I recently had to burrow into the entrails of my new 21 year old truck’s transmission. It is sort of a rite of passage with the old Dodges. Specifications for putting the various pieces back together are very specific. I remember what my little brother did to his Plymouth’s transmission 45 years ago and I didn’t want it to happen on my Dodge, so I bought a new torque wrench. I had one I bought 50 years ago, but it was built for many foot pounds and not the inch pounds required of delicate transmission in the 6000 lb. pickup. The new 1/4″ drive wrench set me back around $20 at America’s favorite Chinese tool store. I didn’t have a coupon.

Having successfully reassembled the transmission, I set out for another load of batteries to evaluate for the Solar Yacht project. Another few hundred amp hours never hurt any battery bank.

These are my biggest batteries yet, but they have the smallest bolts, yet. It uses M6 bolts…less than 1/4″. Most of my others use 5/16. Batteries with just a hole in a post are not terribly worrisome. If you overtighten and break the bolt you just put in another. If you overtighten a top stud battery, like GC batteries, you can pull the stud out, which starts to be a problem. My recent additions have bolts that go into brass inserts in the case. If you break off a bolt you have a real problem. If they are large enough, you might be able to use an extractor. My view of the extractor is that it is a noble thought, but generally not very useful.

The key to not worrying about this stuff at all is to use a torque wrench set to the battery manufacturer’s spec. Do so and the terminal will be tight enough and you won’t break it. I think I set mine to around 80 inch/lbs. for the M6 bolts. Just set the dial and pull on the handle until you feel it click. No worries about too tight or too loose.

I don’t plan to go back into the transmission, anytime soon, so the torque wrench and appropriate sockets will live in the battery room with a few other tools that are commonly needed.–Neal

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