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Posted: 12/24/2012 11:37:44 AM EDT
2003 6.0 ford powerstroke. Stays in a pole barn type garage in the winter (central new york-can get pretty cold). Two years ago I put in autocraft gold batteries,. Now that winter is here they won't hold enough charge for startup after about a week. I had the electrical system gone over and a new alternator installed recently so I don't think there's a problem there or a parasitic leak. So I am going to take the batteries back to see if there's any warranty left. So now I ask- what batteries do the experts here recommend? the truck usually sits for 5-6 days in a row during the winter between runs. Thanks!
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 11:47:05 AM EDT
Die Hard Platinum is all I'll run. I have over 40 of them in use in different trucks and equipment rigs. Really great batteries.
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:27:01 PM EDT
If you have power out there then connect a battery maintainer to it.

Our equipment may sit for months and it usually starts because it has a master switch on the negative battery cable to totally isolate it. Every electrical system will have a drain, some more than others.

In my truck I have a Cat battery. The best there are but, they are spendy.


880 CCA
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:32:25 PM EDT
As posted above. I use a 15w solar panel and a charge controller on my Jeep. It keeps the battery charged nicely.
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:37:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CLICKBANGBANG:
Die Hard Platinum is all I'll run. I have over 40 of them in use in different trucks and equipment rigs. Really great batteries.


First post.


Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:45:26 PM EDT
Interstate Battery or bust.
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:52:17 PM EDT
I had the same problem.

Here's what to expect if you try to get a prorated warranty on the batteries. They're just very weak, not fully charged between uses, eventually they sulfate and loose capacity. They'll slap 'em on a tester and proclaim them "good to go"; just need charging. Well, lead/acids don't like living discharged so they're really weak, but not dead. They won't warranty unless "ded". So good luck going that route.

If you want/need dependable starting, get a new battery. There are only a few manufacturers but many different specs. The Pep Boys brand has been cranking my 2002 7.3 for several years now just fine. I wanted to get a Die Hard but the idiots at the Sears shop wanted to charge me to "take" the old batteries plus they wouldn't honor the online price, said I'd have to order it to get that price. Charlie Foxtrot SNAFU at Sears. So I went to Pep Boys.

I looked at all the high-end brands, Odyssey and Optima, and just didn't need what they offered for the price.
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 1:59:01 PM EDT
Interstate is what I've replaced the OEM with on the last couple of diesels. Ford & Dodge. (Always in a pair, of course.)They seem very strong, even in single digit temps, though most of their service life never sees less than 20s, or so, on occasion.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 6:23:31 AM EDT
No power on the barn for a trickle charger. Do i need to disconnect the batteries if I set up a Solar charger?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:05:48 AM EDT
Duralast gold. 36 month replacement and prorated after that. There is always an autozone close by. Easy returns.
Im not sure how much longer Sears will be arround.
Most batterys are made by only a few companies anyway.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:06:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ACDer:
No power on the barn for a trickle charger. Do i need to disconnect the batteries if I set up a Solar charger?

Most put out so little that it will be just fine. The electrical system takes jump starts & regular battery chargers just fine, so the solar will not be an issue. If it doesn't keep it topped off you just have too much of a drain & need to get it checked out, as a week is kind of a short time to be having starting issues, IMO. Even without a maintainer charging it.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:08:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ACDer:
No power on the barn for a trickle charger. Do i need to disconnect the batteries if I set up a Solar charger?

nope, i run one on the boat, i think the setup was about 80-100 bucks for a ~2-3 amp panel and a battery tender/regulator. works like a champ!
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:10:06 AM EDT
Interstate's have been good to me
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:27:44 AM EDT
In my youth, thirty + years ago, I worked as a night security guard at a Gould battery manufacturing plant.

At the end of the production line was a huge rack containing rolls of stickers.

I recall seeing Die-Hard, Champion, Interstate, and several auto parts stores. There were MANY brands.

