95 maxima won't start, dash lights flicker rapidly

Hi,
My wife was parked doing errands today and when she went to start her 1995 Maxima there was a problem. I came down to check it out and see that when the key is turned there is a brief
pause and a slight sound of the starter revving up, but then right after the dash lights (one lights up brigther than the others but I can't remember off hand) start to flicker at an extremely fast rate. If I had to guess I would say it would be in the range of 20-30 times per second. She has always had problems with corrosion on both her Maximas so I check the car this time and noticed a pretty big pile of light green/white power all around the positive terminal. Looked like someone dumped half a box of baking soda on it. Tried cleaning that off best I could but to no avail. Now there was some rain at the time (this happened right before a big downpour).
Any ideas on what this could be? Anything I can try to do before we bother to get it towed somewhere?
Thanks very much for any help, hope I havent left out anything important. By the way all the other electronics seem to be working fine.
Jesse
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Jesse Skeens wrote:

Well, first remove the cable, clean it and the terminal post off, and reconnect. While all the other electronics seem to be working, they don't draw anywhere close to the number of amps the starter does. If you can't get the cable off (too corroded or you don't have tools with you) you can try the old coke trick. Simply pour a coke (pepsi probably works fine too :-) over the corroded terminal. Yes, it makes a mess and it's not the best solution, but it will often work in a pinch. The corroded mess will literally melt away.
BTW, sounds like you may need to do a little preventative maintenance on your Max -- that pile of powder didn't appear over night. :-)
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How should I "wipe" away the mess, can I use water at all, I figure not though.
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Jesse Skeens wrote:

Yep, just flush it off really well with water before it evaporates into a sticky mess. If you use a hose try to avoid spraying other electrical connections with direct pressure. You can also clean the area with a mixture of baking soda and water - makes much less of a mess. I'd also suggest getting a post cleaner brush from your local auto parts store and cleaning both the battery post and cable clamp. While you're there pick up some dielectric grease and lightly coat the exposed metal. This will greatly reduce future corrosion. So, how old is your battery? It may be on it's last leg. Excessive corrosion can be caused by overcharging and one cause is a dying battery. If you remove your battery and bring it in, many auto parts stores such as AutoZone and Pep Boys will load test it for free in the hopes of selling you a replacement if it is, in fact, bad.
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Ok I cleaned everything off but the problem still persists. Anything else I can try before I take it in? Not sure if I meantioned it but the starter isn't really turning over at all. It will let out a little sound now and then but overall it doesn't seem to be doing much. Also I noticed the air bag light is the one lit up the most when I'm trying to turn it over, not sure if this means much or is part of the normal start sequence.
Jesse

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|Ok hopefully that's all it is. I wonder why the rapid flickering though. Normally when the batteryis going the engine cranks a little and the dash lights come on but get dim as you try to turn over. Anyway only one way to find out, will get the battery tested. Will let you know how it goes.,
Jesse

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Just tried this and they stayed on for about 5 minutes with no dimming. When I try to start all the lights go dim.
It really sounds like some kind of short or bad relay. I have seen her battery die before and the starter at least cranks. All I'm getting now is that very fast flickering of lights and a clicking noise to go along with it, coming from the engine department. Unfortunatly I think this is something worse than just a dead battery.
Jesse

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there is a fair amount of corrosion on the cables near the terminal, hard to tell what they look like internally though. From what I reas the stater is fairly easy to get to. Is there a procedure I can try to bypass the battery cables and use a jumper cable or something to try and get it some power to at least see if it's working properly?
"> Nothing's never easy, eh? :-/ It could be a bad regulator, a

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Have you had the starter checked? That's my guess.
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Took out the starter and down to adavance auto and it tested fine. probably the battery cable but i wont be able to get that till tomorrow.

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If you resort to Coke, you really ought to take the battery completely out and rinse down the inside of the car (battery tray, etc.) with a solution of baking soda and water. Neutralize the mess or it will continue corroding the tray and maybe your wiring. Then take a water hose and do a good job flushing everything out.
JM
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I've always hated the vasoline idea, even though it has been used for many decades. Let's face it, putting an insulating coat of petroleum on the terminals is not going to do much to improve your starting amperage.
You can buy little felt donuts for about 2 bucks that are impregnated with stuff that absorbs the gas emitted from the terminal area. (The gas seeps between the plastic case and the lead terminal and escapes from the battery.) One brand is "No-co" as I recall. They go on the battery terminal first, then the cable, and do work okay I have been told.
Certainly the outgassing is dependent on the battery, not the car, so there is no reason that Maximas would do this any more than other car.
JM
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