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Ahwahnee Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:50 pm

I buy all mine from either Costco or WalMart - I guess they are well-known vendors. Anyway, they sell a lot so they usually have what I need and it is fresh. They are also easy-going about returns.

Fresh is good as I know my local auto parts store puts a new date tag on each battery every time they charge it back up (they freely admitted this when I asked what that date meant).

I always measure before buying as L & W are generally true to spec but I have found variances in height among batteries in the same group size.

dobryan Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:06 pm

epowell wrote: dobryan wrote: Ed, Please buy a new battery from a known vendor with a warranty. You'll be glad you did.
...but by now you KNOW how CHEAP I am :shock: :lol: :lol:

Touche. But this is one time where being cheap can cost more in total. 😎

epowell Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:38 pm

Old Czech saying: "Can u AFFORD to buy CHEAP stuff?" :D

E1 Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:21 pm

MarkWard wrote: Not cheap, but my battery charger is set for the AGM battery I use for camping. Because it will charge up to 3 batteries at one time, I opted for an AGM battery for a starting battery.
Mark, you raise a point here.

When our old house system was wired, the tech really had the goods and had us install a starter AGM matching the house AGM. His theory was that they'll only charge properly if matching in type, and in size, also claiming alternators die young if not matched. He did not sell batteries.

We eventually repurposed the second AGM to be a second house battery, and bought a lead acid starting battery of a smaller size... and an alternator every 20K afterwards. Having a $330, 100aH starting battery lost its luster compared to more house power and buying a $100 starting lead acid.

Any thought on this? I've long concluded that charging three batteries is what's killing alternators, makes sense to me, but still have a nagging feeling it's the house installer's theory about mismatched battery types (?).

We're hoping to do a 250aH house battery under the bench in our new bus, as soon as I can configure things and find a good installer on our route south. That'll mean another mismatch, both in style (AGM, lead acid), aH, and size, only a bigger mismatch this time.

I still want to charge using the alternator, partly as there's times with my work that I absolutely have to.

Thanks.

jimf909 Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:16 pm

epowell wrote: dobryan wrote: Ed, Please buy a new battery from a known vendor with a warranty. You'll be glad you did.
...but by now you KNOW how CHEAP I am :shock: :lol: :lol:

I mean this well, but how do you find the time to be so cheap? Searching for and buying a used battery that doesn't fit on Craigslist alone takes time, let alone the risk of buying something that will be dead when you come back in a year. Seller integrity doesn't have a lot to do with it at this point. Its a used lead acid battery: it could provide 8 more years of service or croak tomorrow.

Buy a new battery, spend $50 on a good battery maintainer that can be plugged in while you're away and spend time on chores other than battery replacement when you return.

I know there are good battery maintainers that you can spend $200 or more on (search marine battery maintainer :D ) I've used versions of these Schumacher units on my vans and motorcycles for 20 years with good luck:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07894CFCR/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0000AXTUY/ref=psdcmw_15707061_t1_B07894CFCR

epowell Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:24 am

I have 2 batteries back in Czech that I use interchangeably. One is one that I bought brand new, and the other I pulled from my GF's car after she crashed it. She had used it for daily driving for 2 or 3 years and never recharged it or maintained it in anyway. When I use the GFs battery it works just as well as the one I bought new - absolutely no difference whatsoever.

So, I maybe to completely wrong, but it therefore strikes me that if someone seemingly honest, intelligent and knowledgeable says they are selling a battery that they used for daily driving for 2 years and it works fine > the odds are high that it would be as good as my GF's battery which is fine.

That's a very good idea about leaving my battery here on a maintainer, because I am not in the habit of leaving a battery "alone" for over 6 months. Thanks for this suggestion - I'll do that... the charger I just bought has a maintenance function so that should work.

djkeev Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:08 am

Not to be negative about modern electronics but.......

Do make sure that your new charger/ maintainer is one that doesn't need to be reset whenever the power goes out.
Select battery type, select charging rate, etc etc etc.

