I hate to remove or install a battery in any Corvette. This is especially true of the early cars. The reason is simple — you have to stand on your head, and the battery has to stand on its head as well.

In order to get the battery into the battery tray, it must be lowered into the engine compartment while held in the up-ended position. This is because there is not enough room to lower it into the correct place while in the normal, upright position. What makes it more difficult, however, is your arms don’t bend backwards. Usually, while trying to hold it and lower it slowly, acid spills out of the cells, making a big mess. If this weren’t enough, the acid on your hands causes you to lose your grip, and there goes your new battery, crashing down and landing upside down where no human being can reach. If your luck runs something like mine, at least one of the yellow plastic caps will be broken during the fall and you will be able to hear the glug-glug of the acid running out of the battery and down on your shoe.

After this happened to me about a dozen times, I decided to figure out some way of getting a battery changed without having to call out the hazardous-spill team. My mind started coming up with various cranes and davits and winches and robots when I finally thought of a more simple idea. Why not hang the battery from a simple plastic bag? If any acid is spilled out of the cells, it will be contained within the plastic bag and should be a lot easier to clean up. I found a couple of plastic bags from the grocery store, and put one inside the other for strength. In the photos, you will see I used only two bags, but I recommend you use three. Lift the battery up high enough to clear the fender, and swing it up over the exhaust manifold. It really helps if the manifold is less than 3,000 degrees when you try to do this because, as you can easily see, the bag will melt if the manifold is hot. If that happens, you may crack that new battery in half because it will be falling from a higher position than before. 

You should have a fender cover in place during this operation, and you will find it provides a soft padding for your elbow. With your elbow resting on the fender, your left hand and arm will be holding all of the weight of the battery. This al- lows you to use your right hand to turn the battery and to tip it up on end so it will slip down through that narrow opening into the battery tray area. As you bend your left wrist to lower the battery, it is very easy to guide it where you want it. 

After the battery is resting in the battery tray, you can remove the plastic bag by tipping the battery up on one end and slipping the bag out from under one side at a time, or you can tear the bag out from around the battery. If there is acid inside the bag, use paper towels to mop it up before you remove the bag.  I’ve also removed batteries from these cars using this technique. You must wiggle the battery into the bag when it is in the car, however, which is a little tricky, but it may be worth it because you will not spill acid when the battery is up-ended.

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