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Thread: Battery recommendation for a van

  1. #11
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    IMHO, the average car battery lifespan is 5-7 years.
    General Grant (87 560SEL) has an Interstate Megatron (their premium battery/"lifetime warranty" )
    That vehicle is only driven on special occasions, otherwise sits in the basement on a battery tender.
    I was getting uncomfortable with how old the battery was (11 years!) so I stuck it on my 1953 Sunnen load tester: 350A/10 seconds/9.2V! Very good/pass!
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  2. #12
    Priorities are not always the same. If I am stranded, the priority is getting immediate assistance from AAA. If the van is in my driveway and I have the time, the priority is quality. I know I can rely on Interstate. It's actually the most expensive battery in its class everywhere else other than Costco. The low price at Costco makes it a no-brainer. My Interstate battery in my Monte Carlo lasted 8 years even though I abused it. I wouldn't drive the car for a long time, drove mostly a few miles at a time, and never deep charged it. It never needed a jump start until it's 8th year. Had I been more cognizant with battery maintenance, it probably would have lasted several years more. My BMW battery is the same one that came with the car, which is 13 years old and has never needed a jump start even though I abuse it the same was as the Interstate battery in the Monte Carlo. Don't believe it's that old? If someone told me it's that old, I would doubt it too. Look at the date stamp on the negative terminal. It is 17/05 (week/year).

    Now that I have a van, I keep the battery fully charged not to squeeze every possible day of battery life but for reliability and piece of mind. A charge a day keeps the AAA guy away.

    By the way, telecom batteries are 48V.
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  3. #13
    Ideally, there would be a solar panel battery charger connected to the battery at all times. That way the battery is always fully charged without effort. Battery Tender makes a solar panel battery charger but the panel is too large to place in the windshield. I found some that are small enough to fit. But they are off brand so I doubt they are any good. It they were, Battery Tender would be making them that small.
    Last edited by August West; 09-11-2018 at 02:24 AM.

  4. #14
    Consumer Reports has recommended the Walmart Everlast brand and that's what I use in my VMI Honda. I replace it every 3 years regardless. Decent price and free installation. Also, a mechanic told me that modern charging systems, particularly in Japanese vehicles, are just barely adequate (due to the never ending quest for better fuel mileage) and become inadequate once all the auxiliary equipment is added in a conversion van. So I bought a Battery Tender and put it on my van on the first and 15th of each month for a couple days. If I don't drive it for a week, the battery definitely suffers. Hell, my father had an Infinity coupe that he let sit for two weeks once while on vacation and it barely cranked over when he started it for the first time after getting back.

  5. #15
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    I had an Optima back in 2002...it died in like 6 months. Maybe the newer ones are better, I'm not playing that game. Go for a lower AH rating for the case size, when they make a mega-amp capacity battery, it is with thinner and larger plates crammed into the case that do not last as long. The last battery I got was at Advance Auto Parts with I think a 20% discount for buying on-line and pickup at the store deal. Best deal I came up with shopping different sources at the time, I think it had a 3 or 4 year warranty?
    Sorry, but that's just wrong!
    They don't make the plates thinner, they increase the number-which is why within a group, the better battery weighs more, sometimes a lot more.
    Why would you want a battery with less capacity? Maybe that's why you're replacing them so early.
    And the warranty is a shell game, especially with cheaper batteries.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  6. #16
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    My BMW battery is the same one that came with the car, which is 13 years old and has never needed a jump start even though I abuse it the same was as the Interstate battery in the Monte Carlo. Don't believe it's that old? If someone told me it's that old, I would doubt it too. Look at the date stamp on the negative terminal. It is 17/05 (week/year).

    Now that I have a van, I keep the battery fully charged not to squeeze every possible day of battery life but for reliability and piece of mind. A charge a day keeps the AAA guy away.

    By the way, telecom batteries are 48V.

    Is that BMW battery in the trunk? Anecdotal evidence suggests that if the battery doesn't get cooked by the motor, it last a heck of a lot longer. And design. Military 6TL batteries only do 600CCA IIRC, but they last like 10-15 years. Ginormus suckers, big case, thick plates, lots of room under the plates to keep sulfates from shorting the plates out. That's the main reason you don't want mega-power in a tiny case, the physics just don't allow a long lifespan.

    Telecom batteries...they're strapped in series to make the -48V. But they are 2V batteries. So get yourself 6 of 'em, some new springs for the van, and be confident you'll be dead before they will be, lol.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfcs49 View Post
    Sorry, but that's just wrong!
    They don't make the plates thinner, they increase the number-which is why within a group, the better battery weighs more, sometimes a lot more.
    Why would you want a battery with less capacity? Maybe that's why you're replacing them so early.
    And the warranty is a shell game, especially with cheaper batteries.
    I guess we're posting at the same time...check my previous post on this.

    Warranty...yep, they know what they're doing for sure there. I had a Crown Vic that the cops put I think said 30 month on it just before they sent it to auction, I think it was a NAPA branded. Sure enough, at 32 months, dead as a doornail.

  8. #18
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    (some?) newer cars treat their batteries better than older analog charging systems. They adopt management strategies that prolong battery life and vary the charging rate based on the battery's needs and condition.
    BMWs for some a good while require the battery to be "registered" using the factory diagnostic system. This tells the engine management the size of the battery and the time it was new. The ECM changes it's charging strategies as the battery ages!
    MB's ECM does crisis management when a battery approaches failure, posts a warning on the display, and disables more and more consumers to prolong life until you get help.

    Regarding lifespan: wrong again! Interstate batteries come in at least three flavors. The case size is limited by the battery's "group". The longer the warranty, the more expensive, and the greater the weight. True for all automotive batteries I've known. Lead is what's necessary to make a lead-acid battery. It also is expensive.
    You are right about heat being a stressor on batteries, though.

    And, if you have a wallet for it, the factory BMW and MB batteries are at least as good as any replacement units, however when the cost of an OE AGM battery is twice that of an aftermarket one, it becomes a serious consideration!
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  9. #19
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Is that BMW battery in the trunk? Anecdotal evidence suggests that if the battery doesn't get cooked by the motor, it last a heck of a lot longer.
    It certainly is, and in some cases will be the only battery that "really" fits.
    Why? Because of the un-yielding battery terminal that drops into the matrix. It is the end of a one piece cable that goes almost the length of the car up to the engine compartment and costs ?~$500 + huge labor to replace!
    It has a pyrotechnic component to blow the connection apart in an accident AFTER the airbags deploy. Retired two years and already getting foggy! It has? a smaller secondary permanent leg that controls the PDLs and windows so you can escape.
    When your tech tells you you need a new positive battery terminal, be prepared to shit your pants!
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  10. #20
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
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    I think I should just give up with battery trivia, cant compete with the Interstate battery salesman, lol

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