Today I unexpectedly found my CJ getting a new battery.
The one I had purchased at Pep Boys about 5 years ago decided to end it's life.
So after getting it jump started, I went to Auto Zone had them test the old battery and was told that that the old battery was still "rechargeable" but was soon in need of a replacement.
I went ahead and purchased a "Duralast" battery for the jeep.
The fellow at the store was a "novice" to say the least as while he was connecting the battery I noticed he had placed the battery on backwards
and crossed the polarity on the battery!!! WTF** in turn the jeep didn't start
and when I saw he had this backwards I called the manager out and he tested
the battery and connectors and said that my solenoid started got shorted, so he went ahead and replaced the solenoid for no charge, he installed it and double checked the connections to the alternator, etc.. and the CJ started up
I won't comment on this anymore, but happy I caught the error (un)fortunately with a new solenoid starter.
So with this experience aside I like to get feedback on the batteries that seem to work best on the CJ7's out there.
When I first bought the jeep it had a Interstate battery in it and heard these were very reliable batteries.
In my opinion, a battery is a battery no matter who makes it. Most will argue that the dry cell type are best like the Optima brands but you pay for them. When choosing a battery, engine size, electrical load when starting is all that matters because the alternator takes over once you are started. I too bought the "Duralast" battery in the OEM series 55 for my 258 six cylinder CJ and it is more than enough cranking power to start it. If you have a lot of accessories like high power draining winches, stereo, AC inverters and such, then a dual battery setup is ideal.
I have a "Duralast" battery in my jeep from auto zone.
The battery is 10 years old and still working fine. It is the largest battery, (cold cranking amps) I could buy that would fit in the battery box.
Needed this size since I have a 8000# winch on jeep and the winch gives the battery and electrical system a fit on a long pull.
I have been very satisfied with the "Duralast" battery.
Guess I would not want to let anyone change the battery on my jeep as it has the winch hook ups and a few other fused items running directly off the battery.
mistakes are made every day. I hooked up my timing light to the car of a friend of my son, light would not work and i could not figure out why, the kid or someone had put the red battery cable on the neg side of the battery so i was hooking up the light in reverse. Took me a while to figure out the problem. but the hookup did not burn up my light.
First off, there are the 'Imports', they are like everything else imported, and are usually junk.
Then there are the 'Consumer' grade batteries.
These are built LIGHT DUTY,
Thin plates, thin cases, no capture top and bottom for the plates, no separators for the plates, thin bridges between cells, little or no vapor recovery, no removable caps so you can check/add to the electrolyte, no post anchors or threaded inserts in side post batteries, ect.
Then there is the 'Industrial', 'Commercial' or 'Heavy Duty' grade of batteries.
They have heavier plates, so the battery physically weighs more because of that extra lead.
They have heavier bridges between cells so you don't get broken bridges (normally mis diagnosed as a 'Shorted Cell')...
They will have removable caps so you can add electrolyte during maintinance (Consumers don't do ANY maintinance on batteries anymore)...
They will have a larger poured pad at the bottom of the top terminals to keep them from pushing through the case,
That's called an 'Anchor'.
They will have a threaded stainless steel insert in the side terminal batteries instead of just threaded lead.
The cases are usually thicker, beefier, with heat sealed seams instead of glued tops.
Figure out what size battery you need,
Usually 'BCI Group 24' for CJs,
And go out to the local big truck store or farm/agriculture store and look for a 'Rough Service' or 'Industrial' battery.
Look for service caps in the top,
Weigh the battery, the heavier the battery, the more lead it has and the more 'Rough Service' it will give.
Rough Service, Agriculture, Industrial, Commercial batteries have a fiberglass weave threaded between plates.
If one plate comes off the grid, it can't short out the entire cell.
The have a 'Mud' catch at the bottom so sulfidation, scale that comes off the plates can't build up in the bottom and short out the plates cells.
They will have captured plates both top and bottom so the plates can't vibrate loose and short out the cells.
They have thicker electrical bridges between cells so getting knocked around doesn't break the cell bridges.
The cases are usually thicker and better made for 'Rough Service'.
Weight is the tell of the battery, the more lead, the longer it will last without breaking down internally.
Don't be sucked in by 'CA' ratings, there is no standard for 'CA' or 'Cranking Amps'.
'CA' means nothing since it's not the industry standard for anything.
The proper rating is 'CCA' (COLD Cranking Amps).
That's rated at 0 degrees F. and tells you the battery will hold that output amperage for 30 seconds to 1 minute at 0 degrees F.
Industrial batteries will usually have a lower CCA rating than 'Consumer' batteries.
They have more lead in the plates, so there are fewer plates to each cell, Fewer plates mean less output,
But they live longer because of the extra lead in the plates.
And they don't break because the plates are thicker...
My experience with batteries seems to mirror what JeepHammer is saying: you get what you pay for. I have had bad experience with cheap batteries that lasted 2 years at the most. I've had Interstate brand batteries that ran longer than their 7 year warranties without any problems. To me, it's a huge pain when a battery dies therefore it's wortth paying more for a reliable one that will last a long time.
The last Optima Red Top I had in my CJ lasted 11 years. I got rid of it as it was showing signs of getting weak on a load test meter. It was purchased to help with a winch that sees occaisional use. I hope the next one lasts that long.
I have a yellow optima with a winch and have had to run it on a few occasions without the motor running (operative word being HAD). After like 2-3 minutes of standard idle the volts came back up to normal and ran great. i have had mine for 4 years now.
1982 CJ-7 2003 4.3 chevy vortec, 4L60E, Clocked Dana 300 35 x 12.5 x 15 KM2 on Cragar 399's. Vanco Brake Booster. Power steering conversion. Warn front and rear bumpers with swing away. Moser 1 piece rears. Rear OX.
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One question you have to ask yourself is are you ever going to run a winch?
I am and planned my replacement battery around it. Although more expensive i have a DieHard Automotive Battery, Platinum P-4 - Group Size 34/78. This is the same battery as the Odyssey Battery's.
These are the read deal in battery's, unlike Optima batteries if you got a 34/78 group you can actually put the winch hookup on the side terminals with the Diehard/ Odyssey Batteries.
Sears will tell you it will not fit, but it does just fine is you slightly bend your battery tray around the area for the clamp.
Colojeepguy Wow! Motorcraft battery in a CJ5 running since 10 years, that's endurance!!
No plans for a winch or any other additions involving heavy battery use.
There's not even a stereo system in my CJ7 which is a good thing as I enjoy music and would probably get an optimal
sound system for it. Though dread anyone going near the wiring of the CJ.. knock on steel!
CJ Chet and Skerr.. some of the best quotes I've heard in a log while. Thanks for the laughs!
"When you turn on your Jeep - Does it return the favor?"
"IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM!"
Another great source for a extra heavy duty battery is your local Caterpillar heavy equipment dealer.
CAT batteries are made to take the vibration and abuse experienced with off road equipment and fit the description Jeephammer posted regarding industrial grade batteries. They are competitive in price.
'86 CJ7, 258, Carter BBD, Nutter'ed, TeamRush'ed, T-18, Twin Sticked Dana 300, D30 Frt-Pwr Lok L/S-4.10, AMC 20 Rear-Mosers-Detroit Locker-4.10, 2.5 BDS Lift, 1" Body Lift, 33" Wild Country M/Ts, Black Spoke wheels
'45 CJ2A, L134 Go Devil, T-90 Tranny, Warn O/D, T-18 T-Case, Dana 25 Frt, Dana 41 Rear, 531st CJ made
My 401 build: [url]http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/trapshooters-401-build-1338277/[/url]