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Technical Wagon Battery - Fuse Block Location (Foolish Idea?)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by unassembled, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. unassembled
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 98

    from San Diego

    I'm building a '62 Belair 9pas wagon. Since the tires I'll be using will be too wide for the spare tire well, I got a harebrained idea of locating the battery and fuse block in the spare tire well. I can use the existing vertical support to attach a custom battery tray and fuse block mount. I bought a 28 circuit Painless harness so I'd be starting from scratch anyway. It will clean-up the under dash area, firewall and engine compartment. It should also be easier to service the components.

    The concern is the acid fumes collecting in the compartment, even though I'll be using a sealed battery. Duracoat makes an industrial acid resistant coating that could be used to coat the inside of the right quarter and the access cover. The drain hole in the bottom could be used as a vent.

    Does anybody have any thoughts? I need to shoot holes in the idea BEFORE I do it.
  2. I wouldn't move functional things like the battery & fuse panel too far from their stock locations unless I had a really good reason to. A "hairbrained idea" doesn't qualify.

    Imagine having to troubleshoot your car's electrical system on a dark rainy night on the side of the road, when your trunk is full of stuff that'll have to be moved out of the way in order to access the wiring....:eek: :mad:

    I'd leave them in their stock locations and use the spare tire well for storage. Just add 5 lbs of ice and the drain hole makes it the perfect beverage;) cooler.

    Of course, if you're building a high-end show car, in which a clean firewall & under dash area might be important for points, then you probably wouldn't be posting this question to everyone on the HAMB.

    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  3. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,421


    I moved mine under the seat on the Produce Truck. It was ok, but not sure if I would expend the effort to do it again. The harnesses are made for a firewall install and you end up adding a lot of wire.
  4. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 473


    I dont have an argument against relocating the fuse box other than potentially having to lengthen some of the harness that feeds into the engine bay, headlights, etc. depending on how you can route the harness through the cabin. I redid under the hood of an off topic truck and to clean it up, moved the battery to the back under the tailgate/ behind the bumper. while it makes the engine compartment look a little nicer, just simple things like using a timing light and having to make sure i have a second charged battery handy to power the light, or if something starts to smoke, sizzle, smell, itd be nice to be able to just pull the battery cable. If i wanted to make some changes, i'd try and just move the battery down low under the hood to hide it a bit around the inner fender/ core support and tuck the fuse box up under the dash a little to hide it a bit but not to the point that its a hassle.

  5. Have you ever worked on an air cooled VW Beetle? Then you know the battery is under the rear seat, and the floor and seat springs are often rotten.

    If I were to re-locate the battery, I would use a plastic marine grade battery box with a drain hose that exited the body. I would leave the fuse panel where it is. Who's looking under the dash anyway?
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,771


    another vote to leave the battery where it is.

    Why create problems?

    And you can use a narrow spare....just like all the modern cars that still have one (and it might be a good idea, if you plan to go on trips)
    Lil32, pprather, LOST ANGEL and 2 others like this.
  7. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,724

    from Napa

    One thing to consider when you start moving the battery and fuses, is the distance to the end devices. Not a huge difference, but one might want to increase wire size if the distance is increased. A well-trained electrician knows how to compute loads with distance and come up with wire size- we unwashed heathens can use a little common sense, a little too big is better than a little too small
  8. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 26,664

    Jalopy Joker

    anything is possible - if figuring out wiring and electrical components comes natural to you then might work - as MeanGene427 says, need to do some upgrades to the system - looks like you have a ton of space in the rear section - so, could do some special ventilation, etc - put a easy to reach power kill switch in front & rear - if you put in bucket seats could build a console tunnel to run the wires in 20210608_122226.jpg 20210608_122606.jpg
  9. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,868


    I would leave the fuse box on the firewall. Otherwise you have all these wires going from the engine compartment all the way to the back to the fuse panel and then back again to the front to get to the dashboard. Lots of unnecessary wire.
    Boneyard51 and Just Gary like this.
  10. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,043


    As the former owner of a '63 BelAir wagon, I understand about the spare not wanting to fit into the well. But, just because you have wider tires on the car, doesn't mean you have to have a spare that wide. I ran 15" Chevy Rally wheels (with Caddy wheel covers), & a rally wouldn't fit in there. But, a 6" steel wheel did. So would a space saver tire. It ain't rocket science.
    SS327, pprather and Just Gary like this.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,771


    both of my friends who had sedan deliveries, had the batteries in the back, and both of them had battery explosions...

