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Old 02-05-2023, 11:23 AM   #1
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Cutting an 8D battery

I have 4 totally dead 8D batteries (2 outboard of each engine) which I have abandoned for the last 2 years. I'm not able to get the port side batts out due to a water heater blocking the way fwd and the exhaust riser blocking an aft removal. Plus they're just to heavy for my tired old back.
I'm considering cutting them in half or thirds for removal.


Question: Can I:
1) Jam say, a sharpened 1/2" wood or delrin dowel into each cell, making way for a small tube to be inserted for pumping out the electrolyte without causing any "surprises"?

2) Cut them up with a sawzall sans previously mentioned "surprises"?


Or possibly cut around and lift the tops off each and lift out the plates.

I can do this in or over the FG boxes they live in thus catching any run-off and debris.
Is this doable, or am I as crazy as this sounds?
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Old 02-05-2023, 11:36 AM   #2
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Could hired muscle move the batteries around those obstructions?

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Old 02-05-2023, 11:37 AM   #3
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Personally I would temporarily move the water heater, drain, remove hold down hardware, and shift out of the way. If it cannot be shifted, disconnect, and remove to get at the batteries.

Just me, but I would NOT cut into a FLA battery to get it out. You'll never be able to remove all the electrolyte, and some will spill into the bilge.
If you have any salt water in the bilge, you will now have chlorine (hydrochloric) gas in the engine compartment . . . . which can incapacitate you, cause permanent lung damage, or kill you. I'd prefer to avoid that myself.
Also, the acid can damage or destroy paint, aluminum, etc. Why risk it?
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Old 02-05-2023, 12:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowgoesit View Post
Personally I would temporarily move the water, drain, remove hold down hardware, and shift out of the way. If it cannot be shifted, disconnect, and remove to get at the batteries.

Just me, but I would NOT cut into a FLA battery to get it out. You'll never be able to remove all the electrolyte, and some will spill into the bilge.
If you have any salt water in the bilge, you will now have chlorine (hydrochloric) gas in the engine compartment . . . . which can incapacitate you, cause permanent lung damage, or kill you. I'd prefer to avoid that myself.
Also, the acid can damage or destroy paint, aluminum, etc. Why risk it?
I would agree.

I would also change the location of the components so that the batteries are blocking the water heater from removal, not the other way around.

Batteries need checking. Even if they require no water, it is important to check them occasionally as the terminals are high amperage connections and represent a risk of fire if connections vibrate a bit loose.
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Old 02-05-2023, 12:09 PM   #5
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As long as the batteries are accessible from above you could cut the tops off.
The plates are connected at the tops with lead links and can be handled one by one.
All the electrolyte can then be removed leaving only the case to be cut as needed.

That being said, a water heater sounds easier to move (to me).
A plywood plank made it less painful for my upgrade to 125lb. batteries years ago.
I was able to slide the old 8D's up the ramp and slide the new ones back down.
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Old 02-05-2023, 12:34 PM   #6
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Even though your 8D is dead, it is still full of acid. Cutting it would be dangerous to both human and surrounding equipment.
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Old 02-05-2023, 12:41 PM   #7
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As said already, remove them in one undamaged piece. A cut up battery will need to go to a hazardous waste storage site. That could prove problematic. I’ve some knowledge on this subject having worked in the lead production and battery recycling industries.

Once removed you’ve got several options for newly freed up space. Stay safe; the innards of a battery are loaded with water soluble lead sulfate.
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Old 02-05-2023, 11:42 PM   #8
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Not sure this would help you. I had six 8Ds to change out. Was able to drill a hole in the deck above the batteries. Dropped a rope thru that connected to a bar that went thru both handles. Put a bar on the rope topside and had two guys lift. Was able to swing it out of its spot to a more convenient one for removal.
Kinda a Rube Goldberg but saved my back. Put 8Ds back in. They should last as long as I have the boat. Need to leave a challenge for the next guy
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Old 02-06-2023, 05:45 AM   #9
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"Is this doable, or am I as crazy as this sounds?"

Well Steve, might be easier to drill a small hole in the top, stick some fish tank tubing into it, give it a big deep suck and drain the acid that way. What could possibly go wrong???
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Old 02-06-2023, 06:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako View Post
"Is this doable, or am I as crazy as this sounds?"



Well Steve, might be easier to drill a small hole in the top, stick some fish tank tubing into it, give it a big deep suck and drain the acid that way. What could possibly go wrong???
Try not to swallow :-)
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Old 02-06-2023, 07:40 AM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. S. Hire a couple of yard apes and take them out in one piece. No matter how careful you THINK you're being, you're sure to get sulfuric acid all over the place. Most definitely NOT worth the risk to you or the boat.
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Old 02-06-2023, 10:54 AM   #12
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Back in my younger, more ignorant days I used to salvage batteries for the lead. I also made a number of "dummy" empty cases for storage of valuables, great disguise.

