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P.O.S. Batteries


Bhigdog
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I'm wondering what it would take to get the judges to accept "non-original" batteries as a no deduction item. Lets face it, the re-pro battery people are ripping us off big time. While thier batteries look good they are pieces of junk that last 3 years and cost triple what a good 5-6 year NAPA battery costs.

I understand economy of scale and why re-pros must cost more but there is no reason that a repro can't be the same quality as a modern battery and last 5 to 7 years. The repro's are being made to the bare minimums of quality because they have a captive market. We are being ripped off.

I have watched many AACA members at National meets place an old dead repro in the car for judging and swith back. Surely the judges are aware of this. I have no problem at all with this practice and am going to start doing it myself ( I just bought a top grade battery for my 55 Buick for $68 as opposed to $200 for a repro POS ), but it seems a bit silly to make us go through this exercise for no good reason.

If non original batteries were allowed the repro people would either have to make batteries equal to modern ones or watch thier business dry up. I'm pretty sure they would increase the quality pretty quickly. Making QUALITY batteries can't be rocket science. My guess is it costs only a small bit more to make top notch batteries as opposed to the marginal junk we are being forced to buy.

So how about it judging committee?

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AS old gomer would say WELL GOLLY dont you know Paragon Reproductions 1-800-882-4668 sells beautiful batt. covers that simulate the apperance of your orig. batt. and they are accepted for aaca judging.Just bought one for my 65 gran sport, last a life time and a hell of a lot less expensive than a new batt. every 2 yeras. Dont know if they make covers for all size batt.,but the phone call is free. I think they run about 30 dollers. Good luck Dick

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Thanks Dick. I didn't know that I'll give them a call. But one thing does bother me if true. It strikes me as just a bit hypocritical that the AACA would accept a "cover" knowing there was a "falsie" hiding inside. Thanks again....Bob.

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I would guess if it looks fake it would loose points. If it looks like an original battery, how could you loose points. We are not allowed to tap on it to see if it feels hollow.

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Congratulations for your 2nd Grand National award. Maybe, just maybe could have been 1st with the correct repro battery (and possibly other improvements). As far as those 400pt cars go, mine is NOT one of them, and I drive to every AACA meet. Yes, it is tough competition. Keep trying for your GN 1st, maybe I will see you at the next one. Good Luck!!

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Paragon Reproductions seems to only reproduce 60's (61 to 69) GM battery tops. This should be a deduction in AACA as the Delco, etc would not be on the new battery sides if using this set up.

I agree with Bob that if new style batteries would be acceptable it would force the two reproduction companies to either step up the quality and reduce pricing or face going out of business, rather quickly. I typically get 4 years from a wet cell reproduction and have recently switched to their expensive dry cell version, so the jury is still out on its longevity however the cranking amps though better still could be improved.

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Yeah, Paragon's falsie won't work for me. I spoke with the folks from Ohio about how poor thier batteries were at Hershey. Thier response was to try to sell me a no maintence battery for about $250. I asked how long it would last she said 4 years. WOW, big deal. I asked if it was an Optima in a repro case as i've been told. She acted like it was but under closer questioning said it was an Optima "type". Yeah right. Thier lead acid junk is a 6 year premium battery "type" also.

I still think the judging committe should address this. There are lots of other areas they have made common sense exceptions.

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The common sense changes to judging standards in the past have been safety related, such as turn signals, seat belts and safety glass; allowed, but still judged for condition.

Let's face it, to get a car to be competitive, it sometimes takes extra $$. Radial tires on vehicles where they were not originally offered are NOT accepted. Some say that is a safety issue, but people drove on bias ply tires for decades on roads far worse than we have today, and still drive on them. I replaced my $60.00 radials with $175.00 bias plies when I decided to compete nationally. That was a decision I am comfortable with. I agree that radial tires may handle better, but just didn't look right on my Monte Carlo.

As far as the repro batteries go, I do not consider a battery to be a safety issue either. I got 4 years out my last battery. I would have liked to get more service from it, but I realize that it is just another expense for maintaining a show vehicle. AACA maintains some of the highest judging standards in the hobby. That is why I got involved with AACA in the first place. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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Quote; "said it was an Optima "type"

That is what they told me. Having the need to dismantle things or see what makes them tick I took my new & expensive reproduction dry cell battery for the 55 and put it alongside the Optima I use for the Corvette on the workbench. I unscrewed the now fake fill caps and compared the surface area of the dry cell to the Optima which has a full 6 year replacement warranty. Also a big difference in weight.

