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Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-05-23 7:28 PM (#540758)
Subject: Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover



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Location: Lower Mainland BC
I'm in front the garage to take a break and calm down. Thought you guys would enjoy a laugh (at my expense).

I am carrying on with the renewal of my 56 D500's 315 hemi valve covers. I did the right bank (the easy side) yesterday. Today I got at the left side (driver's side) cover. Not as easy.

Reasons why you might want to/should totally disconnect the battery during this procedure:

1. The number 7 spark plug tube lines up pretty much with the end of the always "hot" brake light switch on the end of the master cylinder. Pretty much need an extension on your sparkplug socket to reach the plug and oops it won't fit on without removing the brake light switch wires. And then when you do, there is still a path for 12V to make it to the two connectors . Your extension will touch the to connector pins on the switch and there will be sparks. Masking tape over the connector pins isn't good enough. Sparks. Electrical tape does work and allows you to get the plug out. No sparks.

2. Once I had the spark plugs and tubes out and the three valve cover top nuts and three bottom bolts off and out, I could theoretically pull the valve cover off the head. It lifted off the head *BUT* I could not get it out of the engine bay. The PS hoses are in the way. After trying failing to loosen the high pressure PS hose fitting at the pump (even with a proper 5/8" wrench, it was starting to round the fitting). Okay I decide that I am going to have to loosen/remove the generator/PS pump combo and lift it towards the fender. I better disconnect the battery (so I do, but just the (+) hot cable, thinking that will stop the current flow). Can you see where this is going?

3. The Generator and PS tandem is heavy and once I have the bolts out and wires off, I can lift it with two hands and hold it (sort of) with my left while I try to manipulate the valve cover from under the generator bracket (which I didn't remove), etc. with my right hand/arm. Except the generator/ps pump isn't easy to hang on to and low and behold it can touch the (+) battery terminal and the engine (valve cover, etc) when it slips. MORE sparks. I did that **TWICE**. I tell myself "This getting stupid". *FINALLY* I remove the battery ground cable at the (-) terminal. DUH. Good thing PS fluid isn't very flammable because it was the top of the PS fluid filler tower that touched the (+) terminal

With not sparking issues, I got the valve cover out. It's soaking in paint stripper now and I hear it calling my name.

Hope you had at least one chuckle.




Edited by 56D500boy 2017-05-23 7:30 PM
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Greg P.
Posted 2017-05-26 4:57 PM (#540948 - in reply to #540758)
Subject: RE: Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover



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Location: Oley, PA
Good post. Only got a chuckle as I've made the same or similar mistake before. I'm pretty sure anyone who has wrenched on cars long enough has done something like that.

I thought this would be a good place to mention a general good safety precaution. Please forgive me if this is something you already know.

ALWAYS remove the ground (usually negative) cable from the battery BEFORE removing the hot (usually positive) cable. (On a positive ground car, remove the positive (ground) first, then the negative (hot)). Most of our cars are negative ground, but I believe the 55-56s are positive.

The danger in removing the hot terminal first goes like this. You put a wrench on the + terminal, the wrench slips and makes contact with any metal part of the car (such as fender). Now you have a dead short circuit to ground. The battery will provide massive current flow though your short. A car battery can supply an amazing amount of current that can cause a lot of damage or injury in an instant. Low voltage but high a current.

Many years ago I saw my boss do precisely this on his 72 Lincoln. The wrench welded itself to the fender and he could not pull it off. The battery exploded. Lucky for him, the sides blew out of the battery and not the top. He was drenched with battery acid from the chest down, but somehow none got in his face.

It is generally good idea to disconnect the battery when doing a lot of different type of work on our cars. If you are not working in the vicinity of the battery, lifting the negative terminal will suffice. If your work is near the battery, disconnect both.

I knew a guy (also years ago) who was working underneath a car and stuck his hand out up in between the starter and the frame. His metal watch band made a short between the positive lead on the starter and the frame. The resulting high current through his watch band was enough to cause a very serious burn on his wrist. The accident happened in a split second but the scars were permanent.


Edited by Greg P. 2017-05-26 5:03 PM
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local2Ed
Posted 2017-05-27 11:45 AM (#540979 - in reply to #540758)
Subject: RE: Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover


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Whenever I have a disconnected battery, whether in the car or on the work bench, I immediately put the black and red plastic caps that come with a new battery on the battery terminals.
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miquelonbrad
Posted 2017-06-18 8:09 PM (#542426 - in reply to #540758)
Subject: Re: Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover



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Location: Hay Lakes, Alberta, Canada
I welded a wrench to the fender on one of my cars once...reminds me why I should disconnect the battery, each time I work under the hood.
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-06-18 9:41 PM (#542429 - in reply to #542426)
Subject: Re: Several Rasons to disconnect the battery before removing the left bank 315 hemi valve cover



Elite Veteran

Posts: 1173
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Location: Lower Mainland BC
miquelonbrad - 2017-06-18 8:09 PM
I welded a wrench to the fender on one of my cars once...reminds me why I should disconnect the battery, each time I work under the hood.


local2Ed - 2017-05-27 11:45 AM Whenever I have a disconnected battery, whether in the car or on the work bench, I immediately put the black and red plastic caps that come with a new battery on the battery terminals.


Yup. Sh*t can happen - if you let it. I was cleaning up various piles of Dodge bits on the weekend and found the battery post caps that I had taken off in September. They are now on the battery until I re-install the cables in a few days (I hope).

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