Author Topic: Battery Rebuild Writeup  (Read 3845 times)

Offline rockhouse66

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Battery Rebuild Writeup
« on: May 12, 2014, 11:07:18 AM »
I have rescued some reproduction Autolite batteries by replacing the internals.  The idea and techniques for doing this originally came from Forum member John Murphy.  There are some tricks to this, so I documented the last one I did to assist others in performing the job.

Thanks to encouragement and formatting assistance from Marcus, and support from Jeff, the "how to" on this is now available in the Library section.  Note that the website mentioned as a source for the replacement battery is no longer active.  Also, it is possible to do this using a lug top battery but it is more difficult, and especially so when doing the smaller batteries (Gr. 22 & Gr. 24) due to the smaller case.  However, it can be done because a friend recently did this on his priceless Gr. 22 case using a lug top style battery.  I welcome feedback and corrections from those who use this resource.

Here are links to both the write-up and the Library section where it resides:

http://concoursmustang.com/speegle/Articles/Autolite%20Group%2027%20Battery%20Rebuild.pdf

http://www.concoursmustang.com/forum/index.php?topic=5719.0

Jim
'66 GT FB, '69 CJ Grande

Offline Bob Gaines

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 12:51:56 PM »
I have rescued some reproduction Autolite batteries by replacing the internals.  The idea and techniques for doing this originally came from Forum member John Murphy.  There are some tricks to this, so I documented the last one I did to assist others in performing the job.

Thanks to encouragement and formatting assistance from Marcus, and support from Jeff, the "how to" on this is now available in the Library section.  Note that the website mentioned as a source for the replacement battery is no longer active.  Also, it is possible to do this using a lug top battery but it is more difficult, and especially so when doing the smaller batteries (Gr. 22 & Gr. 24) due to the smaller case.  However, it can be done because a friend recently did this on his priceless Gr. 22 case using a lug top style battery.  I welcome feedback and corrections from those who use this resource.

Here are links to both the write-up and the Library section where it resides:

http://concoursmustang.com/speegle/Articles/Autolite%20Group%2027%20Battery%20Rebuild.pdf

http://www.concoursmustang.com/forum/index.php?topic=5719.0
Jim, I applaud your effort and think you did a good job of writing the article. I have done this many times myself but have always cut out the inside edge bottom instead of the top. One of the biggest advantages are that on the bottom you can make a cut mistake and not be noticeable . When cutting the top off you have one chance to make a perfectly straight cut . That can be challenging even with a band saw let alone by hand. Any irregular cut will be noticable . Even with a perfect cut you may or may not be able to tell that there was a cut upon close examination on a top side cut . Another advantage is that you do not alter the outside appearnce when going in the bottom inside edge way. There will always be a slight difference in height between the details on the side of the case because of the extra material removed by the saw blade when cutting off the top.  I use a cut off saw when cutting out the inside edge of the bottom. It throws up a lot of dust so you need to use mask. Another advantage is when cutting from the bottom you gain the extra height that eliminating the inside bottom gives you. I have always found that you can use all of the extra height inside you can get regardless of hidden battery used.  The point is making it look like it hasn't been done . This point can be accomplished better by going in the bottom side cut way. Ether method takes the same amount of steps and time .Cutting off the top adds a lot more stress. Even more if you are using  original battery. I think it will be much easier to ruin the look of a battery cutting the top off plus you will always lose little bit of height and appearance which my or may not be noticable . This critique is meant to add to a already informative and well done how to article. If nothing else it gives another option.       
Bob Gaines,Shelby enthusiast, Shelby collector , Shelby concours judge SAAC,MCA,Mid America Shelby

Offline rockhouse66

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 01:52:44 PM »
Bob - thank you for your comments.  Yes, I agree, cutting the bottom is an option.  Seems it would make it awkward to work on the underside of the posts to make your attachments though?  Do you then replace the bottom with something, or just let the replacement battery sit on the tray and drop the case over the top?  The extra height you gain cutting the bottom could be important in getting it all to fit, especially on a Gr. 22 or Gr. 24 size case.

I have found that the lip under the band at the top of the case does a great job of disguising the cut when you do it my way and I haven't had issues making a straight cut, but I can certainly see where this could go wrong.  Should be a (messy!) piece of cake though with a band saw (which I don't have).
Jim
'66 GT FB, '69 CJ Grande

Offline Bob Gaines

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 03:54:41 PM »
Bob - thank you for your comments.  Yes, I agree, cutting the bottom is an option.  Seems it would make it awkward to work on the underside of the posts to make your attachments though?  Do you then replace the bottom with something, or just let the replacement battery sit on the tray and drop the case over the top?  The extra height you gain cutting the bottom could be important in getting it all to fit, especially on a Gr. 22 or Gr. 24 size case.

