Was It Worth It?

My last post was all about how my replica Autolite battery had dies a very sudden death without warning. I managed to recreate the battery with a top cover from Mustang Maniac and battery from Toyota of all people. That page can be found here. I promised that I would take the old one apart to see just what was inside. The project took me a lot longer than I thought it would and you will see why as I go along.

The old battery case I wanted to keep, and possibly place a similar battery inside it at a later date maybe? So the work was going to be slow and careful so I didn’t destroy the case. As I knew there was another battery in there I wasn’t sure what to expect either. So the battery was taken into the shed for a plan of action.

When you undo the cell caps on this replica it’s quite obvious that there is a smaller battery in there and a large cavity at one end. By deduction that would mean that the terminals for the inner battery would be connected to the to top posts via cables.

I could see that the top was fitted originally there was a gap at the back corner where it hadn’t seated correctly, from the left corner of the pic below. So that was going to be my starting point.

side (top left of the picture shows the slightly raised corner)

The Dremel was out and a cutting disk will be used to go around the seam.

The dust from the battery was incredible. The closest I can put this to is a laser printer black toner cartridge powder. Rub it and it stains what it touches. Just the back cut had created a black cloud and difficult to breathe.

So the face mask when on and ventilation made better. The battery was turned over in turn for each side that needed the cuts. Some parts needed to be cut a little deeper as the mould on the inside hadn’t been cut through completely.

Once I had freed the lid I could see one wire that was holding it in place. That wire would have to be cut, then I could get to the other side which was tucked into the corner.

This corner cable was difficult as the battery was holding the cable tight against the case. I think during assembly the gel battery was attached to the lid and then lowered into a resin that held the battery in place and set hard to hold it in place. There would be no other explanation from what I could see.

The resin at the bottom had set like hard plastic and couldn’t be pulled or peeled out-of-the-way. This was a problem as I couldn’t see any other option only to cut the bottom out as well. I managed to bend the cable to the lid out the way to make the cut to remove the top completely. Now I could turn the battery upside down and cut the bottom out. Now I had to be extra careful so that I didn’t cut through the inner battery causing untold problems I wasn’t prepared for. I had lots of old towels to hand and thick gloves at this point to mop up any spillage.

With the bottom of the case cut through the battery was still not coming out. Closer inspection down the side I could see the resin had gone up the side of the battery too, yet another issue. I had various steel pallet knives that I use for filling in holes on walls with plaster etc. The plan now would mean gentle taps to try to crack the resin away without cracking the case itself. I did manage to keep breaking the thin blade to a jagged edge. This actually helped to cut through the resin, like a saw tooth. Those gentle taps turned into more force as I realised I was not getting through the resin.

After what seemed like hours the battery started to loosen and cracks could be heard when the resin was starting to separate from the case and the bottom panel with the battery still attached. Eventually it all came free and I could see why I had such a problem.

Now I had an “L” shape to separate from the battery itself if I wanted to keep the bottom, which I did. The same process would need to be applied again, tap into the narrow space between the battery and the bottom of the case. This stage took a lot longer than taking the bottom out due to the significantly more resin in place. After a lot of hammering and two palate knives later it was all apart and looking a mess.

The final stage was to put it all back together again. The inside was cleaned up to remove any dust and debris to make a clean surface for the jointing glue. I used a sheet of plastic under the battery and placed the bonding glue in the gaps around the base and the inside of the case. The plastic would peel of no problem and leave a gap that was filled with a black mastic again.

The top was cleaned up and the cables cut flush. If I wanted to fit a cable back in there I would have to use a tap and die set to create the anchor points.

The top was held in place with a tiny bead of silicon so that I could remove it if I needed to, but wouldn’t fall of if handled. Now that the uneven top had been cut flush, the battery top was now sitting flat on the bottom case, just how it should have been.

So what was inside? I have no idea what the battery was after all that. apart from the fact it was a gel battery with the following sticker details. Google hasn’t given me any more.

