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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Battery Recommendations

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Legacy25GT_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 06:04 AM

Hello all.

I've got a MY97 Legacy2.5GT with a battery that has seen better days. The battery is in need of replacement, so I thought that I would ask for your opinions on your battery knowledge. If you have replaced you battery let me know which kind you bought, model, it's ratings, and what you think about the battery's performance.

I thank you all in advance for what I hope will be a multitude of responses.

Have a nice day out there.


#2 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:44 AM

I've bought a few batteries in my time. I'm still going on the OEM battery in my 97 OB curiously enough.

If you are in cooler climates, you can go with a maintenance free battery if you want. They are not really recommended for warmer climates, since there is off gassing and water loss that you can't replenish, hence they don't have the best life. A battery that you can add water to is the best in many ways, <strong>provided it is maintained</strong>. If you forget about it and water (electrolyte) level drops, it will be damaged.

There are not that many companies that actually make batteries, but there are lots of brand names. Some are probably better than others, but I couldn't really tell you which. Personally, I'd shy away from bottom dollar ones. Mid priced to upper priced ones should be fine. Get the most cranking amps you can for your size. And you can sometimes put a slightly different size in than the original. You can find battery charts on the web. I'd have to dig up the numbers, but I think that there is a much more common size that will fit our cars that is just slightly wider, or longer, or something (Group 34 vs 35... or vice versa...). Watch the post configuration. If the terminals are on the other side, you may have to put in a longer positive cable. A lot of aftermarket batteries have the posts near the center. You may or may not be ok with that.

I'm in Canada. Canadian Tire Corp carries the Exide batteries. You can get their top line long warranty 800/1000 cranking amp battery for under $100 Cdn. It's what I'm looking at when mine needs replacing.

If you want to spend the bucks, you can also consider batteries like the Optima deep cycle. (See Legacy777's write up in the archives.) I put an Exide Select Orbital Deep Cycle (same sort of technology) into my wife's van about 1.5 years ago. My reason for chosing it is that she has a tendency to leave interior lights on. (Why Honda would not have a timer circuit on these things I have no idea... ) She <strong>still</strong> managed to kill it once when "4" interior lights were left on overnight. :mad: These batteries can easily cost 2 times the run of the mill batteries though.

Hope that helps.


#3 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 12:36 PM

I'm using Interstate batteries in both my 96 Outback and 91 Camry. So far I'm happy with them. I prefer the maintenance type where you have to maintain water level - as opposed to the maintenance-free types which do seem to have a shorter life.

I would have to disagree with Commuter's statement about getting a battery with the most cranking amps for your size. The larger cranking amp batteries do have more plates in the battery, but tend to be thinner. The lifespan is shorter as the thinner plates deplete quicker. Stay with battery at specified rating or slightly above (50-60 cca above) for best results.


#4 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 02:07 PM

First I heard about the plates being thinner but I have heard about higher CCA batteries (for the same 'package size') having the plates extend farther down towards the bottom where they could potentially contact more 'crud' and short out or be comprimised. Probably worse if folks use minicipal or high TDS water than for folks using distilled/deionized water - do not use mineral/drinking water. It should say distilled and/or deionized.

1 Lucky Texan

#5 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 03:13 PM


Hmmm... interesting point. I've never come across that, but it does have a logic to it. I've seen discussions about plate thickness, construction, vibration resistance, etc. Apparently vibration is more of a killer than most people realize. I've even seen batteries that specifically advertise as been more vibration resistent than others, but these are usually for industrial applications. I said cranking amps, but that is just one specification. What might be of more interest to someone is the batteries reserve.

I'm sure plate construction comes into play as well as plate thickness. But how one can find out about such things, I have no idea. You'd need some battery manufacturer insider person on that one I think!

I have not gone through a lot of batteries in my time. I've always had equal and usually better life from a replacement battery, even if it was of higher cranking amps. But that is only one factor. There's no way to know what resulted in the longer life. If I had to guess, I'd say because I probably bought a battery that was overall superior to the OEM one. OEM batteries typically aren't anything special. They are made to a performance/price point.

And yes, distilled water only as Texan points out. The minerals and junk in tap water just shorten the life of the battery.


#6 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 06:08 PM

Hey Commuter,

Well, I'm going to admit I am not fully versed on battery construction, so if you or anyone else can shoot down my logic, please do. I'm sure if we search the web there are hundreds of articles out there on the topic.

