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  • Defective Battery Damage

    A Sears maintenance free Die Hard I bought in March leaked and caused some minor damage in our 53's engine compartment. I returned the battery for a full refund. Lesson learned, I replaced it with an Optima Red Top. Eventually, I plan to replace all my conventional batteries with Optimas.
    Tim-'53 Starlight Commander Custom in Yuma, AZ
    jimsrodshop.com/project/53-resurrection

  • #2
    Make sure you read up on Optima battery failures.....
    Google 'Optima battery failures' and read a while...
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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    • #3
      I sympathize with you, but I've had several Optima Red Top batteries over time (I still do in my '70 Avanti), and though they are excellent batteries and best in certain applications, I've also found they don't last as long as standard design batteries. In my own experience I found that, unless you keep them on a battery tender during the off-season, they don't hold up as long as standard batteries.

      I've been using Maxx batteries from Wal Mart now, and they seem to have a longer life span and for about half the cost. The last Optima I replaced was still within its warranty...after it being pro-rated for the length of the warranty unused, it would have cost me more than the price of simply buying the Maxx at Wal Mart.

      Don't get me wrong...Optima batteries are excellent, but I've concluded they're not cost effective. I'm not touting Wal Mart batteries...just saying what I've done. I've also heard great things about NAPA Gold batteries as well and I've had good experiences with Costco's house brand as well.

      I understand Sears changed vendors for their battery line...maybe that's had something to do with your experience.
      Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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      • #4
        In my 20 years in the battery business I found the Optima batteries to be great performers but had a higher failure rate than I liked. The company was always very supportive on warranties as I sold them all over the country.

        Denny L

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        • #5
          I've had an Optima red top 6 volt in my '53 for 5 years, it started the car in June, having sat since September. Seemed to take forever but it did start.

          I haven't found a sealed 6 volt to take it's place, an unsealed one pee'd acid all over my engine room over one winter.
          Last edited by Tom Bredehoft; 07-29-2011, 07:14 PM. Reason: Add'l information.

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          • #6
            A custom-cut piece of that acid-neutralizing Battery Mat material doesn't hurt a thing, either.

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            • #7
              I've had two lead-acid batteries explode violently during startup. Yes, they were both DieHards. It's like a shotgun blast. Or a highly corrosive grenade.

              After you have cleaned up after one of these, the Optima remains a reasonable alternative. A yellow-top Optima in my '58 Packard was just replaced after about four years. It was really abused, car repeatedly left garaged and unstarted (without a charger) for over six months at a time. A red top Optima in the '58 Prez is going strong after four years, hasn't been neglected as much but never kept on a maintenance charger.

              An alternative for me has been the group 34 AGM type battery from Odyssey, also sold through Sears (in a gray case) as the DieHard Platinum P1. It's heavier than the Optima and even more costly. Price has been tolerable when on sale at Sears, but rose to around $235 full retail a month or so ago.

              The rectangular version of the hold down fits my Optimas quite well, but poor fit on the Odyssey/Platinum, even though all are group 34. On the other hand, S-I's 1323655 single bar-type hold-down fits the Odyssey or Platinum like a charm. I'm installing a pre-price rise P1 in the Packard Hawk, now must use hanger 1545092 to adapt the washer bag. The '58 sedan has an aftermarket hold-down for the Optima.

              Some of the better chargers have selective programming for batteries like the Optima and Odyssey.

              Yes, I need to drive the cars more often, doing just that now that I'm retired!
              Attached Files
              Last edited by riversidevw; 07-30-2011, 08:34 AM.
              Gil Zimmerman
              Riverside, CA

              1955 Speedster
              1956 Golden Hawk
              1958 Packard Hawk
              1958 President
              1963 Avanti R2

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              • #8
                The battery mat (under the battery) didn't help the spray out the top of the battery, inner fender, under hood, vavle cover, carb linkage, firewall. It also ran down the inner fender and dripped on the steering box. I didn't know that there was a problem until I saw a bubble form and burst on one of the battery caps.

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                • #9
                  When I had one explode in my face while timing an Alfa, I was so lucky as to encounter a leading developer of Lasik surgery, who had just come up with a big, fat contact lens with a tube attached, that allowed pressure-washing of the eye instead of the centuries-old saline drip they would otherwise have used at the ER. Saved that eye, he did--and left me with a spooky respect for where hydrogen comes from.

                  The other model of the same car had the battery in the trunk. It probably would have set off the gas tank. But the local supplier gave me a free new battery!

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                  • #10
                    One admonition about those Optima or Osyssey/Platinum batteries that I usually prefer... They don't survive long if allowed to be totally discharged for any period of time. This is mostly a concern in later model cars with constant battery drain while parked. We have a Porsche Boxster (2004) that can easily drain any battery in a month or so.

                    When Porsche introduced the Boxster as a '97 model, people soon realized that the battery is concealed in the front trunk compartment. That's probably about the time that they also realized that the front compartment is opened electrically. Our local dealer proudly displayed their first two '97 Boxster demo cars at a local car show. The convention center demanded that the batteries be disconnected because of fire regs. The guy delivering the cars to the show obliged. You can guess the rest. Later models added a Rube Goldberg thing in the fuse compartment in the driver side kick panel to allow connection of a booster battery to open the trunk.

                    No problem with the Studies quickly draining batteries, except the time the glove box door latch wasn't properly adjusted on the 56J...

                    Gil
                    Gil Zimmerman
                    Riverside, CA

                    1955 Speedster
                    1956 Golden Hawk
                    1958 Packard Hawk
                    1958 President
                    1963 Avanti R2

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