6 volt battery dilemma

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Victor Borg
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6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Victor Borg » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:28 pm

Seeking recommendations on a GOOD 6 volt Model T battery...I'm kinda a battery freak,and my luck for getting good batteries for our more modern (12 volt) batteries lately has been poor.Granted, I'm not the typical battery purchaser,but I never install a new battery in anything in our herd without first giving it a thorough checkout...hydrometer,carbon pile load test,treatment for a day or two with high-tech desulfating battery chargers,etc. lately i have been completely unable to get any brand of new battery that reads correctly on the hydrometer,1275 plus or minus.i have purchased batteries for cars and boats for over 50 years that had proper specific gravity readings when brand new,or got a proper reading after an overnighter on the desulfating (how do you spell that???) charger.what has changed??? i don't need a battery just yet,but i am watching Daisy's battery slowly losing vitality and i never allow a battery to surprise me so a battery is now on my "watch list"...i have had good luck with interstate batteries for years,but not now.i have tried batteries from O'reilly, merl's auto,others and all show marginal on the hydrometer and do not respond to the normal treatment i have used in the past.has the EPA gotten its fingers into the sulphuric acid makers? Any battery engineers out there that can shed some light on this subject?

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Mark Gregush
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:42 pm

Not a battery expert, but why would you need to desulfate a brand new battery? If you buy a battery and it only last 3 or 4 years that what, about $30-40 a year, or about one tank of gas.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Victor Borg
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Victor Borg » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:01 pm

Mark,a battery can pick up a mild sulphating just sitting on a store shelf for a week or 10 days.if left in that state the battery will never reach full (100%) charge for ever and ever after.a battery at 96 or 98 % capacity is ok but a quick kick with the desulpfater will restore the battery to full capability.a little sulpfating here,and a little there will guarantee a battery's demise earlier than necessary.VIC


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:04 pm

Victor

I had EXACTLY the same trouble this winter with electrolyte in several batteries...it was driving me crazy...the "bobber" was floating low on all of my batteries that I measured. One day I picked up the hydgrometer to check on a battery that was charged overnight...then I noticed that the "bobber" didn't move. OOPS!! This was a brand new instrument...the old one suffering from hardened/cracked bulb. I removed the new bulb from the new device and found a foam stopper inside to cushion the "bobber" and it had stuck the darn thing at one level and it warn't gonna float, nor sink, nor nothin'.

I felt like I'd been hit with a "stupid stick". :o Guess what...I had a barn full of great topped-off batteries and a very tired charger. Live and learn. :lol:
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Rich Eagle » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:08 pm

I haven't purchased an Optima battery but the one given to me in 2001 is still working well in my Speedster. It is non-starter but 18 years still surprises me. If I wasn't so cheap I'd buy another. Outlasting wet cell 3 to 1 would probably be a savings if the new ones are as good as this old yellow topped 6 volt.
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by TRDxB2 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:55 pm

Would be good to know what Daisy set-up is (started, magneto, voltage regulator or cut-out). What electrical demands do you have (lights, coil for distributor, other) How old is the battery you have? Reason for asking is o understand how he battery will be charged. For example, electric golf cart batteries are designed for repetitive draining & charging. Sounds like you are trying to decide on the "type" that fits your needs rather than a brand. These links provide some good info on the different types.
https://www.autobatteries.com/en-us/bat ... s/overview
https://www.searsauto.com/car-care-101/ ... r-your-car
What also comes into play is size (Model T size is a "Type 1" and you need to check your battery box size as there is some variance in physical size by brand); then cost over time.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Dropacent » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:34 am

Gosh, over many years of providing batteries here to keep things running, I’ve never checked electrolyte level, desulfated, load tested, or trickle charged. I’ve never brought them in for the winter (-5 below here often ) massaged them , prayed over them or anything else. My entire scientific approach is to get the newest one on the rack, install a red and green felt, clean the connections, a shutoff switch, and Let ‘Er Rip, tator chip! I give you a lotta credit for your battery chops, but the last time I bought a battery, the clerk got upset and scolded me when I grabbed a $44 6 volt off the back of the rack. I’ll bet he would have a stroke to see you coming !!
So, in a nutshell, I average about 4 years out of a $44 battery, so $11 a year. Not bad. How much more can I get if I learn your methods?