Can anybody else help me out with it? I think it was a golf cart type battery, but I could be wrong!

Related pages are the original battery review click here or cut and paste this link:

https://onemanandhismustang.com/imported-autolite-replica-battery/

Making a new Autolite Group 24 battery click here, or cut and past this link:

https://onemanandhismustang.com/making-an-autolite-group-24-battery/

So the question is now, was it worth it? The answer for me is yes. My inquisitive mind wanted to know what was in there.

I now have a very lightweight antique car battery that is nicely cleaned up and sitting on a wooden shelf in the garage. It just looks so wrong that it shouldn’t be there! The amount of effort to get it all part is not really worth it, perhaps a battery in the middle and not stuck to the side of the case would be much easier. But, thinking of the safety aspect with the battery sliding about, that wouldn’t have been good at all.

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Taking Charge

When I first got my “project” Mustang that needed a little attention should we say, one of the first jobs I done was to wire her up. the reason being was I needed to know if the engine would fire up. To do that I needed a battery. At the time my wife decided that I should get what I wanted and do it properly. With that we decided to go mad and splash out on the replica Autolite Group 24 Battery.

Before I new Mustang Maniac it was a little difficult trying to track down parts I wanted, so I used a rather rubbish company in Essex. I won’t name them, but it took them almost four months to get the battery for me. Needless to say I used them once and never used them again.

I had done my research about the battery and found out it was based around a gel battery or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). These batteries are naturally more expensive and don’t hold anywhere near the amount of acid as a normal wet lead cell battery. In fact if it splits there should be no acid escaping. The battery needed a specific trickle charger as they don’t like to run low on volts. I reviewed the CTEK MXS 5 charger here.

After five years of owning the battery and using it for just two years it died. There was no warning it was about to go to the great scrap yard in the sky. The only warning was that the trickle charger showed an error instead of the normal charged status. I tried to start the car and there was just enough power to put the interior lights on. Turning the key gave me nothing, just a faint click of the solenoid. It was dead, I tried the charger on deep cycle to try and recover it thinking it need a little TLC. Checking a day later it was still the same, no charge what so ever.

Why did the battery die so quickly?

I researched this again, and it turns out that the AGM or Gel batteries have a limited life cycle for recharging. So if it’s down by 10% that means you have a remaining 90% for a single cycle. Bearing that in mind these batteries are estimated to have approx two hundred cycles life span. That is not a lot of use. Over five years it has been on constant trickle charge and only “used” when the car is taken out. So I’m not convinced this is the correct answer, I think it was a lot less than that in fact!

Anyway, I was gutted. I didn’t have my nice old school battery which looked the part. Now I would have to have an out-of-place new style battery. There are plenty to choose from of course with various power options. I was not going to pay that sort of big money again for another replica car battery when it didn’t last that long, maybe when I am little more flush with money? I had a word with Adam at Mustang Maniac and he said I could go for a replica cover for the top of the new battery to make it look more retro. The problem is that the top cover is the correct size and needed a battery to fit it. To small and the top would overhang the battery looking stupid, to big a battery it wouldn’t fit anyway. The other issue is that the positive and negative poles needed to be the right way around.

The part you need is the Autolite replica top, with caps and warning tag. Click here for the link or copy this to your browser:  https://mustangmaniac.co.uk/part/36/1791/autolite_battery_cover_64-73

Now I needed to search the net for a battery to fit the dimensions. I found out that sizes were limited for the power I would need, and then the terminals would be the wrong way round. After what seemed liked days of looking I eventually found a battery with the correct sizes, a flat style top, the terminals correct and enough amps for the Mustang to start.

That battery is made by Toyota with a part number of “28800 – YZZJG”.

The battery was rated at a powerful 75Ah which would be plenty to spin the V8 over. So I ordered it and a few days later I went to pick it. But first I needed to check that the top fitted, once it did I bought it. I parted with my £100 and brought it home.

