Bugger me, batteries again!

Submitted: Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:08
ThreadID: 33533 Views:2377 Replies:9 FollowUps:18
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Ok, I've got two calcium-calcium 105amp/hr 550cca batteries in the surf, one as a starter and the other as an Aux. It has been running sweet for ages, and even though the starter still shows good voltage even after 24/hrs rest it's just not cranking the old girl very well anymore. In fact this morning it was about 7c and it turned the engine over about 4 times and went CLICK! So I had to flick the aux over in parralell and start her with the both of them.

Of course if I had been running the lights and firdge etc etc while camping and this happened I'd be in deep doo doo, so I've got to do something about it.

The other problem is that running B100 biodiesel, cold mornings can mean up to 7 or 8 turns before she fire's instead of the 2-4 on normal diesel, so I'm going to need a hell of a battery for those cold camping morning's.

The Excide extreme I was always going to buy to replce the starter, but it's only 620CCA at best and doesn't seem to be much better than the 550CCA I've got.

Any recommendations for a kick ass starter battery? I've got reasonable room for it, had N70ZZ's in there with room to spare...

BTW - Can't afford to spend MEGA $$$ and I'm not interested AT ALL in the Optima's. Seen bad things first hand with those.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:20

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:20
Yuasa Overlander 700cca and Exide extreme 620 have been good to me and mates vehicles. Have to say that for whatever reason, Calcium batteries have been giving us some grief.
AnswerID: 170695

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:26

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:26
Do you know how much the Overlander's are and where to get them from? My mate's 3.5 V6 Jack has a 600CCA overlander in it, was in it when he got it and seems to never miss a beat. Mind you, probally easier turning that motor over than the diesel, but still seems to be good and @ 700CCA it might do the trick...
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:52

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:52
Hi Jeff,

They are made by Century batteries. Should be able to get them in many places. Look up century batteries in the yellow pages - might be cheaper directly from a distributor. I think they retail between $160 and $190.

Cheers
Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:56

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 18:56
Heres a link.

Website says Phone 132287
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 19:14

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 19:14
Cool, thanks for that, they seem to be very similar to the excide extreme. Are they a dual purpose type like the Excide, ie can do some deep cycle work as well. If so I might put one in as the aux as well....
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Follow Up By: Robin-Outback - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 07:45

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 07:45
There really is no difference between Century Overalander or Exide Extreme. Both are good performers. Check KMart Auto as they had the Exide Extreme on special last week or this week for $139
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 18:52

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 18:52
Jeff,

IMO, I'd always go for a cranking battery as my auxillary - they charge up better and for my use, they rarely get cycled all the way down. The only other thing I'd consider are the AGMs, but I'm a bit of a dinosaur, and like them to be proven before I dive in and spend double the money.
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Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 03:58

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 03:58
LandCruiser 12v cranking batteries - N70ZZ -
670CCA
140 RC
$99 cash
available Perth :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:01

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:01
Yeah Mainy several years ago I bought a 700CCA N70ZZ battery brand new for $79. "BARGIN" I thought. It went really well for about 12 months, then could barley turn the engine over. I always kept the water topped up etc, it was obviously just crap. I've got high expectations out of this battery for these kinds of $$$. It has a 2 year warranty, and I will be absolutally taking it up if it plays up on me.
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Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:23

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:23
Jeff, it all depends on the build quality and the technical specifications of the relevant battery.
I agree some elcheapo batteries are total crap, and then some are not!!!
These are rebadged as ****** and retail for astronomical amounts of $$$

I sell them as a ‘special’ before they are rebadged, as they are specifically designed to be used in the mine sites as Cranker batteries in Troopies etc.

When you compare the technical specifications with an Exide Extreme you would have to wonder why you would spend the extra ~50% $$ for a lesser CCA Cranking battery :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 11:58

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 11:58
Mainey,
The Overlander comes with an australian-wide 24 month replacement warranty, which is better than anything else I've seen. Do these others have the same?
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 20:08

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 20:08
Won't go into much detail because if you have a short or what ever it won't matter what you put in there , but I would most certainly take a good hard look at the Optima's Site Link
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AnswerID: 170731

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 20:17

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 20:17
Yeah thanks Doug, I don't want to start a debate or anything, however I did have a good read on their site a few months ago when my best mates 13 month old Optima shagged it completly while we were driving in the dunes just north of Perth (it completly died, stopped the car from running, was reading 0.0v on the multimeter). They claimed (after recommending that battery and specifically ordering it in for him) that it was the wrong battery for his needs and also advised him of their pathetic excuse for a warranty where it was cheaper for him to go and buy a brand new exide extreme than to get a warranty replacment optima.
I looked all through their website and found that the battery they had recommended for him was (according to their website) designed for exactly what he was using it for. He also did not flattern the battery EVER, he was only using it as a starter and it was only starting a 1.6L 4 cylinder petrol engine. (not exactly hard work).

