Optima Red Top Battery

Optima Batteries


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This is the battery in our Wrangler (Above)

More Below...

Update 7/7/07

Update 8/18/08

Update 12/2009

I had done a fair amount of research and concluded that my replacement battery would be an Optima Red Top.  I needed something that would hold up to the abuse it gets off road and the fast charging capability that my winch use would necessitate.  What I didn't plan was the circumstances leading up to the replacement of the factory original battery.
After three years and 83,000 miles, my factory battery decided to quit abruptly during a trip to Massachusetts.  I suppose having it quit on the trail would have been a lot worse, but it still pretty much sucked.  Long story short, I was stopped at a donut store and when I came out and tried to start the Jeep, it just blew up!  My wife came and jump started me and I went to the store and bought the Optima.  I was lucky not to be standing over the battery when it blew up; lucky that the store had Optima batteries, and lucky that my wife was around to get me started long enough to get to the store.  I highly recommend a regular check of your battery condition and swift replacement before something nasty happens...
Here is the skinny according to Optima:

Inside this unusual battery is a six-pack of SPIRALCELL TECHNOLOGY®. Traditional batteries have a stack of thick lead plates surrounded by acid. But OPTIMA® batteries feature two thin lead plates wound into a tight spiral cell, with an absorbent glass-mat in between to hold the electrolyte solution.This unique design allows for more power and increased energy, resulting in quick, reliable starts. OPTIMA batteries are the first and only batteries to feature SPIRALCELL TECHNOLOGY.

  • It'll last up to 2 times longer than other batteries.
  • It can sit unused 3 times longer than other batteries.
  • It is over 15 times more resistant to vibration than other batteries.
  • It's nonspillable and can mount in almost any position.
  • It provides constant performance quality keeping your battery running at the same level even as it's being discharged.
  • It provides more power in the inital 1, 3, 5, and 10 seconds of the vehicle starting process than comparably rated conventional lead acid batteries.
Here is a PDF file with the technical specs for this battery:

34/78 Dual Terminal Red Top™


Hold Down and Height Adapters
The OPTIMA® 75/35 battery may be shipped with a height adapter installed. It may be needed in one of 2 ways for installation:
  1. In vehicles with a top holddown where more height is required, it should be used in its original position.

  2. In some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury installations (replacing a group 65 battery) the bottom holddown of the battery must be made wider. For these installations, remove the adapter and detach the two strip adapters which are located inside. Snap these strips into the openings on either side of the battery base and discard the remainder.If the adapter is not needed for installation, it may be discarded.

The wing adapters available for the OPTIMA® 34/78 may be needed for some Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury applications (replacing a group 65).Attach these wing adapters by snapping into the openings on either side of the battery base.

The optional puck adapter is required for most GM installations where the side terminals are used.Position the puck against the center cylindar of the battery and bolt to the battery tray as shown.

The optional red or yellow height adapters may be used for installations where a group 24 is required. Place the battery securely on top of the adapter until the clips snap into place.


Update: July 7, 2007

I was close to finishing a trail run when our group stopped to wait and help diagnose a vehicle problem.  I turned off the Jeep and then put the key on to allow the CB radio to stay on in case we got called.  When we finished working on Alan's Jeep, I got in my Jeep to go.  I turned the key and it made a brief noise like it would start and then everything went dead.  I mean DEAD!  Not GPS, No CB, No lights, NOTHING.  We checked the battery with a meter and it too was dead.  The alternator was working fine, so I concluded that one long hot drive and several weeks of sitting in the driveway baking in the sun had probably finished off the battery.  It was on it's third life - having been drained down to nothing twice at work from leaving lights on all day, and once at home for leaving the dome light on all night.  That combined with running the winch hard twice in the last month, and it's age (4 years, seven months) and it was due to be replaced.

I drove to the nearest AutoZone, picked one out, installed it in the parking lot and took the old one in for a test.  DEAD.  No charge.  Not holding a charge, and could not load test it because there was no power to do so.

RedTop®; Battery; Group 75/25; Cold Crank Amps 720; Crank Amps 910; Reserve Capacity 90; Ampere Hour 44; Dual Terminal; L-9 5/16 in.; W-6 13/16 in.; H-7 5/8 in.;

RedTop®  Battery Group 75/25RedTop®  Battery Group 75/25RedTop®  Battery Group 75/25RedTop®  Battery Group 75/25RedTop®  Battery Group 75/25

Given the hard life this battery has endured, I have no regrets, feel it owed me nothing, and that I got my money's worth.  I would still recommend one unconditionally!


Update: August 18, 2008

The charging system was problematic earlier this year, and after replacing the alternator (not the problem but bearings were going so needed to be done) and the "computer" (Power Train Control Module) because the integrated (stupid idea) voltage regulator was bad, I thought everything was OK.  Perhaps it was, perhaps it was not.  I left the Jeep parked for an extended time with a solar panel attached to the battery to prevent it from draining from the power consumed by various "stand-by" devices that consume small amounts of energy.  I even made sure the solar panel did not drain the battery at night (it has a diode in it to prevent the flow of power from battery to solar panel when it's dark outside).

When I returned from my travels the kids told me the hands-free unit had been on for some time.  I was not at first concerned, thinking the solar panel had probably kept up with it.  Alas the battery was as dead as a door nail.  When I put the charger on it in the vain hope of bringing it back to life, the ground wire on the charger started to smoke!  Clearly there was something wrong with either the battery or the charger, I quickly disconnected the device.  It was a good thing I had not simply connected the charger and walked away as I believe the Jeep would have gone up in flames.

After another spell of being away, I removed the battery from the Jeep and together with the receipt from the purchase, took the battery back to AutoZone to call in the 36 Month Free Replacement guarantee.  They told me they would have to charge the battery before they could test it to see if it was bad.  I passed on the warning about my experience trying to do the same thing.  He told me to come back in an hour, so I left and had some lunch.  When I returned the guy told me the battery got red hot when he tried to charge it (DOH!) and here was my new battery (no charge).  I thanked him and went on my way.  It only took a minute to install it in the Jeep and then Ted and I took a ride out in the woods to get reacquainted with the Jeep and each other, and perhaps to put a little charge on the battery.  It went well and the Jeep started several time with no hesitation.  Good to go!


Update: December, 2009

The Jeep sees less frequent use.  I put it on a battery tender to keep the battery charged even though the vehicle would sit for weeks unused.  Finally the battery, having been drained dead twice, gave up the ghost.  Fortunately it was still in warrantee and a replacement was free.  I brought it to AutoZone and swapped it for another.  The guarantee is good until June.  Hopefully this battery will last well past that time.




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