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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Default IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Hey guys so I just made a really stupid mistake and installed a new battery backwards. This is on my other car, a 1977 Lincoln Mark V with a small block ford 400. I wasn't even able to get the terminals disconnected quickly as it got stuck when I connected the battery. So it sat sparking and smoking for about 10 seconds or so.

    What have I blown and what do I need to replace? I'm assuming fusible link, starter solenoid, coil, alternator, and fuses? Do I need to replace the main engine wiring harness as well? What about all my gauges and dash electronics? Door/window locks?

    Very pissed at myself right now.

    The wiring was all stock as far as I know.
    Patrick Marquis

    1970 Skylark Custom
    SP Code 350 SBB
    Restoring While Driving

    1977 Lincoln Mark V
    400 SBF
    Lowrider Project

    “Aerodynamics are for people that can’t build engines.” -Enzo Ferrari

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Live Oak Florida
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    7,833

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    What happens when you let it cool off and connect it correctly?
    ROA Member # 13359
    BCA #46919
    BPG #2320
    68 Riviera: Show car.
    78 Regal:Track car 1.47 60'- 7.00.9 1/8 mile, 11.14 1/4

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    313

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by Briz View Post
    What happens when you let it cool off and connect it correctly?
    When I crank I get nothing, no power. I'm not sure if this is because the battery was drained or I blew something. I watched the thick wires going from the battery to the solenoid and solenoid to wiring harness smoke and pop. That means they have to be replaced right?
    Patrick Marquis

    1970 Skylark Custom
    SP Code 350 SBB
    Restoring While Driving

    1977 Lincoln Mark V
    400 SBF
    Lowrider Project

    “Aerodynamics are for people that can’t build engines.” -Enzo Ferrari

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    27,428

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by patwhac View Post
    When I crank I get nothing, no power. I'm not sure if this is because the battery was drained or I blew something. I watched the thick wires going from the battery to the solenoid and solenoid to wiring harness smoke and pop. That means they have to be replaced right?
    Any melted wiring must be replaced of course. You need to look at the entire engine harness. When you connected the negative cable to the + post of the battery, all you needed was a ground path on the positive side for a direct short. Look for what is melted and replace it, and go from there. Not sure if you have fusible links or main fuses that could be blown.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    THM400 with Ultimate 258mm converter, Gear Vendors OD
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's Race weight 4025lbs.
    Best E.T. 11.54 Best MPH, 116.06
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    SE PA
    Posts
    1,863

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Most Ford Fusible links are right at the starter Solenoid.
    LOU

    70 GSX STAGE 1 QQ #554
    73 RIVIERA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    3,668

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Battery is toast, and yea any wire that has lost its insulation needs to be replaced
    70 stage 1 Back under construction
    540 Tomahawk, F1c-94 Procharger
    Holley HP EFI, Stage 2 TE's
    Shooting for 1khp at the tire and 5.50s

    .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Simi Valley, CA
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    4,386

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Not too sure about the battery condition, may be just dead. But you may have roasted diodes in the alternator. Take it and have it tested. You shouldn't have roasted any interior electrics/electronics if the ignition was turned off. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Berkeley, CA
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    313

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Thanks guys, I'm going to start with the battery and fusible links, which it looks like are right on the solenoid as stated above, and go from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteeveeDee View Post
    Not too sure about the battery condition, may be just dead. But you may have roasted diodes in the alternator. Take it and have it tested. You shouldn't have roasted any interior electrics/electronics if the ignition was turned off. Good luck.
    That is somewhat reassuring! I'm past the beating myself up phase and in the fix it phase now . . .
    Patrick Marquis

    1970 Skylark Custom
    SP Code 350 SBB
    Restoring While Driving

    1977 Lincoln Mark V
    400 SBF
    Lowrider Project

    “Aerodynamics are for people that can’t build engines.” -Enzo Ferrari

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Garfield Hts, Ohio
    Posts
    4,850

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    That happens even to a seasoned gear head
    Be glad the battery didn't explode, AND you weren't sprayed with acid and smothered in hydrogen gas
    I'm going to hazard a guess here, being that the short lasted for only a few seconds, and the battery didn't explode, the wiring or fusable links melted, opening the path to ground, possibly saving more damage.
    71 GS 350 (mine) Best so far 13.65 @ 98.84 mph
    SP3 track testing to resume in 2016!
    413 cam going away, switching to TA roller, starting again with Stage 1 and Q-Jet, then to SP3 and AED
    87 Grand National (Hers) no passes yet
    00 Monte Carlo
    2001 GMC Safari AWD
    2007 Mazda 3
    Ranch house with 4 dogs and a cat