What I do know:

Generally, higher CCA rated batteries have more and thinner plates than the lower CCA rated ones. This is due to the fact that more surface area is required to produce the higher current rating.

Generally, higher CCA rated batteries with more and thinner plates don't take discharge and recharging as well as as lower CCA with fewer and thicker plates - like marine batteries which of course are known for their deep cycle charging capabilities (thicker plates). In cold weather climates, the batteries will tend to have more discharge/charge activity which I *believe* is harder on the higher CCA rated batteries.

I'm not certain of this, but my general understanding is that higher CCA batteries, producing higher current levels, burn more material off from the plates at a faster rate than lower CCA batteries. The resulting residue from the chemical reaction tends to fall to the bottom of the case (as mentioned above) and/or get suspended within the electrolyte, thereby causing a more rapid deterioration of the effectiveness as the battery ages.

I know, I know, probably sounds like deep doo doo to most of you.

From my own experience, I have bought various CCA rated batteries over the years - and I have to say the higher rated ones tended to last 5-6 years, while the lower rated CCA tended to last 7-10 years. And I'm totally disgusted with the performance life of the maintenance free batteries. I do think brand quality has a lot to do with it, as well as one's driving and maintenance habits.

I replaced my 96 Subie's OEM at 7.5 years/101K miles of service. It didn't really show any sign of needing to be replaced - in fact I still have it. I had to replace the battery on the 91 Camry at the time, decided that the Subie's was nearing it's life too and to do it and avoid the hassle of e winter morning when it's -20F and it gives up. Who knows, it might have gone another 2-3 years in the car.

Anyway, if anyone can offer their expertise, please do so.


#7 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 08:40 PM

Most Texans (and other hot weather denizens) would give up their shade trees to get 6 years outta a battery! I think the industry average map I saw showed 3-4 years for most of Texas and the SW.

Best battery I ever owned was in my '81 Civic wagon. A Yuasa that lasted nearly 5 years. I was so impressed I priced a replacement. Yikes they were proud. Bought an aftermarket.

The 3 year FULL replacement Autozone battery is what I buy now when I need a replacement. gambling I might get a freebie!

1 Lucky Texan

#8 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 09:16 AM

Interstate and the oem batt are both made by Johnson Controls.

DieHard, WalMart and Autozone batts are all made by the same (not JCI above) manufacturer. Don't waste the $$ on a diehard...

AGM (absorbed glass mat) such as optima, concorde lifeline, delphi freedom extra, exide orbital, crown odyssey, and ACDelco platinum are the best you can buy.

YES, you CAN save $10, getting a taller battery that fits just fine (even the clamps and hold-downs) are long enough. this can mean greater capacity-- check the #s.

CCA is most important in cold climates. Reserve capacity is most important in warm climates.

starter batts have more, thinner, OR higher-porosity plates. Less material is more prone to shedding, porosity prone to clogging. deep cycle batts w/ less CCA and higher reserve have thicker, less porous, or fewer plates. overcurrent will overheat them, causing warping/physical damage. avoiding overcurrent-- they can last longer.

in general, a heavier battery is a better battery = more lead, thicker materials... and, 3yrs in TX is average batt life. cold reduces capacity, but heat is actually what causes deterioration. remote-mount in the trunk if your curious about that one... they last longer in cooler climates.


#9 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:45 PM

I'll make my shameless plug for the optima yellow top batteries. Excellant battery.

I've had it since January of 2001. It spent 1/01-7/01 in Pennsylvania

8/01-2/02 - memphis

2/02-present - Houston.

So I've had some various environments for it, and have sucked it deader then a doornail thanks to me leaving on my driving lights (which isn't a problem now).

Only problem with it is the price, but IMO it's worth it.

#10 Guest_cookie_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 05:54 PM

I agree with you folks on the few battery manufactuers.
I have bought hundreds of batteies over the years as a fleet shop manager.
I currently use Interstate becuase they have a good battery that will fit many applications.
I use the largest I can get in my vehicle and change it every four years.
I don't use the Optimas which are probably better becuse I can buy two Interstates for one Optima.
If you were going to use the vehicle in an extreme way where it would operate on silly angles spend the money for the Optima.

#11 Guest_CROSSTBOLT_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 03:29 AM

As usual, you got a real pile of info for just one question! I think it boils down to this: Get the biggest battery that will physically fit in the tray/clamp system with the correct terminal configuration for the least money with the best guarantee four years and beyond. Super cheap is not good but very few decent batteries will last beyond four years with decent maintenance. Everything all the others said is good info in my opinion. The OEM battery in my '01 Forester appeared to be better quality than what came in the '03 Baja. Plus it was not overfilled.