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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Doug Keppler » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:06 am

Tim, where do you get a $44 battery???
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Moxie26 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:27 am

Tractor supply has a size 1, 6 volt battery, 700 cold cranking amps for about $96 in my area of New Jersey. Engine starts a lot faster and so far anticipate no problems . Having the proper size battery cables to handle the amperage, and adding an extra ground to the engine helps.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Gonenorth » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:30 am

Got an Optima Red Top 6 volt battery three years ago. No checking electrolyte...ever. Has more CCA than any farm store battery. They are not cheap. But in this case you get what you pay for.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by DHort » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:50 am

Optima is now about $190 and that is Amazon price

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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Dan_Jensen » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:23 am

There is not that much demand for 6 volt group 1 batteries any more, just the antique cars and old tractors. I would think that most of them would be built in the the same factory with a different sticker on them. My 8N tractor has a Ray-0-Vac that I got from Batteries Plus in 2011. It will still hold a charge a few weeks before needing charged to start. The Model T had a fairly new Dura-Cell when I got it in October of 2015 (Batteries Plus current brand) that is getting a bit tired. It's OK if I leave a float charger on it. May need to get a new battery for it soon. A new battery from Batteries Plus is $81.99 and you can get 10% off if you buy on line then pick up in store. Easier than cranking it by hand. The DuraCell is made in the USA.
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by aDave » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:49 am

Although not a "battery engineer" myself, I do read the Forum, and can remember some things.

Awhile back there was an electrical engineer who retired from a major well known company and applied his knowledge to developing several parts for the Model T which many of us have purchased from various vendors. I do remember a discussion of battery longevity on this Forum, and his take on the matter was to keep the battery fully charged....i.e. on a Model T, hook up a trickle charger when not using the vehicle for a period of time. I do believe that he claimed to have gotten 10-15 years of service from a battery...keeping the electrolyte at the proper level, and keeping it charged.
Also mentioned was the importance of preventing drain on the battery when the car was not in operation....what "leakage" is occurring - from added components or corroded wiring. (Haven't see him post for awhile - maybe he will read this and write something).

The specific gravity of new batteries was not discussed ( that I can remember), but it was noted that "modern" vehicles have MANY electrical components that continue to drain the battery while the ignition is off, car parked and owner away. A "modern" car sometimes has two batteries as the electrical drain is constant....a well maintained T should not drain a battery prematurely....unless one of the "add-ons" do not shut off when you leave the car parked for several days.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Dropacent » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:37 am

Rural King is a chain of farm stores in northern Ohio. 6 volt batteries are $44 every day of the week. Last fall I decided to try an 8 volt , but it didn’t survive the winter, first time I’ve ever bought a dud. The only pain was taking it back, but they didn’t charge me a dime for the 6 volt I took back home for T. I hope to not see them again for about 4 years, maybe more.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by tgreifhahn » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:42 pm

A while back you could buy a battery and acid separately. You put the acid in and presto, you had a fresh battery. I'm quite sure you can't buy them than way any longer.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by John Codman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:04 pm

I just go to Wal-Mart. There are only a handful of lead-acid battery manufacturers in the USA anyhoo, so why overthink it?


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:54 pm

All 3 of my T's have 6 volt group 1 batteries purchased at Auto Zone. Our local store stocks them and they are fresh. There is a sticker on the battery which tells when it was made. Usually not more than a month or two shelf life.
We had an event a couple weeks ago and I charged the battery but when I started the car the starter was weak but it started and ran. I normally run on magneto so once it starts it's fine with. July 4 th we had a parade, and the day before I decided to check things out. The connection of the positive battery cable at the starter switch was a bit loose. I turned the nut about 1/4 turn and it starts very nicely. Sometimes a perceived battery problem is really just a bad connection.
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by CudaMan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:13 pm

I too have had good luck with batteries from Auto Zone, both for my T and my daily driver. As Norm said, they have a high turnover of batteries, so their stock is usually fresh. Plus, if there is a problem, I can take it back with the receipt and get a replacement. :)

I always check and top off the water level in the cells on a new battery, then put it on the trickle charger until it is fully charged before I put it in service.

I usually get 6-7 years out of their batteries. Plus, they usually give me a bit of warning before they die completely and leave me stranded. :)
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Erik Johnson » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:15 pm

RE: Autozone, Walmart and battery manufacturers

My 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix takes a group size 78 battery.

