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Old 01-27-2002, 12:32 AM
Dive 30 Dive 30 is offline
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OK, so I'm reading Consumer Reports 10/01(let the Flames begin).

Anyone read the article on Battery Comparison?

OK, so I've been wanting dual batteries (doesn't everyone) and I have been putting them off because the least expensive I had been able to find Optima Red Tops was $125.00 each , typical, but expensive.

Are they worth it?

The big deal: Optimas are a new, spiral cell/gel design vs. a electro plate/fluid design thus they are compact, vibration resistant, can be mounted in any position, do not put out fumes, and supposedly have superior CCA (Cold Cranking Amps), Reserve Capacity, and Warranty.

However, in the test, the Optima scored LOWER on the CCA, Reserve Capacity, and Warranty than Duralast and Interstate and the Duralast has a better warranty (36 month free replacement vs. 12 month free replacement which I was suprised at).

They say that the Reserve Capacity was tested at the industry standard 25 amps at 80 deg farenheit. The lowest rated battery ran for 78 minutes, the highest ran for 'about twice that long'.
Here's a summary: (these are the same size batteries 34/78) in order that they appear in the test.

Duralast (Autozone) Gold 34DT-DGS (South) Price $70, CCA 800 (got a 'very good' rating on this. I wish they would have had a more objective area for this test) , Reserve Capacity 'good' (what does that mean? (unfortuneately Autozone's site is down right now or maybe we would have their stated reserve capacity) and a 36 month free replacement warranty.

Duralast (Autozone) Gold 34DT-DGN (North) Price $70, CCA 900 'good', Reserce Capacity 'Very Good', 36 month free replacement warranty.

Interstate Mega-Tron Plus MTP-78DT, $96, CCA 800 'good', Reserve Capacity 'good', 18 month free replacement warranty.

Optima Red Top 34/78-1050, $140 ($126.96+freight and EPA from summit), CCA 750 'good', Reserve Capacity 104 min 'good', warranty free replacement 24 months (summit says 12, w/ 12 prorated).

AC Delco Professional 78DT-7Yr, $80, CCA 850 'good', Reserve Capacity 'good', 24 month free replacement warranty.

Ever-Start (Wal-Mart) High Power DT-3, $40, 630 CCA 'fair', Reserve Capacity (I really wish they would have included run times with this) 'fair', 24 month free replacement warranty.

They also did a test on the larger size 65 batteries which is what most of our rigs would use (I believe)

Here the Sears Die Hard Gold 33165 (South) [$80, 700 CCA 'excellent', Reserve Cap. 'very good', 36 month free replacement] and the Ever Start (Wal-Mart!) Extreme 65-2N (North) [$60, 850 CCA 'excellent', Reserve Cap. 'excellent', 24 month free replacement] were tops.

Any body have any other reports? I guess I'm mostly disillusioned by the warranty. I like the idea of the spiral cell advantages, but why would I spend $280 on two Optimas when I can spend less $120 and have a conventional battery that outperforms the Optima? I know size does matter
, but I can make room under my hood for a full size battery for $160!!!

What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance

Phil

[ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Dive 30 ]</p>
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Old 01-27-2002, 12:51 AM
64Trvlr 64Trvlr is offline
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<blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Dive 30:
OK, so I'm reading Consumer Reports 10/01(let the Flames begin). OK, so I've been wanting dual batteries (doesn't everyone) and I have been putting them off because the least expensive I had been able to find
Are they worth it?
<hr></blockquote>

Consumer Reports, aren't they the ones who keep telling us that vehicles like our Jeeps are dangerous, get bad mileage, and don't have a car like ride?
Optimas ARE worth it, they aren't new however. I started selling them through my shop in 89. I've put in over 500 and had very few failures. Nice things about Optimas, 2 year free replacement / 4 year prorate after that, if you put on new cables when you install them no corosion ever, they NEVER need anything, I've never had one freeze even when discharged. I have 2 in my Jeep and 2 in my F-350 never had a problem with them. Keep in mind that after you buy the 2 batteries you'll need an isolater and at least one new set of big battery cables. Looks like you need to check with the guys that bought the other brands mentioned and see how they hold up. Did you try NAPA for prices? Our NAPA here sells them for $129 and Car Quest is the same.
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Old 01-27-2002, 12:57 AM
andy d andy d is offline
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i know nothing of the optima. i have the die hard with 5 yrs so far on the 2 i have.my 14 yr old bmw supposedly cant handle the optima.the regulator is set for a lead acid battery's charge/discharge cycle or some such. the construction of a battery is key. some batteries cant handle vibration. it took me three exide gold something or others to fulfil the warranty. the wash board beach access roads were making them die young. if the guys on my bmw forum are right, wal-mart batts are made by interstate, which has a good rep too.
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Old 01-27-2002, 01:33 AM
Dive 30 Dive 30 is offline
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64 . . I like the idea of no maintenance or corrosion, but I don't like the idea of spending $260.00 two years from now to pay for it. I don't do a lot of fast travel over wash boards. Even on the dirt raods back home I never had a battery fail because of it.

