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Old 10-10-2020, 07:40 PM   #1
holdover
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Default The Battery Game

I live on a farm where we raised Clydesdale horses. Stopped that hobby when I got older and had physical problems working with them. Now we just do some hay. Have always been into vehicles even before I was a teenager. Classics, hot rods etc. I just did a count of vehicles and farm equipment that require batteries on my place. Besides the tractor, backhoe and mowers and farm vehicles, pickups etc that don't leave the property, I have 5 Model A's all insured with plates and 6 daily driver vehicles, a few race cars and others, all that require batteries. Other than the local auto parts stores such as Advance, Auto Zone and Napa there is a local country store that sells Interstate Batteries, but the cost of all these are high, anywhere from $100-160. In total there are 24 active batteries on my place. A few years ago a Rural King opened up about 36 miles from where I live. If you are not familiar with them it is like a Tractor Supply on steroids. They have their own brand that is made by Exide. Today I bought 4 of them on sale for $54.95 each. All come with a free replacement for a year, and pro rated for 5 years. Have them in my Model As both 6 volt and 12 volt and other vehicles. I have been getting great service out of them without any problems for over 3 years and I don't use a battery maintainer. When I compare them to the $156.00 + Tax Interstate battery a friend just bought for their 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee which is also guaranteed for 5 years, it is a great deal. With my 2 oldest Exide's close to 4 yrs old in my '29 Coupe and '29 Pickup, I am curious to see how long they last. At the price they seem like a good deal.
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Old 10-10-2020, 07:49 PM   #2
Joe K
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Too bad. Nearest store to me is in PA and 371 miles away.


Nice thought though. Exide and Edison and Ford were certainly "interconnected."


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Old 10-11-2020, 05:49 PM   #3
Patrick L.
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Both Exide and Interstate are good batteries, so,,,,,,
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:08 PM   #4
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Question Re: The Battery Game

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Originally Posted by Patrick L. View Post
Both Exide and Interstate are good batteries, so,,,,,,

I use to use Interstate batteries in my Harley's. The one in my '94 Softail went bad and I had lost the paperwork for how old it was. Through emails
I asked the factory (the shop I bought the battery at was out of business) if they could date the battery for me. The battery itself was covered in serial numbers. They totally refused! Why? What state secret would have been revealed?!?


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Old 10-11-2020, 10:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Battery Game

With over 20 running vehicles I keep a log for everything I do on any of them. Oil changes, parts etc. I also have a folder for all the invoices, which over the last 50+ years have helped with those lifetime replacement parts!
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:32 PM   #6
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Holdover you have as much invested in batteries as Model "A"s...…….. My interstate Group 2 just crapped out almost 1 year old and I cannot get it to full charge to crank over the engine on my '33 pickup. It has just sat the last 4 months and I have not taken it out.
I just don't drive them enough to get them to last and to keep on the trickle charge all alone in the garage is too scary for me. I am thinking more and more to swap everything to 12 volt system
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:02 AM   #7
30 Closed Cab PU
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Have you tried one of the smart desulfating/repair charger/maintainers?



I had a 6 v battery that went kaput over a winter when I forgot to remove it and keep charged. After 3 tries on a smart charger, it finally took a full charge and have been using the battery for 3 years now, and is still going strong.
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Old 10-12-2020, 02:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Battery Game

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With over 20 running vehicles I keep a log for everything I do on any of them. Oil changes, parts etc. I also have a folder for all the invoices, which over the last 50+ years have helped with those lifetime replacement parts!
So you keep track of the costs? I can't do that. I don't want my wife to know just how much money I've spent on these beauties of mine. It equates to several European holidays, a beachside cottage or perhaps a ticket to outer space. A return ticket that is.
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Old 10-12-2020, 06:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Battery Game

I'm looking at a Schumacher heavy-duty 6 volt battery charger/engine starter do you guys have luck with those if the battery is really dead ??
Lots of suppliers say they won't ship some of these chargers to California, man I am getting frustrated living in this liberal state...…(that's not where I want to take this thread)….. Just looking for good solid advice on how to keep a 6 volt battery alive for at least 3 or 4 years without constantly having the trickle charger on it ………… what do you use then ?????
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Battery Game

I keep a simple 1/2 amp trickle charger connected to all of my vehicles. Every few weeks I plug them in for a day or two. Keeps the batteries in tip top condition.
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Battery Game

In the last few years I have had poor luck with vehicles that are still running on 6 volt batteries. It just seems like nobody with the exception of the expensive Optima battery, make anything that last pass 3 years.
In total, between airplanes, cars, tractors and my Harley, I deal with 20 batteries. I use to buy Interstates for most of my 12 volt vehicles and the Harley. They got really overpriced a few years ago. Now, Costco is selling a limited amount of Interstates. Have had really good luck with Walmart's Everstart. I know, hard to believe, but they do sell them with a good warranty and I have a couple that have lasted over 12 years.
The 49 F1 and 26 T currently need a new 6 volt.
Anyone having good luck with a particular 6 volt here in Commifornia?

Tom L.

