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Needing a new battery for my 1936 Buick.  I had thought about a 6 volt Optima, but found that it is 10 inches long which will not fit the battery box without major modifications.  Not wanting to do this I guess I am back to a standard 6 volt acid battery.   The last one came from Car Quest and lasted 5 years which I consider reasonable given my car sits a lot and does not have a battery tender hooked to it.  Leaning toward an Interstate 6 volt.  What have others had good luck using?

 

Thanks,

Tom

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The Optima may only be 10 inches long but it is still the same width.    I used some wood filler blocks so it would not shift front to back and a heavy duty cable tie.

To make it less obvious,  I found a black trash can at the dollar store,  cut it down to size,  drilled some holes in the bottom and placed it over the Optima,  it is not original but it cranks that my 320 over like a charm.

DSCN1435.JPG

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I set the optima batteries diagonally in the battery tray on my Model A Ford, my 1917 D45 Buick and my 1932 Model 58 Buick.  There is a company that makes a battery using the same technology as the Optima called Odessy.  The price is significantly higher.  Remember, that you are not constrained to placing an Optima vertically.  It will function well in any way you put it.   Or the alternative is to just accept changing the battery every 3 to 4 years.

 

Bob Engle

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I have Interstate batteries in all my 6 volt cars and I have had very good luck with them. I have had some go 7 years.

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The big advantage ........to me, was the ease of lifting the Optima battery into position in the car.   The old hard rubber battery must have weighed 50#,  plus I was replacing them every year.

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In my '37, the Optima Red Top sits diagonally.  It's nice and snug.

 

DSC_4428.thumb.jpeg.574c95fb81b2719730ea87cee8e63a2b.jpeg.cf66e38df1c01a637d01fedfab0aa228.jpeg

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17 hours ago, Barney Eaton said:

The big advantage ........to me, was the ease of lifting the Optima battery into position in the car.   The old hard rubber battery must have weighed 50#,  plus I was replacing them every year.

Nowhere near 50 pounds and if you had to replace them every year you had other electrical problems than the battery.

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Posted (edited)

How much is a 6V Optima now?  Years ago they were too steep for my wallet.  How long are they lasting?  Are you using a battery tender?

 

I'm getting 8 years out of the heavy duty (what ever that is) Tractor Supply Co. 6V 'tractor' battery.  $89.  Checking online just now, I see they are up to $96.

 

Santa brought me a 6V/12V automatic battery tender so I rotate that around the garage.  Never used one but was forced to make a Christmas list this year for the kids so I got that and an infrared gun and some other fun stuff.  Will see if that improves on the 8 year life.  I have a battery disconnect on all my older vehicles.

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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The Optima runs $150 - $170 depending on where you get it.  I also have master disconnects on all my vintage vehicles.  I don't use a battery tender. (Except the Model "T" every six months or so)

They all seem to hold their charge just fine.  Even after sitting for a year while I was restoring the Buick, the cars fired right up.  The Optimas in my Fords are now about 7 years old, still work fine.  What I like the best is the lack of the acid.  They just seem "cleaner" and I don't worry about water levels or that acid corrosion around the battery holder or cover.

 

Just personal taste.  My Model "T" had a lot of acid damage when I bought it because the battery leaked all over, so I converted all my cars to the Optima.

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I am on my second Optima. The first lasted about 8-9 years but I didn't keep it on trickle charge and my '38 Buick usually sits all winter.  I have had the second one for two years now but I keep it on charge and it cranks like crazy even in 40 degree temps with 20W-50 oil in the engine. I expect it to last 10-12 years. One recommendation is to use 000 gauge battery cables and no disconnect switch. I found that no matter how I tightened the plastic clamp wheel on the disconnect I read 0.3 - 0.4V drop across it. Also when I installed Halogen headlights and an alternator the disconnect switch caused momentary high resistance which made the voltage flare and burned out one of the bulbs. Never happened again after I removed the switch.

 

Steve D

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Buick Brothers.

 

I too have gotten by for decades without a battery tender.  Will be interesting to see what it does or does not do.  Being cheap, I don't replace the battery until it is dead and then there always seems to be an impending drive or tour that I can't wait for so it's off to Tractor Supply.

 

Steve, would one of those knife style cut offs work better?  Still pretty cost effective.  I've had that plastic knob loosen up a couple of times and coasted to a stop.  I've learned to now try to see if the horn has power as I coast to the shoulder.  No horn?  Check that battery knob first.  Makes you look like a genius as you fix your car in 3 seconds.

 

Years ago before I had my starter/generator rebuilt, I kept the rear brush cover off since I was in there all the time fiddling with the brushes.  One time I dropped the slippery oiling can right down in on the brush arms.  Dead shorting the battery.  The spout of that can started to glow orange and the oil ignited.  That got my attention.  I've patched and kept that sorry old can as a reminder of how much energy a battery has.  I burned the stink out of my hand as I flipped that flaming can across the garage.  Threw what was left of the car wash suds bucket on it.  Woke the dog up.

 

 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)

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I don't think I have an electrical problem other than no more than I drive the car, and at low speeds, it may not get a good charge while driving.   Using an old charger that you could select 6 or 12 volt was my only option and sometimes I would wait too long

to plug in the charger.  So I  put a timer on the charger and charged the car for about 15 minutes every day.    I also belong to the "cheap" school and did not have a 6 volt maintainer.   All the above was probably why I was only getting 12-16 months out of the original style battery.

About the time I switched to the Optima,  I also purchased a new electronic charger that is also a maintainer and it will charge both 6 and 12 volts and I can keep it plugged in all the time.     The first Optima lasted about 5 years and I  am on the second.

