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  1. #1
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    1st Gen Camaro Battery Relocation

    Relocating the battery from the very front corner of the engine bay to the trunk (ideally under the hat shelf) offers a number of benefits:

    1. Weight balance of traditionally front-heavy muscle cars is redistributed to rear to get closer to the ideal 50/50 weight distribution
    2. Better traction taking-off from a stop-light or at the drag strip as more weight is over the rear drive wheels
    3. Less tendency for the nose of the car to dive under hard braking, and the rear wheels are less likely to lift and lock up, very important, especially with crappy old muscle car suspensions (and the horrible rear drum brakes some of you are still using!)
    4. Less tendency for the front of the car to bottom out going through dips
    5. Cleaner engine bay appearance
    6. Makes more room for additional hardware like radiator overflow tanks, cold air intake systems, etc. I’m planning a LS1 swap in the future; by doing the battery relocation correctly I’m hoping to have the room I need and the electrical all ready to go when I finally do the swap.

    If you plan to drag race or road race your car you may need special hardware, details on NHRA drag racing and battery relocation can be found here: www.popularhotrodding.com/tech/0709phr_1970_ford_fairlane_battery_relocation/index.html



    Ideas / Parts you will need / Cable routing / Etc.

    • Battery Location: If you care about handling put the battery as close to the middle of your car as possible…that is, as far forward in the trunk as possible. On my 68 Camaro the best location is right over the axle, right behind the rear seat, directly under the hat shelf (in between the speakers). You want as much weight in the middle of the car, or any car for that matter, that’s why most Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and supercars are mid-engined: with the engine between the axles, not on top of the axles like most front engine cars.

      Centralized mass = best handling.

      I built a battery mount platform using 1/4” aluminum plate and 1” spacers so I could put the battery right behind the back seat up on the high part of the trunk. I also mounted the amp for my stereo right next to the battery box.
      The Ford starter solenoid is also on the same platform as the amp. And a hidden kill switch is there too hidden behind a panel.

      If you are building a dedicated drag-only car then go ahead and put the battery way back in the passenger-side (right rear) of the trunk (it’s probably where most people mount it), yes, that will help with off-the-line traction but it’s a horrible location for handling, and old muscle cars need all the help they can get with handling!

    • Battery Cable: (Grainger.com). 1/0-gauge AWG Battery Cable from Grainger, Quick Cable brand. 1/0 gauge is a big ol cable! Could also use smaller 1-gauge (.29” thick). Anything bigger is overkill and anything less will have too much resistance. Welding cable is sometimes popular but I had a friend that used that and after 20 years all the insulation had COMPLETELY fallen apart, I didn’t want to have to replace my cable in 20 years so I spent a few more bucks and got the Quick Cable brand, it’s made in the USA and meets SAE certification, seems like good stuff but time will tell. You will need approximately 18-20ft of battery cable for the starter and 2-3ft of battery cable for the grounds. I bought a 25 ft bundle and have about 4.5 ft leftover. Note: weight of 25ft of 1/0-gauge cable is 9.5 lbs. Weight of 1-gauge cable is 7.5 lbs, so you can go with thinner 1-gauge cable but you’ll only be saving less than 2 lbs.

    • Hammer Crimper: (Amazon.com). You will need to buy or borrow a hammer crimper to make your own cable. See video for details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZIRT9kri5w, don’t miss the end where he cuts the cable open and compares the hammer crimp to the standard pinch-type crimp.


    • Solenoid: (RockAuto.com, any auto parts store, or from the guys at Mad Electrical). Don’t leave an unprotected huge gauge cable running the length of your car. A short could cause big problems, especially during an accident.

      A popular solution is to use a “Ford-type” solenoid in the trunk, it powers the 1/0 gauge starter cable only during starting. This way the large positive battery cable is only "hot" when the car is being started. Ford started phasing out stand-alone solenoids in the late 90’s, so try to grab one from a 90’s Ford. I ordered mine from a 99 Explorer from RockAuto.com (it’s a ford part, I always try to use OE parts, part number: SW-1951-C). By choosing this method I had to run a separate 8-gauge cable from the main alternator post to the battery in the rear to keep it charged and to supply power when the engine is off (read more on that below).


