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Time For New Battery

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 30 Dec 2008, 08:03 pm
BB BB is offline
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Default Time For New Battery

The Texas heat has killed another battery so I'm looking for a replacement. The Optima Red top looks like it would be a good one. Any other recommendations?
Thanks!
Bill
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Old 30 Dec 2008, 10:26 pm
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Smile Re: Time For New Battery

Hey BB,

Its been a while since I was into batteries but, Interstate Batteries used to make an (MT26R). The "MT" stands for Megatron, which is a higher cranking battery made by a company called Johnson Control Inc.which makes a large amount of all Car Batteries Sold in the US, and are a very well built Battery! The higher Cranking Amps work better on vehicles like the PT that has a large amount of Electronics.

The Optima is a great battery is produced by a separate division of the same company. As mentioned in other posts on the subject, The purpose fro the Optima is to provide a Deep Cycle Battery whivh is specifically designed to be completely drained, and re-charged over, and over without harm to the battery itself. This includes if you have a big stereo, neon/LED's, or other electronics that puts a lot of stress on the charging systems.

Those two would be my preferable choice. I would suggest shopping around for price. Remember you could buy on average 4-5 regular batteries to one new Optima, so their is a big price difference!

After you get your Battery installed, its always a good idea to swing by a Pep Boys, or any other good Auto Parts Store, and ask them to check your Charging System. Its a simple, and free test, and will assure the car is generating enough current to maintain the battery.



Go easy, and good luck on your decision!!

Candyman
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Old 31 Dec 2008, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Time For New Battery

I'm thinking about going foe one of the gell batterys I know they are way more expensive but sometimes things are worth more
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Old 31 Dec 2008, 08:35 pm
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Cool Re: Time For New Battery

Best buy is a Interstate Battery at Sam's Club!
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Old 31 Dec 2008, 09:38 pm
BB BB is offline
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Default Re: Time For New Battery

Thanks for the replies!

Good points Candyman! My problem is that I'm in South Texas and the heat seems to kill regular batteries in just a couple of years. My thinking is the Optima batteries are probably better made, and also of a different design, that might hold up better in the long run. I don't mind spending more if I don't have to worry about battery replacement every 2-3 years. Like cruiserdad76 pointed out, sometimes you get what you pay for.

soonercruiser: Do you just get a regular battery or something more exotic at Sams? I never thought to try Sams for car batteries. Guess I should go over and see what they have.
HNY all!
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Old 03 Jan 2009, 11:17 pm
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Cool Re: Time For New Battery

I got an Iterstate Battery...they have several types, based on cranking power needed. I have bought Interstate as my replacement battery for several vehicles in recent years.
BTW - I believe that the Optima Battery is made by Interstate Battery!
And, they had those at our Sam's Club too!
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Old 04 Jan 2009, 04:40 am
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Default Re: Time For New Battery

Hey Guys,

I usually lean towards Interstate due to two years of employment at Interstate Batteries of San Diego back just before I opened my Detail Shop. I was a warehouse Tech and was trained to charge, service, and recondition batteries, and do advanced installation, and troubleshooting. Basically I rebuilt a ton of batteries, and did custom multi-battery installs ranging from jumping cables to an alternate power source to keep from having to lose the radio codes on Honda's, to multi battery installs, and upgrades on powered wheel chairs, to trying to identify a bad battery out of a bank of batteries on a Tour Bus. After processing 60 - 700 batteries a day for two years, I got pretty handy with Battery Tech, and made a whole bunch of good contacts, and clients who I detailed for including all of the Interstate Route Trucks!

Anyways, here is a bit more info on Batteries for you.

The Optima:

The Optima is nice, but expensive, and serves a specific purpose. A good normal lead acid battery can run in the neighborhood of around $40.00 and up. On the other hand an Optima Deep Cycle Battery can run around $170.00 and up.

The Optima is a Deep Cycle Battery, much like those used in golf carts, boats, and RV's. The purpose of a Deep Cycle Battery is to have the ability to continuously discharge, and recharge the battery without damaging it in the process. The reason why you tend to see them on many show cars is primarily for this reason. If like me for example have a large stereo, multiple TV's, neon/LED Lights, or other related toys drawing on the system, then chances are your going to kill your battery pretty often, and on a regular car battery, if you drain the battery down to 9 volts or less, the battery will be destroyed, and need replacement. In addition, if you need more power, or want more play time before needing to start up your PT to recharge the system, many of us are now putting multiple Optima's in to compensate. So if you have a lot of custom 12 volt goodies draining your battery at least once a week if left unattended, and could justify the cost, then yep, the Optima is the way to go! On that note, If you ever want to put a battery box cover over your battery, I recommend getting the Yellow Top as it is shorter, and will fit. The Red Top like I have is taller, and unless you trim the battery mounting plate down to fit, it will fit very tight, and will just tuck under the fender, but it will fit.

Gel Cel Batteries:

Gel Cells are just like normal Lead Acid Batteries, but have Gel acid instead of liquid. These batteries are usually smaller in size, and are often used in banks to operate electric wheelchairs, or operate a work truck with a 110 oower inverter instead of a generator, and wants to operate equipment. The nice thing about Gel Cells are the ability to mount them in odd places like sideways, or upside down to fit without worry of spillage. These are great when you want to upgrade a wheelchair to run longer, and faster between charges, but again, these are very application specific units.

Lead Acid Batteries:

And then you have the good old regular Lead Acid Battery. These Batteries should last between 5 - 6 years, but I have seen many that lasted 10+ with no problem! The thing to keeping a battery going for a while is regular maintenance. Here are a couple of things to be aware of.