#12 Guest_edrach_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 07:55 PM

I have to agree with the poster that said don't waste your money on the Diehard. After finding that I went through 3 in row that never lasted the full advertised lifetime, I finally realized it was a scam since the "pro-rated" price was never enough to make the purchase worthwhile. That being said, I'm partial to Interstate currently.

The most important item about battery life is proper maintainance. I don't buy sealed batteries so I'm picky about adding water when required. DON'T use tap water; always used distilled water. I'm not sure about deionized water and if you're buying it by the gallon, get the distilled water. Besides, you can use the extra water to dilute your anti-freeze. Second point is DON'T EVER LEAVE IT PARTIALLY DISCHARGED. Batteries build up a sulfate layer on the plates only when not fully charged. This layer is irreversible and the major cause for shortening your battery life. Remember, distilled water only and put it on the charger overnight if you think the charge is down. I generally get 5 or more years of life out of my batteries regardless of brand (except for the Diehard).

#13 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 06:48 AM

actually, sulfation can be reversed, but it's a SLOW process. check out this site. I've built a couple of these and they work, just slowly.



#14 Guest_x silvershad0w x_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 07:11 AM

I built that exact same desulfator as mike (meep424) and also had very good results. I used it on my current cheap battery that came with my car, a champion rebadged. It looks like a very cheap battery, and it was already 5 years old after I got it. within about 6 months, it would barely crank over the car after a full charge. So I "desulfated" it with this little puppy, and so far I have got 6 months more out of it, starts like new again. Took about 2 weeks with the desulfator hooked up, and I usualy try to put it on for a week every few months, on all my cars. FYI, you can leave one of these hooked up all the time, they only draw about 40ma, so unless your car sits for long periods of time, that would be a good idea. And they are cheap to build as well. Worth a look, it can save you a lot of money i think in the long run.

#15 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 11:08 AM

I wondered if this topic was going to lead to a "sufate" discussion sooner or later.

I read up on this last year after stumbling upon an ad for a battery "additive" at my Subaru dealer of all places. (I never spoke to them about it, but I did exchange a few emails with a couple of the product's distributors in my area.) You can read about Battery Equalizer <a href="http://www.batteryequaliser.com/" target="_new">here</a>.

I read up about the electronic pulse units that do the same thing, but felt I couldn't justify it. At the cost of a battery (and I only have 2 vehicles, one now with an Exide Orbital) and no other batteries or relatives etc to use it on, it just wasn't economical to me. The link to the "build your own" is interesting. I'll have to check into it further.

Battery equaliser is a liquid that you add to the cells. (Hence, no good if you have a sealed battery.) It appears that it is nothing more than Cadmium Sulfate according to the MSDS. The cost was low enough that I decided to try it on my 5.5 yo OEM battery.

I know... a lot of you are probably thinking "snake oil". But, since I figured that my battery was probably at the end of it's life anyway, and that the smallest bottle I could buy would do about 6 batteries... I figured I'd give it a shot anyway.

My car has never turned over all that quickly IMO, even when I got it at 2 years old. (Some aspect of the flat configuration?) It seemed to be getting a little slower at the 5 yo point. As I said, I put the stuff in last year. I couldn't see into the cells to be able to tell you if there was any change visibly to the plates. One thing I did notice however is that the acid changed from a murky yellow to nearly clear, just the way they show on the website. I tested the specific gravity before and after. It didn't seem to really change... might have improved a hint.

We had a very cold winter in Southern Ontario this last year. The battery has held up. Sill in the car, over 6.5 yo now. It doesn't crank any faster, but no slower either. When I need a new battery, I do plan to use the battery equalizer in it. I was thinking of another Exide Orbital, but I can save significant $ and I have already paid for the 'snake oil', so I will just buy a quality non-sealed wet battery.

So there you have it. Just some comments on my personal experience.


#16 69800


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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:54 AM

I have played a lot with batteries and read alot. Never let em go below about 75%. They start sulfating as soon as you park it. If not being used, charge every month.

I have had the very best longevity from Delco batteries. They cost a bit more but the are bullit proof.

#17 NoahDL88


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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:56 AM

this thread's 2 years old, move along, nothing to see here.

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