So what did the top look like fitted close up? Well it fitted perfectly on the flat top, but the  battery case side were a little inset from the top of the actual battery top.

There was another problem that was more annoying than an issue. On the original ’64 – ’66 battery tray the battery was held down by a bracket on a lip on the sides of the battery to stop it moving in the tray. This battery doesn’t have that, but I did have a plan. There is a work around for most things, you could make it work by replacing the battery tray to allow having an over the top clamp. That would fix the issue, but it wouldn’t be correct for the year. There needed to be another way to hold the battery safely in place. Below pic shows the hold down lip on the replica battery at the sides.

The new battery has its hold downs on the front and back which were not going to be used. I thought about using 3D printing to make a bracket, but the space to fit the clamp I thought of using would have been to flimsy and I suspect that it would have broken when being tightened down. The underside of the battery had recessed areas, that gave me an idea.

Underside of battery

I could create a lip up the side if I used a “P” shape idea, the down stem of the letter becoming the anchor point underneath of the battery. I would need to attach it somehow, so screws were out of the question. Glues wouldn’t have much surface area to hold the platform on the underside. While having a look through my tool boxes for inspiration and ideas I put my hand on it; epoxy putty!

The plan was to fill the cavities with the putty and create the anchor point base for the bracket. I would then fill the newly created “L” shape to mould a ledge that would bond to the battery side and the plastic anchor plates.

I roughed up the surfaces that needed fixing to allow a good surface to for the bonding. I would do this in two stages, mix up enough for the cavity areas to bond the plates in place, then roll a cylindrical shape to squash into the newly created corner creating the ledge I would need, then allow it all to set hard. The putty is mixed 50/50 black and white compounds until it becomes a grey colour and warm to the touch, then it’s ready to apply. I used the replica battery for how a guide on how much I needed to create the ledge for the clamp.

The POR15 epoxy putty sets rock hard which can be drilled, sanded and painted. Once the putty was set for a full twenty-four hours, I could see that it had bonded very well to the hard plastics of the ledge as well as to the side of the battery case. On the underside I also used a hot glue gun with super strength glue sticks to go over the edges and any spaces to add another form of adhesion. The battery clamp itself is held down by a single bolt through the battery tray and it just applies downward pressure to hold the battery down. The clamp has a couple of ridges on the underside that help locate the clamp in place and stop the battery movement. These profiles would need to measured to the middle of the battery and marked up accordingly.

Using my Dremel with a sanding wheel I leveled of the top of the ledge flat. Then I started rubbing the clamp onto the dried out white putty which left a clear mark where I needed to match the underside of the clamp profile.

Once I was happy with the clamp fit, the underside angled profile for the tray was copied from the original battery or could be seen from the battery tray itself. This would also ensure that the battery would fit back into the tray correctly and not sit proud on the clamp side.

Masking up ready for spraying was simple enough, although this step is not essential for what I had in mind. A couple of coats later from the satin black spray can made the ledge look almost stock which could have be placed into the tray as it is.

I wanted to do more to make the battery look more authentic. As I may want to reuse the top cover again I needed a solid, but not permanent solution, that came in the form of a black silicone mastic sealer.

I applied a generous bead around the gap from the visible side and front, with slight hold blobs on the back and other side of the battery. The reason the silicone wasn’t all the way round was to allow the battery to “breath” or allow any gasses to vent out. Sealing all around would have prevented this function if needed it.

I used a thin piece of straight plastic to create the initial seal between the top and the side of the battery to scrape the excess away in a flat surface to give the appearance of flat plastic. This would make it look like a complete battery not just a top. I allowed the mastic to go off a little more before I smoothed it again properly.

The next part was the case of the battery itself. The original design had a woven weave look which I wanted to try and replicate.

I had some vinyl left over from my toolbox draw project and I decided to use that. I cut lengths that I needed to go around the battery and cleaned and dust or grease from the now clean sides.