1. keep your water levels full.All Interstate Batteries have two caps you can pop off with a flat head screw driver, and check. Exide either will have two caps located on top under the stickers in between the posts, and a few OEM Batteries may have big plastic Philips screws. The only Battery I am aware of that does not have a way to check the water is Die Hard which is a maintenance free battery.

To Check the water level, pop the caps, and visually look at all six cells. Each should be neer the top, and should have a concave (Like looking through the back of a contact lens) and all of the cells should be level.. If they are low, or not level, refill using only distilled, or purified water to refill them! If you use tap water, you will kill the battery beyond repair intantly! What happens is the mineral deposits react with the acid forming a crystallization known as Dendrite which shorts out cells rendering the battery usless Even if you re-charge a battery with Dendrite, since the cells are already bad, you will only be burning off the edges of the crystal process, and the battery will go dead again until you replace the battery.

Another easy killer is to quick charge a battery on a charger. If your Battery goes dead, you should always try to charge it at around 2 amps for 24 hours if possible.


Now if you think your Battery is going dead on you, before you go replacing it, here are a couple of tests you can do to see if it is really bad.

1. First check the Date Code to see how old the battery is. The Date Code listed on the sticker may not be accurate. Many Battery Companies including Interstate puts their Batteries on consignment at all of the stores that carry their product. Each Battery has a heat stamp located either on the top of the battery, or around the top edge which has a letter, and a number stamped into the casing itself. The Letter indicates the month, and the number indicates the year each battery was serviced. If a Battery is not sold within a specified amount of time it can become slightly discharged, and is then pulled from the shelf, re-charged, cleaned, re-bagged, re-stamped with a new heat stamp with a different letter, and then put back out to a store for sale again. These Batteries are known as "Rotates". If they are not sold after a second period of time, then they are brought back to a service center again, and re-charged, etc, but then become specials which can be purchased cheaper out of the warehouse. So again, try to find the heat stamp and check the letter, and date to determine the true age of your battery. The letter indicates month, and number indicates year like this.

A= January 1= 2001
B= February 2 =2002
C= March 3 =2003
D= April 4 =2004

and so on. If your battery is five years or older, you should replace it. If not, proceed to the next step.

Clean Terminals:

Clean off the Terminals with a wire brush. Make sure they are clean from any corrosion, and are good, and tight.
Volt Meter Test:


Volt Meter Test:

This is a very simple test if you have a volt meter. Simply touch the negative lead to the negative post on the battery, and touch the positive to the positive, and read. If it reads below 8 volts or less, the battery is too far discharged, and should be replaced.


Hydrometer Test:

A Hydrometer is a tool used to measure the specific gravity of battery Acid. It looks much like a Turkey Baster with a long tube, and a rubber bulb at one end. To do this test, Take off the caps, and stick the Hydrometer into each cell. Squeeze the bulb, and read the measurement. Each Cell should read 1.265 or higher. If everything looks correct, release the acid back into the cell, and move on to the next one. If one Cell does not respond to the float, then you have confirmed a bad cell, and the battery should be replaced.


Load Test:

If the Voltage, and Hydrometer both look good, take the battery to an Automotive parts Store like Pep Boys, or Oreielly, and have them perform a load test. They simply put a tester on the battery which puts a load and indicated green for good, or red for bad.

And last but not least, A Charging System Test:

Put a Volt Meter on your Battery while it is in the car and check the Volts. The Meter should read 12.6. Then turn the car on, and turn on any electrical componants from the AC, to the Radio, Wipers, Headlights, etc, to put a load on the system while someone monitors the meter. The meter shoulg o down, and come right back up. If the Meter does not come back up, then you have a bad alternator, or problem with your charging system.


Whenever you are looking at buying a battery, try first to look around for a battery shop instead of heading to WalMart if possible. Their are a lot of people who might have returned a near new battery that was fine while they had mechanical problems, and just decided to replace it. Most shops will then take that battery re-charge it, check it, and if everything is good, they will resell it as a used battery. These often have nothing wrong, some may still have factory warranty, and they are a fraction of the cost of new! As an example, a new Optima can run as high as $179.00 new. I went and checked for one at my local Battery Store, and found two Red Top Optimas, both three months old, that had been in a car that had a big stereo, and some electrical problems. Their was nothing wrong with the batteries other than being discharged, but were all cleaned up, charged, and tested, and I got both of them out the door for $40.00 each which also included the remainder of their Warranty!

Anyways, that is the rundown on Batteries. I wish you the best of luck, and if you have any questions, please let me know, and I would be more than happy to help any way I can!

Take it easy!

Candyman
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Last edited by Candyman; 04 Jan 2009 at 05:11 am.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04 Jan 2009, 08:13 am
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Default Re: Time For New Battery

Candyman, good info. Thanks
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Old 04 Jan 2009, 06:09 pm
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Talking Re: Time For New Battery

Wouldn't it be just great to give up and say, "Oh Poo", and just pop in two fresh AAs?
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 08 Jan 2009, 10:46 pm
BB BB is offline
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Default Re: Time For New Battery

Thanks for the great info candyman!!

I've never had an Interstate car battery. Maybe I'll give them a try.

The current battery is from Sears and my experience with them is that they "die hard" leaving me stuck, usually at the most unopportune time. The battery has been in the car for 3 years; haven't checked the date code but I would imagine lots of product turnover at Sears so it shouldn't be much more than 3years old. In the few near freezing cold mornings we've had so far this winter, I've noticed that the crank speed is a little slower than usual so I'm figuring it might be time to go ahead and get a new battery. I'd rather get a new one than risk pushing the current one and having it die suddenly.

The battery shows right at 12V with the engine off. I get about 14V with the engine running but that was without much of a load.

I could probably get away with another year if it makes it through the cold weather but why risk it.
Bill
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