One Battery, Tuesday was Interstates run, Wednsday was Die-Hards, and so on.

Now I'm not saying all batteries are the same, obviously there are different grades, and some, like Optimas, are completely different.

But when My 2008 Focus battery tanked, I took a picture of it and went to Wally world, found the exact battery, same production numbers on it, same proof marks, wearing a Walmart Label, for 2/3 the price of an Autolite.

I'd be more worried about the battery specs and warranty than who made it.

Sears, NAPA, Autozone, none of them own a battery planr last I checked. Kind of like lowers, a few manufacturers produce for a lot of companies. YMMV
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:29:19 AM EDT
get a maintainer, as suggested.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:35:21 AM EDT
I run a pair of Interstate's in my 86 F350. Never let me down. I've left it sit for a few months and it fired right up. Sounds like you have a small drain.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:39:20 AM EDT
Optima batteries. $200, and worth it.

Be warned - don't use a standard cheapo shitty charger on these "absorbed glass mat" type batteries unless you want them to explode. Use only "AGM" rated chargers.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:43:28 AM EDT
http://www.dekabatteries.com/default.aspx?pageid=4

I think someone posted once that these are very good batteries (and they're not too far from me...so I may head over there for my next one).

AFARR
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:45:36 AM EDT
Duralast Gold or Motorcraft.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:47:29 AM EDT
Do you have power in the barn? We have a "garage queen" second car that we rarely drive (like once every other month), and the battery will usually die each year unless I trickle charge it. Before I figured out to get a trickle charger, I had DieHards and Interstates die on me. I now run a trickle charger on it, for about 12-18 hours, about once every two months, and it's GTG year 'round.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:48:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By oulufinn:
Interstate is what I've replaced the OEM with on the last couple of diesels. Ford & Dodge. (Always in a pair, of course.)They seem very strong, even in single digit temps, though most of their service life never sees less than 20s, or so, on occasion.


I have had the best results with Interstate in my diesel as well.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:56:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ILoveGauge:
Optima batteries. $200, and worth it.

Be warned - don't use a standard cheapo shitty charger on these "absorbed glass mat" type batteries unless you want them to explode. Use only "AGM" rated chargers.

Not for a diesel. They lack reserve capacity.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:10:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 8:15:40 AM EDT by Buliwyf]
I change my batteries every 3rd year. Anything past 3 is gambling. I'd rather not have a no-start in the backwoods 10 miles from where any sane towtruck driver wants to go.

I just get my batteries from Napa. Usually thier Ford batteries still have a top that can be popped to check the fluid level.

You don't need a special charger for a AGM battery. But you do need a good charger. With a float voltage, not a trickle charge. This is suspiciously similar to quality Katolight and Kohler chargers that work fine on AGM's in generators:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=431374&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151&storeNum=50523&subdeptNum=50529&classNum=50536

IMO, it's better to toss lead acid batteries every 3 years than it is to hangon to Optima's for 6 years. Anything after 3 is a gamble IME. Lead acid batteries have improved so much recently anyways, while the Optima quality is quickly falling. Also Optimas damage if you accidentally leave a dome light on all night.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:25:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ApacheScout:
I run a pair of Interstate's in my 86 F350. Never let me down. I've left it sit for a few months and it fired right up. Sounds like you have a small drain.


Any advice on how to check for an electrical drain?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:26:26 AM EDT
i used to work as an interstate battery rep and i would recomend the optima series of batterys they are absorbed glass matt batterys the kinda look like a sixpack. they ae designed to be used in applications where they are stored for long periods of time. they are sealed so they can be mounted in any position and can hold a charge for extended periods of time.they can even start a vehicle if they are punctured. I use 2 of the red tops in my 01 dodge 2500 with the cummings turbo diesel and have had no problems for 5 years now.http://www.optimabatteries.com they are expensive but imho worth it.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:46:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 8:47:49 AM EDT by ar15newcomer]
i have stated this before in battery posts but there are only a few battery manufactures out there and i work for the 2nd largest in the world. choose based on the warranty. the shorter they are the worse they are and the longer they are the better they are. im not saying a top of the line cant crap out after a month but they are ultimately a better made battery. and if you want something that can take some abuse get an AGM battery. and chances are ANY battery that you choose from any store is either made by johnson controls or deka. exide is about done in the battery industry from what i see and hear. also the optimas are not near as good as they use to be since production has moved to mexico. lots of people complaining about them.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:51:01 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:51:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AFARR:
http://www.dekabatteries.com/default.aspx?pageid=4

