U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

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Sidecar Bob
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U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#1

Post by Sidecar Bob »

As some of you may recall I mentioned in the New Engine thread last year that I wanted to convert Mr.H to use a U1 battery and I have mentioned that I was working on it in the Weather thread so I figured it was about time I posted some info about the project.

For those that don't know, U1 is a standard battery "group number" for batteries that are commonly used in riding mowers (ironically, my current riding mower uses the same Y50-N18L battery that the 'Wing originally used). I started using them on sidecar outfits when the battery died in my original GL1000 sidecar outfit. That 'Wing was the winter machine; The U1 battery from the mower I had then had similar specs to the Y50-N18L and if the 'Wing and the mower shared the battery I would have one less battery to maintain year round :idea: so I built a box to mount the battery behind the seat.
You can see it in this pic taken after I got the wreck home after the outfit was written off (a car turned left across my path)
Bent 'Wing left.jpg
Since then that same battery box has held a U1 on every winter machine I've had because their original 12-14 AH powersports batteries just didn't have enough Cold Cranking Amps to run the stater motor after sitting in the parking lot all day at -30c/-22f. After riding in a marine battery box that was way too big for it next to the topbox (both in place of the back seat) on Eccles for a few years
Oct 07 rear.jpg
In 2011, while I was working on replacing the Velorex sidecar's original frame (after 10 winters of use how much steel was left and what were they using for steel in the Czech republic that year anyway?) with a brand new Ural sidecar frame I decided that that venerable old topbox was getting worn out so I replaced it with one from a SilverWing and moved the battery box to the sidecar frame
Eccles - battery box & sidecar mounts 2011.JPG
Eccles & Mr.H are rarely driven in the same week so the plan is to eliminate the need to look after one battery by having them share the U1. Last fall I discovered that they do indeed make battery boxes to fit the U1 so I ordered one of these
https://www.amazon.ca/NOCO-HM082BKS-Gro ... 002WCUIC4/
Yikes!! I'm glad I bought it then because the price has almost doubled :shock:

I'll start on how I'm mounting it in the next post.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#2

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I was sure I had a few feet of the same 2 x 4 x 1/4" aluminum angle I made the first box from so I originally planned to make a box similar to the one on Eccles out of that and some 1/4" flat head bolts but I searched everywhere it could be and couldn't find any so on to plan B: bed frame angle iron. I had a couple of sets of old fashioned 1.5 x 1.5 x 1/8" angle iron bed rails in the attic that I had saved for making stuff so I brought one rail down and redesigned the battery platform for that.

The first consideration was where & how to mount it. I had originally planned for the aluminum box to sit crosswise and the bike end to attach to the subframe but using the smaller steel would allow me to mount it lengthwise so it only attaches to the sidecar. Muffler clamps seemed like a good way to attach it to the round frame member and the end of the ballmouth tube
Battery platform - muffler clamps.jpg
I must be starting to get good at cutting stuff with the angle grinder because the cuts I made for this needed very little grinding to true them (I forgot to take a pic of the parts until I had made the first weld)
Battery platform parts.jpg
After some welding and a lot more grinding than I would like (I don't do enough welding to get really good at it) I test fitted it
Batery platform in place.jpg
After that I gave it a couple of coats of Kryptonite, painted the clamps and mounted it permanently (no pic because it looks exactly the same as in the last one except flat black).

At that point progress slowed for a few weeks while I worked on expanding the veg garden, getting it ready for planting and getting all the seedlings & seeds in.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#3

