I would like to know the type/model number of a 12 volt battery that will fit well in my '22 roadster battery box. It now has a group 1, 6-volt battery, shimmed to fit tightly. I ordered a 12-volt cut-out/regulator and light bulbs from Langs.
My main reason for making this change is that the 6-volt Exide batteries I am now using are lasting at most about 18 months. They used to last up to 5 years. If this works out well I'll probably do the same to my other cars as the batteries fail.
Thanks for your help.
A; Buy a different brand! B; If your batteries are only lasting 18 months there must be other problems that need addressing besides going to 12 volt and destroying your Bendix.
same 6 volt battery in my 29 for 4 years but because of the heat I use a 20.00 battery tender
My 6 volt batteries have lasted at least 5 years. I use NAPA or Auto Zone batteries. If you go to 12 volts, you need to rewind the starter for 12 volts. It is very hard on the bendix to use 12 volts with a 6 volt starter. Of course, you could always crank start it.
Robert, while I too don't agree with changing the battery for just the single reason you stated, Unlike the others, I will give you an answer.
Bear in mind, you wont get something exact, but it will be close. These are all top post batteries.
The group (BCI#) 1 battery from Napa measures 9" length x 6 7/8" width, and 8 3/4" high.
There is a group 26 that measures 8 3/4"long X 6 3/4" width, and 8" high. This battery also comes in a 26R which just means the posts are reversed---and it is sometimes a little cheaper. In fact from what I see priced out, the 26 series are the cheapest.
A group 85 and 86 measures 9" length x 6 7/8" wide and 8 1/8" high--probably the closet match except on height.
I hope that helps you out some. I would advise you read up on 12v conversions. And perhaps consider a 6v battery tender for your 6v battery.
That said, I have my T doodle bug on 12V, but it also has a distributor and no generator or starter--and the decision was easy because I had a 1 year old battery from a car I scrapped. Didn't make sense to go spend more money on a yard vehicle just to keep 6v. But something I would drive regularly, yes, 6 volts for sure.
Robert, I had the same problem as you, but lack of use was the culprit. Unless you drive a car with a six volt system daily, or have a six volt battery tender, six volt batteries will not last. Same goes for eight volt batteries. I have one T on original six volt and one converted to twelve, but it is a full conversion with a twelve volt starter.
I found out the hard way what twelve volts will do to a six volt starter and system. My grandfather's car wasn't driven daily when my Dad and I converted it to twelve volts (with six volt starter). One night I was determined to get it started and the carburetor was giving me problems from sitting so long. I stepped on the starter button and held it down, thinking sooner or later it was going to hit and fire off. I held it down too long and heard a loud bang and then saw parts flying off under the car. To make a long story short, I sheared off both bendix spring bolts and stretched the bendix spring. All these parts came off my starter shaft at such speed that they sheared off the three screws holding the bendix cover on and all these parts ended up on my garage floor. I hope I never see a repeat of that scenario, again.
But surely if you are buying your battery from a reputable store, they will give a 24 - 36 month warranty ? Just go tell then you need a new one under warranty !
Lack of use is what kills lead acid batteries, slowly sitting there going flat. Invest in a $5 isolater terminal as a first step, then either check the charge each 2 weeks or so OR go get a solar slow trickle charger and leave it on the battery. Put longer wires on it if needed and put the solar panel in your garage window.
BTW, i just bought a 12v battery for my truck recently with a 48 month warranty.
Many thanks to all of you for your helpful information and suggestions and I would like to respond with my experiences.
I bought my '22 roadster, '27 touring and both '28 A's in the mid '80s. All had/have 6-volt batteries. Until Wal-Mart quit selling them I used their $29.95 batteries which always lasted 4-5 years. After that I started using batteries purchased at Tractor Supply which I am still using. Now these batteries cost around $90.00, are warranted for 12 months and only seem to last a few months past that. This has been going on for some years. I have a 1.5 amp battery maintainer that I used on one battery which died pretty much on the same schedule as the others. Two batteries died within the warranty period and Tractor Supply replaced them at no charge.
I have a 6-volt Werkman brand battery which I bought at a NAPA store in Houston in my '37 Ford (much larger size than group 1) which is working well after 4 years. I think I paid around $160.00 for this one. Maybe NAPA would be the route to go.