I have found that the lip under the band at the top of the case does a great job of disguising the cut when you do it my way and I haven't had issues making a straight cut, but I can certainly see where this could go wrong.  Should be a (messy!) piece of cake though with a band saw (which I don't have).
Not much more awkward then connecting from the top. No replacement bottom it sits on the original sides without a bottom. You let the hidden bat sit in the tray and the other on top of it. You can even rig it up so so  a bracket plate  holds it all together with 2 bolts secured In two of the vent cap holes.not nessasary but slick.I have done it both ways . With many successful conversions this bottom way works best for me. I have only done this on multiple thousand dollar batteries so you can understand my concern to not compromise the out side look.I will try the repro conversion in the future as they get more expensive.
Bob Gaines,Shelby enthusiast, Shelby collector , Shelby concours judge SAAC,MCA,Mid America Shelby

Offline Rsanter

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 05:12:16 PM »
Good writeup
I have though and wondered why someone dosent just make a case only that we can drop a battery into so it looks correct and they don't have to go through the trouble of actually making a battery. Just the case

I would recommend that you look at some of the race car batteries. They are similar to what you used but are rated in CCA and are very powerful. They are not cheap but may do a better job cranking a big block

Bob
Bob

66 mustang GT conv 289 AT deluxe int - high school car
66 mustang conv 289 -3x2v-4spd deluxe int
68 mustang conv basket case
69 mustang conv 302 AT
66 mustang coupe hotrod/racecar

Offline rockhouse66

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 06:18:09 PM »
I would recommend that you look at some of the race car batteries. They are similar to what you used but are rated in CCA and are very powerful. They are not cheap but may do a better job cranking a big block
Bob

Bob - thanks for the comments.  I know there are some pretty trick, small batteries out there, but at some point if the battery is expensive, the whole project isn't worth doing.  If you aren't saving money by doing all of this work, you might as well buy one of the new Turbo Start repros which are quite powerful.
Jim
'66 GT FB, '69 CJ Grande

Offline J_Speegle

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014, 08:04:43 PM »
Thanks for the info and article

Been trying to get to this task as I've got a shot repo Grp 27 gel and rather than buy another new one I was just thinking of reusing the case

Anyone cut open a gel battery yet ?
Jeff Speegle

Anything worth doing is worth doing concours ;)

Offline tim_morrison82

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 08:39:18 PM »
I have a display battery that has no internals that I want to do this to. im hoping the top isnt glued completely on. its an older group 24 repro one. if I get it open I will document what the internals are like.

cheers for the writeup!
San Jose built (Mid Dec 67) Non GT J code Coupe.
Wimbledon White with Parchment Bench seat,
Visibility Group, Power Steering, Power Disc Brakes, Selectaire Conditioner, AM radio, Heavy Duty suspension, Deluxe Belts, Deluxe Wheel Covers, 3.00:1 rear.

Unique 1 of 1 car. Just like every other car...

Offline Murf

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 11:31:06 PM »
I would like to add a few words to this.  Having done this on a number of reproduction batteries, one will find some that do not have this type of wet cell.  Some reproduction batteries are AGM (absorbed glass mat) and are a little easier to work on.  Some were built with a small AGM battery inside and if you find one of those they are so easily rebuilt you will be finished in almost no time.  Those that are AGM and those that have a smaller battery inside can easily be identified by trying to twist off the red caps- the AGM type will have caps that ARE NOT removable.  I find them on occasion and they are getting more plentiful.  Friends bring me their "corpse" battery to stuff with a wheelchair battery now and then and the AGM types are starting to fail so more and more candidates for rebuilding are of that type.  Don't be afraid to tackle them, Jims write up covers all of the important steps. In regard to cutting the top off, do as Jim suggests and use a hacksaw and cut right below the ledge of the top part.  The hacksaw removes such a tiny amount of material that one cannot tell the battery is shorter, probably only removes about .030 inch if you watch what you are doing.  (a band saw will remove significantly more material but is certainly quicker)  As for reattaching the top portion after working your magic on the inside I have found that construction adhesive is both strong , not costly and universally available.  I use masking tape on both the edge of the top cover and the case where the top mates so any excess that squeezes out will be on the masking tape, not on the case.  If you use construction adhesive it probably will leave a light tan or grey parting line right under the ledge that quickly can be converted to the same black as the case by using a magic marker and wiping the excess from the case after application.  I think you will be surprised how invisible the seam of construction adhesive can be.  And that type of adhesive can be applied in a continuous bead around the perimeter of the sliced area and I can attest that it is more than strong enough to allow your newly rebuilt Autolite battery to be picked up, carried and reinstalled in the car with a normal battery strap type carrier - just let the adhesive dry 24 hours or so or whatever the instructions on the tube advise for 100% strength. If after several years you need to install another battery inside of the Autolite shell the construction adhesive is very easy to cut for your next rebuild. Finally, I think that you will be surprised at the cranking power of the 12-350 style wheelchair battery. I have been unlucky enough to have a timing chain slip hundreds of miles from home on a Saturday night and that little battery lasted while figuring out the problem, making the repairs and still starting the repaired motor with no noticeable decrease in cranking speed.  Finally, I have found that keeping this type of battery fully charged during winter storage can really prolong their life - having just redone a couple that were originally converted to the wheelchair battery either four or five years ago.  I charge them on the first day of each month with a charger specifically manufactured for AGM type batteries but probably a normal 2 amp self regulating charger would be sufficient. A big thanks to Jim for writing this and the images to illustrate how it is done. 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 03:18:26 PM by Murf »
John Murphy