OK, so it’s diagonal and a carbon look, but in the engine bay tucked in a corner it would be difficult to see anyway. The wrap started at the top down to the corners taking care to make sure they looked neat. The new ledge was covered over with the wrap to give a nice continuity. So the battery now had a carbon fibre look which was just starting to be used properly in the early to mid sixties.

Next was the battery filler caps that I wanted to modify a little in order to be closer to the original. The caps didn’t have the tiny breather holes, but had the mark in place. These caps are the same size just the one on the right was has a screw thread which means it was closer to the camera to make it look bigger showing the hole.

A small 1.5mm drill was a perfect size to drill the hole out on the cap on the left.

Fitting the caps back to the top finished the look of the battery.

The original battery also had the word “Sta-ful” painted the same colour as the “Autolite” wording which was missing from the top plate. This was painted on once the battery was in the tray and secured.

Fitting the battery back into the tray was dead simple and the clamp fitted perfectly on the matched profiled for the clamp and the tray itself. The look of the carbon fiber wasn’t to far away from the look I wanted.

The final part was that cables were to be connected and the tag applied to the battery, (which should be on the positive terminal post by the way, not the neg side as I have it here). I also have some post felts which stops the cable fittings scratching the battery top, they also cover the tiny gap around the posts.

The finished battery!

It took about three hours work to clamp and silicon in place and I am happy with the results. My original and now updated review of the Autolite Group 24 Battery is here.

My next post will show the Original battery being taken apart to see just what is inside!

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Last Car Show?

The car show season seems to be coming to an end and the Autumn is creeping up on us quickly. This latest car show at Fornham was a few miles outside the main town of Bury St Edmunds. I had arranged to meet up with the Bury Retro Car Club at the local Tesco’s to get my pass for the show. As his is always a popular show entry is only via pre booked tickets. If you turn up without a ticket you will have to wait to see if there is a space to let you in or not, as that happened to me last year. I arrived at the supermarket and found an impromptu meet in the car park with cars arriving all the time to meet up with their friends and clubs. With plenty of people wandering around looking at the cars before the main show.

Out club being no exception, we left in convoy and arrived at the ground and parked up to our allocated spaces.

After everything had settled down a bit I had a chance to wander around and take in the view of some great cars.

I got to speak with a lovely family about their car that they had inherited from their Uncle who had sadly passed away after an illness. It turns out this fastback was originally an export model and the vin number seems to confirm that. The car has a huge provenance of paperwork where receipts for spark plugs had all been filed away and documented. This car has all its original panels on it. The reason for the different trunk was that there was a dent in it which was removed but just not got round to repainting it again before he passed. We were talking for ages and the more I heard about this car the more I wanted to know. The car has all sorts of additional locks on it and alarms as the uncle was paranoid about it getting stolen. I can see his point here I must say.

I hope to catch up with them all again soon.

This may well be the last show of the year for me that I have scheduled, and the others I have made a note on depends very much on the weather.

In the future I am to limit my pictures to no more than fifty of a car show or at least split it up into parts if it’s a particularly worthy show.

My Reviews:

I have writing a few reviews for the car detailing products which I have bought with my own hard-earned money.

The first is the Chemical Gus detailer which can be found here. or cut & paste below. https://onemanandhismustang.com/chemical-guys-extreme-slick-synthetic-detailer/

The Meguair’ MT320 Dual Action polisher can be found here. or cut & paste below.  https://onemanandhismustang.com/meguiars-mt320-dual-action-polisher/

The DoDo Juice Lug Nut cleaner can be found here. or cut & paste below. https://onemanandhismustang.com/dodo-juice-nutt-plug-wheel-nut-cleaner/

The EZ Car Care Wheel Armour can be found here. or cut & paste below.  https://onemanandhismustang.com/ez-car-care-wheel-armour/

I have also added a little logo to the right hand side menu bar. This is for the McAfee Secure website notification. In other words it’s regularly scanned for viruses and phishing etc. Although this aimed at retailers, it can’t hurt to be safe with all these hackers out there! So you can browse knowing full well that this site is safe and I have paid for the service from McAfee. I am trying to see how the plugin works with my WordPress plan so I will keep you updated on that.

