Optima battery dilemma

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earlsflyincobra
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:28 pm

Optima battery dilemma

Post by earlsflyincobra » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:27 pm

I use to swear by Optima batteries but I'm beginning to wonder.....I have a 1966 Shelby AC Cobra kit car that I built from the ground up. It has a 1989 Ford 5.0 motor and a one wire alternator. The first battery I put in it was an Optima Red Top which lasted 10+ years which is pretty good in the Florida heat. I went to Pep-boys and replaced it with a new Red Top when it finally gave up the ghost however that Red Top only lasted about 10 months. When I went back to Pep-Boys they did not have a Red Top in stock so they gave me a Yellow Top for the same price. That Yellow top only lasted about 10 months so they replaced it with another Yellow Top and guess what, YEP, about 10 months. The current Yellow Top just bit the dust after 7 months. And yes, we have checked the car for parasitic drains, bad grounds, etc., etc., and nothing was found. The drain on the battery was found to be about 8 ma, well below what should cause a battery to drain. So, anyone else had this kind of problem??????? :GR:: O:::: O:::: O::::

mooreken
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Re: Optima battery dilemma

Post by mooreken » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:16 pm

My Red top also gave up sooner than I thought it should have. I replaced it with a left over Blue top from my boat. So far it has been ok.
That one red one is the only red that I have bought. I have had good luck with the blue ones for my boat. I use them for both cranking and trolling.
Ken

Avalanche325
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:06 pm

Re: Optima battery dilemma

Post by Avalanche325 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:27 pm

If you are going through that many batteries of any brand, you have a problem. Likely your alternator, or if you have an external regulator, that would be the culprit.

I am not a fan of one wire alternators. The don't start to charge until a certain RPM is reached due to the fact that they don't have an excitor circuit. You can start your car and let it idle and it will not charge. They also don't have remote voltage sensing which is pretty much needed for proper voltage regulation and charging. They were designed for tractors. That is pretty much where they belong. Hotrodders started using them because they were easy. As we all know, easy and correct rarely go together.

Enough one-wire bashing. Any alternator that has a regulator issue can slowly fry a battery. I would have the alternator tested and / or replace it.

I have had good luck with these guys and their prices are good. Their stuff is new. Not rebuilt, remanufactured, etc. like part store stuff is.

https://www.dbelectrical.com/

earlsflyincobra
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:28 pm

Re: Optima battery dilemma

Post by earlsflyincobra » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:52 am

Alternator has been replaced twice, although it tested fine both times, just changed brands to see if that helped. ~~(/) ~~(/) We've tested for parasitic drain, checked all the grounds (made sure to heavily ground due to fiberglass body and the stories I heard about grounding problems with glass bodies), and gone over the car with a fine tooth comb. O:::: O:::: O:::: :GR::

Tom Wells
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 7:34 pm
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Re: Optima battery dilemma

Post by Tom Wells » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:25 am

Earl,

Maybe the battery doesn't like the automatic trans ~~(::

I had similar Optima experiences.

Kay's older xTerra didn't like the first new replacement Optima it got, so finally Autozone begrudgingly replaced it under warranty. The second one is still going fine after several years.

The Cobra and the Zephyr had hiccups with their Optimas, but they weren't under warranty so I had to find another way to deal with the problems. I bought an Optima brand charger (expensive, of course) and let each battery charge for a couple of days. That was more than a year ago (maybe two?) and both have been fine since then. A lot less expensive than buying two more new ones.

The charger has a specific setting for the Gel-cell (AGM) battery. I don't know what the technical difference is, but both batteries seem to be fine after using that particular charger.

Tom

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