Friday, 1 July 2011


So, in the previous post I was raving about the benefits of disconnecting your battery if you are planning on not driving your beloved old black cab for longer period of time (or even just a few days if you have a Jeeves). It just means there is no chance of the battery getting drained, saving you a lot of time, worry and money.

Welcome to our fool-proof tutorial on how to disconnect the battery of a Fairway Taxi.

You will need one of these;

Adjustable Spanner (Wrench)

Step 1.
Open the bonnet of your car and locate the battery.

Found it!

Step 2.
Locate the cable that you are about to disconnect. Its held on with a few bolts.

Here is the one we want 

Step 3.
Loosen the bolts carefully but forcefully. Don't be too scared to get electrocuted, but please be careful as you are dealing with electricity. Also, it can sometime be a little bit stuck so you might have to bang it a bit to get it off.

Should have done the manicure afterwards...

Step 4.
No need to actually remove the nuts from the bolt, just loosen it and pull the whole thing off. Try not to touch the bolt that you have just removed the cable from. (The one that is part of the battery) Again, its electricity which, even if its not black magic, can still hurt if you get a little chock.

Its all off now!

Step 5.
Place the cable away from the point it was attached to and you are done. Close your bonnet and enjoy some no-worry-time of a fully charged battery waiting for you when you are ready to drive.

Nice and Easy!

Remember that the central locking needs the battery so make sure you get everything out that you need and lock the car before disconnecting the battery or you will have to put it back and do it all again. If you do forget, you can simply place the end of the wire as it was, on top of the bolt from the battery, and it is connected. The nuts are just to hold the thing in place for when you are driving.

To re-connect, just place the cable back as it was and make sure to tighten the nuts. You don't want it to jump off whilst enjoying the exciting 55 miles per hours you have managed to achieve on the motorway with the turbo button...!

A job well done is a job well done, says Jacqui the Mechanic


We have had quite a few issues with our battery on poor old Jeeves. We got a new one a few months ago, as the old one didn't quite make it through the very cold winter. First everything was good, but it soon started playing up. We thought it might be the alternator, which would be quite expensive to fix, so we kept hoping it could be something else.

Black cabs, especially the older models, are made to be driven every day, so sometimes if they are not, the battery dies quite quickly. So when we went away for a month a while ago we had a friend look after Jeeves and babysit him, which he did very well. But Jeeves wouldn't have any of it, and when we came back the battery was dead again.

As our usual friendly mechanics were very busy, we went to Jim at Hackney Road Motor Engineers, who was recommended to us by a friend. The garage is on hackney road (the name might give that away), close to Cambridge Heath Station. When we walked in we realised it is actually back to back with our usual mechanics. Its good to keep it local.

The entrance on Hackney Road. Next to the bike shop disguised as a Chinese take-away

Jim's place is not a black cab garage but he does all sorts of cars. When we went, there were normal modern family ones and a couple of 1930's beautiful vintage pieces sitting side by side all being seen too with the same loving care.

The place to go

As Jeeves was completely out of juice Jim had picked him up from our street and hooked him up like a patient in an emergency room to once and for all charge his poor little battery. He was charging for one day and then left standing for two days to test if the battery would hold up.

Jim discovered that we have a light in the boot of the car, one of those that switches on when the door is open. As the general feel of Jeeves sometimes can be described as 'rustic', the boot hatch does not always reach the off-switch for the light, leaving it on and draining the battery. So Jim disconnected the light as we have no need for it anyway.

A general note on old black cab boot hatches; You should always double check that it is properly closed and locked as it otherwise can open while you are driving and bang into cars behind you. The hatch opens down, not up as on modern cars. We have seen it happen to others and have had a close call ourselves. So now we always double-check it when we have had it open.

However, the best thing that Jim introduced us to was the disconnection of the battery. We were about to go to Glastonbury, this being the longest drive we have done in Jeeves and having to leave him in a field for a week with the prospect of not getting home made us a little nervous. But this new exciting trick saved the day! Its super easy, and we think it is well worth knowing about so stay tuned for the next post with the instructions on how to do this.

Instead of hoping the battery will last, or relying on other cars to jump start us, we are now just disconnecting the whole thing, so there is no chance for the battery to get drained. The purr with which Jeeves started after a week of having been disconnected was positively the best sound ever. It is easily the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, sliced bread is not even close.