Finally:

My thoughts go out to you ALL in the USA and Barbados who are being battered by the recent hurricanes causing untold damage. I hope it’s all over soon and you can start to get back on with your lives again.

Posted in Blog, Car Detailing, car shows, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Making Up For It

Another car show yesterday, and this one was at the same place of the worst car show I had ever been to. Last April I was at Stonham Barns in Suffolk and there was just a handful of cars there. So what made me go back? Well the car club I belong to is Bury Retro Car Club, were at the last show I attended with them and they told me they were going to be having a club stand at Stonham with a limited number of cars. So I agreed to be there to support the club at least. The day arrived and the weather was good so I had nothing to lose, even if it was just for a drive out in the car. I was going to be half an hour early for the gates opening, as I got closer to the event I was caught in a traffic jam of classic cars. Things were looking up and the cars were moving at a steady pace to get in. At the gate I was waved through after showing my car pass and directed around the field to the top of the field to a prime location for the club. Excellent organisation by the guys who arranged this show. I said my greetings to the club guys and had a pleasant chat before I had a wander around the show. The club had managed a gazebo with a nice selection of chairs too. The cars all looked great with classics, to sports cars and a Spider Van which was hand painted by a graffiti artist.

The field was segregated into many various clubs and sections.

The American car section with a few familiar cars.

Various clubs around the field, I spotted a light blue ’66 Mustang with a rare white vinyl roof, owned by a friend of mine David.

Perhaps my favourite of the show? For some reason I could see me in this truck. What an amazing machine, first time I had seen one up close, the classic Freightliner!

My final set of pics was around a great little story; an American guy called Larry was showing his grandson my car, and telling him about the Mustangs he used to own. My ears pricked up and I went over to talk to him. It turns out that he was stationed in RAF Lakenheath which was also where my car was imported to from Virginia. His grandson was called Harry and showed an interest in my car. I asked the little guy if he wanted to sit in it and he looked to his grandad for approval, who agreed. I took a couple of photos of the little guy ‘driving’ and looking happy in my car. I asked permission if it was OK to post the pics and gave Larry one of my blog business cards so he knew where to check out my blog and see himself on the internet! I hope Harry will get a Mustang just like his grandad one day too. 🙂

So it looks like I have been proved wrong about Stonham Barns who put on a good show after all, and I am well chuffed to see a good turn out for them, and they have made up for the poor show last time I was there. I have since found out that this event was organised by different people, so maybe that’s why this one was a success with around a thousand odd cars wedged into a large field.

Sorry for the large post, but I hope you liked it.

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Helmingham Hall Car Show 2017 (Part 3)

With such a big show at Helmingham Hall I managed to take over three hundred photos, half of which I have posted on these last few posts. This is the last of those whittled down selection of photos. I enjoyed the show and spoke to some great people, and saw some great cars too. So to finish up, and in no particular order, more cars.

Then of course there is the original bad ass Dodge Viper V10.

Another all time favourite car of mine is this beautiful Aston Martin V8 Vantage, another poster that was on my bedroom wall as a kid.

It’s not very often that you see real nice Lamborghini Countach at a show, then I spotted another at the show, this is a rare beast in a right hand drive. I was spoilt for cars at this show, some great Fords both UK & USA; Mustangs, Thunderbird, Escorts, Sierra Cosworth, Capri, Trucks etc.

I just had to finish with more close up of my car, I think it’s only fair though.

During the day I walked past the limited number of stalls that were there, nothing official from the brand names though. For once I didn’t buy anything, I had made my purchases at Waxstock a couple of weeks ago, but I now have a review of my new favourite quick detailer from Chemical Guys, click here or go to the Car Detailing Reviews menu at the top to see other reviews. From the pic above you can see why I am pleased with the results.