1965 "K" GT fastback Honey Gold exterior, Ivy Green and White Pony interior, many options
1966 Conv., high option, removeable hardtop, thermactor "C" engine, AC, Springtime Yellow exterior, Black Pony interior
1968 California Special, "J" code, ,many options, white with red interior

Offline ajd350

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2014, 11:41:17 PM »
I have two cars running on 350CCA garden tractor batteries in gutted 24F cases. Both are 289s, one a K-code. Both were done in the same manner as Bob described. One was a lead-acid conversion (very messy), the other was a dead AGM type that was surrounded by a potting compound. Hard to deal with, but worth it. I got 3 1/2 years out of the first one and it always works fine. When the tractor battery finally died, I changed it in the Sears parking lot, swapping the shell with just a couple of wrenches. You can get them nearly anywhere and they are cheap. No special charger needed.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 11:44:30 PM by ajd350 »
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Offline roddster

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 05:20:17 AM »
  I have a gutted 68 group 22 battery.    The bottom is cut out and cables are attached to the bottom of the old posts.  A Mazda Miata battery fits ip inside it.  Starts my 289 HiPo just fine.

Offline sglbbs

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2016, 12:35:26 AM »
I'm considering converting an old group 24 and wanted to check if Miata, lawn tractor or other style batteries have been proven over time to perform better or worse than others?

Thanks in advance
66 GT 6T09K12---- scheduled Oct 14, bucked Oct 13 '65

Offline rockhouse66

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2016, 09:26:39 AM »
I recently converted a Gr. 27 with one of these Harley batteries.  It is too tall for the case by a small amount, so I cut a hole in the bottom just large enough for the battery and glued a piece of Masonite to the bottom.  Removal of the thickness of the case bottom was just enough to fit the battery.  I can't say for certain that it actually performs better than a wheel chair battery but it has better specs and is designed for automotive type service.  The link is typical of these - there are several brands.  Probably all made by the same Chinese factory.

http://www.batterymart.com/p-mtx-30l-mega-crank-30l-battery.html
Jim
'66 GT FB, '69 CJ Grande

Offline Bob Gaines

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2016, 11:44:02 AM »
FYI I haven't seen the battery inside a battery successfully used on a big block application for other then a show car application.If someone was planning on this as a alternative to buying a reproduction battery for other then show applications expect limitations. Regardless of the hidden battery they don't typically have the capacity when used to start a hot big block in a driven application. You can get this to work for a small block for most situations as long as you don't have expectations that it will work as good as a regular 24 in a heavy duty situation/occurrence. Good alternative if you have realistic expectations.
Bob Gaines,Shelby enthusiast, Shelby collector , Shelby concours judge SAAC,MCA,Mid America Shelby

Offline Bossbill

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Re: Battery Rebuild Writeup
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 01:38:10 PM »
I run Deka batteries in the race car. A very reliable "dry" mat battery that comes in a great number of sizes/CCAs.
In the last 8 years I've only replaced one due to my error of leaving the transponder on for 4 months!

If I remember to turn the master switch off it will crank my engine after many months of sitting inside
a car trailer without a charger.
Bill
3/2/67 GT350
6/6/70 0T02G160xxx B302
5/18/65 5F09A728xxx 2+2