Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Battery In And Working, But--

     The new car battery can't possibly be the right physical size.  Got it clamped down and it wasn't, quite.  So much for fancy online find-the-right-battery software!  Connected the terminals and started the car anyway, then spent far too long improvising with some leftover oak trim to ensure the battery would stay put,* a loose lead-acid battery being something you never, ever want under the hood.  Electrical capacity is right and it's too darned cold to be fussy.  I'll do something better in the Spring.

     Clamping nuts on the terminals take a 10 mm wrench, the size 3/8" won't fit and 7/16" ruins, so I used a combination (box end/open end) 10 mm wrench like I was some kind of savage.  I have a set of standard and deep-well 1/4"-drive metric sockets on my Amazon wishlist now, waiting for the next time I am flush with an extra $32 American. --Not that Craftsman sockets are made here any more.
* Growing up in a small town and keeping cheap cars running on a budget, I am no stranger to improvising mounts for a wrong-sized battery -- because that's all the auto-parts place had at a price I could afford.


Merle said...

This sounds like a good place for one of those strap on head lights - that way you would have both hands free.

I love mine - it has saved a lot of grief & shuffling !!!


Carteach said...

I think that vehicle takes a 24F groups size battery.

Anonymous said...

Merry Greek Orthodox Christmas.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

I hate electrical problems on cars in the winter! Grew up in Iowa and have R & R'd the starter from a '51 Hudson in below zero weather a few times. Working in the So IL oilfield, I would go in early to warm up pullmotor engines with an antifreeze circulating pump, and fire them up so crews could work. Not a lot of fun, but you know, Paychecks were important! Retirement is more wonderful than you can imagine.

Ratus said...

I'd skip the socket set and get a 10mm flex head ratchet wrench from Lowe's for about $4-5.

It's a lot hander then a deep socket.

Roberta X said...

Ratus, there are clearance issues. This isn't my first rodeo. The other issue is that I try to buy tools for general work rather than for a specific job.

Carteach, I haven't taken the old one back yet. I'm going to get dimensions and see if it's got any useful labeling. At this point, I'm more than $100 out of pocket.

Generally: The "cold" part of "dark and cold" was the worst. I wear thick glasses and they steam up badly in single-digit or lower temperatures, but I must have them to work at any distance past a few inches. I was already fighting my warm garments; add a headlamp, maybe a utility light under the hood (except the one out there had a frozen cord) and it's preposterous: rig lights, work until my fingers get cold, unrig, close hood, lock car, go back in, warm up, repeat, repeat, repeat. As it was, I was up until midnight that night. It was better to wait for sunrise. I have spent too much of my life *having* to make untenable situations work and I will take the luxury of being able to wait for more favorable conditions when I can.

Roberta X said...

"Retirement." I'll never know.

Carteach said...

(Car College teacher mode ON)

Bobbi, vehicle batteries are designated by 'group sizes'. The group size refers to dimensions, terminal location, and polarity location. Basically everything required to make the battery fit a vehicle. It does not refer to capacity or ratings. Those are choices within a group size, and have far more effect on the battery cost.

For the actual dimensions of the group sizes, search 'BCI Battery Group Size Chart'. I believe your vehicle requires a group 24F battery. The 'F' means the terminals are reversed in polarity from what we 'Muricans would consider normal.

Often times, battery manufacturers will ship their batteries with an adapter or spacer already installed. This allows them to make one battery that fits several group sizes. They also build 'universal-ish' batteries by placing the top terminals in the center of the battery, and another set of side terminals for the odd GM vehicles that requires such.

(Car College edjumacator mode OFF. Any man-splaining that may have just occurred was done by a trained professional. Do not try this at home.)

Roberta X said...

Carteach, I am generally familiar with the way vehicle batteries are specified, and I thought I had been careful to distinguish between electrical parameters (power storage and cranking/cold cranking ratings) and the physical size of the battery when I wrote of it.

My "replacement" came with an oddball plastic framework snapped to the top of it, which I took to be a protector for the posts (which are oriented correctly). But the replacement is only slightly too short, and rather more too narrow front-to-back (across the shorter horizontal axis), which that plastic gadget wouldn't fix. I trusted the size-selection software at AutoZone's website -- plug in year, make and model and get a set of choices -- and went with the one that was in stock at my neighborhood store. Either the process was flawed or I put in the wrong year. Electrical ratings are within 10% of the old one so I'm not worried as long as it stays put. Warmer weather this weekend and I can resolve it then.

Blackwing1 said...

My 2010 Tundra just ate its fifth battery in 7 years. Started just fine on Monday (-2F), spun the engine nicely and fired right up. Drove about 20 miles (all freeway) and parked it back home. Went out Tuesday morning (-10F) and got nothing but a "click". Battery was toast. Jumped it (spun fast, fired right up) and drove it about 40 miles in 4th gear to make sure it was charging, stopped for gas, and it durned near didn't start.

