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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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warm and cold weather batteries????

A female friend went to sears to get her battery replaced. When she returned, she told that it was explained to her that they have different batteries for different climates. ie, since we live in florida, we need a warm weather battery. this is news to me. i can see that extreme temps would have some effect on battery performance and perhaps life. but if the lifespan is only 3-5 years anyway, for the an average daily driver, i can't think it would make a whole lot of difference. to me this sounds like 4x4 motor oil!

am i wrong? has anyone ever heard of this?

thanks all
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 09:07 AM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

Horse feathers for a battery in Florida. Now if this were Minnesota/Wisconsin that may be different story.. as were talkin' Cold Cranking Amps... n Heat does take a toll on a battery, but not like cold. So, if it can take the cold, it can take the heat.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 09:40 AM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

I used to own a shop that sold specialty batteries, (along with alternators, starters & wiring harness items)
AND there IS a difference...

(BTW, there is a difference in 'HEAVY DUTY' oils also...)
CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps, the American Standard of rating a battery.
In America, We rate our batteries by the Cranking Amps they can put out at 0 (zero) degrees Fahrenheit.

CA stands for Cranking Amps, The European standard.
Since the Frogs use the metric system (degrees Celsius) based on the freezing point of water, or 32 Degrees Fahrenheit...
(Frogs drive junk so they don't start in the summer or winter...)

You can loose as much as 40% of the battery output between 32 degrees F. and 0 (zero) degrees F., So this is a BIG DIFFERENCE when you are shopping for batteries anywhere but Fla...
Look for the CCA rating, and beware of the CA rating...

Warm weather batteries will have thinner cases and plates to reduce retained heat.
Warm weather batteries don't have to have extra heavy duty bridges between cells and plates because they are never going to be frozen...
They don't need plate separators to keep plates broken from freezing from shorting out other plates....

Cold climate batteries may actually have INSULATED cases to retain heat, expanding synthetics or hard rubber cases so when the electrolyte freezes, it doesn't blow the side out of the case.
(Ever try and jump start a frozen battery? That's ALWAYS EXCITING!)

Cold climate batteries have to be over built in every way, and this all reduces the actual plate material, and that reduces cranking amps, and cranking amps are EXACTLY what you need in cold weather...

Your engine is cold and stiff, oil is like molasses, and all of the metal bearings are contracted down onto what ever they are supposed to protect...
The engine is 300 to 500% harder to start at 0 (zero) degrees, ... AND...
Cold weather affects the electrochemical process of the battery also, It's only putting out about 25% of it's full potential at 0 (zero) degrees...

So now, you have 25% of cranking power, trying to turn over an engine that is say, 300% harder to start, throw in that 0 (zero) degrees will make the combustion process nearly impossible, and with an aluminum piston shrinking three times more than the cast iron cylinder wall, virtually no compression to help combustion, ....
You are asking your battery & starter working at 25% capacity (or less, depending on cable and terminal condition) to start an engine that is 300% more stubborn than normal...
I'm surprised it starts at all!

Thick oil does NOT circulate.
All these do is cook and degrade your oil!

Make sure you use a BLOCK HEATER, not a radiator hose heater!
Block heater will keep the important parts warm. Don't worry about the radiator, it's supposed to be cold!
Most of the warm water created by a hose heater never reaches the engine. Heat rises, and that goes for water also. The warm water rises into the radiator and is lost to the atmosphere, and wasting your money!

Use a BATTERY WARMER along with a block heater.
This will give you more cranking power to get the engine started.
In fact, a heated battery blanket is much more effective than a block heater in most cases, and it will sure save your starter and solenoids!
(Anyone have to change a starter in slush and freezing water?...)

In hot climates, make sure your battery is shielded from the engine heat!
Boiling a battery is as bad of an idea as freezing one is!
Ever wonder why most manufacturers started putting the battery in the front of the engine bay when they used to be on the sides or on the firewall?
Engine (particularly exhaust manifold heat) heat was killing the batteries before the warranty period was up.
Put them in the trunk, and that costs larger gauge copper cable, put them in the nose where they can get cooler air from the radiator costs them nothing...

If you have a CJ, it's a good idea to build a sheet metal heat shield to go under your battery tray. This is a good beginner project, and it will be a REAL help to your battery's longevity,
Plus this is like the birdhouse in wood shop, you really can't screw it up...

If you live in cold climates, use thinner oil in the winter. This doesn't help initial cranking, but it will get oil to the top end wear surfaces much faster!
Some large diesel engines have to be made so they can withstand 15 minutes of operation without oil because of cold starts!

All these do is cook and degrade your oil!

There is a reason they make so many grades of oil... Take advantage of them!
10W-30 or even 5W-30 in the winter if you live in really cold climates!
Some will argue with going to a 5W-30, but the oil the engine gets may be thinner than manufacturers specs, but,

In hot weather, don't be afraid to go to a 10W-40 or even a 15W-40 if it's really hot (like this summer!) or if your engine is getting a little 'Long in the Tooth'...
Higher milage engines will appreciate that 15W-40 in the summer.

If you are competition minded, or you have a habit of running a little warm in the summer, don't hesitate to use 20W-50 (racing oil).
This may be a bit much for the average Joe with the average Jeep, and it's expensive compared to average 10W-40 or 15W-40...