Even with the sherrif's dept all we used was Interstate (even on our snow cat) and they never gave us trouble.

And I do like the compact size, I could probably fit the two Optimas in the same place as my existing conventional.

I just can't see where, in a mid grade off-road/daily driver the Optima is superior. I use the little .99 anti corrosion pads and some De-Ox (free from work) on my battery terminals and it keeps the corrosion to a minimum.

Also . . . I've heard arguments both for (keeps you from draining your second battery) and against (makes more CCA available for high draw equipment) isolators, what's your take?

Andy . . . my existing battery is an Interstate that was the jumper battery at my Dad's shop for two years before I dropped it in the Wag a year and a half ago. This thing has taken everything my electrically malfunctioning G-Wag could throw at it and even here in IA with some of the cold temps we have had, it hasn't missed a beat (knock on woodgrain) so I am pleased with their quality also.

Thanks,

Phil
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Old 01-27-2002, 01:56 AM
64Trvlr 64Trvlr is offline
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<blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Dive 30:
64 . . I like the idea of no maintenance or corrosion, but I don't like the idea of spending $260.00 two years from now to pay for it.
I just can't see where, in a mid grade off-road/daily driver the Optima is superior.
Also . . . I've heard arguments both for (keeps you from draining your second battery) and against (makes more CCA available for high draw equipment) isolators, what's your take?
<hr></blockquote>

Why will you be spending $260 in 2 years?

If you can't see or you don't feel that they're superior then don't buy them.

The isolator lets you use either battery without running them both down. It will also charge the one that needs it not both. My take is that I have isolators in my Jeep and F-350.
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Old 01-27-2002, 02:09 AM
Dive 30 Dive 30 is offline
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<blockquote>quote:</font><hr>64 . . I like the idea of no maintenance or corrosion, but I don't like the idea of spending $260.00 two years from now to pay for it. I don't do a lot of fast travel over wash boards. Even on the dirt raods back home I never had a battery fail because of it. <hr></blockquote>

I was saying with the warranty expired and if they should fail I would have to spend that much money (again).

I'm just disillusioned. I've read so much about how superior the Red Top is that I was expecting it to outperform the traditional plate batteries in the CCA, Reserve Capacity and Warranty.

I guess I was wanting someone to sell me on them again. Can I justify spending twice as much $$ on a battery without knowing for sure that they will last (at least) twice as long? (and be go fast wing-ding F-45 look cool like my chrome valve covers )



Phil
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Old 01-27-2002, 02:25 AM
64Trvlr 64Trvlr is offline
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<blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Dive 30:

I was saying with the warranty expired and if they should fail I would have to spend that much money (again).
I guess I was wanting someone to sell me on them again. Can I justify spending twice as much $$ on a battery without knowing for sure that they will last (at least) twice as long?
<hr></blockquote>

The free replacement is for 2 years, then for the next 4 years it's prorated. The only time you will pay full price is in about 6 years. If you want to be sold look at what all the guys that use winches all the time use. Almost without exception it's Optimas, look through the 4 wheel drive magazines at what most of the serious users have. I don't know if you can justify them or not, that's your decision. But they will do more for you than the chrome valve covers. As far as looking cool what beats a pair of red tops?
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Old 01-27-2002, 02:56 AM
Dive 30 Dive 30 is offline
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You're right . . . they definetely match my valve covers much better than Interstate Green Plus they are the same color as my spark plug wires!

Now that is worth and additional $160.00!!!

Honey . . . can I have $300.00?
Why?!
So I can put dual batteries in the Jeep!

Why is she always shaking her head and walking away?

Phil
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Old 01-27-2002, 03:45 AM
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porkchop porkchop is offline
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Has anyone every heard anything about the Excel Orbital that is sold by Checkers? I am going to be getting two of them for free and want to make sure they are worth the trouble. There are free so it doesn't really matter, does it ?
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Old 01-27-2002, 03:56 AM
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will e will e is offline
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I used to tell everyone when they moved to AriZona to buy an Optima battery. A friend of mine was one of the first to sell them. Some of those first batteries would last YEARS. A buddy had one that he moved between five or six cars and the darn thing lasted over 7 years. This in UNHEARD OF in Arizona where you don't buy batteries, you rent them. I had one last about 5 years.

