Hmmm... See both ways make sense to me, which is why I thought maybe a pause in the middle could have benefits... Follow me for a sec
Equalization is THE most water consuming process a battery experiences, I doubt anyone would argue that. So its no surprise that any manufacturer would recommend adding some water before the process starts. The last thing you want is exposed plates... Oh how I know this is true.
Watering before hand, score 1.
Anyone who paid why mind to 3rd grade science would also agree that the water level will rise during equalization. The cells will warm up, everything expands, water is the most forgiving constituent and will be the component to move out of the way. With nowhere to go but up, it needs to be given room to do so.
So that's an argument toward watering at the end.
Then there's striation. Adding water after the stirring stops seems as though it would leave the recently added (and lighter) water floating at the top.
So is it possible then, that something like the following could be the best of both worlds?
1. Ensure plates are covered, with some margin to allow some of the water to boil off during gassing.
2. Perform the majority of the equalization.
3. Pause equalization near the normal end of the process (SG equal, or you "just feel good about it", however you personally determine the stopping point).
4. Fill the cells to the recommended level (1/8" from bottom of well, etc)
5. Resume equalization for a short time to ensure that the electrolyte is homogenously mixed.
Repeat steps 3-5 if for some reason there is still an imbalance visually in the levels between cells...
Yes? No? Thoughts?