When the power blips off due to a fallen tree or an accident wiping out a power pole, you want it to REMEMBER what it was doing when the power returns hours later.

You won't be there to reset it nor do you want your Mom to run out there and reset it.

I have several, most of them default to a factory preset if unplugged. That preset isn't flooded wet cell lead acid maintainer I can assure you!

Dave

crazyvwvanman Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:18 am

The alternator in most cars does very little work most days. It only has to top off the starting battery slightly after the car is started and the starter motor has drained a little juice from the battery. Then the alternator only has to provide however much the fuel injection and fuel pump need, in wbx vans well under 10 amps. Lights and/or wipers etc would be additional some days of course.


When you add a large aux battery that gets drawn down every night it greatly increases the daily work load of the alternator. This work is at its peak as soon as the engine starts, whether you actually start driving the van down the road or just sit there. In this case the real work of the alternator has nothing to do with how far the tires roll or even if they are rolling at all. So using the miles traveled as a way of quantifying the life span of this alternator isn't a realistic reflection of the actual work the alternator has performed for you.

When you moved the other AGM from the lightly drained starter position to being an additional house battery you increased the daily load on the alternator. More importantly IMO you also increased the peak load since each day you start the engine the alternator now has 2 hungry batteries demanding to be fed right away. The starting battery load is trivial in comparison and it comprises very little of the total work being performed by your alternator. What type of battery the starting one is won't change this.


Mark



E1 wrote: .....
We eventually repurposed the second AGM to be a second house battery, and bought a lead acid starting battery of a smaller size... and an alternator every 20K afterwards. Having a $330, 100aH starting battery lost its luster compared to more house power and buying a $100 starting lead acid.

Any thought on this? I've long concluded that charging three batteries is what's killing alternators, makes sense to me, but still have a nagging feeling it's the house installer's theory about mismatched battery types (?).,,,,.

epowell Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:04 am

...just thought I'd add an addition word for those worrying about my battery's health if I buy a used one: Of course before going on any significantly long road trip I will purchase a known new battery. But for now have no idea when I will be taking the first road trip. The main purpose now for this van will be to park and live in during the Summers at my Mom's place. Extremely little driving > and all I want is something cheap that will hold a good charge reasonably - no mega reliability needed yet. After I get a new battery this used one can be a backup.

MarkWard Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:02 am

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish.

Alternators were designed to maintain batteries, not to recharge batteries. A failed battery can take out an alternator an or it's wiring. Its rare, but get a new battery. You'll be glad you did. Plus, a diesel on start up on a cold day, really needs a "good" battery to get it to start.

Wildthings Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:25 am

I saw a post about a week ago that a T5 battery would fit, this would be smaller than stock. :cry: No personally experience here.

There is also a current thread on the Bay forum that says that VW can supply a VW branded Group 41 battery. No mention of the price though.

dobryan Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:31 am

NAPA still carries Group 41 batteries.

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBP7541

stuzbot Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:07 am

Here in Euro-land the dimensions of a battery are usually given in cm or mm. I've never heard of this 'Group Size' thing before. Most batteries seem to list as a standard 190mm height, apart from ones specifically marked as "Low Profile".

If you want to go big & beefy, I can confirm that a 190mm [high] coach battery will fit, as I just put one in my van. But you need to choose one where the terminals are set in a cut-out so they're level with the top of the casing and you're not getting 190mm height +terminals.

This is the one I just fitted. I had to lengthen my earth cable and turn the battery crosswise to make it fit but it's got about 1-2cm clearance underneath the engine cover


cmayna Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:15 pm

Wildthings wrote: I saw a post about a week ago that a T5 battery would fit, this would be smaller than stock. :cry: No personally experience here.

There is also a current thread on the Bay forum that says that VW can supply a VW branded Group 41 battery. No mention of the price though.

I use a T5 in both my '90 as well as my '50 chevy truck. Yes it's a little smaller in length and width which makes it a little easier to remove. I have a new spare T5 in my garage as well.

epowell Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:37 pm

MarkWard wrote:
Alternators were designed to maintain batteries, not to recharge batteries. A failed battery can take out an alternator an or it's wiring. Its rare, but get a new battery. You'll be glad you did. Plus, a diesel on start up on a cold day, really needs a "good" battery to get it to start.

