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2/12/13 12:46am - Original Message: 'Battery advice'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
I think my battery is toast - one too many full discharges for a multitude of reasons over the last three years or so.  I've been thinking I'd go Optima when it finally went, but after reading some online reviews, now I'm not so sure.  Many of the reviews said they went belly up right after the 3 year warranty expired.  Many others just said the extra cost simply wasn't worth it - might as well get a regular battery.  Any experience out there?  If I don't go Optima is there any reason to go with one brand over another?  I'm partial to Die Hards, but not for any particular reason other than Sears is close to my office.  Aren't they all pretty much made by the same one or two manufacturers?  

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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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2/12/13 8:42am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
Gunslinger
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Frederick, MD - USA

Vette(s):
1969 convertible L71 427/435 4-speed black interior

Joined: 9/8/2003
Posts: 3398
Optimas are excellent batteries, but I don't believe they're cost effective...at least in my experience.  

I've had Optimas in two different C3's and won't be buying them again.  The problem seems to be they do die suddenly after a couple of years...though that happens with other brands as well.  I'm talking about Optima Red Tops...maybe the Blue Top (deep cycle) design might be better.  In little used cars, they don't seem to hold up well to repeated periods of inactivity and drain.  If you drive the car regularly or keep a battery tender hooked up when not being driven there seems to be less of a problem.

As I said, maybe the Optima deep cycle designs would work better in such applications.

I still have an Optima Red Top in one car not driven often (not a Vette), and keep a battery tender connected during the winter and other periods it's not driven and that battery has held up well...nearly six years thus far.  My other Optimas lasted barely three years each.

There's a limited number of battery manufacturers out there who make the batteries for all the different retailers.  They're built to meet several different price points and quality and power can differ widely.  Consumer Reports does testing of car batteries and they seem to give high marks to Costco's Kirkland brand, Walmart's Maxx, Interstate Megatron, NAPA Gold.  The Sears Die Hard seems to drift and out of favor with them.


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Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, c o c k y and in general a malcontent.

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2/12/13 1:03pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
tb2k82ce Lifetime Member
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Lemon Grove, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1982 C3 Collectors Edition 44000 miles, sat in the sun most of it's life, My wife purchased it for me for fathers day in 2007 from her girl friend that had it for 19 years. It is on the road again. I'm retired but it is now my daily driver.

Joined: 10/17/2007
Posts: 2007

I had a diesel Cadillac (you can stop laughing now).  I was in northern LA started it and the alternator belt snapped. I live in San Diego.  Had limited choices as it is 11 PM, 150 miles and close to 3 hours drive to home  or to stay the night.  I decided to try to get as close to home on the battery as possible. Diesels not needing a battery to run lights are required for night driving I decided that the closer to home I got the quicker someone could come pick me up and if I got within 100 miles AAA could tow me home.  Unfortunately for me they were doing night time freeway repair and a little less than a 3 hour trip took a little over 4 hours.
 
I had an Interstate battery about 2 years old. Short story I drove the car all the way home turned it off in my driveway and then just for a test tried to start the car. It turned it over once but did not start.
 
I charged that battery up on my home charger drove it until I junked the car 2 years later. Never owned anything but an Interstate Battery after that.  At the time  I was told they were one of the few that used solid led plates most use led coated plates because of expense. Just a my view.

 



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2/12/13 11:33pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
stingrayjim jr Lifetime Member
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SHELBYVILLE, TN - USA

