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Date: 14 June 2018. Stacking Battery Cables.


As the battery project continued the first step was to diagram out what was there before I did anything. I drew a couple of simple sketches, numbering both the batteries and the studs. Then I removed the cables from each post. As I went along I secured them, labeling each batch with the post number it came from. There were errors though.

The first and most critical mistake was that some of the cables were installed incorrectly by a previous worker. ALWAYS place the largest diameter cable closest to the battery.

This battery was replaced. It had no water and was damaged. On the right side is a red 1-gauge wire.
It is on top off a smaller cable. That's wrong.  Always stack cables with the thinnest wire on top.

When I put the replacement battery in, I wired it so that the heaviest (thickest) wires were closest to the batt.

One problem I had was removing the extension studs atop the old batteries.

My Vise grips held the bolt while I used a wrench the remove the nut.
ALSO, please note that again the old battery cables were stacked improperly.



One set was a bear to remove. I ended up spraying the extension post with PB Blaster.
Normally I would have used Boeshield's T-9 Spray which is my favorite. It is made by Boeing.


affiliate links

Boeshield T-9 Spray - Rust and Corrosion Protection Waterproof Lubricant

Spray this on and it lubricates, loosens tight fittings, etc. I use it instead of PB Blaster or other spray lubricants. It is by Boeing (the aircraft people) and though $$ is worth paying retail.

Boeshield T-9 Bicycle Chain Waterproof Lubricant & Rust Protection, 4 oz. Liquid

I bought this version of T-9 too as it dispenses just a drop or three at a time. For places where precise placement of the lubricant is desired, this is the better choice. And it is less costly.


I have been a fan of T-9
for a few years now. It is a good product. I bought the liquid version for those places where I do not want overspray. The cap twists open on the smaller 4 ounce size. Incidentally, I am still using the initial small dropper version I bought back in 2016. I am on the third can of the spray. 


Getting the stud extension posts on the new batteries was not easy. I was reusing the old ones. To pry them apart the owner took the posts ashore and used a bench vise. There is a limited area where they mount. The original 8-volt batteries had individual caps. The new batts had one cover for all four cells. It was larger. There was only one way the extensions would fit securely.

It was a bear (very difficult) to get the extension post on properly.

Although you are not supposed to use a washer in the stack of battery cables, in
this case I did use one to hold the extra post down securely to the new 8-volt battery.

The boat's owner was kind enough to provide a PILLOW ↓ for me to sit on while down in the bilge.

Nice, eh? Except I could not find the cables that belonged on Post #8!

The diagram clearly shows a bunch of positive cables attached at the inbound aft post on the port side.

It was at this point I called it a day. Seven posts were finished on the port side.

Younger folks might not understand my insistence upon stopping early. I know I used to like to finish every job. Now however, stopping is a good idea. After all, I am retired. Tomorrow I will be fresher and ready to tackle those missing cables for post #8.

And yes, if you look at the previous picture you will be able to spot the missing wires. Have I mentioned stopping before becoming exhausted? It really was all so apparent the next day...

Working when tired is a recipe for mistakes. Do not do that!

I could not find the CABLES FOR POST #8 until I moved aside the brown pillow. Please be smarter than
I was. You have no idea the heartache and worry that were so easily resolved by shifting the pillow. Sigh.

The observant will spot the terminal end sans wire above. That is the one
I replaced in the
Proper Attachment of a Terminal End article.

I coupled the post #8 cables with a plastic wire tie covered by blue tape. This way I could not misplace any individual cables. So I lost them all...

Wires in bilges migrate with astounding speed, especially
when you are moving around down there. Secure your wires.


The primary engine feed 00-gauge hot (red/positive) is attached to the top post of the battery.
On the side I have connected the smaller ones, stacked with the largest diameter at the bottom.


Another thing I did prior to beginning this battery project was for the owner's records. I drew a schematic of the batteries. As I removed the cables I told him where they belonged. He made notes on his cards. The next person to tackle this will have our notes.

These cards will be put in the Equipment Book for his vessel:

For the photo I've got the port and starboard card reversed.

Final Report: The engine started right up without issue. Detroit diesels for this triple cabin motor yacht are reliable beasts. Give them clean fuel, air and power and they run. It was fun to be a part of making the 871's purr.

Thanks to the owner for letting me play in his bilges...

As for me, it's summertime. I am going to celebrate.

Happy boating to you, and thanks for reading.

Are your battery cables stacked properly?
And, does your boat have her original engine? What is it?

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2018, 2023

Categories: Gear, In the Bilges, Organizing,

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