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 Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top

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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:14 pm

Reasons to switch to an Optima 34/78 red top -

1) costs the same as the stock battery, so why not get the better battery?

2) my non-scientific analysis indicates it weighs about half as much

3) increased starting power

4) holds a charge longer when the car isn't driven frequently

5) can't leak, it's a sealed, gel type battery.



As you can see, the Optima is about half the size of the normal battery. In addition to weighing about half as much, it has a nice strap for easy lifting. It's mucho easier to get this under the Riv's back seat than the stock battery.




This is what you're taking out. I'd suggest not trying to remove the vent system from the battery. It breaks easy. Pull the white vent tube from its hole in the floor of the car and leave it on the battery.



I didn't want to mount the Optima like this. I thought the clamps might break the round cells open in time. My solution was to mount a couple nylon cutting boards to the bottom of the Optima and clamp onto those.



These are the cheapo boards I found at Wal-Mart - about $5 each. If you only see the expensive ones, keep looking.

One board has been cut down, the other is about to be.



I used a large cutting wheel on a dremel. It takes a while, but it'll do it.



Here I've used wood screws to screw the top board to the bottom board, cutting away the points where they come out of the bottom board so they don't scratch the Riv. I've also drilled holes for the bolts I'll be using to mount the nylon boards to the optima.


The near side of the board points to the rear of the Riv, the far side to the front. You can see where I've cut notches in the board, so it wraps around the clamps and keeps the battery from sliding side to side. What you can't see is that the far notch has a bevel to fit the rear clamp. Note the triangular strip of nylon at the near notch, which the bevel on the black clamp fits to.

The bolt holes on the bottom board are bored larger than the bolt heads and washers, so that the bolt heads are recessed up against the top board. This way only nylon comes into contact with the Riv.

Make sure you do plenty of test fitting. You can take material off, but you can't put it back on.



Grind 4 washers down so they can fit into the spaces between the battery cells. I used a grinding wheel on the Dremel (which, btw, I also used to bore the bolt holes - hopefully you'll have something better).



Bolt the nylon boards to the bottom of the battery.



The recessed bolt heads.



The finished result!

You will also need to buy a new 4 gauge negative cable, since the old one is too short to reach the negative terminal of the Optima. I got one for $5 at Advance Auto Parts.
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96riv
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:39 pm

Hopefully your Optima works because here in the desert they suck, way to many failures.
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:57 pm

No failures here after a couple years.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:31 pm

What makes the Optima better?

Albertj
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:53 pm

Its sealed Gel Cell that can be mounted anywhere at any angle- thats the main advantage. its sealed maintenance free.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:35 pm

And way lighter. If you want to go fast it's an easy way to cut 30-40 lbs.
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Snowdog
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:52 am

so much as i know...it takes more time to charge it?
faster whit the acid battery.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:06 pm

If the Optima holds more charge, but charges at the same rate, naturally it would take longer to charge it. It takes longer to fill a 30 gallon tank than a 14 gallon tank. Which is better? Depends on your needs. Practically though I've never noticed any problem with the Optima. It comes charged, and you won't notice it recharging while you drive the car.
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sburch23
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:09 pm

Nice write up. Lighter means better mileage as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:38 pm

Good idea with the nylon cutting board. I think a piece of 1/4 acrylic sheet might also work. You know what would be great? If you had taken measurements and made a template that we could use to fabricat the sheet before we removed the old battery and installed the new one. That way we don't have use trial and error to figure out what size it needs to be. Maybe you could yank it out and dimension?

I'm probably going to do this soon. My stock Delco is now over 10 years old and I can feel it losing power each day. Still starts up now, but need to get this done asap. Where can I find an Optima? Sears used to stock, but not any more.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:47 pm

The local Advance Auto Parts here stocks them.
I would like a template also as my battery is original to the car as far as I know.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:52 pm

I'm curious why you think the Optima battery is so much better besides weight? Our OEM battery has 880 CCAs, while the Optima red-top only has 800 CCAs. Plus my original battery lasted 9 years. 9 YEARS. AA is on 10!!! I just don't see the need. The original battery for the Riv is huge with a ton of amps. I am very happy with it. (no re-cabling or mounting fabrication needed, either) I will agree that the Optima is better than 'most' batteries on the market, especially when you start looking at aftermarket batteries. But when you compare it to the specs of the Riv's OE battery, the advantages start to disappear...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:55 pm

I thought the equivalent optima was less money And had more CCA's. Am I wrong?
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:22 am

deekster_caddy is right for all I know. I did the Optima primarily for the weight and have no regrets on that count.