    • Terminal Block: (junkyard or Mad electrical). I used the alternator terminal as my terminal block for now but the electrical gurus at Mad Electrical recommend the following:

      Add a terminal block on the firewall and: 1) Run an 8-gauge wire from the alternator terminal to the firewall terminal block. 2) Run an 8-gauge wire going to the battery in the trunk to keep it charged, and supply battery power when car is off. 3) Run an 8-gauge wire to the Horn Relay. 4) Run a 12-gauge wire to the main power wire going to the dash, which is now shorter since its coming from the terminal block instead of the horn relay. The guys at Mad also recommend 2 terminal blocks under the dash using 12-gauge wire. One will be for constant power, and the other as an ignition-switched power source. These two terminal blocks under the dash will be very convenient for wiring accessories and radios.

      Also, be sure to use relays for your headlights to take load off of the interior electrical system…but that’s another forum post. Maybe I’ll get to that someday…


    • Alternator to Battery Charge Wire: (Grainger.com). Because the 1/0 gauge cable is only hot when cranking the engine you have to run a separate 8-gauge wire from the alternator to the battery to charge the battery. This is also the wire that supplies power for the rest of the car when the engine is off. Route this cable on the inside of the car and up to the firewall, use a grommet at the firewall and connect it to the alternator. I also left the original alternator wire in place as well. I used an 80 amp fuse at the rear by the battery for this cable.

      MAD Electrical recommends no longer than 20ft of cable, with the preference at about 18ft to maintain the best resistance to “slow charge” the battery. See their website for more details: http://www.madelectrical.com/catalog.shtml

    • Power Wire Routing: The alternator is the source of power used to operate the electrical system—not the battery (props to the crew at Mad Electrical). The biggest current draw by far is the starter so run the 1/0 cable directly from the battery positive post to the starter solenoid (or through a kill switch like I did).

      Use “adel” clamps to attach the cable to the chassis/frame under the car. I routed mine behind the back seat and outside the car using a special Monster grommet. I used a step drill to drill a hole near the seat belt bolt area. I then ran it along the rear sub-frame and up to the rocker panel after moving the fuel line over a couple inches. It then goes over to the other side of the front sub-frame (on the inside of the sub-frame) and up to the starter.

      Running the cable through the interior is not ideal as the cable is very thick. It will leave a lump in carpet, and is really too thick for door sill even tho some guys have run it there.

    • Ground Wire Routing: Grounds are very, very important, grounds complete the circuit, do not neglect the grounds! All the main metal components in your car should be grounded, the body, engine, and radiator support. Remember, the front sub-frame and radiator support float on rubber mounts so they are basically isolated and need dedicated ground wires if you plan to ground off of them.

      I’m essentially using the car body as the negative battery return cable. So the car body should be well grounded. Remember, lights, fans, gauges, and many electrical system parts are connected to ground at the body metal.Other grounds you see are “strap-style” noise suppression grounds (for the audio system) usually going from the engine to the body, these are not enough for the starter motor, good grounds are still needed using the same 1/0 or 1 gauge cable you used for the battery to the starter.

      1) BATTERY
      > BODY: This is the main ground that runs from the battery in the trunk to the body. I used the vertical metal behind the seat, sanded off the paint and attached the terminal using a large bolt. I also put a very light coating of dielectric grease on everything.

      2) BODY >
      ENGINE: The primary ground is from the battery to the engine block. This is so the starter motor gets a solid return current path; remember that’s where all the power is going to start the car…hundreds of amps! I ran a 1/0-gauge ground cable from the body to the engine (I actually used the transmission side tab near the bell-housing).

      3) BODY
      > RADIATOR SUPPORT: Make sure your radiator support has good contact with the body. If it does not run a 1/0 gauge cable from the body to the radiator support. The headlights are grounded to the radiator support so the support needs a good ground for the headlights to work properly.