I think someone posted once that these are very good batteries (and they're not too far from me...so I may head over there for my next one).

AFARR


if you choose to get one directly from them call up their factory sales and make sure they have your battery type, while they should they do have what they call a second which is usually just a blemished battery for half the price but they dont always have them.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:56:15 AM EDT
Solar charger inside a building? Are you daft?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 9:06:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dirtyboy:
Solar charger inside a building? Are you daft?

There are these things called wires, now, that allow for electricity to be transferred from one area that may contain sun, to another that may not contain sun. Just FYI.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 9:11:12 AM EDT
Odyssey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-wqckJ2nM

Link Posted: 12/25/2012 9:22:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ACDer:
Originally Posted By ApacheScout:
I run a pair of Interstate's in my 86 F350. Never let me down. I've left it sit for a few months and it fired right up. Sounds like you have a small drain.


Any advice on how to check for an electrical drain?


Disconnect the positive lead from the battery, then use an ammeter to measure current out of the battery. Connect the red lead of the ammeter to the positive post of the battery and the black lead of the ammeter to the positive battery cable. Record the current, you should start off on the 10 amp or greater scale, then drop down to the mA scale if less than an amp.

Note, on a PSD with 2 batteries, you need to disconnect both since they are parallel. And measure draw out of each as the charge balance electronics can go bad.

Since batteries range from 50 to 100 amp hours, if you have batteries draining over a week's setting, look for any draw over 50 milliamperes. If so, you can use the ammeter at the fuse block to identify the circuit. Pull the fuse, then use the ammeter to make the circuit.

If you have a draw but cannot find it at the fuse block, it could be an alternator or in dual battery 12 volt systems, the charge balance electronics.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 9:58:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By ACDer:
Any advice on how to check for an electrical drain?


Disconnect the positive lead from the battery, then use an ammeter to measure current out of the battery. Connect the red lead of the ammeter to the positive post of the battery and the black lead of the ammeter to the positive battery cable. Record the current, you should start off on the 10 amp or greater scale, then drop down to the mA scale if less than an amp.

Note, on a PSD with 2 batteries, you need to disconnect both since they are parallel. And measure draw out of each as the charge balance electronics can go bad.

Since batteries range from 50 to 100 amp hours, if you have batteries draining over a week's setting, look for any draw over 50 milliamperes. If so, you can use the ammeter at the fuse block to identify the circuit. Pull the fuse, then use the ammeter to make the circuit.

If you have a draw but cannot find it at the fuse block, it could be an alternator or in dual battery 12 volt systems, the charge balance electronics.
This.

Another (and a bit more visual) way to do this is to use a 12v light bulb. Think interior light or smaller. Connect the same way as the ammeter. The brighter the bulb, the more current draw. The clock on the radio has a current draw, but it is small enough to not cause a headache. It will cause an ammeter to move, but won't light the bulb. Remove fuses from the box as you go. When the bulb goes out, you found the circuit with the draw.

For diesel batteries, I run only Delco Professional batteries. If I could get a deal, I would run the Cat batteries, but they are $$$. Interstates are an *okay* battery (also mfg'r of Mopar factory batteries), but in my experience with them, the Interstates aren't as forgiving as the premium brands.

As always, YMMV (and probably will). By now you have probably realized that battery requirements are drastically different than than turning over an aluminum 4 cylinder gas engine.

