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Thread: Battery

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    I'm planning to buy a new battery for my 12 in the next week or two (or when one of the Autobarn/Supercheap/Repco stores are having a sale). The car still starts okay but the voltage at rest is below 12 volts so one or more cells is no doing the job.
    I've been surfing through the sites looking for the recommended capacity as the one I have in the car now is too big both physically and in capacity for the car (will only fit in the battery tray if the lug is flattened).
    The battery manufacturers/sellers sites that still list the R12 in their are suggesting things like a 55D23 battery as the recommended size. This is rated at something like 540CCA. The Renault manual, being European, of course recommends battery capacity in amp/hours, whereas we here rate starting batteries in CCA. Renault recommend 40 A/H standard or 45 A/H for cold climates. There's no hard and fast rule for converting A/H to CCA but the general rule is to multiply by about 7.25. So the Renault recommended sizes equate to about 290CCA to 326CCA, about half what the battery companies/resellers recommend.
    I'm all for bigger (capacity) is better in a battery but how can you believe the recommendations when they're so far out. Why would you need a 500amp battery to start a 1200cc low compression motor. (A couple of my R12's even had a starter dog on the crank so could be started by hand).

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    Anyway, I'll be looking at either a NS40 (330CCA) or NS60 (430CCA) rather than the 'recommended' 525CCA jobbie. Another possibility is a 57/58 as these are recommended for a lot of Aussie built 6 cylinder Commodores/ Falcons/ Magna, etc. This makes them as common as dog shit and have a bigger range so they are often cheaper than the smaller NS40/NS60 series. They are larger but will still physically fit.
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    At least with something as old as a 12 you have some flexibility on choice of replacement. Few years ago the battery in my 'noughties' Subaru abruptly died, went to Repco, bought the one on their list. Got all the way through fitting it only to realise that the +ve cable wouldn't reach because the terminals were on the opposite side to the original! Almost the same affliction with my 505 which had to have a new battery last w/e - went in but cable was a 'stretch' to get it over the terminal.
    FWIW I replaced the 505 battery 'like for like' with Repco branded one - old one was 5 years vintage. Rob


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    Get the battery with the largest CCA that will correctly fit in the spot.
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    I would buy an "Absorbed Glass Mat" (AGM) battery. One merit of these is that they have a cranking amp boost for the first bit when starting. They are also lighter & more compact. Yes they are more expensive but the "Full River" brand that I've fitted to my R8 & to my 4CVG is not as dear as some & worth investigating.

    cheers! Peter

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    Strangely enough, the specs for the R12 starter motor (Paris-Rhone I think) say the current draw is 380 amps.
    The Renault specified battery (40AH) is about 300CCA so is under-spec for the job. Admittedly, the CCA is measured at -18degrees centigrade which doesn't happen too often in Brisbane (not since the last ice-age probably).
    A NS60 looks to be physically the biggest one that will fit in the tray (without flattening the lug) and is rated at about 430CCA so I'll probably go with one of those. Bigger ones will fit and there's plenty of width and depth available (if the lug is flattened) but height is a problem. But the battery is only used for starting so bigger is not really necessary
    I don't do a lot of miles so don't really need a fancy battery. I think I've done about 2000 miles in the last year.

    Cheers
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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick56 View Post
    At least with something as old as a 12 you have some flexibility on choice of replacement. Few years ago the battery in my 'noughties' Subaru abruptly died, went to Repco, bought the one on their list. Got all the way through fitting it only to realise that the +ve cable wouldn't reach because the terminals were on the opposite side to the original! Almost the same affliction with my 505 which had to have a new battery last w/e - went in but cable was a 'stretch' to get it over the terminal.
    FWIW I replaced the 505 battery 'like for like' with Repco branded one - old one was 5 years vintage. Rob


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    Usually batteries are available in two configurations with the positive post on the right or the left. e.g. a type 57 battery has the positive post on the left and a type 58 is the same size with the positive on the right. The you can also get variations in terminal types as well.
    If Repco gave you the wrong battery it should have been easy for them to swap the battery with the same size with the opposite terminal location. They may not have had the correct one in stock at the time or the salesperson in Repco didn't know or care to look so gave you the wrong one. The books the stores work off aren't always correct.

