Modifying the battery box. Nov / Dec 2014
The truck still had the same battery from when I purchased the truck back in 2007 and the battery was not even new then. That
made it at least 7 years old but more likely 10+ years old. Considering it was still working reasonably well this is a good life span
for a battery. If the truck was in regular use it was fine but if the truck had been standing for a few weeks it probably would not
start unless I charged the battery first. The number of times the engine would need to turn over to pull the fuel through after
standing a few weeks just exceeded its capability The original battery is an American battery and I have not thrown it away.
I hope to use it in my caravan this summer. I have been regularly charging it every week or so to keep it on good condition. This
American battery exactly fitted the original battery box but I did not want to order another battery the same for several reasons.
1. American batteries are expensive and difficult to find in the UK. In the past I have used Rodley Motors but they don't seem
to stock them any more without it being a special order.
2. The physical size of a new American battery seems to vary even with the same model number (after checking specifications
online) and so the battery box may still have needed modification.
3. The Bosch S5 battery is a fantastic hi spec battery and comes with a 5 year warranty. In addition, if you buy the battery from
Costco (assuming you have a Costco card) it is much cheaper than buying from online retailers. A member of staff at Costco also
said even if you buy an S4 battery the Costco battery has a lifetime guarantee! Then he said "within reason". Interesting comment.
See the old battery and battery box before modifications below.
The problem is the that the S5 is 2 or 3 mm longer than the original U.S. battery (which was a fairly snug fit) and that means the
battery box needed modifying. The battery box hold down frame will not fit an S5 battery either and so it also needs to be modified
or re-made. I did not want to alter the original frame so a new one was manufactured. See the new hold down frame below.
The method to modify the battery box easily did not involve altering the hole centres for the bolts going through the chassis
rails (frame rails). The battery box consists of two end pieces and a base. These three components are riveted together. To
avoid drilling the chassis rails, the rivets were drilled out in the left hand end and the two holes in the left hand end of the
battery box were horizontally slotted by an addition 5mm so that the new bolts could still use the original holes through the
chassis but the left hand end could be moved left by a few millimetres within the new slots. Since the bottom of the ends
also wrap round the base (overlapping joint) and again are fixed here with two more rivets, these rivets were also drilled out.
These holes were slotted and again new stainless steel bolts, nuts and washers replaced the rivets. This enabled the two ends
to be 5mm further apart. (Without this mod the S5 battery would have dropped in but was very tight which made insertion
and removal difficult). A thick rubber insert (mat) was put into the bottom of the battery box for the battery to sit on.
The original hold down frame was put into storage. The truck now starts no matter how long it stands though the winter when it
is used less frequently. A final note about Costco. They told me it does not matter whether you buy an S4 battery from them or an
S5 battery from them, as if you buy a battery from Costco it had a lifetime warranty. Clearly this would need confirming but that
is what the sales staff said. It is, however, better to buy the S5 battery as it is a better higher spec. battery than an S4 anyway.
The S5 battery from Costco was only £43 + VAT = £51.60
Why is the position of the battery box a great idea?
1. It is where GM decided to put it so why not keep it here?
2. The last thing you want is an unsightly battery under the hood. The engine bay looks much better without a battery.
3. lifting the carpet provides easy access.
4. If storing the vehicle in a garage over the worst of the winter or for long periods, it is easy to unhook the
positive lead for safety.
5. Unhooking the positive cable while parked somewhere, the common thief is unlikely to have a tow truck and is
even more unlikely to know where the battery is or be able to start the truck.
6. We like our classic cars and trucks because they are different and our trucks are even more unusual
with the hidden battery.
7. Conclusion - GM made the correct decision to put the battery under the floor.
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