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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I used to work at a starter alt shop and I'm sick of hearing the same questions, with other people giving bad answers! It's my time to step up and help the fourm. I plan on adding some pics later.

Basics

Charging Voltage: Imagine 2 water towers side by side. One is a 12V battery, the other is a charger. If you have a battery that is not doing anything(not hooked up or called "At Rest"). It should be anywhere from.12.4V to 12.6V. Voltage is the water level in the water towers. The charger transfers current(amps) to the battery by putting out more volts than the battery. So the battery water tower has 12.6 feet and the chager is at 13 feet, if there was a pipe at the bottom hooking the two together, the charger water moves over to the battery, bringing up the voltage. But the charger is powered by the AC from an outlet so its level does not fall. Most chargers adjust thier output by changing the voltage(or water level) thus increasing flow(amps) automaticly.
Same happens with an alt.

Basic alternator info:
Alternators use an electromagnet(rotor, cause it ROtates) that spins inside of a coil of 3 wires(stator coil, cause its STAtionary). These 3 wires produce AC current that is rectified in to 12V D.C. and a ground by 6 diodes measuring about ~400ish ohms. The voltage regulator is turned on by the key in the on position and is what sends the electricity to the rotor. It adjusts the charging voltage by rasing or lowering the voltage to the rotor, in turn increasing or decreasing the magnetic field, then incerasing the ac voltage that is created, then recitifed to charge your battery, run your ricey stereo/neon lighting. Also the regulator uses electricity if if the motor is not running but key is on and is what really drains a battery if you leave the key on.

To charge the battery hard enough to recover from starting the car, about 13.8V is required. If you dont see this many volts with the engine running, and hardly any loads on(windows, sunroof, lights, defroster, wipers, etc.) then you will find that you might have to charge your battery manually to prevent dead batteries. You may also kill the battery while driving if you pull to many amps from the battery/alt and the alt is not charging enough.

Checking a battery
A parisitic load test will find out if something is draining your battery. Use a regular old mutlimeter(cheap ones will almost always have the right connection). Put it to the 10A setting, and move the meter positve lead to the plug that indicates 10A aswell. Make sure there is nothing on, key in the off pos, doors shut, etc. Disconnect the negitive cable from the battery, and 'span the gap' with the meter. IE put one lead to the negitive terminal and the other to the ground cable. All power the car uses goes though the meter and it mesures it. IMPORTANT: do not turn any major loads on!!!! OR EVEN THINK ABOUT STARTING THE CAR. Anything under .03 A is good otherwise the battery has too much of a load on it, and is not only going to die quickly but could damage the battery if it is a regular Starting battery. They are made to start a car and be recharged quickly. Being drained or getting too low all the time can damage it. IE running your big stereo off the battery with out the engine running untill the battery will BARLY start the car, then charge it back up. Not only that. but when you use an alt at full capacity(ie charge a dead battery/run a large stereo) it can kill even a brand new alt. This is what causes many brand new alts to die. Simply beacuse the battery is dead the first time the alt gets run. Always put the battery on charge while replacing the alt.

Most battery/alt/starter shops will at least have an old ass load box. This is made up of a Large guage wire/coil of steel and an ammeter. Most stimulate a 200 CCA load(like starting a motorcycle). Most will have a needle that shows CCA by mesureing voltage drop and amps pulled(same thing... Kinda). The Supra's mostly came with 27F's or 24F's (The BCI Group number, basicly refers to the batteries size and post layout) with about 400-600 CCA's. So as long as the load tester indicates this, you'll be fine. Also a Car Battery(the word battery means group of) is a 'battery' of cells. In a 12V system there is 6 2V cells, you may find that the car turns over slowly but the battery isnt dead. This is a sign of a battery with a 'dead' cell. basicly there is only 10V or 5 cells that are 'putting out' also called a short. Or a battery can 'go open' where the batteries terminals put out not voltage at all.
Battery Volt means:anywheres from12.7 to 14.7 means the battery has been recently chargered or is charging. The farther(lower) away from 12.6 you get more Discharged/dead the battery is. in the 10's indacates a dead cell.

