Q&A with Kit Foster: December 18, 2014

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Q. In the June 12 “Q&A” I read Don Rudolph’s question about an old car frame. I also have a frame from a Badger car with the same spring set-up. A “Badger — Milwaukee” emblem is in the center of both front and rear bumpers. If anyone could use this frame, or parts, please contact me.

— Danny Ellis, Tucumcari, N.M.


A. Mr. Ellis gives his address as 1202 South Dawson, Tucumcari, N.M. 88401, telephone 575-403-8221. This points out the hazards in making identification based on words alone. Although I’ve known of the Badger car, which the “Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942” identifies as built in 1910-11 at Columbus, Wis., about 50 miles northwest of Milwaukee, I had not been aware of its mechanical specifications. The Chevrolet 490 was the only car with front and rear quarter-elliptic springs I had come across. These photos are reason to rethink my hasty identification of Mr. Rudolph’s chassis. While the rear springs arch downward from the frame, the fronts curve upward from the axle. On the Chevy 490, all four arch downwards. Don Rudolph reports that his front springs are the like the ones on this Badger frame, so it looks likely that he, too, has a Badger. His is located about 160 miles from the factory, while the Ellis chassis is more than 1,000 miles distant. The “Standard Catalog” puts Badger production at fewer than 250, which makes the discovery of two of them all the more remarkable.


Q. I have a 1955 Chevy Bel Air that has the battery in the trunk. I want to add a secondary battery that I can run the radio or other accessories (I have the Dakota digital VHX-series gauges that are gorgeous when lit up) when sitting at a car show or cruise-in. I have room on the kick-up over the rear end where the primary battery is located, but I am not sure how to wire them up so that I can use the secondary battery to power options when the car is sitting, but revert to the primary battery to start and drive. I guess the charging of both should be considered so that secondary battery gets charged while driving also. I am sure there’s someone out there that’s done this before that can help me with getting this done.

— Bob Dollenmeyer, Milford,Ohio

A. It may be that simply adding a second battery wired in parallel with the primary one, with a switch or relay to connect and disconnect them, may be sufficient. Wire all the accessories you wish to operate while the car is stationary to the secondary battery. In the hot lead between the batteries install the switch or relay. A switch will have to be manually operated, but it will be quite simple to install a relay that automatically makes the connection when you start the car and disconnects when the ignition is turned off. When the car is running, both batteries will be charging. I don’t think there will be any issues relating to unbalanced charging. Since the secondary battery will not be used for starting or headlights, the connecting wire and relay need only be sized for perhaps 30 amperes (14 gauge wire). Depending on the current that your accessories draw, you might be able to leave the batteries connected and still start the car after several hours, particularly if they are the deep-cycle type. I can understand, however, the desire to have a separate “full” battery for starting when it’s time to go home.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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