Link Posted: 12/25/2012 10:02:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lee-online:
If you have power out there then connect a battery maintainer to it.

Our equipment may sit for months and it usually starts because it has a master switch on the negative battery cable to totally isolate it. Every electrical system will have a drain, some more than others.

In my truck I have a Cat battery. The best there are but, they are spendy.


880 CCA
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y143/lees99f150/battery.jpg
Used to run one of these in my Jeep.

Link Posted: 12/25/2012 10:26:02 AM EDT
So what is the spec for amp draw of a F350 at rest?

Less than 125ma?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 10:43:41 AM EDT
I use CAT batterys in my pick up Avalible at your local CAT Dealer

Find the correct size for your application here:

http://www.cat.com/cda/files/3049510/7/PEGP7801-06.pdf
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 1:30:29 PM EDT
Thanks for the help everyone. After having the batteries tested I will test for a current draw and see what I find.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 3:46:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Buliwyf:
So what is the spec for amp draw of a F350 at rest?

Less than 125ma?

Far less. 0.125 amperes (125 mA) draw will drain a 125 amp-hour battery in 1000 hours. That is 42 days. But a 125 amp-hour battery is a damn huge battery, most are well under 100 amp-hours. An Optima Red Top is only 45 amp-hour rated.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 4:26:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AFARR:
http://www.dekabatteries.com/default.aspx?pageid=4

I think someone posted once that these are very good batteries (and they're not too far from me...so I may head over there for my next one).

AFARR


we typically spec Deka batteries for UPS systems in our communications shelters
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 4:26:57 PM EDT
Optima FTW

it's guaranteed to get you more pussy
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 5:03:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
Optima FTW

it's guaranteed to get you more pussy

Not in a diesel.
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 5:09:31 AM EDT
Hello, I noticed your conversation about our batteries and wanted to offer some assistance. Keith_J, our batteries are perfectly capable of working in a vast array of diesel applications. In fact, they are OE on many Peterbilts. Lee-online is absolutely correct about every vehicle having some parasitic draw. My 6.0 '03 Excursion is nearly stock from an electrical perspective (Edge tuner), but it did come with memory seats, a DVD player, etc... and has a 60-milliamp draw. I currently have two D34M BlueTops in it (750 CCA, 55Ah each).

Doing some simple math, my 60-milliamp draw is discharging my batteries at a rate of 1.44 amps (.060 x 24 hours) per day. If my total capacity when those batteries are fully-charged is 110 amps (55 + 55), that means if I leave my truck sitting, my batteries will be fully-discharged in about 76 days (if they were fully-charged when I parked). This video explains how to measure parasitic draw.

However, if when you do run your truck, your charging system doesn't have enough time to replace the energy consumed during storage and starting, your batteries will become slowly discharged over time. It's also important to remember that it is extreme temperatures that really harm batteries. Really hot weather does the damage and really cold weather brings out the damage that was done. With the mild winter most of the country had last year, followed by the really hot summer we just had, there are a lot of batteries out there on borrowed time. The first cold snap we have this winter will put a run on batteries that could clear the shelves in some locations.

ACDer, unless you get a lot of sun in New York during the winter, a solar charger may not be able to keep pace with the draw in your truck. While AGM-specific chargers, especially those that are microprocessor-controlled, will maximize the lifespan and performance of AGM batteries, most chargers work just fine on our batteries. Older, analog chargers that do not regulate voltage and/or amperage can potentially damage any battery, AGM or flooded.

Contrary to ar15newcomer's comments, the quality of our batteries has never been better. We still manufacture all of our own batteries in our own facility and they are the only batteries produced there. Although many manufacturers now use recycled lead in their AGM batteries, we still use 99.99% pure lead and never re-label or re-spec our batteries for any of our retail partners.