Vette(s):
1976 L48 auto

1978 L82 4speed

1994 LT1 6speed

Joined: 7/5/2002
Posts: 3937
Well, being an employee at an Interstate Battery distributorship(franchised), i would not overyly recommend the Optima, not to say it is a bad battery, it really isn't, but in my experience in the last 10 or so years of dealing with them, they don't seem to be all they are 'cracked up' to be. At least not for the cost.   As Gunslinger mentioned, they don't always hold up when just left alone for periods of time.  Nor would any battery for that matter... unless you take a little time to 'care' for them when they are not in use.  Battery tenders are very beneficial in these matters, along with a decent battery charger.  If you do plan on leaving your car in storage, i would highly recommend disconnecting the battery, and fully charging it before storing your vehicle(taking it out of the car if possible might not be a bad idea either).  Batteries do have a finite shelf life, car batteries, flashlight batteries, etc... automotive batteries do self discharge even if they are not hooked up. We recharge our stock about every 5-6 months... especially in the summer months... heat tends to accellerate the self discharge just a little... A fully charged battery is between 12.6 to 12.8 volts, depending on the acid blend in the battery.  Strange as it sounds, if it falls to 12.3 volts, its nearly half discharged(i know, one would think 6 volts, but....not so...) Anyhow, make a long story longer... i can't knock our batteries, Interstate Megatron is a good all around battery, middle of the road type of amperage, which is what you should look for,  not one toooo big in amps, nor one tooo small.... mostly ones that are in the 600 to 750 CCA range. They tend to hold up better, in moderate climates.... if you live in the great white north, then you would want a heavier CCA battery, 850 on up,   if in the deep deep south, i probably would still stick with the 500-750 CCA range. Reason being is that wet batteries are basically cooled by the acid/water mix.  Think of it like a glass of iced water.. the more ice you have the less water you actually have in the glass... same is true for batteries... the heavier(more CCA) battery you have, the more plates in the battery, the less electrolyte there is in the battery to help cool it.  However, Optima's don't have this problem, they are AGM (absorbed glass matte), which means instead of liquid in the cells, its basically a  sponge inbetween the plates, so it can't leak if cracked... Optima's do have  a great purpose, they are highly vibration resistant, so, we do see a lot of them in race cars(dirt track mainly around here), rock crawlers(cause they tend to turn over a lot), and road machinery(lot of vibration)....Unless you just come across a good price on an Optima, i'd just stick with a lead/acid battery. If taken care of, will last just as long, for 1/3 to 1/2 price usually...
As for manufactures,  well basically there are 3 major manufactures.... Johnson Control, Exide, and East Penn(Deka)... most Sears, Costco, Wal-Mart,Auto Zone,Advance and Interstate Batteries are supplied by Johnson Control Industries. Napa, some Wal-Marts etc have Excides... JCI batteries can be identified by there caps on the battery, they are kinda stop sign shaped(six sided rectangular caps) , Exides are 4 sided rectangles, East Penn dont have visible caps, they are flat top batteries, but do have plug caps for each cell.  ok.. i've rambled over my yearly limit..
 
Oh and as for the plates, they are not solid, now-a-days they grids, which allows for more surface area for the plate to be exposed to the electrolyte. 
 
Ok class, i'll expect a 2 page double spaced report on my desk in the morning... class dismissed :)    (any questions?)


|UPDATED|2/12/2013 9:33:08 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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StingrayJim
NCM Lifetime Member #1936

Stingray's '76                             StingrayJr's '78                           Lil Red '94

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2/13/13 12:17am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
ROCKRDR
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Lakeside, AZ - USA

Vette(s):
1975 C3 Stingray

Joined: 7/23/2012
Posts: 126
great write up...thanks

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1975 Corvette Coupe 
My first Vette.....trying to fix stuff

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2/13/13 2:39am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Yes, thanks much for the info, everyone.  I'm going with a good ol' lead acid  - either Interstate or Costco.  (I hope the Costco ones aren't anything like their AA's.  I'll never buy the mega pack of Kirkland AA's again, they leak over everything).




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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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2/13/13 9:09pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
corvette440hp Lifetime Member
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Joined: 7/2/2006
Posts: 8205
I've had nothing but the BEST results from Odyssey batteries. Optima.......stinks! Here is a link for more info. I have them in all my cars. Click here...

http://www.odysseybattery.com/ I buy them heavily discounted out from a place in Florida. 



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corvette440hp
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2/14/13 1:31am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
I should get one for my wife's Odyssey! (as in the minivan)

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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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2/14/13 9:16am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
tonytheroofer
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Rochester, NY - USA

Vette(s):
1980 L- 82 fully restored and upgraded.

Joined: 6/12/2012
Posts: 95
I just want to add a thought.. A new car no matter which era ... You buy it and if you notice batteries , wipers , alt , starter and a lot of other oem parts last for years and years ...

So on parts like that if you want long lasting go oem and avoid aftermarket. And yes bla bla bla all after market meets or exceeds but do they really ?