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Making up the battery cables came next. I bought a set of automotive battery cables when I put Eccles together but in about 3 years the crimped on lugs corroded and I replaced them. When the replacements developed the same problem a couple of years later (at the same time I was moving Eccles' battery to the sidecar frame) I bought some cast copper solder on 1/4" lugs to replace the original formed sheet metal ones and added heat shrink over silicone sealant to keep any exposed conductor clean & dry. They still work fine 8 years later so I dug out the old ones and the bag of lugs to make these from (this is the only time I can remember that Mr.H has received hand me downs from Eccles :roll:). Since I wanted the ground connection to be under an engine mount like the original I scavenged the lug for that from a spare original negative cable and soldered it on. Note also that one of the positive cable's lugs is bent back at an angle similar to the lug on the solenoid end of the starter motor cable and the extra layer of insulation (heat shrink) in areas where they may be abraided.
BTW: Everywhere you see heat shrink I spread a layer of silicone sealant over the cable first so that as it shrunk it forced the excess silicone out the ends, making it very waterproof.
New battery cables.jpg
I may have been one of the first to do the main fuse mod when I replaced the dogbone fuse with a glass cartridge fuse in an inline holder on my '77 in the early '90s and I probably used the same holder when I put Mr.H together in '97. Somewhere along the line I changed to a blade fuse in a waterproof holder but because of where the solenoid was I bumped the wire every time I put the side cover on or took it off, which eventually broke the little lug. The first time I just replaced the lug but when it broke again while I was working on figuring out the cables I decided it was time to change things so that won't happen again and the best way to do that would be to move the solenoid so that it is farther from the side cover. I started by making up a little bracket for the solenoid holder to attach to and moving the wires that attach to the solenoid around a bit
Solenoid bracket.JPG
Here is the solenoid in its new home. I used the boot from a spare starter motor cable on the new positive cable. The red wire running upward into the plastic tube is connected to a fuse holder near the air cleaner that feeds the relay for the HID headlight. It originally went directly to the battery's positive terminal but I felt it was better to connect it to the always live side of the fuse than to extend it to reach the new battery or to fight with it to attach it to the B terminal of the solenoid
Solenoid on bracket.JPG
Here is the negative cable connected to ground. Because the battery is now to the right of the bike it made sense to move the ground point to the right side engine mount
Negative cable attached.jpg
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Last edited by Sidecar Bob on Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#4

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Re moving the solenoid into the original battery box, this isn't the first time I've done that sort of thing. Here is a pic of Eccles' former battery box
New fusebox location.JPG
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
User avatar
Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#5

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I had put a dead U1 I had laying around into the box and put it on the platform while I figured out the cable lengths & routing and had even bolted the cables to it temporarily; I was about to start tying the cables down so that they would enter the box through one of the ribs on the cover when I realized that the routing inside the box would be affected by the battery hold down so I had better do that first. I had intended to use a piece of 1/2" plastic plumbing pipe but when I cut a piece of pipe and laid on top of the battery it was obvious that the lid wouldn't go over it, even if I cut the ends off at 45 degrees (I tried).

I considered a few alternatives; It had to sit between the battery terminals and the vent caps and obviously nothing conductive could touch the terminals but I didn't have anything plastic that was strong enough except the pipe and I didn't like the idea of wood because it would suck up any acid that found its way out of the battery. I found a piece of 5/16" steel rod and thought if I could flatten the ends enough there might be enough meat to drill holes for the stays (1/4" threaded rod) so I heated it with my propane torch (the self lighting one died and I had to dig out my old manual one) as hot as I could and hammered it but it wasn't hot enough so as it got thinner it got longer instead of wider so I gave up on that. A couple of days ago I decided to have a dig around in the basement workshop (still my Dad's shop a couple of decades after we inherited the house) and in a box of metal odds & ends I found a strip of steel about 5/16" wide and 1/8" thick and just about the right length. Perfect except that it wasn't wide enough to drill for the stays and it had holes in it that were half an inch too far apart :-?

Something told me that this was what I should use so I took it to the garage and thought about it some more and figured I could make it work if I welded on some 5/16" washers. By the time I was done I had welded the washers on, welded in the holes in the strip and in the washers and built up the sides of the washers. I drilled new 17/64" holes (to clear 1/4-20), cleaned it up, wiped it down and put it on a hook for painting. I was going to just give it a quick spray of primer and then black but I noticed an old can of blue RustCoat (needs no primer) so I used that. By morning I had decided it would be a good idea to add some heat shrink to minimize the risk of shorting while installing it and since it was already a bright colour
Battery hold down.jpg
So I laid it in place, bolted the cables to the battery and tied the cables down, I thought I had some 1/4" threaded rod to make the stays but the long pieces are all 5/16" so I'll have to go for a ride on Eccles this afternoon :8)
Cables on battery.JPG
It will look more or less like this when the working battery is installed.
Almost finished.JPG
In case you are wondering, Mr.H doesn't have a right side cover or passenger pegs. When I added the sidecar I would have had to cut the side cover to fit around the frame clamp for the strut and I decided that the side of the tank sticking out like that looked OK for the side facing the sidecar. I removed the passenger pegs when I painted the bike (a year after I added the sidecar) and never got around to putting them back on. It has never been an issue because passengers always sit in the sidecar and the only time the rear seat gets used is when we strap the tent on it. There is just enough room for the pegs between their mounts and the battery box if I ever decide I need them, though.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
User avatar
Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#6

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Continuing with the theme of "nothing is ever as simple as it should be":
I got the threaded rod, cut a piece off and tried to bend it. I even heated it with the propane torch at least hot enough to discolour the plating and it still cracked :shock:
If you look at the pic in post#1 that shows the battery on the sidecar frame on Eccles carefully you will see that only a couple of inches on the end of the stay bolt is threaded. When I made those my job included assembling spools for the rope I made; The supplier always included extra spool bolts in each shipment and we sometimes used the extras to make things for the plant so it was natural that I would use them for the battery. They must be a different alloy because I bent spool bolts cold with a hammer & vise a number of times and never had any problems with them.

I thought about welding nuts onto pieces of threaded rod so they would be like long bolts but there is a frame member below one of the holes so it wouldn't go in. I thought about using short bolts from below into long nuts with threaded rod studs screwed into the long nuts from above and even assembled one but then I realized that it would be better to just put a regular nut above and an elastic stop nut below (with appropriate washers)
Stay Bolts.JPG
With the dead battery (I didn't bother hooking up the cables)
Hold down & Stay bolts.JPG
And of course, the lid wouldn't go on easily because it hit the nuts so I softened it with the heat gun and pushed bulges into it from the inside with the end of a pair of pliers that are pretty smooth
Lid with bulges.JPG
I'll be working in the garden most of today and then I need to get the fork oil changed (& fix the weeping o-ring in the TRAC) and change the coolant (about 500 Km since I replaced the engine - I already changed the oil) and I'll be able to try this out :-D
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#7

Post by Track T 2411 »

Nice work!
"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein

"He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail" - Abraham Maslow

"If you can't take the time to do it right the first time, how are you ever going to find the time to do it over?" -Unknown

Current Rides:
'Grumpy' - '81 Standard, now fully dressed.
'Layla' - '81 Standard w/dealer installed fairing and Hondaline bags.
'Scarlett' '76 'Survivor' nekkid as a j-bird!

Under Construction:
The 'Jalopy' '78-'79 Mash-up
'Quikie' '81 gl1100I back on the lift, project with the step-son!

In The Shed:
'81 gl1100I barn find aka "Josie, the farmer's daughter." (almost comatose build)
'77 gl1000, roller parts bike.
'82 gl1100I, 'Old Crusty' titled roller parts bike (free!)
'82 gl1100I, My first 'Wing, and an expensive lesson!
New2U Bike? Read Me.
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: U1 battery for GL1100/sidecar

#8

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I just realized that I never reported back on how well it works. As expected, the battery is more than adequate for the 'Wing.

But I did find lifting it in & out of the box awkward and carrying it from the shed at the back of the yard to the garage at the front of the house after putting Mr.H to bed for the winter and back again in the spring wasn't my favourite job.
Then I found a battery carrier like this on sale at Princess Auto and the job became much easier :orange
Battery carrier.gif
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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