If any battery fails from a manufacturing defect, it is likely to do so well within the first year of use, if not the first month. Beyond that, warranties are largely a function of marketing- consumers get sold on the idea of a fixed length of time, not realizing a significant portion of a warranty may be pro-rated, meaning they'll have to pay something to get a replacement. It does keep you coming back into the same store and possibly buying other merchandise while you are there.

The key to long battery life, regardless of brand, is proper voltage maintenace. Fully-charged, our RedTops will measure about 12.6-12.8 volts and our YellowTops will measure about 13.0-13.2 volts. Whenever any battery is discharged below 12.4 volts and left in that state, sulfation will begin to form in the battery, which diminishes both capacity and lifespan. That makes a quality battery maintenance device an excellent investment for any vehicle that doesn't see regular use.

If electrical access is an issue for stored vehicles, using these quick disconnects on fully-charged batteries is also a viable option and they are available just about anywhere you can buy car batteries. If anyone has any questions about our products, I'll do my best to answer them.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:32:42 PM EDT
Thanks again for all the advice. One of the batteries tested bad so advanced auto replaced it under warranty. When the current snow storm clears, I will

check for a current leak.
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:34:44 PM EDT
Cat, which is made by Deka.

Avoid Optima, pure garbage.
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:37:23 PM EDT
Sears....Die Hard.......Gold...........
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:37:32 PM EDT
Motorcraft. I've had my truck was made in Feb 07 still on it's original battery.
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:40:02 PM EDT
I use kinetik batteries.

I ran optimas in the past... But I've switched over to kinetik in both of my vehicles.

Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:41:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By CLICKBANGBANG:
Die Hard Platinum is all I'll run. I have over 40 of them in use in different trucks and equipment rigs. Really great batteries.


+1

That or an Odyssey
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:46:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2012 2:05:54 PM EDT by hushpuppy]
I've had Optimas in my '01 Dodge Cummins for the last 6 years.

No problems at all.

I mounted them in the bed so I could run twin turbos and even though they have to run the whole length of the truck to charge and start the truck they've been flawless.

We also have three others;

One in our backup Geo Tracker

Two in our '72 Maverick

and a third in our trailer for the winch.

Those three go for months at a time and all three of them have been flawless as well.

Only complaints I've heard about Optima is from dipshits who use winches and run them down too far, and Optima has an informational reference somewhere describing how to charge a deeply discharged battery ... basically ... hook the deeply discharged battery to another battery that is charged, then hook your charger up to the dead one, after it starts charging you can disconnect the second good battery and the charger will charge it correctly ... it is more a function of the charger than the battery ... do a search.

EVERYONE I have ever spoken with who complained about their optima had drawn it down using a winch. Something along the lines of "it didn't last any longer than my last one". My response is always "Maybe it aint the batteries fault"

Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:47:35 PM EDT
I have a 2003 power-stroke. Just changed them for the first time. was not starting great when cold. Went with interstate becouse of there politics is good.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 3:30:49 AM EDT
ACDer, whenever you are running batteries in parallel or series, they should be identical in age, size and type. Running batteries that are dissimilar in any of those characteristics can lead to a decrease in performance and battery life.

hushpuppy, you are absolutely correct in your analysis. Frankly, I'm a little surprised to see some gun owners so quick to place blame for issues on inanimate objects. Many of the “bad” batteries returned to us under warranty are actually just deeply-discharged and work fine, when properly-recharged (my wife's truck starts every day on someone else's “dead” YellowTop). The parallel charging technique you referenced is explained in this video and works for all deeply-discharged lead-acid batteries.

As AGM batteries become more prevalent in the marketplace, the issue of deeply-discharged batteries being returned for warranty service will only increase. We recognized this and decided to be pro-active in addressing the issue through our retail training programs, as well as my participation in online communities, product development and our tech tips videos like the one above. Every other AGM manufacturer also deals with this issue, although some do so by simply voiding the warranty coverage on their batteries, if they are found to have been discharged below a minimum voltage level.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
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