    Cheers
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    Hi Ren,

    You are right, the R12 is not that fussy about batteries. You will be more than alright with 300CCA (which is a made up parameter given it depends on how every manufacturer measures). I have used whatever batteries I had lying about in my R12 (usually cheapos) and never had any issues. One of the batteries came out of my son's Honda and it was deemed dead. Still good for another four years after that with daily driving of the 12.

    The CCA would be useful if you knew exactly what it meant, but manufacturers measure it like car manufacturers used to measure engine power, which is under different conditions hence the numbers are irrelevant.

    The Amp-hour is a more reliable parameter when comparing batteries because it tells you how much energy is stored in the battery and doesn't depend on how you measure it (1 Amp-hour means you can have a current of 1 Amp without significant drop for an hour - easy to measure with a globe, an Ammeter and a watch), that is why shoddy manufacturers don't like it. It can also be argued that battery capacity (Amp-hours) does not actually say how much is the peak current the battery can give in one shot early on a cold morning. The internal resistance of the battery is the main limiting factor here, not capacity (usually larger battery means higher capacity, but not necessarily higher currents). To make matters more murky, the internal resistance is of course dependent on battery temperature (cold battery means high internal resistance - chemical reactions like a bit of heat).

    I would recommend you buy any old school battery that allows you to check the fluid and replenish the distilled water if need be, regardless of CCA rating. Most batteries for modern cars are sealed, which means you can't do that, and in the event of low electrolyte all you can do is buy another battery, when it would be very easy to just add some distilled water (the acid doesn't evaporate).
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 14th April 2017 at 12:18 PM.
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    Yup, Repco didn't know - not 'til I took the offending one back anyway, useful to remember that for future reference.

    Incidentally, at my first job one of the foremen drove a Morris Marina van that had been modified by sacrificing some of the load space to accommodate the (Caterpillar branded) battery from a bulldozer, no idea how many Ah or CCA it was, but let's just say that if the van had failed to start (not an entirely unlikely scenario with a Moggy Marina) he could probably have driven 50kM to work on the starter motor, in top gear, lights & wipers on, & still had enough for the return trip
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    I would recommend you buy any old school battery that allows you to check the fluid and replenish the distilled water if need be, regardless of CCA rating. Most batteries for modern cars are sealed, which means you can't do that, and in the event of low electrolyte all you can do is buy another battery, when it would be very easy to just add some distilled water (the acid doesn't evaporate).
    In general good advice when the battery is readily accessible.

    But not good advice when the battery is located in a difficult to access location. In which case the very low maintenance batteries are the best option.

    Also consider your own personal traits. If you are not a diligent checker of engine fluids. A low maintenance battery may be the best option.
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  10. #10
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    If a lead acid battery needs added water, it has been overcharged.
    The hydrogen and oxygen have been split in water and vented to atmosphere.
    Damp around the top of the battery? Corrosion around battery area, sure giveaway this is happening

    Check your charging system as something is not incorrect.

    Happens all the time with the cheap trickle chargers. Basically they just shorten your battery life.

    In this case just buy the cheapest battery you can find and change every second year

    Get one for less than $50 Melb-12V 330 CCA CAR BATTERY 38B19L/R/LS/RS [LANCER/Mirage/Mazda] | eBay

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    In general good advice when the battery is readily accessible.

    But not good advice when the battery is located in a difficult to access location. In which case the very low maintenance batteries are the best option.

