News & Events


Aug 01

Micha Markovic

Moto Guzzi Battery Cable Cleaning

by Micha Markovic


Moto Guzzi battery cable cleaning by Micha

Notes before you work with any lead acid battery:

  • Batteries are made of sulfuric acid, lead and are extremely toxic. Wear gloves at any time you work with batteries. Wash hands after you handle any part of a motorcycle battery.
  • Battery terminal corrosion is extremely toxic and corrosive. Handle it as an acidic, reactive component.
  • When disconnecting any battery, first remove the ground lead, and last connect the ground lead.

Now off to the subject: Moto Guzzi CARC models Breva 1100, Griso 1100, 1200 Sport, Stelvios and Norge 1200 are susceptible to developing extreme corrosion on battery cable ends.


In scientific terms, when humidity is present in the air some of the water molecules get broken down into their atomic components Oxygen and Hydrogen. O and H are conducive to electron movement, and that movement in turn breaks down metal into rust. Coating on battery connections is intentionally applied to prevent substrate oxidation by isolating it from the environment and acting as sacrificial metal. Resistance develops between the cable end and terminal.

In layman’s terms this translates to “Holy crap, my bike won’t start. I push the button and it just clicks!”

To clean up battery terminals with least effort we need to neutralize and remove corrosion chemically. I use a small 100ccs container (1/2 cup) and mix in about 10 grams (2/3 tablespoon) of baking soda.


Remove negative battery terminal first and dip it into the solution. Let it fizzle until the reaction stops. Clean the lead with a shop rag. Repeat with positive battery cable. When done cables should have little to no corrosion left just as shown in the pictures. Watch it sizzle here:



Reconnect the battery cables. After tightening the cable bolts with a Phillips screwdriver, use a 10mm wrench to turn them in about an additional 1/8 of a turn. This will ensure the connection stays firm. Battery connections are known to get loose and should be checked periodically.

This article assumes a battery is fully charged and passes a standardized load test. Do not use anything to coat the surface between the battery terminal and battery lead. This will inhibit current flow and cause additional electrical symptom problems. If you absolutely have to use something, make sure you apply it only after the connection has been made and terminal is tightly connected.  Currently we advise against it.

In our next article we’ll show how to feed a starter relay direct battery voltage to aid in clean, fast and trouble free engine starts.


Micha saved my butt at the MG brunch today for this exact problem when my 1200 Sport wouldn't start. The corrosion forms very quickly so check your battery terminals often. Thanks again Micha.

BY: charlesvaden on Aug 18, 2013 at 7:51pm

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