What's the best battery these days? - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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What's the best battery these days?

Some of you may remember my sad story a little under a year ago about a previous Duralast Gold battery cracking at the negative terminal and spewing acid all over my bay/body paint under and in front of the battery tray.

Well, I just yesterday discovered major corrosion on the positive terminal of the replacement battery, much of it obviously fresh/wet. Last time I checked, which wasn't long ago, the battery and terminals were clean.

I know some/most of you will probably tell me corrosion is normal and isn't necessarily a warning sign that the battery is about to cause trouble, but based on what occurred with that other DG battery, I'm not so sure I want to drive on this one for much longer.

I did clean it all up with baking soda & water.

I'm not comfortable with these DG batteries, and the majority of reviews I've read on them are negative. After the previous catastrophic failure, the DG's (and AutoZone batteries in general) make me nervous.

What battery models do you guys prefer lately? Would you watch & wait on this DG, go right in now to try to get a prorated replacement, or drop the DG's altogether in favor of ____ ?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 06:59 PM
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I actually JUST purchased a NAPA battery, a NAPA Legend 75 month battery, myself a few months back. The OLD Duralast batteries were really good quality, but in recent years, they have gone to crap. You're not the first person I've heard say similar stories or stories of their new battery going bad (dead cells) in less than a year.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 07:59 PM
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They're only two major battery manufactures around now. Johnson controls is the biggest one. They make Walmart, AutoZone/Advance, Interstate. Pretty much all of them are just relabeled and different grades of Johnson. I believe Exide is the other major maker of US batteries....

AGM batteries are really the best right now. They are so much better then a flooded cell battery and last much longer, they can take more abuse and hold more power. An AGM will be very unlikely to leak if that is a concern of yours.

Optimas are great and I have had a few over the years but IMO not worth the premium price anymore..... unless you want their cool look.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 08:07 PM
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Heh. My WalMart with the 3 year warranty (all they had that Saturday!) for my Dakota died a month ago.

I just replaced it with an Interstate - but the dealer I buy from has never done me wrong.

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-18-2016, 08:09 PM
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Usually, in any particular area, there's a recycler of lead-acid batteries.

(Lead is expensive to ship...)

They usually belong to one of the big companies.

Exide owns the local one I know of.

Most of the batteries in a area come from this plant; different plastic, molds, etc. but the biggest difference is the testing.

The ones with the 5 yr warranty passed ALL the tests, lol.

The cheaper ones, not so much.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 08:27 AM
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Motorcraft at O-Reilly's, $152, IIRC it was 850 CCA. The original lasted 11 years. These are good batteries. The car even sounds different when you start it, engine turns over really fast.

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-19-2016, 09:18 AM
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Motorcrafts are really good, and its nice to have a Ford branded battery under the hood. However, the last two battery's I bought were Optima Reds (but they are getting very expensive).

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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The AGM design appeals to me, but I didn't win the lottery and I've been spending too much on other things lately. :/

I'll call AutoZone, but I'm betting they'll tell me if the car starts they won't prorate my battery (it's 5 months past the free replacement warranty).
Also, according to their website, the 65-DLG is NLA online and in stores (probably discontinued for good reasons!), and I suspect they'd try to upsell me their Platinum (AGM) model.

The Motorcraft BXT65-850 is $156.99 at the local O'Reilly stores plus $18 core.
Even if O'Reilly will refund an AutoZone DG core, it could be moot if my model is discontinued, since the manufacturer won't want it back. I wonder whether AZ is obligated to refund the core on their own house brand batteries, even on discontinued models.

If O'Reilly won't refund the core but AZ will, then the Optima for $227.99 at AZ is looking better.

If O'Reilly will refund the AZ core, their price on the Optima red ($215.99) would be the better deal on that battery – it would be $6 more than AZ's total price if they don't refund the AZ core but AZ did refund it.
I imagine they might just refund an AZ core, even if policy dictated otherwise, if not doing so meant losing a sale to their competitor, but who knows...

I'm assuming the required group 65 adapters still come with the Optima (I've read they're supposed to) or will be sent free of charge via Optima support. If I would need to purchase those, that could break the deal on the Optima, depending on how much they cost.

The Motorcraft BXT65-850 has 850 CCA vs. the Optima's 800, but 800 should still be overkill in south Texas.
I don't recall what model battery came with my new 4.6L Bird back in '96 – I may or may not be able to find that info in old documents I have from the sale – but I'm guessing it was the 650 CCA version, and it seemed to work fine.