Templates - It's not that hard to figure out. I'm not going to tempt the Terminal-Connection gods and disconnect my battery unnecessarily because they apparently hate my guts.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:14 pm

I understand, Jack. If I do the Optima, I'll try to make a template.

I thought the original Delco that came with our cars was no longer available. This was why I was thinking about the Red Top. If this is not the case, I will go with another original.

EDIT: just called the Buick dealer. They have a replacement (different PN than original) that's rated 770 amps for $169.97 + $9.00 core. He said it measures 12" x 7" x 7.32". I'm not sure what the original size is, but I think it's larger than that.

So how much are Optima Red Tops going for?

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:59 pm

I thought I remember the AC Delco battery installed in my car as having 1000 CCA.
I'll have to lift the seat and take another look.
I think i remember seeing the Red Top Optima for $129.00 at Advance Auto. Don't quote me on that but I know I'm close. It could have been a sale or special.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:57 pm

AA wrote:

EDIT: just called the Buick dealer. They have a replacement (different PN than original) that's rated 770 amps for $169.97 + $9.00 core. He said it measures 12" x 7" x 7.32". I'm not sure what the original size is, but I think it's larger than that.

This I can help with. I've got my stock battery still, it's 13" long, 7 1/4-ish" wide. I didn't measure the height but I'm sure it's taller than it is wide.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:20 pm

What do you think about this one? At 9lbs, it's more than 30lbs lighter than the stock one at least... Still has over 800PCA and it's sealed. Anyway you could get the weight of the Optima? I think the stock is 40lbs but not sure.

http://braillebattery.com/index.php/batteries/b129/
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:28 pm

never mind the CCA is only 323... it's not like we have really high compression engines or huge big blocks... what's the big deal if someone like me goes with a race battery like this? the alternator is plenty strong enough to power my accessories.. I just need something with enough power to crank it over briefly (it always starts immediately)
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:38 pm

Eric, I assume you could be in trouble with lower CCA if it got really, really cold. I notice mine's harder to start when it's 25F vs, 55F. Just the viscosity of the oil makes a difference.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:39 pm

I agree, we don't need 1000CCA for our cars it's just that that's the only spec that was visible on the battery. I was more concerned with th A/H rating. The higher the ampere hour rating the more storage capacity, yet the two go hand in hand.
I've been looking at that website and like what I see. Powerful Batt's for reasonable money, Glass mat technology and they sell custom brackets to fit all the battery's. If you buy a performance battery they are throwing in the bracket for free even. (Holiday Bonus)
Good find, I had never heard of them before. Wish they made battery's for motorcycles as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:13 pm

It stated on their site that CCA was tested at 0*. I won't be driving my car during winter much and it's kept in a heated garage so I shouldn't have any problems. I wonder how long it keeps it's charge if the car isn't driven much... that would be my biggest concern. I guess I could always keep the hood open. I have no more door handles and I don't put much trust in the emergency release- it is metal cable in plastic sheaving so it binds. I need to replace it with a "choke" style cable (metal sheath). I could always put a charger on it when it is not in use. The reserve is awfully low too at less than 20min. The weight savings is really appealing tho... I might have to give them a call tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:23 pm

Just use a battery maintainer for the off season. I use one for each of the motorcycles and lawn mower battery. I have used Battery Tender's made by Deltran for years without any overcharging problems. They give you a couple different pigtails that quick connect to the charger. One you permanently mount (I recommend) and the other has battery alligator clips. They also sell a 25 ft extension cable that goes between the charger, which you plug right into the wall and the quick connector for a few extra bucks. Most motorcycle shops sell them for around 30.00. I have greatly extended battery life on all bikes by plugging them in everytime their parked in the garage, Summer or Winter.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:41 pm

Swap in the Braille at the track when you pull the rear seat wink You'll never notice the 10-15 lbs weight savings over the Optima on the street.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing the Optima 34/78 red top   Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:14 pm

Yikes! That's pricey. I paid $80 for mine from a local dealer and it was an identical replacement last October.
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