    Just be careful
    Lil32 and Just Gary like this.
  12. I concur. (now there is a 25 cent word I been wanting to use). I have been known to relocate the battery in the past but by my way of thinking if I have a good battery box/tray I use it.

    Now I do have a hair brained idea that will get everyone stirred (or maybe shaken). I have always hated getting under he dash to find a bad fuse, and have had this odd idea for a few years of either putting the fuse block on the firewall under the hood or in the glove box.

    Anyway my personal form of foolishness aside I do agree with @Just Gary good advice my friend.
    1oldtimer, Boneyard51 and Just Gary like this.
  13. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,175


    A lot of early 80's GM full size carts had a skinny spare that should fit in there with room left over if they aren't too tall. This on out of an 84 Olds Delta 88 that I carried around in my 48.
    Just Gary likes this.
  14. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,354

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    It's pretty simple really..!

    1. Use a modern, "sealed" battery.
    2. A simple vent near the top if the tire well, with a hose, routed to the frame. Venting any fumes out and away from the passenger area.
    3. Use an #8 gauge wire from the alternator to the 00 cable on the starter.
    4. Use #00 battery cables.
    5. Plenty of ground wires.

    Any tough questions ?

    milwscruffy, reagen, HotRod33 and 4 others like this.
  15. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,876

    from Berry, AL

    Late model Caddy Sedan De Ville’s had a sealed battery with a built in vent hose. They mounted under the back seat. Pain in the ass if you have to jump them off though, side posts and you have to move the seat bottom.
    Leave the fuse box up front. Hide it in a box if you don’t want to see it.
  16. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,724

    from Napa

    My OT Jaguar XK8 ragtop has the battery in a well in the trunk with the spare, and has a tube to the exterior to use a battery with the vent hose, or as in mine, a completely sealed AGM battery that does not need the vent. The battery area and cables are absolutely clean, looks showroom, cable ends are shiny etc. The PO used to be the Service Manager at Jag in Sacramento and the car was perfectly maintained in their shop. I also have a sealed AGM in my Indian that is at least 10 yrs old, is still sealed and holding a charge
    egads and loudbang like this.
  17. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,783

    from Oregon

    Moving the fuse block to the back wont really clean up under the dash. It will end up with all those fused circuits having to travel from the back all the way up front, and then returning to the rear for many of the wires. So you'll double the length of some, and at least add 12'-15' to other wires. Plus have to route those wires going up to the dash, and then back to the rear lighting into areas designed for a single set of wires.
    And under the dash the only thing you'll eliminate is the fuse block, as all the other wiring will still need to be there to connect turn signals, headlights, dash instruments, etc., etc.
    You're only going to make a simple system more complicated, and more places for things to go bad.
    Boneyard51 likes this.

    I would think so. HRP
    Lil32 likes this.
  19. Onemansjunk
    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
    Posts: 224

    from Modesto,CA

    I was converting my top post battery over to a side post unit cables and all on a vehicle similar to your wagon. The all knowing GRAND KIDS showed up and proceeded to lecture me on how I’m ruining the car and it’s originality and how it would be harder to jump start in case of an emergency. The whole time watching these kids grow up I would tell them I was keeping a file on each and every one of them. Ever time they peed on the toilet seat- drank out of the milk jug and put it back in the fridge. If you got caught guzzling milk you either drank it all or I poured it on your head! I watched one open a fresh gallon and take a huge hit- bad day for him. This is the same kid now an adult reaming me a new -You know what ! For Fffnnn up my car. I told him his file was still open and I was taking notes and placing them in his file. He was now old enough to tell me where to place my files. WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS GOT TO DUE WITH ANYTHING? I’ll tell you. A year later as he was crawling off the top of engine and placed the wrench across those battery post. Wrench got hot -burnt the crap out of his hand. I know -GRANDPA DON’T KNOW SHIT!
    ffr1222k likes this.
  20. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,957