I did some additional shopping for AGM's while I was at it:

AutoZone Duralast Platinum (65-AGM) has a 3-yr warranty w/no prorate, 750 CCA (or 775, depending on where on their site you look) and costs $191.99 w/$18 core.

O'Reilly Super Start Platinum AGM (65PLT) has a 3-yr warranty w/no prorate, 750 CCA and is $174.99 w/$18 core.

Advance Auto AutoCraft (65-AGM) has a 3-yr warranty w/prorate, 750 CCA and is $178.99 w/$20 core.

Sears DieHard AGM (50765) has a 3-yr warranty w/prorate, 775 CCA and is $176.99 w/no mention of core on their website.

Interstate AGM (MT7-65) has a longer warranty at 4 years (proratable?), 770 CCA and MSRP of $273.95-$303.95 (I couldn't find it locally).

NAPA Legend Premium AGM (BAT 9865) has a measly 2-yr warranty w/prorate (a whopping 18 months on their non-AGM Legend batteries), 750 CCA and is $194 w/$18 core.

I reckon 750-775 CCA and 140-150 min. reserve would be adequate for me, but then "you get what you pay" is probably in effect with those less costly units in terms of reliability.

According to the Optima warranty pdf, they don't prorate their products, and now apparently neither does AZ prorate their own. So, I'm looking at a max 3-year coverage on any battery purchase from AZ, whereas the flooded Motorcraft prorates to 100 months at O'Reilly.

I'm still on the fence about splurging for an AGM. I'll let y'all know the particulars after I contact the various suppliers regarding core refunds – that $18-20 could make or break a sale I guess.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque View Post
The Motorcraft BXT65-850 is $156.99 at the local O'Reilly stores plus $18 core.
Even if O'Reilly will refund an AutoZone DG core, it could be moot if my model is discontinued, since the manufacturer won't want it back. I wonder whether AZ is obligated to refund the core on their own house brand batteries, even on discontinued models.
All parts stores accept all cores. It's just a junk battery. I have never had someone question the brand on anything that has a core charge.

Just get the Motorcraft! It is a good battery, and O'Reillys has a very long pro-rated warranty on that battery. Not many stores do the pro-rated warranty any more. Advance doesn't.

Optimas and Autozone batteries are junk. I have been stuck with Duralast for years because of the warranty. They last 3-4 years, tops.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 10:14 AM
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Optima in this bird lasted 8 years . That one NOT junk
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 10:23 AM
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I managed to kill a Red Top in 1 year once, but it involved an incident jump starting a tractor that had positive ground before I knew what positive ground was. That was a pretty harsh night.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 10:52 AM
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Optimas are forgiving to abuse but they really don't hold their charge well in general, so if you store your car for seasons or drive it as a second/fun/weekend car a trickle charger is an absolute must have item, and you should make a habit of disconnecting it. Cold especially seems to accelerate depletion, even more so than regular batteries - like if you park it in 30* weather for a weekend, open the door a few times(illuminating the interior lights) to grab something, chances are it won't crank Monday - been there done that. But as I said, they are forgiving, my Red Top got down to 8V once a few years ago, pretty much the death kneel for a wet cell, but a good slow charge up and it's been good ever since.

6 years on mine in a month, so it's definitely not junk as far as durability, but they have their quirks and frustratingly there doesn't seem to be much mention of them when shopping around, and they are stupid expensive. My original Interstate lasted 9 years, that was a great battery, had I not been attracted to the Optima's look and design(ideal for future trunk mounting, which I never got around to lol), and weight(which people way overembellished) I would have bought another in a heartbeat.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boston-Bull View Post
Optima in this bird lasted 8 years . That one NOT junk
The Optima in my tractor has been flawless. And, it will never leak and cause damage.

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 06:01 PM
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I change my battery every three to four years.

Just like changing tires.

I'm too old to be stranded because of a dead battery.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 09:13 PM
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If you're talking about spending $200+ on an Optima Red Top, I'd suggest checking the price on Amazon.
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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! That's huge! Or as Trump would say, it's yoooge.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 10:47 PM
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Advance auto is almost always at least 20 percent off if you order online and pickup in store... just fyi check out retailmenot.com for coupon codes... their 65 agm is a great battey

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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 11:43 PM
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I got a Motorcraft 84 month battery at a ford dealer for 140 bucks. Installed.

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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 10:40 AM
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racecougar View Post
If you're talking about spending $200+ on an Optima Red Top, I'd suggest checking the price on Amazon.
Damn I wish I did that when I got mine, though I was essentially stranded at the time, so I overpaid but got it right away.

