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Optima battery issues that resulted in over $1,000 repair bill!


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  #1  
Old 02-13-2011, 06:26 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Default Optima battery issues that resulted in over $1,000 repair bill!

I just got my car back after having an electrical drain issue for over 2 months. I bought an Optima Red top 34R battery last February after swapping out my first one under their 3 year warranty when it stopped charging after a year of use. I just got my '06 QP back from my local shop after losing it for almost a month. After all the hours spent trying to find the drain in the car, first by the audio shop that installed the entire kenwood Car portal system (Jim in Seattle did touchscreen overlay part and shipped it back), and then secondly by my local Repair shop only to find out the battery was the culprit again.

It seems from what I have read in forums for other cars after a quick google search of "optima battery issues", there seems to be a common problem with the Optima red top batteries draining on cars either not used daily or with high electrical draws from cars like ours with tons of electronics or aftermarket items.

I often will use my car every other day and this seems to be just enough to make the Optima battery go bad in less than a year like it happened to me already twice. I also have the aftermarket radio on an Audison amp with a subwoofer. According to the FAQ on Optima website, cars with more than 250watts of audio or cars that sit SHOULD NOT use a red top. Instead they recommend the Yellow top. Even cars with everyday use with large electrical draws should use Yellow tops too. The even go so far to say the warranty will void using Red top in these situations.

Aside from passing on info on correct application of Red and Yellow tops, I wanted to mention that when it went bad, it didn't just stop charging. The way it acted was like the car had an electrical drain and was very misleading. I would leave the car on my ctek charger set on charging cycle for Optima type batter until it went through all 4 stages and said full. The car would be fine for a few days then would die all the way down to nothing. The strange part is that sometimes it would be dead one day later, sometimes it would sit two days and be fine but be dead the 4th day after using it the night before.

Lastly, I just ordered an Odyssey battery made by Enersys which is the same battery they make for military vehicles. It was that battery I wanted for past two years, but they never had the 34R size the QP needs, at least till now. It was $257 with free shipping and has more amps, almost 30% more reserve capacity, and a rugged military spec design. Before anyone buys an optima, please look at this battery. The higher price seems to be related to the use of 99.9% pure virgin lead plated, all quality. From the search I did on optima batteries, it seems the complaints of bad optima batteries has increased exponentially in past 3 years after moving production to Mexico. I read a lot of rumors about poor quality lead or poor quality control being the reason for so many bad Optimas.

The sears die hard platinum ($200 but often on sale for $170) is now made by Enersys and seems to be the same hawker military battery, odyssey, etc battery rebadged. Although not confirmed, it's pretty obvious when the batteries have the exact same size, amp, weight, reserve, etc. The only problem for me is they done have the 34R in sear platinum, only the regular 34 without the poles reversed.


I purchased the odyssey PC 1500!
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2011, 06:32 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Here is Optima FAQ

Optima Battery FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

I was always told by my local audio and repair shop I could not used the yellow or blue top batteries as my only battery because it doesn't have the starting voltage to start car, yet the website not only says different, but will void warranty if you use red top in high electrical draw situation.
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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Here is the Odyssey battery I purchased

34R-PC1500 - Odyssey battery
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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Congrats on the new battery. Odyssey's are bulletproof. Btw is there any weight savings over the oem battery?
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:12 PM
 
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The weight of the Odyssey 34R Pc1500 is 48lbs as opposed to the Optima 34R red top at 38lbs. Not sure the exact weight of the stock fiat battery, but the interstate MTP-91 the dealer uses is about 43lbs. Basically the battery is 5 lbs heavier than stock but it also gives you much more power and reserve.

Don't think 5lbs either way will make any noticable difference in performance anyway. My briefcase is over 10 lbs and the car drives the same wether I have my briefcase in it or not. More importantly is the initial 1550 starting amps the battery puts out when you start car or the 130 minutes reserve time as opposed to 100 minutes for optima or 74 for stock.
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  #6  
Old 02-14-2011, 01:44 AM
Vincenzo's Avatar  
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Location: Fairfax Station, Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigA3723 View Post
Here is the Odyssey battery I purchased

34R-PC1500 - Odyssey battery
Wow - "Typical service life: 6 - 8 years". That's awesome. I have the Optima Red Top currently. Thanks for the info & tips. I'll be seriously looking at this next time around.


Vincenzo
'06 GranSport Spyder - Rosso Mondiale
FD DBW, FD Springs, FD SS Brake Lines, Larini De-Cats, BMC
'07 Tundra - it's just big
'09 John Deere - Green as it gets... 2009 - 'Best in Grass'
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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If anyone is interested, I have the new Optima 34R Red top that I got from Autozone to replace the bad one. I used it for 36 hours till my odyssey arrived and have the receipt with purchase date 1/31/2011. It cost me $176 + tax = ~ $200. Will sell for $135 plus actual shipping. The Post office priority flat rate box can hold up to 70 lbs and should be in $20 range depending if it will fit in flat rate box and also were you live. I live in 70002 zip code if you want to check out shipping rates. I can use my odyssey cardboard box which is 9x10x13 inches and weighs about 43 lbs. N.'cccnnjcc Manufacture date of batterry is 10/2010.
X
Remember what I said above, I had problems with the Red top batteries in my car because of the extra stereo and gadgets combined with the fact I don't use my car only 2 to 3 days out of week. As long as you use your car everyday or every other day and don't have tons of aftermarket extras, then this battery is a great upgrade for your QP.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2011, 07:30 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Bergen County, NJ
Maserati Life Posts: 71
Default An Optima RedTop 34r challenge in NJ

I bought the battery for my 2002 CC a year ago. First time it died was last week after 3 weeks of sitting in a cold garage. It registered only 3 volts - too much for my 6 amp trickle to handle. My shop where I bought it took 3 days to charge it and suggested that there had to be a drain. I purposely do not set the alarm. So, I put it in today with 12.48 V and used the car for 100 miles or so. Now it shows 12.36V. I'd like to test for a drain with the light between the negative post and its detached cable, but am afraid to mess with the 30 seconds of MAR resets! Also, the trunk light might be pesky to turn off. Illuminating that the Optima is perhaps not optimal after all!
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2011, 12:02 AM
elambo's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Maserati's do draw a bit of power, but it sounds like you have some extras, too. "High electrical draw" as mentioned above. I wonder if the Optima would be risky for those of us with only the standard electronics.
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2011, 06:27 PM
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Being in the car electronics business for almost 20 years, I can say that I've seen more Optima batteries go bad than anything else. I've been using Odyssey batteries for about three years now, and they do have some weight to them, but they seem to the best so far.


-Monty Knight
678-371-2380
@montyknight458
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  #11  
Old 02-27-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2euro View Post
Being in the car electronics business for almost 20 years, I can say that I've seen more Optima batteries go bad than anything else.
Good to know.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Bergen County, NJ
Maserati Life Posts: 71
Thumbs up Thank you !

I'll keep Odessey in mind when my Optimum comes to grief!
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