    International trucks had the fuse panel it the glove box for a few years. Mighty handy just opening the glove box to check fuses , instead of standing on your head like most vehicles back in the day.

    egads likes this.
  21. I am trying to think seems like another brand was that way too. I just cannot pull it out of my head now. Seems like a good idea to me.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  22. 28 circuits is a major league wire bundle coming out of the fuse panel. Some early Ford wire harnesses are made to have the fuse panel in the rear, but in this case = a bad idea. Unless the rest of the car was gutted for some purpose.
    Just Gary likes this.
  23. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 651


    Battery in the trunk shouldn't be a big deal. There are thousands of race cars that have the battery relocated for weight distribution. Lots of information available for doing it correctly.
    Really, there's no reason a fuse box can't be anywhere on the car you want it.. Most cars have them under the dash so that's where everybody thinks they belong. I've worked on cars that from the factory had them under the dash, under the hood, and in the glove box. Most of your wiring in going to be towards the front of the car, so it will take more wire if it's in the back, but it shouldn't affect function.
    reagen and loudbang like this.
  24. I've had the battery in the back of several cars without problems. But when I wanted to move the fuse panel to the turtle deck on my T roadster, even in this short car, the wiring on the pre-made harness wasn't long enough. Since I wanted the least amount of wire connectors in my system, it was easier to just mount the fuse panel panel in the cockpit... 1116.jpeg
    Lil32 likes this.
  25. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414


    I have a gel cell battery in the spare tire well of my 65 Comet wagon along with my battery disconnect and my fuel pump relay. My fuse box and switches are on a home made console between the front buckets.
    Of course it is a drag car with minimal accessories, but it has been like that for 2 years now.
  26. ‘72-‘80 Dodge pickups had them on the top of the dash under the glove box door.

    As said you would need to take the voltage drop of the extended wires into account and you may find that some of the barely adequate wire sizes are no longer barely adequate.
    porknbeaner likes this.
  27. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,384

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    Modern cars have a fuse box under the hood, so that’s not a completely crazy idea. My 37 came with a fuse panel on the firewall under the hood, which was kind of a mess due to being exposed. If you had one that was covered in a weatherproof box, it’d be ok I think.

    When I rewired my 37, the fuse panel is now on the firewall under the dash. Weather protected by being inside.

    I’ve seen pictures of guys mounting the fuse panel horizontally under the dash, with a foot or so of extra harness length and a removable mount. Just pop the whole panel off and lift it to where you can see it. I’m not sure, good idea or not.
  28. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,566


    Wired a 56 Pontiac for a friend. Got to his house to find a Painless in trunk mount fuse panel. Gripped at him the whole time I did the install. I will never do that again. Senseless. Ended up having to run wire under the headed liner. Ran wire down both inside rocker panels. Never again. That’s just my opinion.
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  29. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,020


    From a weight stand point you want to mount the battery between the front and rear wheels and on the passenger side. The firewall on the passenger side is one of the best spots..
    Chevy was smart, they put as many parts as possible on the passenger side to balance the weight.
  30. Pretty much every car I do I move the battery to the trunk and on both my Bel Air wagons I put them in the well seeing mine are 6 passenger models. Think the fusebox location would bring nothing but issues, possible, but is it worth the hassle ? For the record the factory location on my Chevrolet HHR panel is all the way in the rear of the vehicle behind the spare. Do as Mike VV stated above and I can see no issues.

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