So yeah, I'll give them a miss and I'll also be VERY dubious about what any battery manufacturer "claims" on their website when researching my replacments.
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Reply By: Muzzgit (WA) - Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 21:50

Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 21:50
Matt, my calcium/calcium N70ZZ is 710 cca !!! Has plenty of grunt to turn over the 3.0 patrol and has been in there nearly 2 years.
AnswerID: 170777

Reply By: SantaAus - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 17:04

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 17:04
Supercharge have some decent batteries. They come with a 2 year warrenty.
AnswerID: 170980

Follow Up By: Sam from Weipa Auto Electrics - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 07:20

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 07:20
I second that the have a 760cca rating on the n70zz m/f but they can easily deliver 850cca under a load test they have an excelent waranty policy and are super durable.
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Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 18:52

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 18:52
Thanks everyone! I have purchased a 700CCA Century/Overlander 4WD battery today and popped it in. Seems ok. I put the now spare 105 amp/hr into a battery box in my rear storage box and tapped into my 4G cable that runs from the back to the front for my inverter. It's now in parralell with the other 105 amp/hr up front. So with 75kg of batteries in the surf now I should'nt have any more power problems!! (I hope).

Thanks for everyones help. Oh yeah the overlander cost $175, a bit steep I thought considering you can buy what looks like an identical "rebadged" battery by Bosch for $149, but hey I didn't want to risk it, I need the power and reliability.
AnswerID: 171001

Reply By: Eric Experience. - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:27

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:27
Jeff.
With that much battery you will be pushing you fan belt to the limit. If you are after reliability you may find the belt is not up to it. can you fit a twin belt or a multyv? if not get a gates high temp belt and run it realy tight. you belt will wear realy fast and is probably the reason your battery went flat. Eric.
AnswerID: 171057

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:51

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:51
Nah the 1KZTE motor has a twin belt setup standard, and they are new bosch ribbed belts. The reason it's going flat is probally a combination of lot's of short trips, running biodiesel (longer start times in the cold temps) and the cold temps causing the battery to be at a lower voltage. Of course that all coupled with an aging battery that was really a little undersized CCA wise to start with.

I'm charging them all now with my computerized charger so that they are all fully charged, the centuray will probally keep topped up by itself as it's a faster charge plus it charges while the turbo timer runs and for 2 minutes on startup before the others switch in. The other two I'll probally whack back on the charger once a week or so just to keep them topped up as they require a slightly higher charge voltage to stay at 100% anyway, being calcium-calcium.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:58

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 22:58
Sorry, just to clarify, the twin belt is for the alternator (I know it's obvious, but just to stop any confusion). The third belt is for the air con compressor, the vacume pump, power steering pump and fuel pump I think run off either gears or the timing belt.

Unlike the 2LTE the vacume pump is on the opposite side of the engine to the alternator on the 1KZ-TE, not on the back of the alternator.

I've got two spare alternator belts in the tool box too, just in case (the old ones).

I can also seperate all the batteries individually by the circut breakers I've installed under the bonnet for faster charging. Ie I can start the car, then isolate the starter to charge the aux bat's faster while camping etc.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 05, 2006 at 23:00

Friday, May 05, 2006 at 23:00
And just thinking about it, it wouldn't be any different to a 4wd with dual batteries and a camper or caravan with a battery in it would it? The only difference with mine is at least I've got decent cabling to the third battery and therefore less voltage drop...
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 07:53

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 07:53
Calcium-Calcium Batteries need a higher charging voltage than any other type of battery to charge fully in a reasonable time - 14.8 volts.

If you have a standard Alternator (14.4 volts) that is running well and you don't do short drives, they will charge reasonably - if not, avoid calcium-Calcium batteries.

Mike
AnswerID: 171093

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:08

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:08
I think I covered that above:

"combination of lot's of short trips"
and
"I'll probally whack back on the charger once a week or so just to keep them topped up as they require a slightly higher charge voltage to stay at 100% anyway, being calcium-calcium."

You're right. A calcium battery can still be charged to full capacity off an alternator at even 13.8v, it'll just means you have to drive for 2 weeks solid before it charges! :-)

It's funny, though, as a lot of "reputable" 4wd shops only sell calcium batteries, and unless they are modifying the vehicles regulator they really are bumb steering their customers to a certain degree.
I purchased my clacium batteries for two reasons:
1. Excessive heat in the engine bay would effect them less than AGM and Lead Acid.
2. Large Amp/hr capacity vs size
3. Faster bulk recharge time (slower final charge at lower voltage as mentioned above).
4. I got the two batteries for $100 for both, that's $50 each! (a dodgy work deal). An offer I coulnd't refuse!

As long as you are aware of their down sides and keep them topped up when doing lot's of city driving, and when returning from a camping trip, you'll have no problems with them.

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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:16

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:16
Calcium batteries will charge fully off a 14.4 volt Alternator - calcium-calcium batteries won't.

Mike
AnswerID: 171110

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:41

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:41
Yeah from my research that is debatable, in fact some long haul tucks running calcium-calcium have had their regulators lowered to prevent over charging.

From what I am lead to belive after hours of net searching is that a calcium-calcium battery will fully charge at 14.4v, it just takes a very long time in order to complete the charge, a longer time than a normal vehicle would be running for, ie a normal vehicle in normal conditions will not be able to fully charge a calcium-calcium battery at 14.4v, however if you were to drive non-stop from Perth to Melborne for, example, you probally would fully charge a clacium-calcium at 14.4v.
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Reply By: skinnyg - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 14:40

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 14:40
Have you thought of getting one of those jumper packs in the large amperage variety .. they dont take up much room and there extremely handy...
AnswerID: 171141

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 15:05

Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 15:05
I'm not sure of the capacity of those, I would imagine that they would be no more than 50amp/hrs... I don't really see what advantage I would gain from having one of those, it would still need to be charged... Besides I have a little 7amp/hr gel cell that I can use for mobile lighting etc.
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