Optima Red Top story for all who don't have one.

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by Goebeler, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Goebeler

    Goebeler

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    I wanted to tell a quick story about my Optima Red Top problem. (Not really!!!) Well it is actually embarrassing as hell but worth telling.

    I am on my second Red Top in my fj40 now after three years. I have a tune port 350 with electric fan and dual cool for the power steering and the trans. I also have a warn winch that I use almost every trip for some reason or another.

    I recently found my cruiser dead as a door nail and thought it was once again time for another Red Top. I was a bit frustrated cause I purchased a high output alt and assumed it was charging the battery well. I actually had the alt tested after replacing the battery last year and it tested perfectly. It is a single wire setup and has a wire running right to the battery covered by a thick rubber hose to protect it from rubbing on anything.

    I was about to go to the store and grab another battery and then the brain kicked in for the first time in years. I decided to yank, tug, and push on the wire connecting the alt to the battery. Here is the good part! The wire seemed to be a bit stripped of the covering. I pulled the rubber protection hose cover a bit and it slipped quite a bit. Too much.....

    I then found that the wire was actually two wires that were at one time one. The damn thing had melted and was not doing anything anymore. The rubber protection has been on there for at least three years. I now realized the best part of the story.

    I have been running the cruiser for years on only the battery and no connection to the alt. The damn Optima Red Top is down right amazing. I have been starting, running all of the fans, lights, computer, and winch just on the charge of the battery. I admit I tossed it on a charger here and there for a couple of hours because my kids would leave the key on. But all kidding aside, the Optima had enough juice to keep everything cranking. I know I am a fool for not finding this but that comes as no suprise to me.

    Case and point. I am glad I never wrote the company to tell them their battery was junk. I now think I need to contact them and tell them they are the best and their batteries are absolutlely awesome!

    Advice for all who don't run a Red Top or equivelent.......

    GO BUY YOURSELF AN OPTIMA RED TOP!!!!!
     
  2. yotanut

    yotanut

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    I call Shananagins!
    Some times things are intermittant, who knows how long this has been happening. With use of a winch alone, 10 red tops would have gone dead ina short period.
     
  3. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    i say it had to be throwing some juice too...optimas take forever to charge up to a decent capacity. no way just tossing it on here and there would do that much. all said, a sealed gel cell of any major manufacture is one of the best things you can do for a 4x4 from a vibration standpoint.
     
  4. AspenFJ40

    AspenFJ40

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    What are other brands of gel cell batteries?? I only really see Optima's advertised - are there others that as good?

    Cheers,
    Kevin
    77FJ40
     
  5. sonoranfun

    sonoranfun

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    Just the electric fan would kill the battery in well under an hour... You were getting juice...
     
  6. Goebeler

    Goebeler

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    You are all making me feel less like a fool. I hope for my mechanical sake that it wasn't like that for a few years. I don't drive it much but man did that find make me feel stupid. I hope you are all right.

    I still think the battery is amazing!!!

    Goebs

    ps...I build homes for a living and have no relation to the Optima company......no real pimping here.
     
  7. yotanut

    yotanut

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  8. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Always been happy with my Optimas :D
     
  9. SizzleChest

    SizzleChest

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    is there a place that is better to buy them from than the rest? they go for $140 up here and I can get a regular battery for $56 so it's hard for me to justify especially since I'm not running anything that draws alot of current (yet).
     
  10. Ground Up

    Ground Up

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    I just went by the Interstate Battery dealer the other day. I asked for "factory blems" the price was $50. Theso called "factory blems" are batteries that police and government use in there vehicles for a year then they replace them with new ones. The battery comes with a two year warranty, so no worries.

    If you did want a new on I think they are around $85 from the same guys.
     
  11. nuclearlemon

    nuclearlemon not an addict Moderator

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    i'm running orbital's now cause i can get em cheap through work
     
  12. ken_79-fj40

    ken_79-fj40

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    I've been thinking about buying an optima myself. If I only plan on running a single battery, on a driven twice a week or so rig, should I go yellow or red? I run the stock alternator, have a stereo with 2 amplifiers, and a pair of hella 4000's, and I plan on a 8000 pound winch sometime too. My current interstate battery works great, but I don't have a winch yet either. Even when I do eventually get a winch, I doubt it will get used very often. But as I know, when you need it, you REALLY need it.
     
  13. dfmorse

    dfmorse

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  14. VTFJ40

    VTFJ40

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    Costco carries the Red and Yellows from time to time. I paid $79 for a red top a couple months ago.
     
  15. SizzleChest

    SizzleChest

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    ya canadian costco wants $140
     
  16. e rock

    e rock

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    Every couple of months, GI Joe's (Washington and Oregon only?) has all Optimas 20% off so you can get the smaller red top (same one as Costco) for $80 or so.

    FWIW, I got my yellow top for $40 "Factory Reconditioned" at a local auto parts store. Apparently some of those indoor go-cart places use electric carts that run off yellow tops. Then, every so often, they are all replaced. The take-outs are load-tested and the good ones are sold cheap. They all had marks and scratches from being used, but the one I got looked brand new so I don't think it was even used. Been awesome for about 3 years now.

    Eric (Happy yellow top owner)
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2005
  17. Jakes40

    Jakes40 IH8MUD Poser

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    I've had 2 red tops 1 lasted only 6 months and 1 lasted 4 or 5 years in a "POS" car with a killer stereo. Did not pay for ether. I’ll get another when and if I ever got the cruiser “blowin smoke” again

    THANK YOU Uncle Sam
     
  18. numtel

    numtel

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    The red top is the battery you want, a yellow top is for deep cycle. If you didn't have an alternator and just recharged it when it was completely dead the yellow top would be the way to go. Constant recharging will kill a yellow top quickly.
     
  19. e rock

    e rock

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    :confused: Mine's been a daily driver for several years. :confused:
     
  20. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    There is lots of advice here and some of it is correct. Red tops are fine starting batteries, though stories do surface from time to time of them dying before thier time. I had one that a metal line rubbed through the case(my fault), shorted the battery, started a fire, melted the case, and still worked for an additional year. In fact, I took it to a friend's house and used it to jump his FJ40-it still works. A decent battery in my book.

    Yellow tops are dual purpose-deep cycle and starting. They work great, and I've heard fewer stories of them going bad early in a duty cycle.

    Blue tops are "Marine" dual purpose and supposedly the most vibration resistant of the bunch. I use these and think they are excellent. In my FJ40 I have only 1 battery to run my fridge, and start my truck. I have never had an issue. The fridge could drain it down in 24 hours or so, but there has never been a problem starting after running the fridge overnight or longer within reason. It's a D34M from Costco-about $140. Mine's on it's 3rd season, and going strong.

    My 80 series has a large blue top-a Group 31M. Lots of cranking amps, lots of amphours and lots of reserve capacity. Unfortunately it's expensive-about $210. A good source for non-Optima AGM (absorbed gas mat) batteries is the Marine store. They are pretty spendy, but marine/boat stuff tends to be reasonably well made and good for off-road applications.
     
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