    Also consider your own personal traits. If you are not a diligent checker of engine fluids. A low maintenance battery may be the best option.
    Access to the battery is not a problem in the 12.
    I prefer being able to top up the water too but the 'maintenance free' batteries generally have different plates (higher calcium content) so they last longer too.There's a reason the battery companies offer longer warranties on the 'premium' batteries than the cheapies. If you look at the two Aussie battery manufacturers, Exide and Century, they only offer maintenance free batteries now (under their own brand). They do have a range of imported types they sell under different brands and some of there are refillable.
    I think Marine batteries are the best as they're made to be bounced around and generally used infrequently (well at least not every day like the family car). But they're bigger, heavier, and far more expensive than an equivalent capacity automotive battery.

    Low water doesn't necessarily mean overcharging. It gets very hot under the bonnet as we all know and a battery six inches away from an exhaust manifold does mean the electrolyte gets hot enough for evaporation to occur naturally. The caps are vented so some water can escape as vapour.

    Cheers
    Ren
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    Both Century and Exide offer a battery that allows topping up the water. Both have the "magic eye" (which is basically a primitive pH tester) that tells you when to add water. Agree re comment about water level. I have just bought a Century version last week, and they're on everybody's shelves.

    http://www.batterymart.com.au/prodim..._400x400_L.jpg

    The two covers at the top are removable and allow access to the cell caps. Mine came with 2 years warranty (max you can get I think it's three), so there you go. The battery is quite slim and is rated at over 300CCA, more than enough for my Pug, would easily fit and satisfy the 12. Got mine on special 100$ instead of 125$ from a local Auto One.

    My suspicion is that both Century and Exide are the same battery (they sure look the same on the outside and I suspect internals are imported). Other batteries (imports) show a similar model, and everything else (ratings, etc) is way too similar to be just a coincidence.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 17th April 2017 at 02:22 PM.
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    Century and Exide are most definitely not the same company. Century are mostly owned by Yuasa in Japan and Exide are owned by Exide Technologies USA.
    The reason for the similarity in their products is that they're both selling into the same market, i.e. have to meet the same specifications recommended by the car companies. When we used to make cars here, both companies vied for the OEM business and the mainstream (i.e. made in Australia) battery specifications were largely dictated by Toyota/Ford/Holden. The Australian made batteries by both companies are virtually all Australian with maybe the raw lead and plastic for the casing/lids being imported. But both companies also import complete batteries for the low-end of the market and the less popular sizes e.g. DIN batteries.
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    GS Yuasa | History


    1990s

    Our US arm, Yuasa Battery America, acquired the industrial battery division of Exide Battery USA and changed its name to Yuasa-Exide Inc.
    We changed our name from Yuasa Battery Co Ltd to Yuasa Corporation.
    We expanded further with joint ventures in China (Guangdong Yuasa Sunny Batteries Co Ltd), and Taiwan (Delta Green Energy).

    Throughout the 1990s, a number of plants received certification, including our Odawara Production Plant (ISO 9001 Certification), our Industrial Battery Production Plant (ISO 9001 Certification for industrial lead acid batteries and small sealed lead acid batteries), our Osadano Production Plant received ISO 9000 Certification for automotive lead acid batteries and so on.
    2000s

    However GS-Yusa have very strong ties to Exide, they are not different entities.

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    An overlap between Exide and Yuasa way up the food chain doesn't mean that here in Australia Century and Exide are brothers, both operate as separate entities. Century Australia is partially owned by GS Yuasa, not outright. Don't know about Exide.
    Exide have a factory in Adelaide and Century have a factory in Brisbane so the locally made types are different. The imported types might be from the same manufacturers but there's no way of knowing and it's probably unlikely.

    Anyway, the need for another battery has been taken off the agenda for now.
    I found the battery isn't in as bad a state as thought.
    I was making the mistake of measuring the voltage after the ignition switch, which is lower than at the battery.
    When measuring the voltages at the battery, the reading is 14.5 volts at idle without load (and about 14.4 with load) and the battery is about 12.5 at rest, say an hour or more after the motor is turned off. A bit low (around 75%) but still okay for now. The magic eye on the battery was also indicating a flat battery so it's probably on the way out but not dead yet.
    So there are one or more bad connections in the wiring somewhere that are causing a voltage drop of around 500mV- 700mV between the battery and the ignition switch. After 45years a bit of corrosion has probably built up on some terminals somewhere causing the drop. A week-end of pulling and cleaning terminals coming up.