Their dry cell doesn't even extend to the end fill caps thus making it (in my opinion) very small inside the fake battery case. It is almost like a motorcycle battery inside the old wet cell type case. It would probably be a huge improvement, longer lasting and better cranking amps if they would enlarge the dry cell inside the case.

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EXACTLY my point. Even when they went to a dry type they made it as cheap and minimal as they could get away with. IMO, not to hold the price down but to maximize profit at the expense of a captive market. That would be us. I can just picture them now when they were designing the dry type. Scratching thier heads and asking "what's the smallest, cheapest, cells we can put in here and get away with", while marking it up to the highest price the market is forced to pay.......Bob

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I use to do a bunch of work for Johnson Controls who makes the Optima series. Antique Auto Battery (manufacturer in Ohio) doesn't use the Optima inside their maintenance free series they use an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery which has plate suspended acid. They hold a 4 year pro-rated warranty. In some applications it is said that AGM batteries are superior to the Optima technology.

I have almost 15 of them that were put into service over 2 years ago. No failures yet but time will tell. I also put Optimas in my Model T's and Model A where they are hidden from view. Both AGM and Optima work best when a full charge is maintained on them, not with a trickle charger but rather with a load sensing battery maintainer.

I agree that the cost of these are pretty high but if they last from 4-6 years and look correct, I can live with it.

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I agree if they had a 6 year life I would have no problem with the price. My experiance with the 3 lead acids I've bought so far is they are fine the first 2 years and then year 3 they are obviously getting tired. For what they charge there is no reason they can't last the 5-6 years a good NAPA battery will other than they are building them to the bare minimums and ripping us captives off. They are much like the company stores the coal miners were forced to endure.

I still say the AACA could bring the necessary pressure to bear by allowing modern batteries as long as the installation was neat and mimiced original. After all they allow that god awful fake cadmium paint when real cadmium plating is available. What say judges? How about giving us a break.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Maybe, just maybe could have been 1st with the correct repro battery</div></div>

Maybe if the judging system wasn't a big secret we'd know if your assumption is right or wrong.

I put an Optima battery in a factory style battery case, and I highly doubt anyone will know the difference.

I had original factory batteries in my Mustangs and they were a waste of money and total junk. I've had better luck with buying an Everstart Battery at Wal-Mart, and taking off all the labels than I have had with anything else.

I'm not against putting in the correct batteries like you're talking about, I don't object to their cost, but I am against spending more money for unreliable junk. I agree, if these companies that are remanufacuring these batteries can't put out a reliable product, then they should either put out a better product, or find another line of work.

If my Optima battery in it's fake case starts and I can drive my truck onto the showfield, while your repro battery in your car doesn't start, you can rule out a 1st place if your car doesn't start and you can't make it onto the field.

Higher cranking amps, reliability, better warranty?? Until these companies can put out a better product, I highly doubt that I'll be buying too many factory reproduction batteries.... Especially if it's for a Preservation Award.

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Pat,

Everstart batteries at Wal-Mart are rated extremely high from Consumer Reports. I to thought about putting a Optima inside a reproduction case when exposed in show cars however their top terminals were to close together as compared to what was factory. At least for my applications so far.

And thanks for reminding me about this years grand national and my wet cell reproduction battery failing show morning. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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I am not trying to dilute the high judging standards of the AACA, In fact as the owner and self restorer of 2 Grand National first place cars, one of them a National Award winner, and another just finished First Junior car, I'm finely attuned to the concept of attention to detail. I also agree with the AACA position on radials because the bias ply tires available give an acceptable return for the money spent. While more expensive than a modern radial they are the the best tire that Coker et. al. can provide and while they may not ride as well as a radial they have an acceptable life span. If bias ply tires self destructed after 3 years like repro batteries I would be screaming just as loud (louder).

My point is, while I don't mind paying a premium for "correct" I do object to being blatently ripped off. The repro batteries cost 3 times the price and give half the service life. At some point the AACA and the marque specific clubs should realize that they also have a responsibility to thier members well being.

If modern batteries were a no deduction item, as long as the installation was neat and mimiced original, it would not be long before market forces would force the 2 repro battery companies to improve the product to an acceptable level...........Bob.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Maybe if the judging system wasn't a big secret we'd know if your assumption is right or wrong.

</div></div>

Not really a secret you can go to judging school and have access to judging manual. School is free and you get a manual for free if you go to school. I believe the manual can be downloaded also.