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Orlando Florida
    Posts
    6,620

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Been there, done that
    When I tried to start it, I saw the smoke under the hood immediately and realized what I had done
    For me all that melted was the fusible link.
    Car was parts car so I just twisted it back together and could start it. Everything else worked fine
    Curtis
    ______________


    1970 GS 455 4-Speed
    1972 GS 350 Convertible (SOLD)

    My Blog http://72buickgs.blogspot.com/

    My Buick Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuickGSOwners/

    "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    near Birmingham (Alabaster)Alabama
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    Default IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    I did that on my 1966 Chev Biscayne.
    I had to replace alternator and fusible links.
    "Bulldog" James A. Miller

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    462

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Some years ago I went to my storage unit and it was dark and I wanted to get my 64 Corvette started to drive it to the house for a car show coming up. Being new to the Corvette world I forgot they have a positive ground so when I connected the battery box and turned the key I saw smoke and cracklin noise. Turns out I connected the battery box positive to positive terminal on the battery and should have been connected to the negative terminal and vice versa. Cost me $500 for a new engine harness, installation and working out the bugs. I am very careful with my 65 Corvette now!

    Chuck

    Buicks
    1932 Model 67S
    1967 GS 400
    1967 Sport Wagon 400
    1967 GS 400 Convertible
    1973 Riviera
    2016 Enclave

    Others
    1929 Model A Ford Pickup
    1931 Model A Ford Deluxe Phaeton
    1965 Corvette Coupe 365/4 spd
    2006 Chevy SSR pickup
    2007 Corvette Indy Pace Car replica

  13. #13
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by chucknixon View Post
    Some years ago I went to my storage unit and it was dark and I wanted to get my 64 Corvette started to drive it to the house for a car show coming up. Being new to the Corvette world I forgot they have a positive ground so when I connected the battery box and turned the key I saw smoke and cracklin noise. Turns out I connected the battery box positive to positive terminal on the battery and should have been connected to the negative terminal and vice versa. Cost me $500 for a new engine harness, installation and working out the bugs. I am very careful with my 65 Corvette now!

    I didn't know that about a Corvette being positive ground.
    The Packard and Bentley I get to drive on occasions are positive ground. The owner has a tag on the battery and starter to remind any one jumping them off.
    On the Packard , the best way to jump
    It off is, connect to the solenoid and the engine block. Because the battery is under the floor board.
    He has a tag on the solenoid marked (NEGATIVE)
    and on a head bolt marked (POSITIVE)
    "Bulldog" James A. Miller

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    highland lks,n.j.
    Posts
    604

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Years ago, a fellow employee couldn't start his car, so he got a jump. The problem was the guy giving him the jump, started his car up and connected the positive to the neg etc, has soon as he hit the starter, the battery blew up. the only thing left was the two posts . at the time it was funny has hell.....
    owen
    ______
    "Eat dessert first...life is short"
    1970gsx (white) stg 1(#37)

  15. #15
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    Nov 2005
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    A 1964 Corvette is not positive ground. Neither is any other American-made 12 volt car. A few British cars were 12 V positive ground.
    John Codman
    Formerly owned Buicks:
    '33,'48, '51, '52, '54, '55 (3), '56, '60 LeSabre 3 sp stick.
    264 powered '53 Mercury
    322 then 264 powered 55 Ford
    264 powered '56 Chevy
    Presently - 431 nailhead powered '82 C-10

  16. #16
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    [QUOTE=John Codman;2639002]A 1964 Corvette is not positive ground. Neither is any other American-made 12 volt car. A few British cars were 12 V positive ground.[/QUOTE

    One of the last Positive ground American cars was the 55 Pontiac . None in the 60's except for Foreign cars.
    LOU

    70 GSX STAGE 1 QQ #554
    73 RIVIERA

  17. #17
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    [QUOTE=gsx455-4ever;2639083]
    Quote Originally Posted by John Codman View Post
    A 1964 Corvette is not positive ground. Neither is any other American-made 12 volt car. A few British cars were 12 V positive ground.[/QUOTE

    One of the last Positive ground American cars was the 55 Pontiac . None in the 60's except for Foreign cars.
    Only the 6V ones, and this is not to be constituted as an agreement that a '55 Pontiac was either 6V or positive ground - I honestly don't know. I thought GM was completely 12 V in 1955. The V8 Ford and Mopar also did 6V positive ground. I am not aware of any American 12 V positive ground cars. The '55 Fords and Plymouths (possibly other Chrysler products) were 6V. All major US manufacturers went to 12V by 1956. All were negative ground. Actually, if you are in the "electron theory" camp (electricity flows from negative to positive) positive ground would be the more sensible way to wire stuff.
    John Codman
    Formerly owned Buicks:
    '33,'48, '51, '52, '54, '55 (3), '56, '60 LeSabre 3 sp stick.
    264 powered '53 Mercury
    322 then 264 powered 55 Ford
    264 powered '56 Chevy
    Presently - 431 nailhead powered '82 C-10

