Battery Relocation - Junk In The Trunk

Weekend Tech

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I recently picked up a 1970 Z28 Camaro that has been sitting dormant since 1984. I am in the process of improving some of the old mods the previous owner did, and that's what brings us to this point. When I opened the trunk of the car (once I got the key to work that is), I noticed the battery had been moved there. Having the battery in the trunk improves the weight distribution of the car and also helps it hook up by moving some of the weight from the front closer to the rear tires. After seeing the awesome battery hold-down system (a tie strap), I knew this needed to be fixed. I thought it would be a good idea to redo the install and have it conform to NHRA rules. That was until I read the rules.

Excerpts from the 2011 NHRA Rule Book: "Batteries may not be relocated into the driver or passenger compartments. Rear firewall of .024-inch steel or .032-inch aluminum (including package tray) required when battery is relocated in trunk. In lieu of rear firewall, battery may be located in a sealed .024-inch steel, .032-inch aluminum, or NHRA-accepted poly box. The sealed box may not be used to secure battery and must be vented outside of body. Relocated battery must be fastened to frame or frame structure with a minimum of two 3/8-inch-diameter bolts. Mandatory when battery is relocated, an electrical power cutoff switch (one only) must be installed on the rearmost part of each vehicle and be easily accessible from outside the car body. This cutoff switch must be connected to the positive side of the electrical system and must stop all electrical functions including ignition."

So these rules turned a simple freshen-up job into one requiring fabrication of brackets and drilling a hole in the taillight panel for the cutoff switch. Since this car is not destined to live on a quarter-mile track, I ditched the by-the-book mentality and just did a better job than what was there.

To make the job simple when it came to getting the parts, I looked to Summit Racing. Summit not only had everything I needed, they were even nice enough to offer most of it in kit form. The Summit premium battery-relocation kit comes with an NHRA-approved sealed battery box, 20 feet of positive battery cable, 3 feet of negative battery cable, plus all battery terminals and mounting hardware. To the kit I added a Summit battery disconnect switch (250 amps continuous amp rating) and an Optima YellowTop battery. The Optima is an AGM (absorbed glass mat) type battery that is totally sealed and features very low internal resistance for quicker recharge rates. There is a lot more to say about the Optima batteries, so check out the website for more details.

Relocating a battery to the rear of a vehicle.

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