Actually, yes... I haven't thought of the alternator issue. I remember 2 years ago when Zoltan told me that a weak battery kills an alternator I ran out the very next day and purchased a brand new battery :)
So how can u tell if the battery is still strong enough not to stress the alternator too much? Maybe - from full charge - then after glow plugs, cranking-start up > then immediately shut-off and checking voltage - voltages should still be up around 12.8 or 9?? Less than that it's starting to be weak?

djkeev Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:31 pm

epowell wrote: MarkWard wrote:
Alternators were designed to maintain batteries, not to recharge batteries. A failed battery can take out an alternator an or it's wiring. Its rare, but get a new battery. You'll be glad you did. Plus, a diesel on start up on a cold day, really needs a "good" battery to get it to start.

Actually, yes... I haven't thought of the alternator issue. I remember 2 years ago when Zoltan told me that a weak battery kills an alternator I ran out the very next day and purchased a brand new battery :)
So how can u tell if the battery is still strong enough not to stress the alternator too much? Maybe - from full charge - then after glow plugs, cranking-start up > then immediately shut-off and checking voltage - voltages should still be up around 12.8 or 9?? Less than that it's starting to be weak?

You're overthinking this.

Just buy a good battery, a good maintainer and don't worry about it.

I've never experienced a damaged alternator from overuse except for bearing failure.

Dave

fxr Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:15 pm

I'd look at it this way - by chance you purchased your new Aux battery before your new main one. ;) Always a silver lining. :)

epowell Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:40 pm

fxr wrote: I'd look at it this way - by chance you purchased your new Aux battery before your new main one. ;) Always a silver lining. :)

YES! You got it.
I am leaving here is a few days anyway - for 6 months. When I return I will have time to wait for a sale on batteries - and get a new one cheaper. Sorry if this bugs anyone LOL but that's just me :lol:

jimf909 Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:46 pm

djkeev wrote: epowell wrote: MarkWard wrote:
Alternators were designed to maintain batteries, not to recharge batteries. A failed battery can take out an alternator an or it's wiring. Its rare, but get a new battery. You'll be glad you did. Plus, a diesel on start up on a cold day, really needs a "good" battery to get it to start.

Actually, yes... I haven't thought of the alternator issue. I remember 2 years ago when Zoltan told me that a weak battery kills an alternator I ran out the very next day and purchased a brand new battery :)
So how can u tell if the battery is still strong enough not to stress the alternator too much? Maybe - from full charge - then after glow plugs, cranking-start up > then immediately shut-off and checking voltage - voltages should still be up around 12.8 or 9?? Less than that it's starting to be weak?

You're overthinking this.

Just buy a good battery, a good maintainer and don't worry about it.

I've never experienced a damaged alternator from overuse except for bearing failure.

Dave

First, despite my earlier post saying to just buy a new battery, I do understand the fun of being a good cheapskate (frugal-minded for the serious). :D

Second, a new battery still is the answer. More automotive woes were caused by weak batteries than all other problems combined ("it's the battery").

Third, as to how to diagnose the health of a battery (I'll let others chime in with corrections):
- Put it on a charger, bring it up to full charge let it sit for a day to see if it holds a charge of more than 12.7 volts
- load test it with the starter to see if voltage stays above 10 volts or so
- call AAA or take it to one of your local auto parts stores for a true load test to see what they have to say.

Keep in mind, a good battery today can be dead due to a failed cell tomorrow.

https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/how-to-tell-if-your-battery-is-bad.html

MarkWard Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:45 am

It is probably me, but batteries seem to die differently than they used to. In the old days, I could hear a dying battery, when the engine was cranked. The last 5 or so batteries I have replaced in our fleet, gave no audible difference. Engines were starting fine and next time you went to start nothing.

I love a deal. The muffler on my conversion is out of the scrap bin. 6 years and counting.



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