Finally, I have a '34 Ford which I converted to 12-volt negative ground in around 1996. When the battery died I replaced it with a used Optima battery, vintage 2000. This 16 year old battery resides in the rumble compartment and still cranks the '34 just fine.
Many of the "A" people on the Ford Barn forum seem happy with their 6-volt Optima batteries so I may explore that route.
Now I think I'll do a little shopping on the phone and online.
Thanks again and I'll keep you informed.
Robert, do the math here.
A same size 12 volt battery has 3 more cells, 6 more cell walls and 3 more cell partitions than that same size 6 volt battery.
That 12 volt battery has many fewer of those plates that actually make the electricity or current that you need to start your Model T.
You will be hand cranking those Ts to start them a lot more often with a 12 volt battery, if they do not start right away when cranked, as the 12 volt battery will not let the cranking continue for nearly as long.
A 12 volt battery is not the answer to your problem.
I called the Brenham, Texas NAPA store this morning. They have 2 batteries in stock and said they just got them in 2 days ago so I assume they are fresh. They are Interstate brand and cost $127.05 + tax + $18.00 if I don't bring the old one (ouch). Next I called a NAPA store in Houston. They have 1 NAPA Commercial brand for $109. I'm concerned that this might be the same thing as the Exide ones with a different label as the Exide ones are labeled Exide Commercial. I asked the lady if I could get a senior or veterans discount and she reoffered it for $85.00. (I need to ask for that at the Brenham store too.)
Streetsideauto.com has 6-volt Optimas for $112.59, no sales tax and free shipping so this seems like a good option for me.
Reading the other postings on this subject I see several people who have good experiences with 12 volts so I am still dallying over this (I'm in no hurry). I converted my '34 Ford and Willy's Jeep to 12 volts without changes to the starters or Bendixes without problems but perhaps these Bendixes are more robust than those on the T's.
Go to a battery store to buy a battery, not a car parts store.
I NEVER pay over $80 for new batteries, 6 or 12 volt.
For myself I have buying reconditioned batteries, $25 each. they last a couple of years.
get 'em at battery stores.
It's Willys Jeep
“I converted my '34 Ford and Willy's Jeep to 12 volts without changes to the starters or Bendixes without problems but perhaps these Bendixes are more robust than those on the T's.”
Robert, you hit the nail on the head with that statement.
As I stated before, for my non starter, non generator doodle bug, I have no issues running 12v. But my '25 pickup is all 6v and no worries with the original equipment.
A 6V Napa Commercial battery (part# 7244) lists for 129.08 up here in NY and has a $15.00 core. I can get them through work for 83.00 + core. They carry a 2 1/2 year warranty with 6 month free replacement. I do believe they are made by Exide. I had one that lasted 2 years, my current one is about 6 years old and still going.
Wow, Robert! I knew you had 'stepped in it' when I read your first post! It's almost like asking what oil to use in a T.
I'm no expert, but I have a 6 volt T, with a battery that has now lasted about 12 years. In my long life I have heard a lot of technical stuff about batteries, most of which went above my head, but I have learned a few things from all that info. I am sure some folks with technical knowledge will correct my errors, but here's the gist:
I was always told that one of the worst things you can do to an automotive type battery is over-charge it, or charge it too fast. I wonder if that could be part of your ongoing problem with batteries.
The charging operation is hard on a battery. If it is done too fast, or with too much voltage, it can warp the plates in the battery. this causes the separators to break down, and the plates to touch. That's the end.
At the same time, letting the battery get too low on charge is harmful, because of something called 'sulfating.' I don't know the chemistry involved, but understand it is bad for a battery.
Also, when a battery is charged from a "low" state, some material, I don't know what, sluffs off the plates, and falls to the bottom of the cell. When this builds up too high, it shorts out the cell, and kills it.
I have applied this information to my Model T in the following way:
I always set my generator's third brush to a low charging rate of only 1 or 2 amps, until I got a FP voltage regulator. This was because I rarely use the headlights, and to put out enough voltage to operate the headlights would overcharge and boil the battery on a long trip without lights.
I also invested in a battery maintainer, and leave the battery attached to it whenever the car is not being used.
