1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default the 'Cloud Car' remote battery

    A Posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

    Dodge and Chrysler produce the Stratus and the Cirrus sedans. They're called 'cloud cars' because of their names.

    These vehicles have their battery tucked ahead of the driver's front wheelwell, behind the front bumper, right in the 'crumple zone'. If you raise the hood, all you see are two screw posts labeled 'ground' and 'positive'. These remote terminals are for ease in jumping a dead battery. The battery is not visible when looking under the hood.

    I have received a 1997 Dodge Stratus to tear apart and it has this remote battery design. In researching the electrical system, I found out that the remote terminals accessible under the hood actually are part of a "series" electrical system. If in fact you disconnect the negative and then the hot cables at these remote terminals under the hood, you WILL shut off electricity to the entire vehicle except for the 3' of cable from the remote battery up to the engine compartment.

    Because I'm going to tear this Stratus up, I'm also going to practice accessing the battery directly. For this, I'll cut or pry into that front wheelwell and will also cut directly through the plastic bumper from the side.

    Photos of this series of evolutions will run in a University of Extrication article I'm working on regarding battery locations.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ron - what type of materials are near the battery in these "cloud" cars? If they are in the crumple zone, is there a significantly increased risk or hazard associated with the acid splashing on nearby plastics, rubber, etc compared with the traditional battery placement? How likely is it that the acid could be splashed outside the battery compartment, such as on the fender or hood area or side of the car? Is there a reasonable risk to turnout gear if you are working the driver side of the car during an extrication? Should this type of battery placement prompt a different type of approach to these cars?

    Dan Martelle

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    A posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

    Dan Martelle asked for more details on the Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus and the Plymouth Breeze automobile batteries.

    The batteries are side-post units secured inside the front wheelwell on the driver's side, 1995 model year to present day design. They are exactly in the front crumple zone.

    We should anticipate a frontal collision has punctured the battery casing. I have photos of this exact condition on a Cirrus head-on.

    Fluids that leak from the damaged battery will pour out onto the ground. The bottom of the wheelwell is open enough to allow this to occur.

    The front fender, hood, driver's front wheelwell and even the engine compartment area on the driver's side could be contaminated with battery acid spillage.

    Rescue personnel working near this front corner or along the driver's front door area should be alert to this potential. Battery acid eats nomex for lunch!

    Here's some new information. You can shut down electrical power to the entire vehicle by accessing the battery by removing the inner wheelwell plastic liner. You can also pull the front bumper fascia off. Direct access to the battery would allow you to cut cables there.

    HOWEVER, please note this. Due to the design of these three vehicles, you can totally shut off electricity by cutting or disconnecting the negative and positive battery cables inside the engine compartment where they come into the terminal blocks.

    Power routes from the battery to these jumper terminals and then on to the rest of the vehicle including the airbag system.

    Start with the negative cable terminal secured to the top of the left front strut tower. Cut or disconnect the ground wires here.

    Next, look under this large terminal block. There is a second smaller terminal block that has several smaller diameter wires running to and from it. Cut or disconnect these next. This is a secondary ground terminal for certain electrical accessories of the vehicle.

    Then move on the do the same for the large positive terminal block.

    Engine access and the possibility of shutdown here is good news. This gives us another possibility allowing now two methods of shutdown; battery direct or engine compartment terminal direct shutdown.


  4. #4
    Jim Greene
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi Ron
    If you had to go directly to the battery, which would be the best way to go? From the wheel well or the bumper. What side do the cables run off of ? Some times working on a hood isn't that easy.Being that the wheel well is made of plastic wouldn't it be easier to take that route ? The only real problem I would think is the wheel it self and were the battery cables come off the battery ( you might not have the room to get to the cables if they are at the front of the car. ).
    Thanks Ron

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for the info Ron! I appreciate it. It is obvious to me that in any serious front end collision, killing the power will not be a problem - it will most likely be all done with due to a smashed battery - which leaves acid as the only real battery problem. Another great reason to be carrying extra sodium bicarb or a couple of sodium bicarb extinguishers on the apparatus.

    Dan Martelle

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