I purchase them over the internet directly from Optima and the price was about $140 including shipping.    Regardless of the weight of the old style, they were hell on my back.

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I have had good luck with the NAPA Commercial Group 2 six volt battery in my 1940 LaSalle. I use a battery maintainer when the car is sitting. The NAPA battery is a little pricier than the ones at Tractor Supply, but has more CCA's. The first one was seven years old and going strong when I gave it away to a friend because I thought that seven years was pushing my luck. The second one is now about four years old. I top them up with distilled water at the beginning and end of each season.

 

I thought about an Optima, but I have heard stories that they can be problematic if you have to charge them.

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I never use a maintainer, I just remove the positive terminal every time I let the car sit for awhile. I tested the car and find there is a tiny leak of around 10 milli-amps, and since the battery is rated at 60 amp-hours it would take 6,000 hours to drain it at that rate. With the terminal removed there is zero leak.

 

Also, it gets super cold around here in the winter, so I take all batteries indoors for the winter. I find in the spring they are still fully charged.

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Brian, yes, good idea. A knife switch large enough to handle the starter current should have contacts with heavy spring metal pressure that will ensure a positive connection every time so I think that would be a much better choice especially for 6V cars.  

 

My experience with batteries in general, even standard lead acid types, is if the car is garaged and used infrequently, and the battery kept charged it will last up to 10 years. I have had my Buick since 1978 and only one battery lasted less than 10 years. I also have a 1965 Mustang in the garage and use an economical Walmart Everstart battery. The first lasted 11 years and the second is now 8 years old. I do keep all my batteries on trickle charge during the winter but leave them in the car. 

 

Steve D  

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Fleet Farm!

 

https://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/master-disconnect-switch/0000000243308?Ntt=battery switch

 

I have one in each of my cars, along with 00 cable. Works real good!

 

So back in college (the first time!) in the very early 1970s I was helping a buddy swap out his Mopar alternator. For some reason the + terminals on those alternators were exposed during that period and I (stupidly!)  did not disconnect the battery. My metal flexible wristwatch band made contact with that terminal and ground! I just saw a small spark and the next thing I knew I was jumping around trying to get my watch off! I got 2nd degree burns on my wrist and 3 of the links were welded together. Lesson learned.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Posted (edited)

Instead of using a knife switch or a master disconnect switch, I just leave the positive terminal loose enough so all I have to do to is twist it off. The terminal posts on batteries are wedge shaped so you whack them with your hand to tighten them, which leaves it tight but loose enough to twist off by hand, if I don't plan to use the car for awhile. When I go to start the car 2 weeks or 3 months later, I put the terminal on and whack it with my hand. Sometimes there is corrosion on that loose terminal. That's nothing, just use a jackknife to clean it off and clean off the battery post with that wire thingy they sell for $3. Put the terminal on and whack it, and she's good. The negative terminal, I tighten all the way, so there is never any corrosion (on the positive terminal the corrosion comes from arcing of electricity due to loose fit) 

Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

My reading and experience notes that that to charge the new AGM/ optima batteries you should have an updated battery charger.

 

I have also transitioned to Optima batteries in my '15 truck.

 

Here is what I have.  It can charge 6 & 12 volt batteries, Gel, AMG, & regular batteries, and 2amp, 10 amp, and 20 amp charging.  Has ability to check state of charge of the battery along with voltage. 

 

Clore Automotive SOLAR Pro-Logix PL2520 6/12V Battery Charger/Maintainer with Boost - 20 Amp

 
 

Clore Automotive SOLAR Pro-Logix PL2520 6/12V Battery Charger/Maintainer with Boost - 20 Amp


List Price: $119.99
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Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)

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But, if you buy a "smart charger", don't throw your old charger away. If the battery is really dead, most smart chargers will refuse to charge. You will have to jumper in a second battery that is not completely dead to get the charging process started.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Bloo said:

But, if you buy a "smart charger", don't throw your old charger away. If the battery is really dead, most smart chargers will refuse to charge. You will have to jumper in a second battery that is not completely dead to get the charging process started.

 

Yep! Too smart of a charger. Must have some battery voltage to "know" the person (you) did not hook up the cables backwards. I have added a manual start button to a friend's charger. I just avoid buying new ones, repair old ones....😉

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Thanks for the replies.  I will have to make me a wooden template for the rounded end Optima battery.  At 10 inches long and rounded ends I don't think it will fit the battery box on my 36.  It would only fit diagonally as width and length way too short

Tom 

battery box.jpg

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Take the rod out of one side.  Make a plate to mount the base mounts for the Optima onto.  Attach the plate to your tray and you are in business.

 

Bob Engle

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On 3/8/2019 at 8:09 AM, Larry Schramm said:

My reading and experience notes that that to charge the new AGM/ optima batteries you should have an updated battery charger.

 

 

That is correct.  I use this one from Griot's Garage.  (Although they most likely just put their label on this particular unit)  The "Battery Manager V".  Like Larry's, it's very versatile.

I really just use it under the Model "T" maybe once every four months as the "T" doesn't have a generator, and I start and run it on Magneto so the battery just sits idle for prolonged periods.

 

I tried to "idiot-proof" the unit by circling the lights I need to come on before charging so I don't mess things up.  

The nice part is that I've hard-wired the "female" end of the charger to the batteries, so it's just "plug-and play" and off it goes.  I goes through an automatic program and brings the batteries up to full charge, then slips seamlessly into maintenance mode.

 

 

DSC_4930.thumb.jpeg.1867cedbf655295727d5979b569a323a.jpeg

 

 

DSC_4933.thumb.jpeg.bee0cd0fccde870ff3c44db047d47313.jpeg

 

 

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