    Cheers
    Ren
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    My suggestion is to try and measure the resistance across the wires leading to the ignition switch. That'll be some value which should explain why you don't get the full battery voltage. My guess is the ground is most likely to cause a voltage drop simply because you have the car's shell conducting and steel isn't that good a conductor.

    Sure, there are connections in the positive path where you could have voltage drop but even after you clean them, you'll still have the drop on the ground side.

    Not sure why you'd diagnose the battery by measuring at the ignition switch, though.

    Some silicone grease stuffed in the connectors should keep water out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN View Post
    An overlap between Exide and Yuasa way up the food chain doesn't mean that here in Australia Century and Exide are brothers, both operate as separate entities. Century Australia is partially owned by GS Yuasa, not outright. Don't know about Exide.
    Exide have a factory in Adelaide and Century have a factory in Brisbane so the locally made types are different. The imported types might be from the same manufacturers but there's no way of knowing and it's probably unlikely.

    Anyway, the need for another battery has been taken off the agenda for now.
    I found the battery isn't in as bad a state as thought.
    I was making the mistake of measuring the voltage after the ignition switch, which is lower than at the battery.
    When measuring the voltages at the battery, the reading is 14.5 volts at idle without load (and about 14.4 with load) and the battery is about 12.5 at rest, say an hour or more after the motor is turned off. A bit low (around 75%) but still okay for now. The magic eye on the battery was also indicating a flat battery so it's probably on the way out but not dead yet.
    So there are one or more bad connections in the wiring somewhere that are causing a voltage drop of around 500mV- 700mV between the battery and the ignition switch. After 45years a bit of corrosion has probably built up on some terminals somewhere causing the drop. A week-end of pulling and cleaning terminals coming up.

    Cheers
    Ren
    Might be worth a try to feed the suspect battery with some 'Inox' snake oil? To prolong its remaining life. Haven't made my mind up about this stuff yet, had a couple of failures it didn't improve, but trying it again on my 505 battery that failed the test on Repco's meter, replaced with new but a serviceable spare would be useful to me right now. Can't seem to get it in car shops, I bought mine from 'Whitworth Marine' branch.


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  18. #18
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=schlitzaugen;1514737]

    Sure, there are connections in the positive path where you could have voltage drop but even after you clean them, you'll still have the drop on the ground side.

    Not sure why you'd diagnose the battery by measuring at the ignition switch, though.

    QUOTE]

    Yes, I'd planned to check all the earths.
    As you may or may not know, on the R12 the earth from the battery runs to the motor and the only earth to the chassis is the lead from the alternator body to the inner guard (and maybe the accelerator cable). There's no actual lead from the battery to the chassis so yes, the earth side of the circuit is suspect. There is metal to metal contact between the alternator and the motor so it should be earthed but I'll probably add another earth braid from the motor to the chassis anyway, even if it appears to be okay. The fuses are second most likely suspects. Those euro fuses are bloody awful and being under the bonnet (this is a TL) doesn't do them any favours. The ceramic fuses aren't too bad but the plastic types can melt with high currents and cause bad (worse) connections.

    I've previously added a voltmeter to the car and that's how I was measuring the voltage, this I can monitor while driving.
    I was being lazy and combined the meter power and sense wires together and connected them to the switched power feed.
    One wire instead of two is a good thing I thought, what could possibly go wrong.
    Yes, the R12 already has a voltmeter in the cluster but that just gives a "green is good and red is bad" indication, not an actual voltage and it's also fed from switched side of the power so it's reading lower too. It used to dip into the red quite often before I changed the alternator to the higher capacity one. The bottom end of the green should be at 12.6 volts but I suspect it's a lot lower.