However, the last 4 optima's I purchased (and the two replacements for those) did not do nearly as well. They seemed to leak around the posts. I think the quality may have gone down. I finally got so disgusted in them that I switched to the Orbital battery instead. So far so good but it has only been 2 years.

If people think the Optima quality has returned please let me know in this thread. I would love to go back to these batteries. (And they match my distributor, spark plug wires). I even used 'red' vaccuum plugs on the top of the J bolts of the batter hold down. Nice look and it kept me from getting scratched on the darn things.

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Old 01-27-2002, 03:56 AM
64Trvlr 64Trvlr is offline
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Looks like you are the official Orbital tester PC. Are those the black ones made in Spain?
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Old 01-27-2002, 01:04 PM
Lugnut Lugnut is offline
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Now, les' see...As I recall from the literature on the Optima batteries, they're supposed to operate in ANY position...is tha' right?? Wouldn't that be THE selling feature?
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Old 01-27-2002, 10:33 PM
andy d andy d is offline
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Dive my 1st interstate was a gift. even with a weak cell, it ran my 66 valiant for 3 yrs. the gold from exide sold by a-zone is pita. big claims, good warranty, bad performance.(stranded the bride twice). i dont mind the adventure of a dead batt.but even when i was a lot broker than now, i have tried to keep Marina in a car with a good batt. the gold failed twice
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Old 01-28-2002, 12:55 AM
tnhunter tnhunter is offline
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We have an Exide plant about 10 miles from my house. They claim to make the batteries for Wal-mart, (Everlast brand). These batteries in my experience are pieces of junk. I have gone through five of these things in two years. My next battery will definately be an Optima. Everthing I've heard about them makes them the number one choice.
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Old 01-28-2002, 06:34 AM
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tnhunter,
I would have to agree with you on the Exide batteries. They make the batteries for the Marine store that I work for. we have nothing but problems with them coming back and they leak really bad directly from the factory. I have gone through so many pairs of pants due to this. The customers also do nothing but complain about them but they buy them anyway. Oh Well, not my problem, I use AC Delco batteries on my boat, one startin the other is deep cycle, going on 5 years with them. I use them in my truck as well.

Chris
83 Wagoneer Ltd.(360/727/229)
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Past Rigs:
1983 Wagoneer Limited 360/727/229
1985 Grand Wagoneer 258/999/229
1986 Grand Wagoneer 360/727/228
1987 Grand Wagoneer 360/727/229

Other Rigs in the family from the past:
1975 Cherokee S N/T 304/T-15/D20
1979 Cherokee S W/T 258/TH400/BW
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Old 01-28-2002, 07:39 AM
desert_freak desert_freak is offline
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Boy I hate to even throw more fuel to this fire, but I have bought numerous Wally world batteries over the years and always had great luck. I used to be a Diehard fan but just couldn't come to spend twice as much for a weaker warranty. I've used numerous size walmart batteries and I even have two of their deep cycle in my motorhome. I would love to run a Orbital or Optima in my sandrail but there again at about $30 I can afford to buy an new battery if it lasts long enough to go beyond the warranty (like to jump my rail , sometimes makes for mushy cells) and so far it has!

I guess it comes down to personal preference, if I could justify the cash I would put in my vehicles that get punished hard, but my minivan???

Oh, and I second the isolator comment, spend the $20-$25 and isolate those batteries.

P.J.
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Old 01-28-2002, 01:09 PM
DrChop DrChop is offline
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3 words... Optima Yellow-top.

I got it thru my Interstate guy at the shop I work at, and it's been the best investment yet.

No corrosion, dual terminal hookups (great for jumper leads or winch hookups), excellent vibration/thermal resistance.

I have beat the crap out of my '28 Ford 4x4, and the battery has never let me down.

Far as I'm concerned, it stands head and shoulders above the Interstate Battery I used to run in there.

'Nother point to mention, on the Interstate batteries, the gray tops are the ones to get, have had nothing but trouble every couple of years with the green tops.

I won't even consider Wallyworld batteries, the new Champion batteries, ANY Die Fast ,etc. Have seen too many come in my work with bad cells after just a few years use, or killed because they discharged and froze. FWIW, I live and work in NW IN, the crappy weather car-killer capital of the Midwest. You other guys just deal with the cold, we have to deal with road salt eating the cars and the roads they drive on...

Doc
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