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    725

    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Demko View Post
    That happens even to a seasoned gear head
    Be glad the battery didn't explode, AND you weren't sprayed with acid and smothered in hydrogen gas
    I'm going to hazard a guess here, being that the short lasted for only a few seconds, and the battery didn't explode, the wiring or fusable links melted, opening the path to ground, possibly saving more damage.
    It does happen - When I was in HS, I hooked up the jumper cables backwards on my dad's '77 LTD II (special ordered 400 CID) & all I remember was a shower of sparks & ripping the cable off - if I had to re-live it, it was maybe 3-4 seconds. Damn backwards Ford batteries (ok, that's my excuse). No damage done and thank goodness the battery didn't explode while I was grabbing the cable. To this day I'm still super careful. I would think probably something simple to fix as others have suggested.

  19. #19
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    Jul 2015
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    Berkeley, CA
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Got the battery and alternator tested over the weekend and to my surprise both were ok! Put 'em both back on (or in) and wired in 2 new fusible link and it's back on the road

    Very glad I got away with such minimal damage!
    Patrick Marquis

    1970 Skylark Custom
    SP Code 350 SBB
    Restoring While Driving

    1977 Lincoln Mark V
    400 SBF
    Lowrider Project

    “Aerodynamics are for people that can’t build engines.” -Enzo Ferrari

  20. #20
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    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by patwhac View Post
    Got the battery and alternator tested over the weekend and to my surprise both were ok! Put 'em both back on (or in) and wired in 2 new fusible link and it's back on the road

    Very glad I got away with such minimal damage!
    Good to hear
    71 GS 350 (mine) Best so far 13.65 @ 98.84 mph
    SP3 track testing to resume in 2016!
    413 cam going away, switching to TA roller, starting again with Stage 1 and Q-Jet, then to SP3 and AED
    87 Grand National (Hers) no passes yet
    00 Monte Carlo
    2001 GMC Safari AWD
    2007 Mazda 3
    Ranch house with 4 dogs and a cat

  21. #21
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Demko View Post
    Good to hear
    Agreed!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    [QUOTE=John Codman;2639122]
    Quote Originally Posted by gsx455-4ever View Post

    Only the 6V ones, and this is not to be constituted as an agreement that a '55 Pontiac was either 6V or positive ground - I honestly don't know. I thought GM was completely 12 V in 1955. The V8 Ford and Mopar also did 6V positive ground. I am not aware of any American 12 V positive ground cars. The '55 Fords and Plymouths (possibly other Chrysler products) were 6V. All major US manufacturers went to 12V by 1956. All were negative ground. Actually, if you are in the "electron theory" camp (electricity flows from negative to positive) positive ground would be the more sensible way to wire stuff.
    Physics and Engineering students love to argue about that. Fact is, you are right. It's why they (engineers) use "j" for current flow and and we (physicists) use "i". As long as someone follows some convention during design, things will work. The problem comes from when we throw the theory over the wall and the engineers try to make something out of it.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Hooray !!!!



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "Bulldog" James A. Miller

  24. #24
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    Feb 2005
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by patwhac View Post
    Got the battery and alternator tested over the weekend and to my surprise both were ok! Put 'em both back on (or in) and wired in 2 new fusible link and it's back on the road

    Very glad I got away with such minimal damage!
    Now take that good luck and put it to good use.


    30 years ago I was helping some guy in a parking lot as I happened to have my tools in the van. I put my socket tray on the top of the radiator shroud while I tightened the ground strap on the block as his car would not start and I noticed the connection at the block arcing (it was dark) while I jumped his car. He's trying to lean in to see what I'm doing and slides the tool tray over the battery. The battery exploded to the sound of my 357 magnum in my left ear. The heavy tool tray saved me and deflected the shrapnel and acid but hearing in my left ear is still screwed up.

    Mikey
    "Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
    Winston Churchill

  25. #25
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    Default Re: IDIOT Mistake - Backwards Battery

    Good deal!
    Harold Prouty
    1970 Skylark Custom
    1971 Skylark GS350 clone
    1970 Camaro RS
    1976 Ford F100 4X4 ( Shop Truck )

 

 
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