Optima Yellow-Top from Les Schwab wasn't worth it...

I bought a yellow-top optima gel cell from les schwab in Orchards Washington. They highly recommended it and so did everyone else I talked to at the time. I'm sure they're pretty good batteries but apparently I got a
bad one. I bought mine for a vintage 87 RX-7 with less than 64k original miles on it. I purchased the car as an investment (you rotary heads can appreciate that) and I wanted the nicest battery available and paid over $200 dollars for it. I drove the car 1 - 2 times a month to work and back and kept it garaged (heated all year around) and after 22 months the battery developed a short in one of the cells. I took it back to les schwab and the only thing they would offer me was a $79 dollar credit. On a battery that I expected would last several years I figured I had the real deal. Turned out I had to take it in the shorts because les schwab insisted that the car sat too long and that's what caused the short. On the 1 - 2 times per month that I drive the RX7, the car gets started 4x each day (includes lunch-trip) and is driven 60 miles round-trip. Anyway, I obviously feel ripped off. ...and les schwab has crappy customer service! They told me that this rarely ever happens. If that's so, why didn't they just give me a new optima battery and send the bad one back to the manufacturer? I'll never buy one again after that experience and I will tell everyone I know the same story!
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wrote:

A simple solar-cell trickle charger or "Battery Tender" charger is required if the car sits a lot. Keep that battery at or close to full charge while stored.
Even with a Deep Cycle battery you only get 50 to 200 cycles before degradation sets in (depending on the exact profile) - and if it went down deep every two weeks from sitting between uses that's roughly 50 cycles, enough to do it in.
The only reasons you really *need* the Optima are:
1. A severe vibration environment that kills conventional wet batteries fast - race cars, dune buggies, tractors and off-road equipment with a rock-breaker or pavement grinder attachment that is used often.
2. Where you need an obscenely high Cold Cranking Amps output surge to light off a big-block high compression race engine from a single small and light battery. - Race cars where every ounce counts.
3. You have a megabuck stereo system and the high surge amps will help the system sound better without spending big bucks on several farads of "Stiffening Capacitors."
4. The battery is mounted inside the passenger compartment and absolutely cannot vent any Hydrogen while charging or spill any excess acid in an accident or rollover.
Doesn't sound like you meet any of those requirements, so an Optima battery is only very expensive "set dressing" under the hood to make the car look a lot zoomier than it really is.
Get a regular wet battery, and save your nickels and dimes for the stuff that counts.
--<< Bruce >>--
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"sits a lot" means it routinely isn't started for 9 months to several years. Not that it is started twice a month.

That is rediculous. A battery will not go down significantly from sitting between uses every 2 weeks.
Ted
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On Sun, 12 Aug 2007 02:10:28 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

9 months is a car on display in a museum. Two weeks is a spare car you don't use much. Both qualify as "sits a lot" - deal with it.
The museum either disconnects the battery and connects a trickle charge to keep it in fully charged condition, or takes the battery out of the car and sits it on a shelf in a back room with a charger.
And even after that almost perfect care the battery is still going to go bad just from elapsed time. Will take longer, might get 60 or even 72 months out of a 48-month battery, but it goes bad.

Sorry, but it does. Not fast, but there's a 20 milli-amp to 100 mA (0.1 Ampere) draw for the clock, the radio station presets and status memory, the ECU computer memory, any fancy electronics like a timer module to keep the dome light or headlights on for 30 seconds after closing the door, and the burglar alarm (if installed).
Now you might think 100 mA (the usual max limit) isn't much, but that's 2.4 amp-hours over a 24-hour period. 16.8 AH per week.
The BCI Group 51 size Optima Yellow is only 38 Amp-Hours at the 20-hour rate - even if you figure a slightly higher capacity at a slower discharge rate as is usual, that's still mostly flat in two weeks. The largest (BCI Group 34) is only 55 AH.
You can get far better capacity with a dedicated flooded cell deep-cycle - the average Group 24 is 90 AH, and Group 27 is 105 AH. But the internal resistance of an Optima is a lot lower (higher peak current capacity) which is why the gonzo car stereo freaks love them.
Even if the car draws the usual minimal 20mA quiescent current when parked, that still draws the battery down a lot after three weeks. The damage is slow but like a snowball downhill - it slowly gathers and gets bigger till it develops into an avalanche you can't ignore.
If a vehicle sits unused for long periods (I'll say over a week) it needs a trickle charger, or the battery disconnected, or both.
Your turn, Ted.
--<< Bruce >>--
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On Sun, 12 Aug 2007 16:24:06 GMT, Bruce L. Bergman

100ma "idle draw" is WAY more than normal. 10 ma is closer (and on the high side) My vehicles can sit for over a month and still start with no problem (except if I have the fancy aftermarket "bulldog" alarm turned on - that useless peice of scrap will kill a battery in about 16 hours)I even left the stero on for a week on one of my previous vehicles and the car still started on my return - and that was with a STANDARD battery.
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Sorry but you are nuts if you think that a car that sits without being started for 2 weeks at a time needs a solar cell trickle charger or a battery tender. Something is wrong with the electrical system in the car.

So? That happens both to a deep cycle and standard battery.

OK well I just won't tell that to my '68 Ford Torino and my '84 Chevy Celebrity station wagon, both of which sit for months at a time without being started. (I'll be fair, the Torino has no computer or radio connected to the battery) The Celebrity starts after sitting, the Torino I have to put a charger on the battery after starting it - because the entire fuel system evaporates and it takes about 3-4 minutes of cranking for the crappy mechanical fuel filter to pump up the fuel line and fill up the carb bowls, and I don't want to idle the car for an hour to charge up the battery.
Both use standard batteries and I get about 3-4 years on the batteries. I put a charger on the battery about every 6 months overnight to keep the batteries from getting so low they start sulphating.
A deep cycle battery, as I have said before, has no place in a car. Use it for your trolling motor for your fishing boat.
Ted
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Why, did you need it for your fishing boat trolling motor?

No you didn't.

Then you are a blooming idiot. That car application calls for a starting battery. If you wanted an Optima you needed the red top not the yellow top. The yellow top is a deep cycle battery not a car starting battery.

That is bullshit.

Your just telling everyone how dumb you are.
Deep cycle batteries are designed to produce a low current for a long time and be drawn most if not all the way down to zero. That's Optima Yellow Top. Starting batteries are designed to produce high current for a short time. That is what you use for starting a car.
Using a deep cycle battery as a starting battery means your going to dump way too much current through the battery plates and damage them. That is why you got a shorted cell.
Please read the following about Optima Red Top:
http://www.optimabatteries.com/publish/optima/americas0/en/config/product_info/automotive/starter.html
"...Ideal for seasonal use, fully charged, it can sit unused for up to 12 months at room temperature (or below) and still start a car..."
Note also the handy graph also where it shows the yellow top and red top optima in comparison, the yellow top has a much lower peak current graph.
Note also the optima red top warranty is 36 months, the yellow top warranty is 12 months. Even if you didn't know shit from shinola about batteries, that alone should have told you something.
Ted
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