Battery Choices
Pop Top's-Corriod battery cable and mostly the lead connectors. Causes the cable end to deroriate, fall apart, and lose connection. Even if it still 'looks' good after you clean the surface of the cable ends, there maybe corrison between the post and cable. A popular brand is Exide. This company is the dirt beneath the battery wolrds feet. Their batteries will go open get dead cells and plain old wear out very eary. They rarly last over 3-4 years. Not only that but they've gone bankrupt far too many times. Sadly most car dealerships sell these crappers at very high rates $$. While the car came off the line with a nice AC Delco battery. These did not have pop tops and have highly reduced cable corrsion. Even untill the day they die, without cleaning, at least 5 years.
Other pop tops are made by Exide or Intersate. The later are not so bad still pop top junk but not as bad as Exides.

Also if your find that you are not seeing charging voltage at the battery, check the voltage at the alternator itself. Put one lead to the alts stud, and use the casing as a ground(scratch into it to get a good connection).
To check grounds check voltage from the battery positive to the battery negitive the Positive to the engine. If there is a big difference, try adding/replacing old grounds. You can also measure volts from the block to the Negitive on the battery, this should be a very small number. The reason this works is that the way we 'see' voltage is by measuring the 'difference'. It's why to 6V batteries make a 12V when inline.

Also Boosting a dead battery is never a great idea. As this still is making the alt charge a dead battery. If you suspect the battery is dead, check with a multimeter and charge over night on a 2-5 amp setting. however it could take 2-3 days to fully charge a dead battery.

How to replace the copper contacts in your ND starter.
I highly recommend getting and learning how to use a hand impact for this job. I didn't use one as mine had been recently put back together by hand.

Remove the 3 8MM bolt that hold the solenoids back housing on.

Do NOT use a regular ratcheting wrench driver, the amount of torque, even a weakling can make, is enough to break bolts quickly. If you can't get it off with your hands, put the starter in a vise, gently of course, as it is aluminum. Then hammer on the end the hand driver (screwdriver with an 8MM socket).

Be careful with the rubber seal and remember how the little wire hookie thingie went

Now pull out the plunger, notice how rough it looks? This is how your copper contacts will look but mine are new.

The parts you need to remove are the copper L's one on each side. IMPORTANT remember how all the shims and spacers go together.

Same thing goes here for getting them out. Hand impact or similar (highly doubt you can muscle these out by hand). The outer bolt that holds the starter cable to the contact/bolt is a 12MM and the inner one that holds the shims, paper insulators, and everything together is a 14MM. This is the only hard part, not breaking the insulators, while you are applying reefage. Also be careful with the insulator that goes over the bolts.

Don't forget to hit the front of the starter with a wire wheel to keep it from clicking when you get it back on. Remember that is the only ground for the 400 amps it pulls!

 

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good job Don... you pretty much got it covered. Interstate batteries seem to be a pretty good battery. On the Delco batteries (side post type) I have seen numerous batteries have the side terminal come right out of the battery. Other than the side post, Delco batteries are generally a decent battery.

EXIDE IS A CRAP BATTERY!!!! no doubt
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks
Intersate is still a pop top so I would avoid them in regards to terminal cleaning. The place I worked at sold 'Delcos' but from a reseller in Missiasauga, they werent real delcos, but they lasted just as long, didnt muck up the cables, and usually tested much, much stronger than rated.
On the side posts, ya i've seen a skid of them before, many many times. The place I worked at was the recycling hub of chatham-kent(old batteries have been chrushed since the beginning of the automoblie!). They seemed to be from 95-99ish. Basicly any gm has that problem, even found one in my G/Fs dads 91ish Cutlass, however im sure the dealership put it there.

If you have anything to add or pics of anything in particular, just ask.
 

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Ok so EXIDE is pretty much crap!! Do you know if Optima Batteries are made by Exide? I was looking at getting a RedTop for my mkii. Seems like you like Delco too. Any other brands that you would recommend?? Seems like you know way more about this than I do so fill me in on all the dirt!! lol!! What brands would you buy if you were looking to replace the battery? Also, I will be storing the car for about 6-7 months a year, so a good battery that will hold it's charge, even while stored would be awesome. That's why I was looking at the Optima Red Top.

