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Thread: Van battery

  1. #1

    Van battery

    Interstate website's FAQ sections says the following:


    • Conventional deep-cycle batteries do require regular watering to keep them working properly. Check water levels every 4-6 weeks.
    • Undercharging: This will cause the battery to be sulfated. Fully charge batteries after use.


    Who charges their battery after each use? Who checks the water level every month? I thought all batteries these days were maintenance free. Wrong. Mine was less than 1 year old and it died, probably because it sat idle in the hot summer without being charged.

    Lesson learned: if you want a truly maintenance free battery, it must be the AGM type. You don't have to add water and it can go much longer without a charge.

    Walmart Platinum AGM comes with a 5 year full replacement coverage (not prorated) and it includes installation. Even the Optima warranties aren't that good.

  2. #2
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    I put a combo battery (half deep cycle/half regular) in my van due to long periods of no use and when used, it's mostly short trips.
    Batteries Plus has them, not cheap but plenty of CCA. Some auto parts stores have them too.

    Batteries Plus has some crap batteries and I guess Interstate does too these days. My neighbor uses Interstate in everything. Put 2 new ones in a power chair that go dead with just short use and dead in two days of no use (has no system drain). Not saying Interstate is a bad choice, but corporate bean counters have been known to kill quality, yet ride on quality history.

    AGM has nothing to do with deep cycle. Deep cycle has different lead chemistry that can withstand being discharged deep, then soon after recharged. Deep discharge will shorten the life of a standard auto batt.

    Yes, sulfates will build up >faster< on any battery with a low charge. Sulfates build up on plates then fall in the bottom of battery till it shorts out the plates. Kept charged, sulfate build up can be near none.

    Any vehicle can have an electrical problem that causes a drain when not used. Especially with added on aftermarket accessories (radio, amp, cruise, folding bed, and many more). Factory components can cause a drain too (replaced several factory radios due to this as well as many other components, long list). A >competent< mechanic can test for a drain, then chase it down by removing fuses (1 at a time) till drain disappears. Next, 1 at a time, unplug components on that fuse's circuit.

    I can't count the number of times cars were delivered to me, via a wrecker, only to find a dome light was left on. Custom vans with a dozen small interior lamps were the biggest victims of this.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  3. #3
    I thought that AGM were inherently capable of a deeper discharge, and still be able to start a motor, then take a charge faster. If that's not the case, I'm still learning.

  4. #4
    If your not driving the vehicle very often then I'd suggest using a battery tender. They're not expensive and I've had great results. I had a pickup with a chair lift that I used for years until I finally bought a van. I keep the pickup for four years as a backup in case I had any problems with the van. I probably only drove it 10 times in four years and it always started right up. I did start it every few weeks (if I remembered). The tender plug can be setup to stick out of the grill/fender somewhere so you don't have to pop open the hood to plug/unplug the tender.

  5. #5
    I keep a Battery Tender on my car that may sit for weeks before being driven. My van usually gets driven several times a week. Usually but not always so that becomes problematic. If you take Interstate Battery’s recommendation literally, you should charge the battery after every use. This is even more necessary with a transfer seat and lift.

    An AGM battery also needs to be charged. But not as often and it should be more forgiving. Plus there’s no need to add water. There are other benefits too like vibration resistance and a much better warranty. For another $40 it’s a no-brainer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    I have an interstate Megatron (their top tier battery) in General Grant, my 87 560sel which gets little use. I've had it since 2004 and put a battery tender on it. I load-tested it last summer because it certainly is getting old! 250A/9.2V @30 seconds. I'm pretty amazed! (I owned/ran a foreign car shop 45 years so this IS impressive!)
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I keep a Battery Tender on my car that may sit for weeks before being driven. My van usually gets driven several times a week. Usually but not always so that becomes problematic. If you take Interstate Battery’s recommendation literally, you should charge the battery after every use. This is even more necessary with a transfer seat and lift.

    An AGM battery also needs to be charged. But not as often and it should be more forgiving. Plus there’s no need to add water. There are other benefits too like vibration resistance and a much better warranty. For another $40 it’s a no-brainer.
    I really don't understand their statement. They say your suppose to charge your battery after every time you drive your car. That's insane, no one does that. I also have a transfer seat and lift so I added a remote start so I always start the van before I go to get in and I leave the van running while I lower the ramp. I love the remote start, it gets over 100 degrees around here in the summer, so the sooner you can get that AC running the better.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    I'm not sure i understand why you are using a deep cycle battery, unless you are talking about camping. My understanding is that it is designed to be discharged deeply, then recharged fully. It is not particularly suited for small discharges/charges. So, I would think if it is for your lift/ramp or as a backup (especially a starter backup) then a normal car battery would be a better fit. Also, your battery is getting charged every time you drive. So, the only use after that is to deploy the lift/ramp. That would be minor for a normal car battery.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  9. #9
    Don't underestimate the load of opening a power door + lowering a lift + raising a lift + closing a power door + powering a transfer seat. While it may be no problem for a fully charged battery, it can make the difference between starting vs not starting the motor for a battery with a low charge. Every now and then my van may sit for a long time without being driven and then it may be driven only a few city miles. Under this condition, the alternator won't have the time or RPMs to restore much charge, if any. The solution is a Battery Tender, or a starter battery with a deep cycle ferature.

    But you're right in that I don't need a deep cycle battery, just some deep cycle ability.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    Don't underestimate the load of opening a power door + lowering a lift + raising a lift + closing a power door + powering a transfer seat. While it may be no problem for a fully charged battery, it can make the difference between starting vs not starting the motor for a battery with a low charge. Every now and then my van may sit for a long time without being driven and then it may be driven only a few city miles. Under this condition, the alternator won't have the time or RPMs to restore much charge, if any. The solution is a Battery Tender, or a starter battery with a deep cycle ferature.

    But you're right in that I don't need a deep cycle battery, just some deep cycle ability.
    This is what I meant by a combo battery https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...cca/sli34agmdp
    There are other brands like it and strangely they look near identical.
    Keep in mind there are few battery manufacturers (most foreign) but a lot of label makers.

    To extend the life of an alternator and battery, a battery maintainer is recommended if vehicle sits for lengthy periods and/or is driven only short distances.
    An alternator will charge your battery, however it's designed primarily to maintain battery with engine running.
    Bad or weak batteries will shorten the life of a vehicles alternator. Factory engineers will say an alternator is not a battery charger, although most of us have had to us them as a charger after a jump start.
    Last edited by Gearhead; 10-07-2019 at 07:53 PM.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

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