Synthetics are superior in all areas, including price, just in case you are wondering...
But they are worth the money if you don't change oil at least 4 times a year, leave your vehicle unused during dramatic weather and/or temperature changes, and occasionally demand more than the little engine is used to (IE: pull the crap out of it on weekends!).
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 10:58 AM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

Aaron....a most excelent post....
And I concure on all points.
The only thing I will add....I don't buy batteries from places like Kragen's, Auto Zone, etc. They may have a 80 month warranty......and will replace it....but if it leaves you stranded late at night....that few bucks you saved is not so cheap now.
When it comes to batteries......and my wife and kids....I'll gladly spend the extra bucks to make sure they get home.....

FYI...Consumers Report did a rateings test about 3 years ago the backs up all the points you noted above. They also listed which battery brads did better by hot/cold location. It appears that the Costco battery is a fine choice for warm climates. I have one on my wife's cherokee and I have had 0 problems for 3 years so far.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 11:40 AM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

I have one on my wife's cherokee and I have had 0 problems for 3 years so far.

[/ QUOTE ]

Seems that different people have different opinions based on personal experiences.

I have been running Auto Zone batteries, (the Gold series) for well over 15 years with zero problems. I have had the occasional change outs due to age. I typically get 3 to 5 years on a battery and that is dam good in AZ.
I have had the opportunity to run Interstate, Sears Cry hard, and Delco in various cars and have changed them all to the Gold Series at one time or the other. BUT that is just my experience with the Auto Zone batteries and I'm not representing them as better or worse than others. Although I would NOT use the Red series batteries from Auto Zone. And the deep cycle RV battery is not a good choice as well, again just my opinion. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 03:36 PM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] FINALLY.....I found a post by LEVE. I have been wanting to e-mail him but my e-mails kept coming back. I see now that LEVE has a new address. As soon as I saw the post with "battery" in it, I knew it would draw LEVE out of hiding, and sure enough, it did. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Yow....that post by Aaron (TeamRush, Inc.) has a lot of good info in it. I might add one cold weather comment. NEVER....and I mean NEVER...... rev a small block Shev-Lay on a horribly cold morning......unless you really WANT to twist off the oil pump drive, that is. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] The same goes for several other makes as well. High volume oil pumps are nice, yes they are, but never rev the cold engine on a ten-below zero morning. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 05:28 PM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

Never rev a SBF cold either. That hex shaft twist's off quite easily. Good thing you can drive that thing for about 25 miles without seizing up. Last time I ever ran without an oil gauge.

I've been using Diehard batteries for years in all my vehicals. In fact in one of my old CJ's with a dual battery setup, it had enough juice to crank me off the freeway into a gas station. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] Maybe Diehard can't take the heat but they sure work nice in the cold.

This year though the Diehard in my wife's van broke a terminal. Sears was closed so I told her to buy the biggest one at Wallmart.

Well look for your self:

Same CCA, dimentions everything, just a lot cheaper. In fact it's still in there and even after letting the van sit for a couple months, it still starts right up.

So what's everyone opinion on turning the lights on first to warm up the battery before starting a realy cold engine.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 06:17 PM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

First off, let me start by saying that there are only a few (like five) major battery manufacturers in the US, and you have a VERY good chance of buying the same battery with just different store brand label... Very common to buy generic consumer batteries and private label them. (I did.)

Two, you would be better off learning how to read the manufacturers marks and date codes than worrying about Cry Hard or Wally-World labels. (probably made in the same plant, on the same line, just different labels)
Learn Date Codes! This way you know how long that battery has been on Auto-Mart's shelf before you ambled in there looking for one...
Setting on a shelf, partially discharged is HARD on the Lead Paste the plates are made of.

I remember the 'Interstate' and 'Die Hard' wars about 15 years ago...
Both were made in the same plant! Just different colored cases!

Outside dimensions are determined by the B.C.I. or Battery Council International.
For instance, all 24 series batteries will have the same outside dimensions, same tie down lugs (if applicable), same post locations and same polarity of posts...

For example, a 24 is the small top post battery, much like the one in the picture.
A 24F would have the polarity reversed (positive terminal on the other end of the battery) for Ford applications.
Same with the 27 and the 27F... ect.

If you REALLY want to know how heavy duty a battery is...
Weigh it. Nothing more than that.
The heavier a battery of any BCI size is, the more lead there is, and normally the more potent it will be.
The battery plates are eaten away in the electrochemical process, so the larger and stronger the plates, the longer the battery will last.
Lead is much heavier than case material or electrolyte, so you can normally tell pretty quickly if you have a light duty or heavy duty battery for any given BCI size.

You may also want to squeeze the sides of a few batteries (or end to end to be more precise).
This will tell you pretty quickly if the case is thin skinned, or heavy duty...
This isn't a real problem in the average grocery getter, but in a trail rig...
Build a strong battery tray (IE: NOT a factory CJ Jeep tray) and this shouldn't be a problem for all but rock crawlers and Baja racers.
Shock loading from racing is notorious for beating the plates loose in batteries.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2005, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

i stand corrected. i thought it was another case of the naive girl in car shop story. very good information. i do have a question. the jeep came with an insulation blanket around the battery. in florida, does that keep heat in or out?

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2005, 08:34 PM
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Re: warm and cold weather batteries????

So Aaron, where do you place the gel-cell batteries (optima) in your hierarchy of batteries? I'd like to read any thoughts you may have on them. Thanks!
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