I haven’t forgotten about the semi pro pics of my car by the way. I will make a separate post of those pics on another small post soon, once I get them ready that is.

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Helmingham Hall Car Show 2017 (Part 2)

The Helmingham car show is a large popular event every year and is always well represented from all manner of cars being represented. I spotted a Falcon, but not the sort with wheels! This year there was some birds of prey doing some training and display work which was amazing to watch. Unfortunately my photography skills are lacking when it comes to trying to capture these beautiful creatures in flight.

The birds were kept well away from little hands trying to touch them. Such beautiful creatures and i never realised how big the golden eagle was!

So on to the cars, again there is no real logic for the photos, just they are in batches as I was walking around.

A car I knew very little about this ‘Imperial – Le Baron’, quite what a huge presidential car is doing in the UK I’m not so sure, but I loved it! Anybody else know and could let me know.

I just loved this Chevy in turquoise blue, such a nice looking car.

After I wandered back from the first couple fields with cars in I took a couple of more pics of my little lady.

The final installment will be in another couple of days. I’m hoping to get some Semi Pro photography of my car to post, the only trouble is that is was so busy you couldn’t get a clean uncluttered shot! But, looking at the samples they look pretty good.

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Helmingham Hall Car Show 2017 (Part 1)

Sunday just gone I visited one of my favourite car shows at Helmingham Hall in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Once a year for one day the hall opens its vast grounds to us petrol (gear) heads to show of our pride and joys. I managed to take lots of photos but I managed to break it down to under two hundred photos, including the ones of the hall which I am quite pleased with.

A little about the hall which is a moated manor house in Helmingham, Suffolk, England. It was begun by John Tollemache in 1480 and has been owned by the family ever since. The house is built around a courtyard in typical late medieval/Tudor style. The house is listed Grade 1 on the National Heritage List for England, and its park and formal gardens are also Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The present Helmingham Hall may have been initially constructed in 1510 on the site of an earlier house called Creke Hall. The exterior was altered between 1745–1760, again in 1800 by John Nash, and in 1840. The original half-timbered walls have been concealed by brick and tiles. The house is surrounded by a moat 60 feet wide, over which it is reached only by two working drawbridges, which have been pulled up every night since 1510. These were originally operated with a windlass but in recent years this has been replaced by an electric motor. The house is not open to the public and Helmingham is best known for its fine garden, which is open on a regular basis. It is a semi-formal mixed garden with extensive borders, a rose garden, a knot garden, a parterre and an orchard. Beyond the garden there is a 400-acre (1.6 km2) park with herds of red and Fallow Deer.

This year I was able to park on the Nissan 200sx owners club stand, so a big thanks to those guys. We arrived early at just gone nine, the gates to the public were opened at ten just as the sun started to shine. We had plenty of space and managed to spread out, I was almost on the end and in a prime location. My friend Craig was in his Honda Integra Type R parked alongside me.

Once everybody had turned up who was going to be there we could shuffle around again, so now I was on the outside and Craig moved to the inside of me. Due to the extra space we could park diagonally which was pretty cool as nobody else could. I even managed to use my new home-made show board stand too.

Once everything had settled down it was time for a dust down and quick spruce up, which took over an hour before I even started to have a look around. I got to use my new Chemical Guys quick detailer which I was very impressed with. I will be reviewing that product soon as it’s not widely available just yet.

There was so many cars at the show again I am having to split the posts, otherwise there will just be photo overload and take for ever to load. There is no real logic to the order of the photos, it’s just a batch at a time.

As a young boy I had posters of this car on my bedroom wall, it still remains one of my favourite super cars to date. This is the update 25th anniversary edition. The unmistakable Lamborghini Countach which means ‘Heavens’.

I will post ‘part two’ in a day or so. There is so much more and unusual cars to show you, everything from more super cars to some timeless classic cars. There was even some birds of prey on show too.

Posted in Car Detailing, car shows, Photo's | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments