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Excalibur Series III battery question


daniel boeve
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A friend of mine did buy a Excalibur and to my great surprise its impossible to change the battery .Its put inside the chassis down beside the motor and cannot be lifted out via the motor compartment without dismounting the complete exhaust collector and pipes that go trough the front  fenders .Cannot go down neither as there is no room between the engine ( 7.7 litre) and chassis .The only thing i see to mount the battery at another place or smash the battery ( dirty job ) at its place and maybe put two narrow optima 6 volt batteries in the same holder.Of course buyers from excaliburs when they where new didn't change the batteries themself ...Some poor mechanic could shave his knuckles in doing that

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I'm pretty sure there was a fwd V6 Chevy or Pontiac that required the engine to be removed to change the spark plugs on the  bank nearest the firewall.  That's just lazy engineering, like the battery in the Excalibur. 

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4 hours ago, Pete O said:

I'm pretty sure there was a fwd V6 Chevy or Pontiac that required the engine to be removed to change the spark plugs on the  bank nearest the firewall.  That's just lazy engineering, like the battery in the Excalibur. 

 

As an aerospace engineer with over four decades of experience designing and building flight hardware, I really get tired of "armchair engineers" criticizing design decisions. EVERY SINGLE decision is a compromise, frequently driven by bean counters. Sure, you can make the car bigger to make servicing easier. That also makes it too large, too heavy, and too expensive. The FWD GM cars didn't require "the engine to be removed", that's just a BS statement. You made your life a LOT easier by tilting the engine forward, and there was a Kent Moore tool for doing that. Given the constraints of CAFE gas mileage, should the decision have been to make the car 6" longer and thus heavier (with lower mileage ratings)? Keep in mind that the gov't imposes a financial penalty on automakers who don't meet CAFE requirements. On the Excalibur, where, in your infinite wisdom, would you suggest putting the battery? In the trunk, taking up what little storage space is there? How much does that cost in additional copper, not to mention the voltage drop to get to the starter. Note that the battery is turning over a 454 Chevy motor. I'm guessing these critics would be the first to complain if the voltage drop caused a starting problem. Damn idiot engineers.

 

Frankly, we've already spent more time talking about this than it takes to pull the manifold and change the battery. There are eight bolts. Geeze.

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8 hours ago, Pete O said:

I'm pretty sure there was a fwd V6 Chevy or Pontiac that required the engine to be removed to change the spark plugs on the  bank nearest the firewall.  That's just lazy engineering, like the battery in the Excalibur. 

 

I resent that comment.  As noted by Joe, all engineering is a compromise.   There was a GM car that was difficult to get the sparkplugs out, but it was not necessary to remove the engine.  Usually if cases of difficult repair in the car a special tool is released to facilitate the repair.  

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Lighten up fellas.  Remember perspective here.  You're looking at it from the perspective of the engineer who designed it and get all defensive, perhaps righteously,  when criticized.  I'm looking at it from the perspective of the end user who wants to work on the car himself and can't because of the decisions the engineer made.  We both have valid points of view.

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1 hour ago, Pete O said:

Lighten up fellas.  Remember perspective here.  You're looking at it from the perspective of the engineer who designed it and get all defensive, perhaps righteously,  when criticized.  I'm looking at it from the perspective of the end user who wants to work on the car himself and can't because of the decisions the engineer made.  We both have valid points of view.

 

Your fundamental problem is that you ass-u-me that the engineer made the decision. That is not a "valid point of view". Serviceability is only one aspect of a multidimensional trade. Engineers do not arbitrarily decide to screw the end user who wants to maintain his or her vehicle.

 

I'll point out that versions of the Excalibur that used the small block Chevy mounted the battery on the firewall above the valve cover. I'm guessing that the use of the 454 precluded that option. Given the photo below, you'd probably be cussing at the "engineers" for making it impossible to reach the spark plugs or the distributor cap.

 

People make compromises for more power all the time. The classic example of that is headers for a 1967-68 Mustang with an FE motor (390/427/428). The only way to install or remove tubular headers is to unbolt the headers from the head, remove the head, and then remove the header. It's the price you pay for more performance. Either live with it or get a different car.

 

1980-excalibur-series-iv-phaeton

Edited by joe_padavano (see edit history)
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When I was working for GM, we had a representative from the Service Department in on many of the design meetings to try to make sure that parts of the car were easy to work on. 

 

Also at one time there was a set of GM standards like on how easy it should be to replace a headlight, the expected time to do it, and the basic tools required to do it.  Usually a screwdriver and a pair of plyers.  I am not sure those standards still exist. 

 

One of the challenges in todays world is computer aided design.  Just be cause you can design it on a tube does not mean it can be built.... and does not mean it can be serviced.   Just from my real world experience. 

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I always used to assume that British engineers had a special loathing for mechanics and tried to design things to be as hard as possible.   Of course they had a brilliant idea when they designed everything to leak oil so that it wouldn't rust in the humidity of Great Britain.

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