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1980 , ZZ430 , 3.92 rear , 700R4 2400 stall NEW EZ EFI 
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2/14/13 2:55pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
nextdoor76 Gold Member
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Kimberling City, MO - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Stingray

Joined: 12/2/2012
Posts: 49
Just for my two cents worth....I have used Sears and Walmart Maxx brands. I have found Maxx to be the best. I use Maxx for the Boat and Vette. Both have had long periods of time...charged and not charged. I normally buy a new one when they become out of date! On the water it's cheaper to be safe than to be TOWED. (G) The on in the the 76 is nearly 4 years old and still starting the sitting best...as it goes though it's transformation!


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2/14/13 10:06pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
Per4mance Lifetime Member
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Morganville, NJ - USA

Vette(s):
1971 350 270 hp roadster millivanilli red, black interior, white rag top, white hard top, I've had it 18 years and intend on giving it to my son for his 25th birthday(another 18 years from now)

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 92
Here is my 2 cents, The best batteries for the money are at Walmart,the best batteries are the Sears die Hard Platumium. I've used or seen them all and thats what I've found

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2/14/13 10:22pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
stingrayjim jr Lifetime Member
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SHELBYVILLE, TN - USA

Vette(s):
1976 L48 auto

1978 L82 4speed

1994 LT1 6speed

Joined: 7/5/2002
Posts: 3937
Tony the roofer, just to let you know, majority of OEM replacement batteries are in fact, the same batteries as most aftermarket batteries.  Interstate Battery supplies nearly all the automotive dealerships with their replacement batteris(i.e. Honda, Hundyai, Mazada, Toyota,Nissan, Infiniti, Mercedes(although, thier batteries are actually made in Germany, so they don't count), and Mopar... we don't however supply Chevy or Ford with their batteries, but Johnson Controls(our supplier) does... i know, most of our parts go toward the imported vehicles, but, somehow do have to agree, it does seem that OEM replacements somehow last longer for some reason.. oh, we also supply Costco with their batteries, though the ones they get are generally heavier than average and usually a better price..
 
As for the Odyssey batteries, i've not seen many of them to pass judgement on, but the couple  i have seen were in dirt track cars(again, agm batteries are great in high vibration situations),  they are a bit pricey, considering you could buy 2 batteries(or maybe 3) for the price of one of theirs... just saying ;)
 
 


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StingrayJim
NCM Lifetime Member #1936

Stingray's '76                             StingrayJr's '78                           Lil Red '94

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2/15/13 4:54pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
tonytheroofer
Former Member
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Rochester, NY - USA

Vette(s):
1980 L- 82 fully restored and upgraded.

Joined: 6/12/2012
Posts: 95
I think even though aftermarket companies manufacture OEM parts the are required to follow oem specs which I think makes the difference and why an after market company uses the term meets or exceeds ,, that is a performance claim not an engineering claim to the best of my understanding. 

And to make it simple maybe a 100 strand wire will fire my plug to oem voltages ,,, but gm requires a 150 strand wire. Does yours meet or exceed ,, sure it does but for how long. 


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1980 , ZZ430 , 3.92 rear , 700R4 2400 stall NEW EZ EFI 
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2/16/13 7:23pm - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
stingrayjim jr Lifetime Member
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SHELBYVILLE, TN - USA

Vette(s):
1976 L48 auto

1978 L82 4speed

1994 LT1 6speed

Joined: 7/5/2002
Posts: 3937
Well, i think you and i are on the same page.. but when it does come to performance claims over engineering claims, i kinda don't think you can have one without the other... at least in terms of batteries... ;)  such as the Optima, or the Odyessy batteries,  which are purely aftermarket batteries, that are engineered moreso than the OEM batteries that any of the big 3 use... and if applied correctly, last just as long or possibly longer than OE batteries.... but, they usually do command a higher price, as do most 'high performance' aftermarket stuff..

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StingrayJim
NCM Lifetime Member #1936

Stingray's '76                             StingrayJr's '78                           Lil Red '94

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3/29/13 4:37am - Reply: 'Re: Battery advice'
manget1 Lifetime Member
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Indianapolis, IN - USA

Vette(s):
Silver 1974 Convertible - L82 4 speed Low miles (was only 8,900 when I bought it in March 2006) - Now 42K miles. Original owner bought it as an investment for son's college expenses. 2008 Jetstream Blue Convertible - DAILY DRIVER!!

Joined: 9/3/2006
Posts: 2383
So I am thinking of getting a new battery - I have owned the car for seven years and never replaced. It sounds like getting a battery from Auto Zone would essentially be the same as getting an Interstate since they have the same manufacturer?

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