A group size 78 lead acid "Duralast Gold" battery at my neighborhood Autozone is $165.

A group size 78 lead acid "Everstart Maxx" battery at the nearest Walmart is $94.

Both of the above are manufactured by Johnson Controls. They are the exact same battery: 800 CCA, 110 reserve minutes and the same five year warranty (first three years full replacement, last two years pro-rated).

Heat is an enemy of lead acid batteries. My experience over the years is, as long as the charge is kept up, lead acid batteries tend to last a long time here in Minnesota and I believe it's partly due to our cooler climate, especially the long, cold winters.

In October 2009, I purchased a group size 78, 800 CCA Johnson Controls/Duralast Gold battery at Autzone for $102 including sales tax. It had an eight year warranty and is still going strong but I plan to replace it this fall with a Walmart Everstart Maxx. Other than the eight year warranty, my almost ten-year-old battery is the same as the current Walmart or Autozone batteries described above. Although I have been very happy with my Autozone Duralast battery, I see no benefit spending $71 more at Autozone for the exact, same battery available at Walmart.

Last fall, I replaced the 11 year old group size 78 Delco "Silver" battery in my parents' Buick Roadmaster with a Johnson Controls/Walmart Everstart Maxx battery described above. So far, so good.


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Victor Borg
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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Victor Borg » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:53 pm

LOTSA good advice from everybody.that's why i love this forum! Gee,i never thought of buying a battery at walmart of all places,or autozone,for that matter.Now to clarify why i am so anal about batteries,i used to travel deep into Mexico,hundreds of miles from anything and couldn't afford a "surprise" battery failure.I also sailed to many remote locations and likewise no battery surprises were tolerable.No battery just dies one day...they slowly lose capability and give PLENTY of warning that doom is coming.if you start with a GOOD battery,keep it at 100%charge as long as possible,tricke-charge and desulfate at all times when vehicle is not in use,and monitor the specific gravity of the electrolyte regularly,you will never experience a "sudden"battery failure.I average 8 years on my batteries,all wet cell,some deepcycle where needed.that's why i din't trust sealed batteries...you can't keep tabs on them the way you can with flooded batteries.if i had a hundred dollars for every friend or relative that said that they had a "sudden and non forwarned battery failure" i could retire.HOGWASH! no battery goes from good to bad without warning.period.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by Jeff Hood » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:10 pm

Where I worked, we bought mostly Fords. The original Motorcraft batteries usually lasted up to 7 years in our fleet vehicles that were started and stopped dozens of times a day while on very short runs. We could not get a replacement battery of any make, including a Motorcraft bought from the dealership, to last more than 2 or 3 years. The parts countermen at the dealer swore that we were buying the very same Motorcraft battery as installed at the factory and blamed the short life on the now 8 to 10 year old electrical systems in our vehicles. Just for fun, we replaced a perfectly good battery in a newer pickup and guess what? Yup, it only lasted a little over 2 years! Can't prove it, but I think they have a super high quality battery that is installed at the factory and gets through the warranty period with no problems, after that, you are on your own.


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Re: 6 volt battery dilemma

Post by ModelTMark » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:25 pm

Let's face facts, the model T third-brush generator is the primary killer of the 6 volt lead acid battery in the T due to overcharging. When the engine is running the generator is outputting current to the battery whether it needs charging or not. I (and others) run our generators (that still have an original or diode cutout) grounded at the generator output (before the cutout) most of the time and my batteries last 8 to 10 years. Grounding the output of the generator stops the generator from producing electricity due to the way 3rd brush regulation works. Another plus with grounding is it gives back two or three HP that the generator takes from the engine when it's producing electricity. When my cars are garaged they stay on a 6v battery maintainer.

If your Model T has a good magneto, then your battery should last a day or two before needing a charge on tour. When it does, just remove the ground on the generator and let it charge for part of the days drive.

As a alternative to the above generator grounding method, I would suggest the use of the true voltage regulator made by Fun Products that has the same appearance of a cutout (~$75 from the model parts suppliers). This gadget prevents overcharging thus longer batt life.

There are several articles published on 3rd brush generator regulation if you want more technical info, so just Google it.

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