Thanks so much,
Grant
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Supra_Newfie said:
Ok so EXIDE is pretty much crap!! Do you know if Optima Batteries are made by Exide? I was looking at getting a RedTop for my mkii. Seems like you like Delco too. Any other brands that you would recommend?? Seems like you know way more about this than I do so fill me in on all the dirt!! lol!! What brands would you buy if you were looking to replace the battery? Also, I will be storing the car for about 6-7 months a year, so a good battery that will hold it's charge, even while stored would be awesome. That's why I was looking at the Optima Red Top.

Thanks so much,
Grant
lead acid batteries lose 1% a day. Not hooked up. Charge it every month, if it will sit for a LONG time/2 months or more. I have a Optima Red top that I got for free(came in as scrap, man I love dumb mechanics!). It is a 34/78 dual terminal(BCI size). I would not suggest it as it is about a half inch to short and the terminals are not right. i'm not sure who makes them, but any opmita is over kill! The only batteries that are not suggested is pop tops. Go to a mom and pops style battery shop and they should be able to hook you up.
Start a new thread if you've got a specific Q for your setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So? I do too. The factory hold down is not going to work unless you use spacers, or a chunk of wood.
 

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So is the only problem with the size of the battery?? Being a bit shorter the hold-down doesn't do it's job anymore?? or is it the fact that Optima's are crazy prices??

I'm a noob when it comes to batteries for the most part with respect to types and brands...so what defines a pop-top?? Are they the ones you can open and have to keep filling up?...hence pop-top?? Any brands you recommend??

Grant
 

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Discussion Starter #12
yes, for brands. Anything that is a Non pop top should be good. Id stay away from larger chains like crap tire. Napa's usually carry them. A size 24F should be 89 CAD and tax. Get the weakest one you can. The supra only needs about 400ish CCA, as 5M's turn over really easy. You might want one higher up with a stereo, etc.
On the Red Tops: using a spacer under the battery is ok. But then the cable are much closer to the hold down, and really close to the headlight. I personaly would NEVER pay 2-3X the amount of a normal properly fitting battery that will do the job well.

All in all, ask for a non-pop top, 24F with a low CCA rating, like 600, and if they look at you funny, walk away. :nono:
 

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Optima Red Top #SC35A, 910 CA, 720 CCA is what fits nicely in a MkII.

I've found they last about as long as two 'pop top' batteries with no leaking, and corrosion. Dry cell and sealed so they are good in the case where you move the battery into the cabin.

Expensive? You decide.

Made in Aurora, Colorado so I get them at $130 a pop.
Don't ask me to ship you one :rolleyes: but is worth picking up a few if driving through.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dangerous Ken said:
...Don't ask me to ship you one :rolleyes: ....
LOL, tell me about it!

The place I worked at had yellows for $250 CAD, but he'd easliy go down to 200. But hes an older guy that keeps it simple. So he doesnt sell much to youngins.
 

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Around here I've noticed that both Walmart and Costco have Optimas, The smaller red top can be had for about 130can I think it is.

I also have to say Optima's are tough. I had a blown voltage regulator for a while (a few monthes) and my 8 year old red top soaked up the etra voltage without complaint. It just developed a nice little bubble on the top.... :hsugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ya thats about right. But a proper battery could be had for 59 and tax, where I worked, 79 for one with a norm amount of CCA's(6-800ish cant remember), enough to turn 2 5Ms over.
 

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130 CAD isn't too bad for the Optima...I was banking on the 170-200 range. I didn't know Costco carried them...I guess that'll give me a reason to go out there tomorrow then. Weird that Walmart does....I thought they'd have more crap like crappy tire!! Oh well...I'll check it out.

Thanks Ken for the specific model that goes with a mkii!!

Grant
 

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Donn29 said:
Is that a dual terminal, Ken? What BCI size is it?
One set of terminals on the top.
Handy carrying handle on top.

WTF is BCI size?

9 1/4 x 6 1/2 (7) x 6 3/4" tall.

The spiral cells part of the battery (and thus the top dimension) are 6 1/2, but sits on a plate on the bottom that is 7", thus the '(7)'.

More Info

Ken
 
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