What I was told early on in my judging career and have always gone by is if it looks right it probably is. If it looks out of place or wrong and I don't know, talk to the captain and other team members to see if any of them know, if none do, the captain asks for proof. That is why I said earlier if it looked like an original battery you wouldn't loose any points.

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Interesting topic. I don't do shows, so it doesn't really concern me, but if it did, I would be getting the email address of the repro manufacturing companies, and sending them a copy of this thread.

Let them know how their captive audience feels about their lack of quality. If nothing else, it would be interesting to hear their response, or if they fail to respond, that would be a pretty good indication of their true feeling on the subject., and how they feel about their customers...

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Yup, I under stand the "rules" and the reasoning behind them, Peter. I've avoided mentioning specific vendors. It's not my intention to get in any arguments with anyone. Maybe I'm all wet here and everyone else is happy as clams with their batteries and the price/quality thereof. I was also hoping to hear from some of the judging policy makers to hear what their opinions might be. There may be a very compelling reason to turn a blind eye but then again perhaps no one has really brought it up for a considered discussion......Bob.

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Hi Dick. Yup, I've already thought about Binghamton and am planning to be there looking for my 55 Old's Senior. I used to have a vacation farm near Montrose, PA and seldom pass up an excuse to head back to that area. BTW, do you know the name of the host hotel?.....Bob

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I to play by the AACA form rules but protecting inferior vendors, manufactures and the occasional crook to me doesn't seem to be in the best interest of the members. Example; there is a Chinese wheel bearing manufacture that is putting dangerous parts out onto the market. Why would we not want to put a word of caution out? Not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers.

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Bob,

We didn't do the modification of that battery ourselves, we bought it from a guy who was set up at Hershey.

Actually what happened is that we stumbled across this style battery. Our fire truck has a different size battery than what came in most of the Ford trucks of that vintage. Due to having the battery terminals at diagonal corners from one another, and having a different size battery tray than most stock Fords, we were unable to locate the correct battery locally.

While we were down at Hershey we found two style batteries:

1. A battery that was not a factory reproduction, that fit our dimensions, had a 3 year warranty, at a cost of $300.

2. A battery that had a factory reproduction case, with an Optima battery inside of the stock case, a 6 year warranty on the Optima, with 1,000 cranking amps, for $500.

My dad and I weren't too fond of shelling out $500 for a battery, but we had three choices:

1. Leave the incorrect size battery in the truck and lose points for having an incorrect battery, with altered battery cables.

2. Spend $300 for a battery that will fit, but is still not correct, and lose points for not having the correct type.

3. Spend $200 more for a modern battery in the original style shell with better cranking amps and warranty that was a dead ringer for the original.

After weighing our decisions we shelled out the extra money. But as long as we never damage the case on the battery, all we'll ever have to do is replace the Optima inside the case when it wears out. We basically paid for two batteries. We bought a brand new Optima, we bought a brand new reproduction OEM battery, and the cost to modify the two batteries to work as one.

As I've said, we didn't do the work, but we talked at length with the guy who we bought them from. Basically what he did was buy a factory OEM battery (new with no acid in it) and did the following:

1. Machined out the bottom of the factory case and hollowed it out.

2. Knocked out the battery terminals on the original style battery.

3. Drilled vent holes on the side of the battery that goes against the firewall / fender that can't be seen.

4. Made a base to support the Optima that fit inside the dimensions of the factory case.

5. Left the factory caps on the battery completely intact.

- If I were to attempt doing that myself, I would probably buy a cheaper battery and try it on that first. If you can get everything to fit and work, I'd then go buy the factory original battery and then do it. You might have to put extensions on your battery terminals to get enough length to stick up though the original battery case to where the cables will fit.

The guy that we bought our battery from only does them for the flathead Ford/Mercury V8's. He does advertise in the V8 times. I want to say that he hired a guy to do the machine work and he used carbide bits, it wasn't a simple process, and it tore up the carbide bits. Can the job be done with a Dremmel tool?? Your guess is as good as mine.

Basically in the case of our truck, the only way you can tell that we have the new battery is that you can remove the caps and look down and see the Optima battery inside of it. There is a slight gap between the Optima terminals and the original Ford battery case, but once you put the cable ends onto the terminals, it covers the gap. Otherwise the only other way you can tell is to unbolt the cables and hold down brackets.

