About your post regarding the "SS PIN/bolt at the power cable/battery terminal" (SSPBPC/BT)
I've had to replace about 8 batteries in my 14 year old 1993 4.6 L Eldorado Northstar.
I was the second owner - purchasing it in 1995.
Firstly, I just spoke with my dealer/mechanic - who goes to those GM training sessions - which either the dealer or GM pays for - I do no.
He said the GM book says don't even "jump start" a Cadillac (or other new GM car I suppose), but he says they do it all the time.
He said the alternator test is ok for older cars (I guess he meant mine), but what do you do if you are at the Red Lobster and all you get is a click... click... clicking noise from your "starter"?
I've probably had this happen to me 25 times in the 12 years I've owned this 1993 Eldorado, and it was only after years of cleaning the inner copper/cable parts (inside the red/rubber terminal housing) and throwing away a battery that had a good 10 months more life in it, that I stumbled onto the real culprit - the SS/Pin/bolt (positive terminal) (SSPBPC/BT).
Trying to clean up the "copper" parts inside the red/rubber positive battery terminal housing cable" (IRRPBTHC) is a seriously tedious, and often futile job - that I've found is a totally unnecessary task.
I've done it several times and still got the "click.. click.. clicking.. at the key switch, until... I looked at the "SS PIN/bolt at the power cable/battery terminal" in my hand.
I tried a knife (as you recommennd) to remove the "corrosion" at the end of the PIN/bolt, but you'll cut you fingers someday and it will take hours to get it really clean. An electric drill and a wire brush work best - and you have to apply pressure in some areas to get it into the crevices of the SS PIN/Bolt - so you need a Vice to hold the PIN tight.
takes 5 minutes this way - and it's shinny silvery SS like new when I'm done.
I estimate it would take 10 times as long with a knife - as this "corrosion" is practically unremovable (tuff stuff).
Also, you might ruin 3 good sharp knives doing it your way.
Of course I also give the "lead" end of the battery itself a "brushing", but the inside copper pieces are not what causes my '93 Eldorado to malfunction (i.e., not start).
When ever this 14 year old Eldorado gives me that click, click clicking.. I just remove the SS PIN/Bolt, and wire brush off any corrosion.
I don't even have to run for my battery charger! Think about that! Clean up the PIN/bolt and she starts right up.No charging!!
The last time I did this was when the Delco was about14 months old.
There was a light yellowish rust like material on the PIN, and I didn't think that would keep it from starting, but after a good wire brushing, she has been starting for 3 months longer - no other maintenance.
8 months prior to this (when the DELCO was about a year old), I wire brushed some "black" corrosion from electrolysis (I guess), and again she started right up and ran 6 months more without any start up issues.
I carry a 3/32 inch (or 8mm) wrench with me, just in case I have to tighten the positive cable after I leave a restaurant and she won't start - as a tiny tightening (as you know) will get you home - but this is only good for one or two starts.
The corrosion/connection issue has to be addressed.
While your advice on the alternator may be on the money for the newer Caddies, it has never hurt mine to remove a cable when it was running to check the alternator.
I own a 1995 JIMMy (purchaed new) and ironically it's SSPBPC/BT has never coroded at all.
I also own a new Toyota 4 runner - and .. well.. what can I say... it's a Toyota.