How to Recondition a Motorcycle Lead Acid Battery

19 12 2009

A couple months ago, my Real MacGyver kicked in.

My motorcycle battery was dead.  It was 2 years old but I didn’t want to buy a new battery.  My wife says I’m a cheap bastard – with love.

I did my homework.  The information following is general and should be done with gloves, eye protection, adult supervision etc.

Clean off the external of the battery so when you take off the acid tank cover, nothing will fall in.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness right?

Balance the acid level out among all the lead/acid cells to around 60-75% full.  There must be sufficient room to add the cleaning/recharging liquid. I carefully tipped the battery and poured out excess from full cells into a clean glass bowl.  Do not use plastic just to be sure.

I then took my clean turkey baster and evened out the low battery cells with the full ones.

Next I took the distilled water and boiled it to 150 degrees with the Epsom salts in.  For a small motorcycle battery I made excess – 1 pint of distilled water with 2 1/2 tablespoons of Epsom salts (5 tablespoons for a quart if you’re doing a large battery).  My wife was scared to let me use the kitchen thermometer thinking my concoction would hurt her thermometer but I reminded her that I rubbed her feet in Epsom salts – “Oh, I guess it’ll be alright”.  Us Real Macgyvers scare our wives sometimes.  That’s why the TV MacGyver was single.

Fill the cells to the level line with the nice hot liquid and seal them up.

Now, I didn’t have a battery trickle charger except for the car size.  Don’t use that large of a charger on the small battery unless you want to some nice sparks and trip the charger.

If you don’t have a charger like I didn’t, jump start the cycle and drive it for at least 15 minutes to let those hot Magnesium Sulfate ions scub the lead plates clean.

I drove it to work and after work it started right up and has been working great for a couple months.  This should last for a while.  I understand you can do this up to 5 times.  I may test a method beyond this that would theoretically let you have your battery for a very long time, until the lead plates dissolve or the terminals or housing fail.  For now, there’s a cheap way to get up to 5 times more value out of your battery.

Items needed:

  • Battery to be reconditioned
  • Clean ventilated working area
  • Large glass bowel
  • Distilled water
  • Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts – cheap at grocery or pharmacy)
  • Clean stainless pan to boil with
  • Liquid thermometer – any kind that reads accurately at 150 degrees
  • Turkey baster or some liquid injector
  • Goggles and gloves

If you like this share it below or comment.  Thanks




3 responses

17 12 2013

Nicely done fellow MacGyver-er(?) 🙂 Great explanation and safety precautions. Hadn’t heard about the boiling of the Mag Sulphate. Does make sense. And that’s mighty quick thinkin’ on the wife’s concerns. Find myself in that position all too often.

Gonna give this a try tomorrow. And from the about Greg section it sounds like we share many a common interest and thought. I’ll be checking out more of your stuff for sure. Thanks GMciver, all my best, Rock Hunter

29 09 2016
recondition battery

When I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment.
Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?
Thanks a lot!

27 11 2016
greg mciver

Sorry about the delay to your question. If you would like to delete your comment and then repost, that will probably work. I don’t have modifications of your notifications that I know of. Thanks!

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