    • Battery Tray/Box: (use stock tray, or get from Summit Racing). Make sure the battery is very securely mounted. When mounting the battery I was sure to mount it in the same orientation as the original battery, that is, one post on the right side and one post on the left, instead of front to back…the internal plates may move and touch during hard acceleration or braking, causing a short in the battery. This is especially important if using the original battery tray as it was designed to hold the battery in that position. Be sure to run vent tubes to outside of car if using a vented battery (with tubes attached to the vents) or a vented battery box.

      If you plan to drag or road race you will need to follow some strict guidelines. An enclosed box may be required (Moroso 74051, and larger 74050 boxes are plastic and approved by NHRA and this is what I used). Please check the link at the top for more info on race requirements.


    • Battery Disconnect – Theft Prevention: (Summit Racing). I like the idea of having a removable key in the trunk that disconnects the battery so I went with the Longacre 45748 Battery Disconnect Switch (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/LNG-45748). Not something to use all the time just every now and then when you park someplace sketchy. And yes, if someone really wants my car they can flat-bed it away, but I’m more worried about the amateur crook who wants to make a quick buck. Anyone who’s over locked their keys in their old car knows that the AAA guys can open em up in about 5 seconds! Theft prevention is a whole nuther topic…


    • Battery Disconnect – Racing: If you plan to visit the track (drag or racetrack) regulations will probably require some sort of external battery shutoff switch. I’m not doing one at this point cause drag racing to me is kinda boring, I like to turn, I know that’s crazy! And on the track 45-year-old muscle cars are not so fun, unless you spend tens of thousands making them fun, and if I was going to do that I’d just get an Exige or GT3 (or even a CBR600) and track it. So I’m not concerned with the track for this car.

      Remember, the external kill switch/pull-lever/whatever does not have to be permanent. Install it in such a way that’s it’s easy to remove. You won’t want a pull handle disconnect hanging off the back of your car when you are not at the track.


    • Connectors: (Grainger.com or other electrical outlet) Obviously wherever you make a ground be sure to clean off all the old paint and rust. Also a good idea to use star washers too. Use a hammer crimper and some Quick cable brand 1/0 terminals to make the cables. Make sure you seal both ends of the cables with heat shrink tubing so water and corrosion doesn't get soaked into the strands. Corrosion can cause bad connections, do not underestimate corrosion. Use dielectric grease too, it aids current flow by preventing corrosion, but it does not conduct electricity itself, merely acts as a barrier to corrosion, a super-thin coat is all you need.


    • Fuses: (auto parts store, amazon.com, etc.) The starter motor cable is the only electrical circuit that should not be protected by a fuse, circuit breaker, fusible link, etc, it needs full power! It needs to draw all the power that the battery has to start the car, so a fuse is pointless.

      For the battery charge cable use one 80A fuse, a new-car style “maxifuse” is probably best as they are easy to find and replace. Again, a fuse should be used at the battery for everything except the main starter cable.

    • Battery Vent Tube: If you are using vented battery box run a rubber hose into the wheel well (or elsewhere) to vent the potentially toxic battery gases. I ran mine behind the seat and exiting out of the car down near the seat belt bolt area. Also, some batteries have small vent "nipples", small hoses can be slipped over the ends and run out of the trunk.


    • Grommets: Use hard plastic (not rubber) grommets for the main 1/0 gauge cable, rubber grommets can wear with years of friction and eventually wear through. I got mine from Monster, they are massive but seemed to work well, hopefully they last. : )


    • Rear Firewall: (stock). A rear firewall between trunk and read seat may be needed for certain racing bodies. See the article at the top for more info.


    • Battery Mat: (Eastwood) There is a mat, from Eastwood, its flat and sits under the whole battery, soaks up the acid from the battery if it spills, maybe not a bad idea.