I'm not the expert on these things, but I do have one, and have to say it is a slick set-up. This will cost you a lot of money, but if you're going to have the vehicle point judged, and plan on keeping the vehicle for a long time, it will save you money in the long run and give you the technology and reliability of the new batteries.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Not really a secret you can go to judging school and have access to judging manual. School is free and you get a manual for free if you go to school. I believe the manual can be downloaded also.

</div></div>

Jim, you missed it man. I'm not talking about the manual, what I'm talking about is the point deductions. A previous post on this thread talks about how someone might have gotten a first place instead of a second place due to a battery. With the current system not allowing a judge to divulge what deductions were made and why, I was merely implicating that those statements about the battery can't be proven based on the rules of AACA.

Where in that rulebook does it tell you what color the engines are supposed to be, the tire size, types of exhaust, battery brand, or finish of any manufactured car eligible in the system?? Of course the standard answer is "go to the AACA library" and "research your vehicle" but not all of the specifics can be found out there, expecially when it pertains to an orphan vehicle. The manual does a great job when it pertains to fasteners, grease fittings and light bulbs, but as in the case of the Mustang thread from Hershey, there's nothing in that book that addresses if a part on any specific vehicle is supposed to painted flat colors versus high gloss.

I still, will argue the point that an owner has the right to know where the faults are in their vehicles and have a right to dispute it. The current system does allow you to find out the areas, but in some cases if you lose points on something you might not know if it was fit, finish, fasteners, dirt, incorrect, or if the judge made a wrongfull deduction for something that is correct on the vehicle.

You still have judges out there who can't seem to remember the one area of the judge's training that says "when in doubt, don't deduct." You can have every bit of documentation available, but if the judge doesn't ask for it, and they still take the deduction, then the car owner still loses.

On the flip side, if the owner really can't find the information that they need, and the judge knows the answers, then why can't the wealth be shared??

I've judged Ron Green's '55 Pontiac before. After judging it, I know that all of those options on that car are factory authentic. But there may be someone out there who judges that car who makes a deduction for something on Ron's car because they don't know, and didn't want to ask Ron. In Ron's case, it's only a Preservation Award, but the same scenario could apply to someone else who is going for a First Junior who could stand a chance at losing it because the judge was wrong.

Ron, I'm not picking on you. It's just that you have a ton of options on your car, and your car is correct. If someone ever misjudged your car, you could lose a lot of points for it even though I know that you have every shred of documentation for that car for everything that is on it and in it.

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It's entirely possible, if not actually probable, that some repro lead/acid batteries aren't up to par, but before blaming the mfr., may I respectfully say: let's make sure that we aren't in some way to blame. The worst thing you can do to a lead/acid battery is to store it at less than full charge. This will cut its life by 1/2 to 2/3. You need to keep it 100% charged or it WILL fail prematurely. That's 100%, not 90% or 110%. If the buyer does everything recommended by the mfr. and the battery fails early on, then the maker needs to step up in some way.

To illustrate: I reproduce and repair early wood ignition coils. These units will be damaged by a common practice which actually constitues abuse: connecting power up to the coil without making provision for a spark break, just to "check" it by hearing it vibrate or "buzz," as they like to say. Even if only done once, for a short time, it is abuse because the energy produced by the high tension winding has to dissipate, and it will do so inside the coil which WILL damage it. Despite enclosing a separate slip with a warning and a warranty disclaimer, coil buyers do it anyway and then return the damaged (or as they claim, "defective") unit for a replacement. Does this reflect on the quality of my reproductions or my work? The literacy of the buyer? The alignment of the planets???

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You are correct. And I do understand battery maintence. I have 5 collector cars. 2 have NAPA batteries, 3 have repros. The napas last 5-6 years as do the batteries in my daily drivers. The repro's last 3 years. The repros cost $150 plus $30 shipping. The NAPA's cost about $60. Empirical evidence strongly suggests inferior construction.......Bob

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ditto. 8 vehicles and a trailer total.

Battery maintenance is a must. Use tenders and keep water filled (1/4" over plates). Just replaced a Interstate after 13 years (the exception) and it still read 12.7 volts. Delco in van is going on 7 years. The best with a antique repro was 4 1/2 years. Inferior. Hopefully new expensive dry cell does better.

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For judging purposes, it's even nicer when you have the batteries under the seat because it can't be judged.

I think the biggest problem we all have living in the north is that the cars sit 6 months out of the year, and don't always come out if it's raining during the time when the weather is good.

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