of 0.040 or more between any cells indicates loss of electrolyte or deterioration of the internal plates.

3 If the specific gravity variation is 0.040 or more, the battery should be renewed. If the cell variation is satisfactory but the battery is discharged, it should be charged as described later in this Section.

Maintenance-free battery - testing 4 In cases where a sealed for life maintenance-free battery is fitted, topping-up and testing of the electrolyte in each cell is not possible. The condition of the battery type can therefore only be tested using a battery condition indicator or a voltmeter.

5 If testing the battery using a voltmeter, connect it across the battery and compare the result with those given in the Specifications under charge condition. The test is only accurate if the battery has not been subject to any kind of charge for the previous six hours.

If this is not the case switch on the headlights for 30 seconds then wait four to five minutes before testing the battery after switching off the headlights. All other electrical components must be switched off, so check that the doors and tailgate are fully shut when making the test.

6 If the voltage reading is less than the 12.2 volts then the battery is discharged, whilst a reading of 12.2 to 12.4 volts indicates a partially discharged condition.

7 If the battery is to be charged, remove it from the vehicle (Section 4) and charge it as described later in this Section.

Standard and low maintenance battery - charging
8 Charge the battery at a rate of 3.5 to 4 amps and continue to charge the battery at this rate until no further rise in specific gravity is noted over a four hour period.

9 Alternatively, a trickle charger charging at the rate of 1.5 amps can be safely used overnight.

10 Specially rapid boost charges which are claimed to restore the power of the battery in 1 to 2 hours are not recommended as they can cause serious damage to the battery plates through overheating.

11 While charging the battery note that the temperature of the electrolyte should never exceed 37.8C (100F).

Maintenance-free battery - charging
12 This battery type takes considerably longer to fully recharge than the standard type, the time taken being dependent on the extent of discharge, but it can take anything up to three days.

13 A constant voltage type charger is required, set to 13.9 to 14.9 volts with a charger current below 25 amps. Using this method the battery should be usable within three hours, giving a voltage reading of 12.5 volts, but this is for a partially discharged battery and, as mentioned, full charging can take considerably longer.

14 If the battery is to be charged from a fully discharged state (condition reading less than 12.2 volts) have it recharged by your Ford dealer or local automotive electrician as the charge rate is higher and constant supervision during charging is necessary.

    See also:

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