Bought it 11 months ago at Batteries Plus with a 3-year warranty. so I went to the store nearest my house; they didn't have the 27F it uses. Went down next day to a distant 'burb where they DID have one (used my emergency furnace back-up deep-cycle marine battery to jump it, then kept that in the passenger-side front floor "just-in-case"). They re-tested it, saying "Yup, it's got a bad cell" and dropped in a new one for free.

The first three batteries were Toyota-branded, this fourth one was when I got tired of having batteries go toes-up. Now this brand ("Duracell", made by either Exide or Penn) has gone bad, too. So I left the truck at the Toyota dealer to have them check the alternator for voltage output (just fine) and the truck for a drain (they measured what I had a few years ago, about 3 milliamps; probably just the clock).

There's nothing on the Toyota forums about bad batteries in that size, and most of the battery problems are associated with high-amp drains. I have no idea of what's wrong, but I guess putting in a new battery every third year is what I'm going to have to do.

I'm just a dumb mechanical engineer, maybe somebody with a better electrical background has got a better idea of what could be causing a truck to eat batteries like this.

Carteach said...

You pretty much nailed the important parts. Capacity up to snuff, and getting it to fit. The rest is just fiddly bits.

Yeah.... some manufacturers do play a bit loose with the specs. It can be challenging to make a really good fit at times. Myself, I like Exide products, under whatever name they happen to be sold by. The next batteries on both cars will probably be gel-cells, like the Optima. I'm liking that technology.

Sorry if I get preachy. Bad habit, but they pay me well for it.

Carteach said...

Oh.... and as long as I'm complaining about battery fitment.... :-)

That nifty plastic widget you found on top of your new battery IS there to protect the terminals during shipping. But... the plan is.... once you pull it off the TOP of the battery, it can then be snapped onto the bottom like some crappy Leggo thing. That makes it a height adapter for the battery, and usually does a neat job of making the new battery slightly too tall to fit the bracket.

Go home battery engineers.... you're drunk.

Ratus said...

I never said it was, I just wanted to share a tool that helped in a very tight job removing some exhaust parts from the back of a GM Diesel where you couldn't get a small socket wrench let alone a deep one.

That same wrench has been used to swap the battery in a 2010 VW golf Diesel every couple of years when it dies from the heat here in Florida like clockwork.

(It's nice when the battery has a three year replacement warranty and you've just had to pay the $135+ once to be on the third replacement battery.)

Will said...

Blackwing 1:

double check the alternator output, both with and without heavy draw on it (lights, stereo, heater, other). Both at idle and revved up. Japanese electrical system designers tend to err on the high voltage side, and this eats batteries.

Also, if you can fit it, put a sheet of rubber under it. The thicker the better.

Roberta X said...

I do appreciate all the help -- I get a little defensive around car stuff because people -- well, men -- tend to assume I'm all a-flutter, which I'm kind of not after keeping a couple of MGBs running on a tight budget. Alas, the Brits spoiled me: I now expect accessing parts to replace them will be relatively easy. Growing up the skinniest child while my Dad kept his big Chryslers with Power Everything in tip-top shape had made me a lot more pessimistic; I was forever having to wriggle into some awkward spot and help take things out that you weren't supposed to be able to remove without pulling the engine, or at least the exhaust manifold.... But the MGBs (and the little Toyota Corona I'd had many years earlier, which is very similar) were a rare exception.

Ratus said...

I'm sure a lot of these comments could be taken as "... but you're doing it wrong!"

It's your car, so I just assumed that you know it better than I do.

I was just trying to be helpful and recommend a tool that most dismiss as a gimmicky thing that gets dumped in the bottom of the toolbox after a single use.

For that GM Diesel exhaust job we ended up with 8mm, 10mm and 11mm versions to finish it. I now grab those first when I have to work on that truck because those are the most common sizes of fasteners except for the odd annoying inch ones that they throw in at seemly random places.

JimBob said...

On a different tack: A tool that may allow you to avoid the battery changes on those cold dark nights. Battery tester that measures the voltage and internal resistance of the battery to give a good estimate of the condition of the battery (charge state & expected life). It will also check the charging system (voltage, ripple), and starter (crank time). Got mine a month ago after an unexpected battery failure--a little weak, but not that bad--WRONG!

Seems to work amazingly well. Plan is to test them periodically to catch them before they fail and replace them on my schedule.

You don't like specialized tools, but this is easier than dragging out the old Simpson and an O'Scope every few months-IMHO anyway. And it will work on the batteries for mo-peds & backup generators and electric lawn mowers (Maybe if they're 12 V) and MG-B's and.......

On sale now at Amazon.

ANCEL BA101 Professional 12V 100-2000 CCA 220AH Automotive Load Battery Tester Digital Analyzer Bad Cell Test Tool for Car / Boat / Motorcycle and More (Red)