    Estimated the costs:

    • Battery Cable (25 ft.): $138 (Grainger.com)
    • 8-ga Charge Cable (25ft.): $42 (Grainger.com)
    • Starter Solenoid: $25 (RockAuto.com or Mad Electrical)
    • Connectors (1/0ga, 8ga): $50 (Grainger.com)
    • Battery Box: $70 (I’m using the small Moroso box, SummitRacing.com)
    • Battery Tray: $0 (Fabbed my own using scrap ¼” alum plate, or use original tray in trunk)
    • Battery Disconnect Switch: $15 (Longacre brand, Amazon.com)
    • 1/0 Cable Routing: $10 for adel clamps (local hardware store or online is actually cheaper)
    • Heat Shrink Tubing: $10 (any online or local electrical store)
    • Fuses: 80amp fuse: $5 (Online or Grainger.com)
    • Battery Vent Tube: $2 (included with Moroso box, or get from local hardware store)
    • Grommets: $10 (Monster brand for large grommet, hardware store for small ones)
    • Hammer Crimper: $20 (Amazon.com)
    • Rear Firewall: $??? (optional, only needed if racing)
    • Battery Mat: $5 (optional)

    TOTAL $400

    My engine actually feels like it cranks faster than it used to.

    Thanks to everyone on this site as I pulled much of this from the site here, and thanks to the guys at Mad Electrical, I learned a bunch of good information from their website too. I can’t stress that enough, most of this was not my idea, I merely tried to gather all the data and put it in one location explaining how I did my battery relocation, hope it helps. Good luck.

    Warning: Attempt all of these modifications at your own risk. If you are not sure of your abilities do not attempt these modifications. I am not responsible for any information in this article; it is simply a recap of how I performed this modification. Your vehicle may be different, please consult a professional regarding everything you read here.
    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199


  2. #2
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    Great write up Pete. This is subject I've been looking into and you answered some open items...
    Ron in SoCal
    69 Camaro in progress
    http://www.lateral-g.net/forums/showthread.php4?t=31246

    Used to be known as flash911

  3. #3
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    I agree, great write up. I currently run battery at passenger side rear in trunk but one thing I would like to add is in a road race application(and only if you are a serious road racer but still like to take occasional passengers) I think behind the passenger seat would probably be the best location. In that location you can make up for driver weight.

    Dry cells would not have to be in a box but wet cells do.

    EDIT: in a road race application battery shut off should be mounted within driver's reach.

    Gaetano Cosentino
    Dont Drive Faster Than Your Angels Can Fly

  4. #4
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    sweet Pete your the man first the brakes and know the battery ,very cool
    John
    1972 NOVA SPEED TECH TORQUE ARM AND FRONT ARMS , RUSHFORTH NIGHT TRAINS, DRIVERZ INC
    BUILD LINK
    https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...t-(GREY-MATTER)

  5. #5
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    Here is the diagram I made for the relocation, hope it helps

    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199

  6. #6
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    thank you Pete for all the information you gathered. It was very helpful.
    here is what I did:

    It is not finished yet, I have to finish the battery tray and paint all the brackets.
    I used the hole of the bumper screw for the disconnect switch rod.

  7. #7
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    I did a very similar setup but ran the large positive cable direct to the solenoid so it is only energized during starter operation. I ran a separate 10 ga wire from the battery to the horn relay up front which is the main power distribution stud for power & battery charging.
    I put a 50 amp toggle switch In the 10 ga wire near the battery as a cut off switch.

    The two benefits are the large cable is not energized all the time, & the cut off switch can be much smaller, cheaper, & perhaps more easily mounted.

    Switch is available at any good auto parts store or Jegs: http://www.jegs.com/webapp/wcs/store...-1&showValue=1
    Last edited by David Pozzi; 05-05-2012 at 08:37 PM.
    67 Camaro RS that will be faster than anything Mary owns.

  8. #8
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    The 10 gauge wire is not installed yet, but there will be one going to the alternator.
    The big wire that goes to the front is only for the starter. it goes from the battery to the switch to the solenoid and then to the starter.
    The relay for fuel pump is also missing for the moment.