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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds about right, but it apparently offers no discount from MSRP. O'Reilly marks up from MSRP! pfft...

I found the BXT65-850 for $116.96 w/$15 core.
1996 Ford Thunderbird Battery | FordParts.com

Weird thing is, that price only shows in Firefox. No lie! Browse their catalog for 1996 Tbird batteries/electrical using IE or Chrome and their prices come up as full MSRP! I never knew just using FF earned discounts on OEM car parts, but evidently it does!
If you click the link in Chrome, it does pull up the discount, but clicking it in IE doesn't. hmm... I wonder if they know about this.

Suppose I could get my local stealership to match that low price? Cheapest shipping option one-way plus eating the core charge (which is less than shipping the core) would put me at $147.91, well over the $129.95 MSRP.
My local dealers within 25 miles are not listed among fordparts.com's "shopping dealers", so I suspect they won't match that discounted price, which means I'm likely looking at MSRP + tax – so far the lowest price I can likely get that 850 battery for is $140.99.

Btw, this battery is currently unavailable from Amazon, in case anyone was wondering. Just as well, as the 750 version is marked up way beyond MSRP at Amazon, so the 850 no doubt would be as well.

Last edited by Torque; 05-22-2016 at 08:17 AM.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 02:25 PM
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Honestly if it is made by Johnson Controls it should be decent.
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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 04:18 PM
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Kenz thanks for the tip about the coupons on Advance Auto. I just happen to need a new battery so picked up the 65-AGM there, $118 after coupons and core refund, I had $20 speed perks ($20) reward from a previous purchase and the 30% off online coupon TRT30, nice to be able to stack the reward and coupon.

A Motorcraft would have been nice too, but waiting for Ford Parts business hours or shipping was a bit more of a hassle.
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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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I went back in to better rinse off the baking soda/water and make the positive clamp spotless, and I found a hairline crack at the positive terminal. The plastic around the terminal is sunk in a bit and the + terminal had popped up a little and is crooked. That's the last Duralast battery I'll have the misfortune of owning.

I ended up getting the BXT-65-850 from the dealership in town. Hoefully, it won't crack and leak like the DG's have -- the previous Motorcraft I had didn't.

O'reilly has it, but their price is $27 above MSRP and they refused to price match ANY online quote, including fordparts.com, which shows the list price (it no longer shows a discount in FF). In this case, they would only price match a written quote from the dealer. Their loss.

Fortunately, my dealer had dozens in stock, and I got one with a DOM of 04/16 for list + tax -- they gladly accepted my damaged Duralast Gold.

Does anyone have an OEM '96 battery heat shield they could take a pic of? I found some upon searching for F6SZ-10A682, but I'm not sure which one is correct, since they're different numbers, for different vehicles, later years, and the diagrams show the battery trays to be different than mine.
fordparts.com says it's a "wrap type", so I'm assuming that means the mylar version that wraps around the sides instead of the black ones that slip over the top.
Do I even need to bother? Could I use some kind of generic wrap (if my OEM isn't a special molded type)? Would it prevent future cracks/leaks and other problems? My car never had a shield since dealer purchase in '96 and I never had a battery leak until I started using the Duralasts. I did, however, have a Motorcraft strand me -- died on a parking lot while I was in the store shopping; cost a lot for a tow just a couple of miles down the road in Houston.
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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 03:32 PM
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I know the wrap stayed on the car when I swapped batteries. It is insulated. I would get one if it's not too expensive.

On the towing thing, it's hard to beat an AAA membership for like $69 a year. Tows, starts, pump up your tire, gallon of gas, open your door is nice to have. Plus, you can get discounts for motels, even NAPA Auto Parts.

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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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The OEM shield costs from $25 to $50, depending on part # and supplier.
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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 07:33 AM
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Here is my battery experience.

I drive a semi for a living, so my car sits a lot. I put a 84mo motorcraft battery, 130 bucks installed at a local ford dealer 2 years ago. Car sat in a NJ winter, from Late Oct 2016 until early Jan 2017. It started up no problem at all. This is typical for my battery
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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The Motorcraft of this thread that I installed now has corrosion buildup on the positive terminal. I did add the protective washers when I first installed the battery.

Moral of story: check your battery often.
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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 03:33 PM
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After a good cleaning I just cover terminals in a thin layer of di-electric grease.
Creighton

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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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I neglected to mention that I added the grease, too. It came with the felt washer kit.
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