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Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11 Dec 2010, 08:16 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 26
Default Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

Hello All,

I have a 2001 non-turbo PT Cruiser, and I was wondering if I can use the spare Ultima Red Top I have sitting in my garage in my PT Cruiser?

The current battery is a Wal-Mart 26R and seems to be getting weaking and weaker. Sadly, the one year warranty is almost over, and I'm betting the danged battery will hold on just long enough to cross the free exchange barrier.

The Ultima I have seems like it is 1" wider. I know the 26R is a "special" battery in that has reversed terminals, but since I don't have to get into it to add water like a conventional battery, I was thinking I might be able to spin it around to keep the terminals in the preferred positions.

Has anybody done this and know if the battery tray / compartment will support the Ultima Red Top?

Please let me know if you've done this as I'd sure like to upgrade my battery before the winter cold (such that we have in Texas) hits down here!

Look forward to the feedback!

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11 Dec 2010, 10:09 pm
soonercruiser's Avatar
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 7,778
Cool Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

Be sure to look thru the old threads.
Either here or on the PTCrew site the subject was discussed.
I believe that the bottom line Optima problem is a "Fit" problem.
If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that the yellow top was the only one close enough to make mods and fit.

2011 GWE Dodge Challenger SRT8 as Show Car
2003 PT Cruiser GT Panel Van Conversion as new day driver.

Have now owned 6 PT Cruisers = Me PT Crazy!
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 12 Dec 2010, 03:55 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 26
Default Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

Well, I'm doing the plugs and wires tomorrow, so since I'm tearing into it all, I might as well see how it goes with the battery too and it if works or doesn't, eitherway I'll post it.

Hopefully the Auto-Gods will cut me a break (I'm sure due for one!) and I can get the Ultima into my PT. Not having to mess with adding water and the extra power would both be great to have this winter!

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Old 12 Dec 2010, 04:50 pm
Matt42's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glendale, AZ
Posts: 496
Default Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

Do you mean an Optima red top? It'll fit. I've done it. You'll either have to re-route the red positive wires or the black ground wires, or put the battery in with the posts under the steel part of the front of the car. Whichever way that you do it, be sure that you cover the positive terminal so that it doesn't EVER touch the metal. Very Bad Things will happen.

An Optima battery that you have on hand is a good thing. Buying a new one might be problematical. There is controversy about their quality nowadays. See this year-old thread on one of the Chrysler Minivan Forums. Disclaimer: I am no longer an Optima user.
OPTIMA Batteries - Alternatives, Whatdya think?
1996 Dodge diesel 4X4, 2001 PT Cruiser Touring with rear disc brakes, [Now gone 2004 PT Cruiser Base 5 speed], 2007 Chrysler T&C Touring
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Old 12 Dec 2010, 05:03 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Mooresville, NC
Posts: 5,324
Default Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

I suggest reading this thread:
Time For New Battery

Also, see this youtube video for your year model.

Some ancient history on the PT batteries:

It's the 26R style. It's the same battery that the Neon uses, so you can always use the Neon as the "search" vehicle. Almost all of the name brand and generics of 26R batteries deliver 525 cold cranking amps (CCA) of power, which is less then the Mopar at 540 CCA. One exception is Sears' DieHard WeatherHandler, which has a capacity of 575 CCAs. The Sears battery was priced at $59, compared to the lower capacity 26Rs, which are in the $39 - 49 range. Warranties for these batteries are all about the same: either 18/24 month free replacement, and 72 month prorated.... I suggest you look for a 26R battery with the highest CCA you can find...

One drawback of the PT battery is that it has the reverse terminal design (hence the "R" in 26R) and most other batteries do not....

Batteries have a highly variable lifespan, from three to nine years, roughly. Past tests have shown that there is substantial variability even from the same manufacturer and possibly within the same battery model! However, if batteries go bad very rapidly, there may be a problem with the voltage regulator (too high voltage can cook the battery), with the wiring, or with high load (e.g. a glove compartment light not shutting off or aftermarket accessories drawing too much power, especially with the engine off).

Further info: Optima Battery Optima Batteries Free Shipping! Best Service! Deep Cycle Batteries Yellow Blue Red Top Optimum
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 12 Dec 2010, 06:38 pm
BladeRunner's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Innisfil Ontario Canada
Posts: 372
Default Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

Does anyone know the output of a normal PT's alternator? Would it make any sense to go to a higher capacity battery and not have an alternator that could charge it up fully?
Just wondering...
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Old 23 Dec 2010, 02:33 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 26
Default Re: Battery Upgrade - Ultima Red Top??

So far so good in my swap! I didn't have to switch cables or do anything more than put the plastic safety plugs over the GM side terminal holes (didn't want them to touch metal and short) and just bolt that puppy in. No issues in fitting with the battery tray or interference with the air cleaner! I am very happy with the extra juice (compared to the 2 year old wal-mart that was fixing to go belly up!) The Optima I have is now at 8 years old and still going strong through its 4th vehicle!
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