As always Ken, excellent work and beautiful car.How do you make a simple battery change into a project? Well, have no fear, Henderson is here. You know, when it comes to my cars and me, I usually find a way to make the simple more difficult and the difficult damn near impossible, or so it seems. At the end of the day, I’m hoping you guys and gals can benefit from my faulty worst-case scenario analysis and avoid some of the speed bumps I’ve encountered.
This all started when I carelessly left the door ajar when I took Eau Rouge back to storage and picked up another vehicle. By the time I returned about a week later, my Braille B3121C battery had completely discharged and would not take a charge. So, the obvious solution was to get a replacement battery, only to find out, at the time I inquired, that Braille batteries of all types and stripes had already been on National Backorder for a bit over 2-months (now more than 3 months with no end in sight).
The “easy” solution was to get another battery and move on with my life. Hey, but not so fast. I originally installed the Braille battery and its optional lay-down kit back in 2010/2011. Weighing only 21-pounds and significantly smaller than OEM batteries, I used some of the real estate taken up by the OEM battery, thinking I would never need it again. Boy, was I wrong.
Because covid……I never thought I would be faced with the inability to secure a replacement Braille battery. To make matters worse, my decision to revert back to an OEM-style battery arrangement was severely challenged by the lack of room (more on this in a bit) and the discontinuation of the OEM positive battery terminal. I discovered this when I ordered a new battery tray, new terminals and associated parts. Supposedly in stock at a Florida Toyota dealership, it took more than a week for them to determine the positive battery cable/terminal had been discontinued. By that time, I had already moved on as further described below.
To better explain, here are some “before” pics of the engine compartment with the Braille battery installed, which show my problem better than words can convey:
My BOV problem:
This pic shows the PHR 250 amp fuse box that comes with its 170/130 amp alternator I have in the car:
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As you can see, with the BOV on one side and the radiator overflow on the other, I needed to find an appropriately powerful battery of the right size, solve my positive battery cable/terminal problem and overcome the Braille’s reverse polarity set-up at the same time.
After fussing around for a few days trying to come up with a solution, I did what I should have done in the first place….call Jose Valle of Kaizen Motorsports. Those who have seen his custom wiring harnesses, or been the beneficiary of his work, know that among all the facets of his Supra expertise, his wiring work is truly next level.
Before I could even fully describe the problem as I saw it, Jose told me, “I can fix it”. Two days later, I had the car hauled to Jose and he went to work:
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Some very cool labeling:
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So, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the batteries of several of my cars, even without the mistake I made on Eau Rouge with the door ajar scenario. Because the cars went virtually undriven for a year plus, and the batteries completely discharged as a result, the 8-year old battery in Bella, the 7-year old battery in Bauxite and the 6-year old battery in Crimson Tide all gave up the ghost (my storage facility won’t let me use a tender).
Rather than go exotic, and to save money, I replaced them with typical Duralast Gold/Exide offerings with stout warranties. The Duralast I installed in Bauxite is 35 DLG size, to allow for the radiator overflow and wiper fluid container to the right of it and the FMIC piping to the left of it. I mention this because a lead-acid battery, with sufficient CCAs for my needs, was my only realistic hope of avoiding an interminable wait for a replacement Braille battery.
With all that said, there was no guarantee of success with my BOV being in the way. Jose and I batted around several fitment scenarios without success. In the end, though, a relocation of the PHR 250-amp fuse box, a relocation of the radiator overflow, re-employing the already trimmed OEM battery tray completed when my Braille battery was initially installed and partial relocation of my Blitz stainless steel air filter accomplished my “interim” goals until I can devise a permanent solution. I placed the word interim in quotes because I am, more or less, getting used to this set-up and may leave it as is.
The results of Jose’s handicraft are shown below:
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The terminals are OEM Toyota. I believe the positive terminal is from a mid-2000s Corolla (Jose is a genius at interchangeable OEM Toyota parts). As part of the wiring effort, Jose used 2-gauge wiring, upgraded my fuse holders and ensured all of the wiring installed was of auto grade (with insulation rated at 105 C or higher).
After confirming the physical dimensions of my battery in Bauxite, Jose purchased an OEM replacement battery from Toyota called Precision Parts Batteries. These batteries are sold by Autonation Toyota dealerships (and maybe others) that have a no questions asked return policy. The dealership takes your info, including your VIN, so the customer can replace the battery with a new one at any Autonation Toyota dealership if something untoward were to happen with the battery originally purchased. The best part is this battery has 700 CCAs and the car turns over like never before.
As you can probably guess, the moral of this story boys and girls is to learn from my mistakes. Sometimes (many times, actually), the OEM way is the best way, especially since the youngest USDM are Supras 23-years old. While every business has experienced supply chain interruptions during the pandemic, I’ll take my chances with the largest automobile manufacturer in the world rather than other entities whose size, scale and supply chain management cannot begin to approach Toyota’s.
Chip, I'm glad it's done. I've modded so much over the years, I really do everything in my power to avoid taking the cars down unless it's absolutely necessary. Prior to the pandemic, I had been in a "get in and drive mode" with all of my vehicles, and I want to keep it that way if at all possible.Jose’s wiring is on point. Glad the red beast is back in action. And we need pictures of the paint correction (not that I’m in a position to ask anyone for pictures). 😀
@1A1, I thought about those Antigravity batteries, but my inability to use a tender at my storage facility, and the overall expense those batteries would entail, led me to go the Duralast Gold/Exide route. As you noted, the harness is next level. Jose sent me some pics of the CARTEK battery isolator, which I am looking into at the moment.Stinks you can't run a tender at the storage facility! I've replaced the Supra and GS-F batteries with Antigravity's ATX-30 HD model, which only weighs 7lbs, but......you'd need a lithium tender if you aren't able to drive them much due to storage. In that case the OEM lead batteries are the way to go. The harness is stupid nice. I also ran into an issue with mine back in 2015 and had Larry at SP make a custom one. Seems like parts are getting harder and harder to come by for our beloved Toyotas
@Olav, I am having a difficult time picturing this. Is it the "left side" when facing the car, or from the LHD driver's seat. I have the GReddy 3-row power steering cooler in the driver's side duct, an HKS Type R oil cooler in the passenger's duct and, of course, the GReddy 3-row filling up the central grille opening, so not a lot of room that Jose and I did not consider at the time.I have the overflow tank located inside the front bumper on the left side, just a tip if you want/need to relocate it again in the future.
@onebad7m, welcome back Jose. Try to stick around this time . Your expertise for MKIII and MKIV owners will always be in demand, even more so as our cars continue to age. Thanks again for the quality work.Thanks for the kind words Ken. Btw. Looks like I got my login back. 😅
I see i was a little quick on the reply there, it's not the overflow tank i have there, its the windshield fluid container, but you could probably use the same space for the overflow tank. Not sure if there is space if you have a cooler there though. It's on the LHD side of the car.@Olav, I am having a difficult time picturing this. Is it the "left side" when facing the car, or from the LHD driver's seat. I have the GReddy 3-row power steering cooler in the driver's side duct, an HKS Type R oil cooler in the passenger's duct and, of course, the GReddy 3-row filling up the central grille opening, so not a lot of room that Jose and I did not consider at the time.