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 10-12-2020 at 07:19 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: The Battery Game

I get great service out of the $40 6V batteries from either Farm and Fleet or Farm King for the Model A and '36 Ford.

Running Tom Wesenberg's EVR in the original generator, I have been averaging 7-8 years on them. Others are getting even more life out of them.

The EVR makes all the difference it really extends the battery life. Pays for itself real fast.

Electronic Voltage Regulator in place of the third brush. I believe Tom is busy with other projects right now, and is probably sold out of them. He has been absent on here for a long time.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Why do we still have to use lead-acid batteries? It has been many decades since they were state of the art.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:18 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Quote:
Originally Posted by woofa.express View Post
So you keep track of the costs? I can't do that. I don't want my wife to know just how much money I've spent on these beauties of mine. It equates to several European holidays, a beachside cottage or perhaps a ticket to outer space. A return ticket that is.

If I kept track of what I spend on mine I'd probably have a stroke and then sell the car


I put a new battery in mine this year. Cheapest place around was Napa. Right around $90.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:33 AM   #15
30 Closed Cab PU
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Default Re: The Battery Game

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Originally Posted by Synchro909 View Post
Why do we still have to use lead-acid batteries? It has been many decades since they were state of the art.



Perhaps cost? Other types seem to be expensive in comparison. Model A people and farmers are frugal, the initial cost is typically considered 1st even though paying more may be cheaper in the long run.


FWIW, my opinion.
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Old 10-13-2020, 09:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: The Battery Game

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Originally Posted by al's28/33 View Post
I'm looking at a Schumacher heavy-duty 6 volt battery charger/engine starter do you guys have luck with those if the battery is really dead ??
Lots of suppliers say they won't ship some of these chargers to California, man I am getting frustrated living in this liberal state...…(that's not where I want to take this thread)….. Just looking for good solid advice on how to keep a 6 volt battery alive for at least 3 or 4 years without constantly having the trickle charger on it ………… what do you use then ?????
I have not used the Schumacher, use NOCOs and Black and Decker

Sometimes you can get sulfated batteries that can not be charged with the new smart chargers to work by either jumping them for a few minutes with a good battery, or by using the old style non-smart chargers - gets them to take a little bit of a charge/voltage. Then switch over to a smart repair/de-sulfating charger, sometimes takes several cycles with a smart charger.

Sometimes the battery is too far gone, can not be saved.

The older non-smart chargers are getting very hard to find, not sure why, just know the smart chargers do not use a step down transformer - Cost, or perhaps EPA reasons, or legislation? I've noticed that used non-smart chargers are rising in price on the internet and at farm auctions.

I know you said no to a full time charger. I buy inexpensive ones, hook them up to a cheap timer on a power strip and set it for 5-15 minutes every day. Put the chargers and batteries in a metal tray on the garage floor spaced away from anything flammable. Am paranoid about leaving batteries charging unattended.

Perhaps ship the new desired charger to a relative out of state or have them purchase it, and then they can ship to you? Not sure if that is legal.

Last edited by 30 Closed Cab PU; 10-13-2020 at 09:02 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Here's a few tidbits on batteries, but in the end you're still restricted to what is sold locally, freight is expensive.

1) There are only 3 wet cell lead acid manufacturers in the US: Exide, Johnson Controls, and Penn State. Every other name you see is a re-labeler.

2) Construction varies. Plate thickness, grid design, and depth of case all affect battery life. Different vendors have different build specs. Unfortunately, all they give us are warranty duration and Cold Crank amps.

3) Maintenance greatly affects battery life. Longer periods at low level of charge forms larger lead sulfate crystals that become impossible to change back to lead and acid.

4) Deeper states of discharge reduces the number of cycles for the battery.

5) If you don't kill it from neglect, eventually enough lead oxide forms and falls to the bottom to form a layer. When that layer grows high enough to touch the plates, the cell shorts and will not accept a charge. You're done. This is why depth of case below the plates is important.

6) Each fully charged cell at rest after 24 hours should read 2.15 volts, so a fully charged 6v 3 cell battery should read 6.45 volts. The best way to test the battery is either a load tester, or a specific gravity electrolyte tester. Open voltage is a poor test method.

7) Gel and other improved lead acid batteries last longer and some will accept more abuse, but are much more expensive.

8) Overcharging or too high a setting on a generator will boil off the electrolyte, change the charging rate or add water monthly.

If you have a choice, buy the heavier battery, more lead, longer life, more amps. Find a way to get a charger on it once a month or so, and keep the electrolyte level up.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: The Battery Game

a ticket to outer space. A return ticket that is.

Your wife said it was one way.................!
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Old 10-14-2020, 05:59 PM   #19
Ernie Vitucci
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Default Re: The Battery Game

Good afternoon...I only have two classic cars. Both of them have a 6 volt Optima. I do drive each car a 31 A and a 49 Packard once a week minimum year round and average 7 years on each battery...perhaps if one has many vehicles...it would make more sense to just have a battery or two and move them from vehicle to vehicle...Ernie in Arizona
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