Material for battery terminal bolts?

Hi all,
am trying to "rust proof" a vehicle... when I got it the old battery had spewed acid everywhere and destroyed not only itself, but the
coating on the hold down and all of the battery cables. I purchased replacement heavier gauge cables (cheaper than buying the ones from the dealer!) with ring terminals on both ends, an Optima yellow top, and used marine brass battery terminal connectors to hook everything up - the ring terminals were fastened to the brass by machine screws and wing nuts.
Well, today I had to pull the alternator out because it apparently locked up solid while the vehicle sat for a little over a week... pulled the battery out to get access to it and I found that the hardware for the brass terminals, which I thought was brass, was apparently only brass plated and is rusting through the plating.
So... my immediate thought was to replace it all with either brass or stainless steel. Difficulty - I can't seem to find a source for either brass or stainless steel battery clamp bolts (the 5/16" square head bolts for a top post battery.) I did find one eBay seller selling titanium bolts... but that seems very silly (and also might create another problem, that is, that titanium tends to gall very easily thus putting me right back in the same boat of having to cut a bolt to save my terminals if the battery ever needs to be replaced.
I'm assuming that there is a reason for this, but I don't know what it is (some web discussions suggest galvanic corrosion, but wouldn't that also be a problem of similar magnitude with regular steel touching brass touching lead?) nor do I have a source for corrosion resistant fasteners... any idea? Local to me I only have the usual auto parts stores (all chains; the one good local store got bought out by NAPA a year or two ago) and a Fastenal. I'm not close enough to the water to have a good boat store, which would have been my first thought...
thanks
nate
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Welcome to China.

Try an industrial bolt supplier. Fastenal should be able to get you 5/16 square heads in stainless or phosphor-bronze. --scott
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Fastenal's web site was the first place I tried as I actually have a local branch. I might stop by in person when I pick up the new alt., but their web site seems pretty good...
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If not Fastenal, try McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.com)
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Alan Baker
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On 10/16/2013 01:57 PM, Alan Baker wrote:

They don't show any available either. I did stop by Fastenal when I had to run out and pick up my new alternator (I'd called the parts store to order it as soon as I determined that that was what had locked up; they had to order it from their warehouse so I had a couple hours to remove the old one and take a shower before it was available) and the guy confirmed that they did not carry any square head stainless bolts. I'm starting to think that they are not made. It is not a *huge* hardship to use a hex head bolt instead, but then I would have to use two tools to remove one of the clamps instead of just one. (I'm sure anyone who's dealt with the old top post batteries can envision why; the flats of the square head bolt engage a recess in the casting of the clamp, whereas a smaller hex head will not.) I guess that is what I will do unless someone turns something up soon.
I wonder what boat guys do? Only boat store I can think of off the top of my head is West Marine and they don't show anything on their web site either. Used to be a great store in Annapolis (a long drive, but I think they did ship) called Chesapeake Marine Fasteners and I loved that place, but they've been out of business for 5 years or more.
nate
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if fastenal doesn't stock them you'll have to buy a box
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On 10/17/2013 03:01 AM, m6onz5a wrote:

Actually even if they did stock them I'd have to buy a box :/
I just don't know where to get them? I guess hex head bolts it is...
nate
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On 10/16/2013 10:31 AM, Nate Nagel wrote:

Titanium can be quite reactive with salt or acid so I wouldn't. See bottom photo here: http://www.yellowjersey.org/fail.html
I use stainless bolts with antiseize paste. Grind one side of the bolt head flat to fit. Use a stainless washer under the stainless nut.
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Is this a post-type battery?
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On 10/16/2013 08:07 PM, Tegger wrote:

yes, old school. The terminals that I am using look very much like these
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productIde4212&catalogId 001&langId=-1&storeId151&storeNumP366&subdeptNumP367&classNuma535#.Ul8uH0mzXWg
although I don't know who the original supplier was, I got them from the guy who made up the battery cables. I'd be mad at him, but I'm having no joy finding anything that uses non-rusting hardware, so he probably had the same issue. I could get everything off the shelf fairly easily to "fix" them save for the square head bolts, they're a normal 5/16"-18x1-1/4" battery clamp bolt, but all I can find is zinc plated steel.
nate
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If you've got corrosion with a new battery, I'll bet you overtightened the terminals and broke the case/post seal. /Everybody/ does that.
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On 10/16/2013 11:00 PM, Tegger wrote:

I get that... the battery is actually an Optima, and the corrosion present is not the white fluffy stuff that you'd expect on a battery - it just looks like surface rust on bare steel from sitting outside 24/7 in variable weather for a couple years (which is pretty much how I treat this vehicle - it's a Jeep, and not a particularly pretty one, although it runs well and I don't feel like searching for a replacement.)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

How about a different style adapter? I have some on the rack that convert a post style battery to a side terminal.
http://images.oreillyauto.com/parts/img/large/ss/stadapt.jpg
Toss on a couple battery washers, then the terminal. Replace the through bolt with stainless or brass (you can buy single brass bolts at Lowes) Tighten them down, coat with dielectric. Then make a couple studs/nuts to go into the adapters using stainless or brass.
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On 10/17/2013 12:14 PM, Steve W. wrote:

That's exactly what I'm trying to do - replace that through bolt with stainless or brass. The terminals/adapters that I have are pretty much the same as what you posted, just made from brass instead of lead. I don't think the replacement stainless/brass through bolts are made, at least not with square heads. It's one of those things that's not really a *huge* deal, but it's really surprising to me that it's not readily available.
nate
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On 10/17/2013 12:14 PM, Steve W. wrote:

That's exactly what I'm trying to do - replace that through bolt with stainless or brass. The terminals/adapters that I have are pretty much the same as what you posted, just made from brass instead of lead. I don't think the replacement stainless/brass through bolts are made, at least not with square heads. It's one of those things that's not really a *huge* deal, but it's really surprising to me that it's not readily available.
nate
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