    Cheers
    Ren
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  19. #19
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick56 View Post
    Might be worth a try to feed the suspect battery with some 'Inox' snake oil? To prolong its remaining life. Haven't made my mind up about this stuff yet, had a couple of failures it didn't improve, but trying it again on my 505 battery that failed the test on Repco's meter, replaced with new but a serviceable spare would be useful to me right now. Can't seem to get it in car shops, I bought mine from 'Whitworth Marine' branch.


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    I have seen the Inox stuff in one of the Supercheap/Repco/ Autobarn stores, can't remember which.
    But my battery is one of those 'sealed for life' jobbies so I can't put the stuff in even if it works.
    No doubt there probably is a way to get into the battery if one really tried.
    Personally, if it's an old battery I think one is better to use the ten bucks or so that the Inox costs to put toward the purchase of another battery.

    Cheers
    Ren
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN View Post
    I have seen the Inox stuff in one of the Supercheap/Repco/ Autobarn stores, can't remember which.
    But my battery is one of those 'sealed for life' jobbies so I can't put the stuff in even if it works.
    No doubt there probably is a way to get into the battery if one really tried.
    Personally, if it's an old battery I think one is better to use the ten bucks or so that the Inox costs to put toward the purchase of another battery.

    Cheers
    Ren
    Yes I fear I may be living out Einsteins definition of insanity, however the new battery was a 'change it myself' operation so the old one wasn't taken away. Last time I went to our local tip they put me over the weighbridge & $50 was the damage, not sure if you can dump a battery for free. Or I can go 40kM to nearest 'Battery World' either way in time / fuel I thought it worth the gamble for $9. :-/ Rob


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  21. #21
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    [QUOTE=REN TIN TIN;1514902]
    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post

    Sure, there are connections in the positive path where you could have voltage drop but even after you clean them, you'll still have the drop on the ground side.

    Not sure why you'd diagnose the battery by measuring at the ignition switch, though.

    QUOTE]

    Yes, I'd planned to check all the earths.
    As you may or may not know, on the R12 the earth from the battery runs to the motor and the only earth to the chassis is the lead from the alternator body to the inner guard (and maybe the accelerator cable). There's no actual lead from the battery to the chassis so yes, the earth side of the circuit is suspect. There is metal to metal contact between the alternator and the motor so it should be earthed but I'll probably add another earth braid from the motor to the chassis anyway, even if it appears to be okay. The fuses are second most likely suspects. Those euro fuses are bloody awful and being under the bonnet (this is a TL) doesn't do them any favours. The ceramic fuses aren't too bad but the plastic types can melt with high currents and cause bad (worse) connections.

    I've previously added a voltmeter to the car and that's how I was measuring the voltage, this I can monitor while driving.
    I was being lazy and combined the meter power and sense wires together and connected them to the switched power feed.
    One wire instead of two is a good thing I thought, what could possibly go wrong.
    Yes, the R12 already has a voltmeter in the cluster but that just gives a "green is good and red is bad" indication, not an actual voltage and it's also fed from switched side of the power so it's reading lower too. It used to dip into the red quite often before I changed the alternator to the higher capacity one. The bottom end of the green should be at 12.6 volts but I suspect it's a lot lower.

    Cheers
    Ren

    Yeah, you obviously need a direct ground from battery to chassis. I wouldn't rely on the one form the alternator (my 12 has been given a ground strap from battery to chassis and one directly from the battery to the starter housing bolts - I think this helps especially when starting the car).

    I used to have a voltmeter and an Amp meter on my car (R10 with R12 engine) and the gist of it is that your stock alternator is not good enough when all electrics are on.

    Your voltmeter is actually an Amp meter, it just has a resistor in series added to it. You can use this resistor to calibrate the gauge, but it will only be as accurate as the meter you check against.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 20th April 2017 at 02:13 PM.
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