So, here's my $0.02 about your decision to convert your T to 12 volts, which is obviously regarded my the majority of folks on this Forum as somewhere between unnecessary and a mistake:
Instead of converting to 12 volts, and be constantly worrying about the Bendix and the starter itself, invest in a FP voltage regulator, and a battery tender made for 6 volts. That's not a battery charger, but a battery tender. Then cobble up a way to conveniently plug the car into the battery tender when it's not being used, and do so regularly.
Then relax and forget your battery troubles.
From Lang's, that's a 5055VR and a BAT-TEND.
The cost of those two items is much less than the cost of the 12 volt conversion kit and a 12 volt starter. And, if you are determined to go to 12 volts, be sure to get a 12 volt starter, because the destruction of a starter and/or Bendix can cause all sorts of very expensive side-effect damage!
That 6 volt Generator is another very expensive device to burn out and replace with a rebuilt unit now.
It can charge a 6 volt battery at 10 amps. That makes it a 60 watt device, if you want to look at it that way.
It can likewise charge a 12 volt battery at 3 amps without burning out, so now you have a built in keep alive device, but don't plan any night time driving.
The original 32 candle power head lamps took 16 amps, but modern 50 candlepower lamps take half again that much or around 24 amps.
A size 35 battery from Walmart is likely to be your least expensive answer.
Farm N Fleet battery's are hard to beat in my mind, this one was bought in the spring of 2007. It has never be charged since it was new, sits in the car all winter and has plenty of juice to start my T every spring. If your battery only lasts 18 months you have another problem that need to be fixed.
Try my suggestion of a $5 battery isolator terminal/clamp. You may have a leak to earth somewhere that is draining your batteries ? They clamp to your neg terminal and battery cable clamps to secondary post on switch. Takes about 3 seconds to connect /isolate.
I have used F&F batteries exactly like the one that Roger pictured. Around here F&F batteries OWN the market for value and reliability. Never had one fail yet by its own fault. Have had some friends who tried to use a battery disconnect switch rather than finding out what was draining their battery and they had a lot of battery issues ongoing. 18 month life says there is something wrong with the electrical system for sure - why not find it?
I absolutely agree with the battery disconnect as a band aid for a discharging battery. However I like the piece of mind that vehicles in my garage are electrically dead while at rest--not that anything should happen while they are off, but hey, you never know.
And to anyone interested in finding out where their battery is discharging while not being used. Take a simple test light and disconnect the negative side of the battery. Put the light between the negative cable end and the battery post. If every thing is shut off, it will not light. If you have something on drawing current, it will light up. Then it is a matter of disconnecting wires until the light goes out to see which circuit has the issue, and start tracing from there. In a modern car you would pull fuses until the light went out.
But now that we are way off topic again, LOL.....
Your battery may be electrically dead, but there is a hot wire all the way through your ammeter to the generator cutout and that fact has caused a lot of people a lot of grief, primarily by the ammeter or cutout shorting to ground and causing a fire.
The smaller 1926-27 ammeter is more likely to be a problem than the earlier larger ammeters.
Removing one battery cable as shown above is an excellent safety suggestion.
James, that is what the disconnect does. It disconnects the batter at the terminal, vs. having to take the cable on and off all the time.
These are what I use.
Thanks again everyone for your helpful information.
I don't really think that my 18 month battery problem is with electrical systems as I have 4 cars using these same group 1 batteries. (I should have been clearer on this.) I have owned all 4 of these cars (2 T's and 2 A's) for 27-28 years and all 4 are giving me much the same problem. It seems the problems started around 5 years or so ago when Tractor Supply went from their old brand to the Exide branded batteries. The Tractor Supply store always writes the date with a red marker pen on them so it's easy to verify how old they are.
A lot of the people on the Ford Barn, Model A site rave about the Optima 6-volt batteries and there are both installation brackets for these available from vendors and simple instructions for homemade installations on this same site.
What I now plan to do is to transfer the battery from one of the Model A's to replace the bad battery in the Model T. Then I'll get a 6-volt Optima battery for the Model A.
My wife and I are both experiencing some medical problems so we're hanging out in Houston now so this will take awhile. (It's that age thing.)