Death of an Optima

re_guderian

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Joined
Jun 17, 2005
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4,392
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Arizona
Well, took the 80 out with the wife and kids for the first wheeling trip since I bought it a few weeks ago. We went to a pretty close place (Saguaro Lake, for those Phx area listers). I have to say I was IMPRESSED. I am used to my '83 FJ60 (lifted, tires, but no lockers, and a carb float that never would...), and this new truck was SOOOO much better! Point-and-shoot wheeling! It's the first 4WD I've had with lockers, EFI, and an automatic. I'll get some pics up soon. Anway, an almost perfect day had a bad ending that leads to a few questions I have. We stopped at the top of the tallest hill in the area to enjoy the view for 15 minutes, and when we went to leave....no juice! :crybaby: Got out the multimeter and determined battery dead. :mad: Wait for someone to help jump. I was by myself, but in a pretty heavily used area. ATV passes by if a few minutes. :) Realize I left my jumper cables in the other car. :mad: See large cables from battery to winch that look like they'll do just fine. :) But...

1. The car idled really low after the jump, about 400 on the tach. Is this normal after a "reset" of the ECU from a dead battery? I went to turn on AC to up the RPM's took my foot off the gas and it died. No one around for another jump, so we start walking (can you say HOT?). :mad:

2. Get a ride and have friend bring back a new battery tonight. Still idles like crap, though as I get home and shut down/start up a few times, things seem to be getting better. What are normal time/miles to return to regular operation?

3. I took the optima in for a test to AutoZone, and they said 12.8V just sitting, but when load applied, down to 0 volts. Has anyone had an Optima Yellow top just up and die on them like this? Very disturbing. I don't know the age of the battery, but it gave no indication of low charge/charging issues immediately prior to it's last shutdown. Then just dead.

4. No way to push start an automatic, is there? Don't think so, but thought I'd ask...

It was bad enough as it was, but at least there were people around. But this type of failure could happen anywhere, wheeling or not, familly or not, close or not. Don't think I'll be getting another Optima anytime soon. I AM, however, now very interested in a dual battery setup. I will be spending some time in the archives learning about this.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
3,539
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
It takes about five starts for the computer to recalibrate. No way to push start modern auto trannys due to the absence of a rear fluid pump driven from the tailshaft. When they made that change depends, but on the big three it was mid 70s IIRC. Have had only good luck with red tops in my mini and piggy.
Glad you like the 80,
Dan
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
41
Location
CT
The yellow top optima is designed to be used as a deep cycle battery, ie charged and used, and then recharged. I've seen many people have problems with normally using this battery. Also, you may want to make sure that the dude at the Zone tested the battery right, deep cycle and absorbant glass matt batteries usually have a diffrent setting on the battery tester used in these stores, and if the correct setting isn't used, the results will usually show failure,
Dan
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
6,048
Location
Dixie co. Florida
Optima does not make a true deep cycle battery, the yellow and blue tops are dual purpose, meaning a battery with medium thickness plates, considering the 80 low starter amperage and high electrical loads that should be the right optima for us.

A dark gray case means starting technology, a light gray case means dual purpose (engine start and deep cycle) technology.

OPTIMA YellowTop Benefits

Dual Purpose starting and deep cycling.
http://www.optimabatteries.com/publish/optima/americas0/en/config/product_info/automotive/deep_cycle.html


a lot of people report problems with optima's, both red and yellow tops, I don’t know if it is because they are so many out there that a small percentage of failures can still look bad or if they actually have a higher failure rate than other batteries.
 

MaddBaggins

Remember the KnightRider!
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
3,564
Location
The Old Pueblo
I've always had good luck with Optima red tops.Thats what I have now. When I do my dual batt setup I will add a yellow. Red for starting and running the truck and yellow for the fridge and winch and any other add ons.
 

Koffer

 
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Messages
2,207
Location
Hopewell NJ 08525
I have had a few red tops and this is what I have found with them .
I have been through a set in my BJ70 even though I also got one for the 40 at the same time and that ones still good (5+ years now) starts truck w/o a jump all winter sitting . The 40 dosnt have a small loads on it at all (radio etc) the BJ has a converter for the 24vto12 stuff thats on all the time and kills the batt in about 2 weeks . I also put a red top in my old fj60 that came out of a fj60 that it would only last a few days before it died . I put it in mine and was fine even sitting for months at a time but that truck didnt have a bunch of added on drains .
small drains seem to be the killer of the red tops over time .
 

kemasa

 
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
245
Any battery can fail suddenly. I had a battery which started fine in the morning, drove to school (many years ago), sat and waited for a parking space, listening to the radio, a car pulls out and my car would not start at all.

I have not had a problem with any of the Optimas that I have, although I did have to replace one, but that really does not count since it was a used battery from an electric vehicle.

One thing that is nice about the Optimas is that they don't leak (unless the case is cracked), so my dual battery setup is to carry a second battery in my vehicle, which is quite handy. I use the battery for a 12v compressor amd as am emergency backup. You just have to make sure that the posts don't get shorted out.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
379
Location
Florida
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Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
28
Location
Placentia, Ca
IMHO, wheeling with an automatic requires dual batts.

I had a yellow top used as my only battery quit at about 2 years. I now run a red (primary) and a yellow (backup & winch) in my Heep and a pair of Odysseys in my Pig.
 
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