Anyway, I know whereof I speak. You can not drain the acid from a battery from the top. Period, can't be done. Even tipping one over does not really empty them. You can, however, drill holes in or near the bottom to drain the acid. You will need a hole for each cell, so six in a twelve volt battery. Catching the acid can be problematic so have a good plan in place before you drill. There is not as much acid in a battery as you may suspect, even a series "D". Less than a gallon. After the batteries are empty literally flood them with baking soda and water. I'm talking a couple boxes of baking soda per battery. Flood with lots of water. After a short time the acid becomes neutral and you don't have to be so careful with it.

Now the hard part. Those cases are VERY tough. There is not just a shell around the battery but each cell is enclosed in the same material. A sawzall with a demolition blade will do the job though.

It really is not that bad of a job, you can easily do it. Go for it.

Two final points though,EYE PROTECTION and gloves!!!

In closing let me say this, I have said it often before. 8D batteries have no place on a boat.

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Old 02-06-2023, 11:11 AM   #13
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Not sure weíre even discussing this subject still, unless itís just rhetorical.

However I am curious about the statement about 8Ds having no place in a boat. Please expand on that.
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Old 02-06-2023, 11:18 AM   #14
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Not sure weíre even discussing this subject still, unless itís just rhetorical.

However I am curious about the statement about 8Ds having no place in a boat. Please expand on that.
It is much easier to use two group 31 batteries in place of one 8D. You get the same power but you have a more manageable package.
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Old 02-06-2023, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
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It is much easier to use two group 31 batteries in place of one 8D. You get the same power but you have a more manageable package.
Ummmm... yeah, maybe, maybe not so much.

Typical 8D capacity is in the neighborhood of 245Ah I think, and our Lifeline AGMs are 255Ah.

Two G31s typically give you about 200Ah. I think three G31s won't fit in the same space as two 8Ds, although IIRC it can be close but a different shape.

Six GC2s will fit in the same space as two 8Ds, I think, sometimes not a bad trade-off.

All this from (sometime faulty) memory, of course, so mea culpa if I got some details wrong.

It certainly can be easier to shift a G31 (our Odysseys were something like 76lbs) compared to an 8D (ours are 156lbs).

I don't agree that 8Ds are unsuitable, but I certainly do recognize the challenges 8Ds can present... and I can see that often a different battery size (and weight) might be preferable.

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Old 02-06-2023, 03:45 PM   #16
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I would find a way to remove the batteries intact, including removing the hot water heater or exhaust to do so. If access is so poor, how will you get in there lift to batteries up and position them such that you can drill holes, one at a time, tip the battery to drain each cell, then move on to the next cell. And once you have a bucket of sulfuric acid (wait, it will be 2 gallons because you have two batteries) what will you do with it? And what about all the acid soaked lead? And be darn sure they are 100% dead. Otherwise drilling into them will likely cause a short and possibly disassemble the batteries for you.
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Old 02-06-2023, 04:03 PM   #17
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Please don't. Unless you're a jerk, in which case knock yourself out. But seriously, sounds like a really bad idea. I would rather give you a hand than find out what went wrong. I'm in Stuart, if you need help send me a message.
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Old 02-09-2023, 09:39 AM   #18
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions. (except for the sucking bit, back at ya) Cutting the tops off seems like an option worth investigating a bit further. But it looks like the riser is coming off and hired brute strength will prevail. The batteries really are in a terrible place to service them.

The water heater is broadside to the engine and ahead of it is the water pressure system and a platform with refer equipment above. I'll take a few pics.

Stand by.
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Old 02-09-2023, 09:54 AM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. S. " Cutting the tops off seems like an option worth investigating a bit further." How on earth did you come to THAT ludicrous conclusion???? Just for fun (???) take one drop of battery acid and put it on your cheek. I think your "further consideration" will vaporize faster than the skin on your cheek.


Bite the bullet. Remove whatever obstructions as are necessary, hire some muscle and do your swap-over in the safest way possible. Give serious consideration to either replacing with more manageable sized batteries or relocating to a more accessible spot. The latter being the best option IMO.



I've made a few REALLY stupid mistakes while dealing with acids but no lasting or serious injuries.
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Old 02-09-2023, 09:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve1.0 View Post
Thanks for the replies and suggestions. (except for the sucking bit, back at ya) Cutting the tops off seems like an option worth investigating a bit further. But it looks like the riser is coming off and hired brute strength will prevail. The batteries really are in a terrible place to service them.

The water heater is broadside to the engine and ahead of it is the water pressure system and a platform with refer equipment above. I'll take a few pics.

Stand by.
Lots of stuff on the internet (especially YouTube) about draining batteries.... looks like it can be done reasonably safely if precautions are taken.

Just beware the videos of the guy(s) not wearing gloves or glasses or even have much of a step by step plan.
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