PETEPONTIAC-1

OPTIMA BATTERY

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Hi I'm looking to go with a Optima 6 volt battery, has anyone switch to this type of battery and if so what are the benefits.

And what optima battery would you suggest for my 1938 Pontiac,  thank u PP.

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Posted (edited)

Optimas don't leak much, and wont be screwing up your battery connections all the time. You might not even need to clean them anymore, at least not near as often.

 

I would have already bought one for my Pontiac if I didn't have two(!) conventional batteries that still work well.

 

There is only one 6v optima model. It fits the alloted space for most 6v batteries, but is not the right size and shape for any normal group size. You will probably need to make some kind of spacer.

 

EDIT: I just saw a picture of a 6v yellow top, so i guess now there are two models. It looked to be the same size and shape as the red one.

 

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Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

I would probably go for the red one.

 

EDIT: On a closer look the Yellow one only seems to appear on European websites.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Hi PP! I have been running Optima Red Tops for 30 years or so. They have never made a mess, so I don't know of any leak vulnerability whatsoever. The fiberglass mat/gel technique is said to allow any possible mounting position. Upside down, on any side, etc. Ideally, you will like to have some modern smart charger/maintainer which has AGM charge specific capability. But you can use conventional chargers if you yourself supply the smarts, though the electronics will beat you every time. Another electronic feature you might want to consider, would be solid-state regulation to avoid over charging while driving. I don't know about those devices; my neighbor, Bloo has vastly more knowledge than I do, so might elaborate. I simply guesstimate the charge state when long distance driving, and add load, (headlights), accordingly.

 

Yes, you will have to shim the battery box. But that is one of the many uses the humble 2x4 can serve. The immunity from battery box corrosion is reason enough to go AGM.. My '20s Cadillacs thank me.    -   CC 

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I have never had a lead acid battery fail as early as 2-3 years! The one in my car at the moment is 6 years old. The tractor battery finally got the heave-ho at 8 years when starting got very difficult - not enough to heat and turn.

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Posted (edited)

There's the rub. You can kill one of these just as easy as a a conventional battery if you let it go flat.

 

Life can be extremely good. I bought a 12v Optima in 1995, and it was still working fine when it got stolen 18 years later.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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My lead/acid batteries generally have lasted 6 to 10 years and up to twelve after I went to a alternator.  This was in a 1930 car that was used daily, on average 800-1000 miles a month.  Our modern car, my wife's, batteries always lasted over ten years.

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I have had Optima batteries in my 1920's cars for 20 years.  The red top is the one you want, its a starting current battery, the yellow top is a deep cycle battery more suited to use in an RV.   I had an Optima last 11 years and another only 3 years but I was not keeping them on charge at all times.  I now use the correct smart chargers left on all the time the cars are not in use and I expect this will give them a longer life.

I bought a 6V red top recently for a friend and had a lot of trouble finding a vendor with one in stock here in Australia, maybe they are more available in US.  They use to be readily available here a few years ago.

If they are allowed to run flat they can be re-charged but not with the typical home charger.

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I buy them from Amazon itself - nice pricing.   They hold up well.  Love the light weight.  I have "reproduction" boxes they fit into nicely (but not cheap to buy the box).  They are a bit tricky to charge when really run down.  They are not good for cars you start every 10 seconds but never drive (found them not ideal in museum situations - America's Packard Museum for example).   I have had one melt down - not sure what its issue was but it was not good.  longest I have had one last was 9 year and shortest about 3 years (which I attribute to my abuse of it via not keeping it charged).  I have bought maybe 25 now over past 15 plus years.   On tours I carry an extra. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 1:23 PM, Bloo said:

There's the rub. You can kill one of these just as easy as a a conventional battery if you let it go flat.

 

Life can be extremely good. I bought a 12v Optima in 1995, and it was still working fine when it got stolen 18 years later.

The reason it lasted that long is because than they were made in America .  They no longer are and certainly don't last near that long.

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As I responded recently, I replace the 46# Interstate in my 1931 Studebaker President, with a 16# Optima. The difference in weight alone would have made the change worthwhile. The underfloor application location made lifting the large battery a real chore! But that was in 1996, so when that battery began to get a little logy while starting the straight eight, last year, I replaced it with an Optima from another car. The second battery did the job without issue. Then I did the math I had just replaced a 22 yo battery with one 16 yo. So longevity was the second plus. In twenty two years there had absolutely no corrosion, so that was probably even a bigger plus then then the first two.

 

I'm not one to give up too quickly on something that has treated me well. So I took the 22 yo battery and put it in the 1950 Champion, and it worked just fine. So my challenge now is to see if I can outlive the old Optima!

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I have had the red top version in my Model A since 2007.  Still running strong.  Would recommend.

 

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I recently switched from lead acid to the red Optima’s. My regular batteries went ten years without issues. I have installed twenty optima’s in the last three years. I have had two failures. One ruptured and leaked. 

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:

I recently switched from lead acid to the red Optima’s. My regular batteries went ten years without issues. I have installed twenty optima’s in the last three years. I have had two failures. One ruptured and leaked. 

 

I've been a fan of Optimas for years and have always had good experiences with them, at least until two years ago:  I then had a red top fail after 9 months and start a small fire.  Or at least so I heard: It happened to be when I was having the car shipped, and it was the guy from the shipping company was the one who was there when there was a problem.  Fortunately there was no damage.  

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You can charge a dead Optima with a conventional charger, just connect a regular battery in parallel.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/23/2019 at 9:46 PM, edinmass said:

I recently switched from lead acid to the red Optima’s. My regular batteries went ten years without issues. I have installed twenty optima’s in the last three years. I have had two failures. One ruptured and leaked. 

I bet I am at 20 Optima's if not more too - they are awesome in pure fact that I can carry with one hand.  

 

Per my prior note above:  I have had one "melt down" (1941 Cadillac in crosswalk right outside a of Ohio State Football Stadium  with a whole car load of people coming from a wedding reception - thought I could cross by prior to game letting out and I was wrong) - otherwise lasted 8 years and all have provided excellent service

 

Also found them not the best for cars that get stated frequently but never really driven (ex. Museum cars). 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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On 6/24/2019 at 5:56 PM, Rusty_OToole said:

You can charge a dead Optima with a conventional charger, just connect a regular battery in parallel.

In support of and to expand on Rusty's advice, my experience with dead (below 5.8 V) Optimas is that they *usually* can be brought back by *slowly* charging the dead Optima in parallel with a pretty-well charged (e.g., 6.2V or better) other 6V battery, either Optima or wet cell, until the Optima is at least 6.0V, preferably 6.1V, after which time the Optima can be charged solo.  Additionally, Optimas seem to NOT like fast (high amp) charging as often used to break down sulfates in discharged wet cell batteries.

 

For battery locations under the floor/seat, Optimas are wonderful because they need not be checked for water or corrosion.

 

I've never had an Optima "blow up" but only one in 20 years has popped its vent cap (no ill effects), and that was on a 500-miles-per day cross-country run, where I should have turned down the 3rd brush output.

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