  9. #9
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    Guillaume it looks clean, nicely done. By the way my girlfriend and I are off to Paris in August! My 3rd time but her first. Good to see there are some camaros in France. : )
    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199

  10. #10
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    Hello Pete,
    unfortunately I live far from Paris (just near the German Border) There are a lot of Camaro and American cars in France.
    I hope you will enjoy your trip. What did you plan to visit?
    The battery is now installed and the switch lever is in place:



  11. #11
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    Is there a difference if I run my 8G charging wire, from my battery, to my junction, then junction to alt? Instead of going battery,alt, junction for accessories?
    Would make for a cleaner run.
    Thanx
    Steve

  12. #12
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    It should have no effect whatsoever providing all of your connections are the best they can be. A continuous run of wire by a direct route will always be the least resistance. It is best to both crimp and solder, then heat shrink all connections.

    Clean routing and solid junctions will be well worth the time and energy spent. Have fun.

  13. #13
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    Good write up!

  14. #14
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    I'm glad I found this write up since I'm in the process of relocating my battery on 67 Camaro to the trunk. I have Powermaster 140 amp alternator and was reading on their site about the size of the charging wire. Here is a chart with the wire size they recommend. The length of the wire from the alternator to the battery will be 18 - 20' long. I was thinking a 4 ga. charging wire would be plenty, but they are suggesting a 2 ga. Able I reading this correctly? 2 ga. seems pretty big for a charging wire.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    That could be correct. 8 gauge may be for stock alternator. But for charging the battery it seems the regulator would just send what the battery needs. Maybe use 4 ga going from Alt to main terminal and then 8 ga going back to battery.
    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199

  16. #16
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    Perfect!

    Been using this site's expertise a lot as I'm building my 68 Camaro - Pete, this write-up has been my bible in relocating my battery! The only trouble I had was finding the right "plastic" grommets you mentioned as Monster. Thought I'd share what I found in case others happen about this thread. I found these "gland joints" (new term to me, but I've seen these before) on Amazon - got a whole mixed box for $15 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1), and I like them much better than rubber grommets...enough to fit all my 1/0 cables as well as smaller cables. Not sure if this is what you used Pete, but they're working great for me (as long as I remember to put them over the wire BEFORE I put the connectors on!)

    Like Tony, I am also installing a PowerMaster (#27294 in my case), and am deviating from the 8ga to 4ga based on the same table he posted above.

    In addition to the battery box, I also decided to make a box to protect the external starter solenoid and kill switch - a trip to Home Depot and a 12x24" flat aluminum sheet and a few pop rivets got me a box and lid. I'm debating whether I should coat the insides as a precaution against an arc. I'll see if this picture attaches (appreciate anyone's perspective as well - good idea, bad idea, things you'd change (eg, breather holes).


    Thanks again for putting this together for us...it's really helpful as I put my car back together after 2 1/2 years!

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  17. #17
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    I finally got around to taking some pics of my relocation.

    Here is the overall setup from left to right, battery Box, Amp, Inertia Switch, Relay (for fuel pump). Behind panel is the kill switch with removable key and the solenoid.
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    You may be asking, "whats an inertia switch"? In this case its a switch that cuts power to the fuel pump relay in case of a rollover (and hopefully also a severe accident). You can find them in the junkyards on the front passenger footwell of 90's Fords like the Mustang and Explorer, right behind the carpet. Of course if you roll over in an old muscle car fire may be the least of your worries but its a simple add for a small peace of mind. And yes, my TIG welding sucks, I blew thru the aluminum in 2 places! I only have a few hours welding experience.
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    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199

  18. #18
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    Pete nice write up, wish I had found it sooner. Quick question, is this an ok system? I was 90% done by the time I found this sticky. Thanks
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  19. #19
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    I think that looks good, sorry for the late reply. Make sure to have the fuses/breakers as close to the battery as possible.
    Pete

    1968 Camaro
    2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2543199

  20. #20
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    Wow
    Thanks for figuring it all out for me. I am almost at this point in my build.

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