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1954 Buick Special Battery Specs Needed


Rabaey
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Does anybody know the proper battery that should go in a 1954 Buick special. Mine currently has 400 cold cranking amps, I do not know if that is adequate or something else is wrong, right now it is having trouble with the starter and I think it is the battery because everything else is fine

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A couple of questions.  How old is the battery and have you had the battery tested at one of the auto parts stores?  Many will check it for free.  If it is more than a couple of years old, that is where I would start. 

 

Next would be to check all of connections and cables to be sure they are clean and tight.  Be sure you have large enough cables as specified for the car.

 

On 6 volt vehicles, many persons try to put modern cables on the cars and have starting problems.  On 6 volt systems the battery/ starter cables almost need to be the size of welding cables to carry enough current to operate the electrical system properly. 

 

Soldering the connectors to the cable will also help improve the connections by lowering crimp resistance.

 

Just some things to think about.  Mine and many others experience.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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If it is a 12 volt system then I would still double check the battery or if you have a battery charger I would charge it for a few days.

 

I would also look really look closely at the cable connections.

 

If you have not driven he car for a couple of weeks, if you put a volt meter across the terminals of the battery, what is the voltage?  This is done when no battery charger has been connected.  If it is about 10 volts or less, you probably have a dead cell. Might come back on a charger for maybe a week or so, but always.  Better to take it to the auto parts store and have it charged and checked.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Yes, if you were trying to start the car and the battery only went to 11.4, then I would be looking at the cables, connections, and possible corrosion in the cable area that are on the ends of where the cable bolts to the starter and the engine.  Look at the connections of the battery ground cable to the engine.  Might not have a tight connection to the engine.  The negative battery cable does go to the engine? Right? 

 

Another test you can do is to put the voltmeter at the battery negative terminal and a good ground point on the engine.  Not where the cable connects to the engine.  Try to start the engine.  If the reading from the negative battery terminal to the good clean location on the engine reads more than maybe .1 volts when cranking the engine, then you have a bad negative battery cable or bad connections of the cable.  The reading should be 0 volts because your are on the same ground plane and negative at the battery should be negative battery voltage everywhere where it should be a ground.

 

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It's a 12 volt system. You are probably running the battery used in tow motors. I do as well. It is 400 CCA. My Special starts just fine with this battery. I believe our Specials require 800 CCA or there about. Need to check the manual. If your battery is 2 months old ask the dealer that sold the battery to you to load test it.  Also, if the battery you removed was the same dimensions as the battery you installed there is very little doubt the old battery was also 400 cca.  Only antique battery manufacturers build batteries with these dimensions with 800 cca and cost an arm and leg.  More than likely the old battery was from NAPA or similar auto part store.  If your old battery was a more modern smaller dimension then it was a 650 CCA or more. 

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10 hours ago, Rabaey said:

So the battery is only about 2 months old, it is suprisingly enough a 12 volt, I do not know what the old one was, all the other electrical wires and switches seem fine

A battery tested without a load can show 12 volts all day.  When a load like the starter is applied the volts will drop to about nothing if the battery is bad..  I would have the battery tested. If it is 2 months old the battery should be under warranty.

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11 hours ago, Rabaey said:

So the battery is only about 2 months old, it is suprisingly enough a 12 volt, I do not know what the old one was, all the other electrical wires and switches seem fine

A battery tested without a load can show 12 volts all day.  When a load like the starter is applied the volts will drop to about nothing if the battery is bad..  I would have the battery tested. If it is 2 months old the battery should be under warranty.

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 Everybody is making some good suggestions, but your initial question has never been answered. I looked in the shop manual and unless I overlooked it they don't have a cca recommendation. They do list that it is supposed to be 3em. I think you might be correct from the very beginning that your battery doesn't have ample power. A 400cca battery is in my opinion undersized, but I'm a firm believer to much power is better than to little. I generally get this battery from Tractor Supply for my 1954 Century;https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/traveller-3eh-heavy-duty-battery   It has over twice the cca's of the battery you are using and fits in the battery box fine.

 Before you run out and buy it you might want to just try hooking up some jumper cables with a car not running and running and see if that helps.

 

 I just looked and my Miata which has a little 4 cylinder engine battery is supposed to be 370cca's. 

 

 Voltage only does so much. I could hook up 8 AAA batteries and get 12 volts, but it's not going to start my car.

 

Carl

Edited by 1937-44 (see edit history)
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 I have to apologize I screwed up. I was in a hurry to reply earlier and just noticed I put up a link to a 6 volt battery. The battery I have in my car is a 3ET  https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/traveller-3et-heavy-duty-battery?cm_vc=IOPDP1  and it only has 550 cranking amps and 460cold cranking amps. Obviously doesn't have the amperage I thought it had but it has been starting my car fine for a few years.

 Once again I apologize.

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Hi Carl.

I was going to mention that but you beet me to it.

It's been a few years since my '54 was running and have recycled the battery in it.

If I remember right I had the 3EE in it and it worked fine but if I can find a better more powerful battery I will use it.

I see MrEarl  has been reading this thread and am interested in what the Buick Barn recommends.

 

Cal.

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Back in the 1970's when I had cars with 455 cu in engines the rules of thumb was one CCA per cu in.  It was hard to find and expensive to get a 500 CCA battery, but the here in South Texas a 350 CCA battery gave good service.  The old group 60 that I used in the 55 Buicks was only rated at 250 CCA and gave good service...now I used a group 31 battery with 950 CCA and get similar service.

Use what is available, drive often or at least keep charged.

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Right. A 400 CCA battery should start the 322 ( or 254) engine just fine in warm weather and new. If the battery terminals show 11 ish volts with the starter engaged, then the starter is NOT engaged! If the solenoid clicks, but no starter whirring sound, then the solenoid is bad (internal contacts typical failure) or the starter brushes are worn out. If no clicking, check cables, neutral safety switch, starter switch, etc.

 

BTW, all Buick V8s are 12volt vehicles.  You could say the same for Chevy, but they did make a V8 back in the early teens, so those Chevy V8s were 6 volt.

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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