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Old 01-26-2013, 04:26 AM   #1
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AGM Batteries are shit and a waste of money

This week in the northeast we had a cold spell, and when I most needed cold cranking power, I was let down by the pinnacles of AGM tech, both of them.

Because I'm a dumbass with faith, I ran my Cub Cadet garden tractor on "V-Twin" Mobil1 20W50 this summer, but neglected to change the oil in advance of the winter season. That's the principal dumbass part. But still, 20W isn't "really that bad" for cold weather, you would think. So when it came time to start the tractor in 5F weather, the little onboard battery had a lot of trouble and could not start the engine.

Ha Ha LOL!

I have an Optima(tm) Yellowtop out of the GTO, *and* a Sears Diehard ne Odyssey in the house, I'll just go and get the GTO battery and hook it up in parallel, and life will be groovy, I was thinking.

Not. Optima batteries, IMO, are the biggest marketing sham in the history of the automotive business. Weaksauce, unreliable, POS batteries in a cute little plastic molded 6-pack package that cost $200. Optima-sponsored race events should force all competitors to bump start their cars, for truth in advertising.

I've had two Optima Yellow Tops in the GTO, and both were giant pieces of shit. The first was warranty-denied. YMMV. IMO, "Do Not Buy".

Evidently the 7 or 10 days sitting in the car before I disconnected it was enough to discharge the Deep Discharge battery to a state of discharge insufficient to start a 600cc engine. Yes, I should have left it on a tender in the basement, but damn, not like we're starting a tanker ship ... only a wee little tractor.

Soooooo ... OK, time to take out the flagship, a 35 frame Marine DieHard which is purportedly made by Odyssey. This was sitting in the basement since about October, no tender once again but surely has enough jam to crank a Briggs 600cc 2-cyl, right? Nope. Same sad story.

Admittedly since I repowered with a new Briggs motor, it's a little hard starting, but to only get ~90 seconds of cranking out of a 35 frame Odyssey in cold weather was surprising, too. Could not drive a vehicle to the tractor location without risk of getting stuck due to the snow volume, (Y rated trucks FTW) and my jumper cables aren't 16ft long.

So hooked up all the AGM batteries plus the tractor lead-acid in parallel and left them on 20A charge for 24h. Next day, instead of 5F it was 15F and with a bit of ether spray and small fires in the airbox, got it fired up. Win, for the win. Plowed the drive so Track Rated Jeep could get through the snow.

So instead of this being a notransformers kind of thread maligning new tech in general because I hate progress, this is a Wang kind of thread in an advisory role, to suggest that unless you need an AGM battery for weight reduction or nutswinging ... stick with the highest cap lead-acid battery that fits.

Usually, this is a Bosch brand battery, sold at Pep Boys. Got two of those, and they don't discharge in 2 weeks but rather 2+ months unattended, just as my stock GTO battery did when it was new.

Conclusion/cliffs: AGM batteries are shit, do not buy(*)

* unless weight reduction or nutswinging
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:40 AM   #2
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And yes, thank you, I did change the oil after this joy to Pennzoil 5W30 Synthetic I got on sale at the Vatozone while at the Dragon.

And as a side note of 8Ball-esque karma/hatred, the douchebag that fitted the quick release oil drain fitting at the Japanese factory, to my brand new Briggs Vanguard 23HP, only put it on hand tight, and it was a time bomb waiting to fall out and release all the crankcase oil.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:41 AM   #3
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AGM rocks, you just suck at batteries. Also, the GTO will drain the shit out of them. Two weeks in cold winter storage? DONE. My GTO will kill any battery, AGM,stocker, whatever.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:19 AM   #4
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As soon as I get to work and as soon as I get home my goat gets plugged into a battery tender. My AGM battery works fine
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:25 AM   #5
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The GTO loves to drain batteries. I would still have my Red Top if I didn't put it on a charger and forget about it for a few hours until I started to smell the thing cooking.

Otherwise, the Red Top worked like a charm. I didn't even put it on a tender for winter storage. She was a jump away from firing right up in the spring.

I didn't go with another Red Top because I was reading on how the newer Optimas were sucking hard. When I picked mine up back in 2007, no store carried them in my area. They could get them, but they had to be special ordered. It seems like the quality went downward when every chain parts store began to carry them.

Probably had to do with the corporate chains wanting xx amount of batteries but only wanted to pay xx amount of dollars. Fine. Switch to cheaper manufacturing practices, let the quality slip, and ride the name for a few years until word gets around that the batteries suck. By then, everyone who made their fortune will have jumped ship and left someone else to try and save the product's face.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:27 AM   #6
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As soon as I get to work and as soon as I get home my goat gets plugged into a battery tender. My AGM battery works fine

Yeah, that's the point. As long as you babysit the little cripple batteries, they are at least 1/4 as good as normal lead acid batteries.

When my GTO was new I could leave it for a month or 6 weeks in the winter on the stock battery, go out, and it was a little sluggish to start, but did. My van sits out there with a security system and a Bosch battery, no problem after a month. Jeep's Bosch is the size of an 18-pak of beer, it sat for 3 months for want of tires last spring, and no problemo, VROOOOOOOooom.

I'm not sold anymore on AGM frankly, especially when I took the Diehard Marine out there and it was meh. Like I want to be out on the water and for 2# of weight savings, have to page the Coast Guard.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:39 AM   #7
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I had a yellowtop develop bad cells after a disappointingly short time and only a couple of discharge events. A deep cycle battery you can't deep cycle. What a concept. Went back to Duralast Gold and haven't looked back. For me, it was a huge waste of $.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:01 AM   #8
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Re: AGM Batteries are shit and a waste of money

I've had the same issues with 2 red tops. Don't drive the gto much and wasn't putting it on a trickle charger. Each battery lasted about one year before they were too unreliable.

I have a plain auto store battery now with no issues so far. I do put it on the charger though if I don't plan on driving for a while.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:08 AM   #9
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Also just wanted to say if you paid $200 for one, you suck at price searching too

Just razzin'
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel Chicken...View Post
Also just wanted to say if you paid $200 for one, you suck at price searching too

Just razzin'

Optima batteries aren't even worth the $5 New York core charge, so you got me there.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:12 AM   #11
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Duralast Gold here, too, since last year. FWIW, I had a Braille AGM that lasted the better part of three years. It did not like cold weather or the GTO parasitic drain. The last two winters I had to put the battery on a tender at least once a week. It was a tiny battery, though.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:13 AM   #12
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Re: AGM Batteries are shit and a waste of money

My red top has been fine for 4 years, but I keep a tender on it. The reason I keep a tender on it is because my first one was toast after leaving it for a few months in the winter. So this one is a warranty replacement. I don't consider such a high maintenance battery, a "good" battery. When it finally craps out, I'll probably replace it with a regular battery.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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I got mine for the ability to run the electric water pump and maggie IC pump in between racing. I dont know how long I've had it now...maybe 3-4 years? I guess I got one of the rare good ones.

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:27 AM   #14
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Am one of the luckier GTO owners, that has their Optima Yellowtop die within 2 weeks of the car being stored? Also, it's stored in a garage that' about 60 degrees all the time too...

It's like clockwork, after about 2 weeks, the battery is at about 10v. I tested for parasitic drain, and found it was very low.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:14 AM   #15
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Sears Diehard Platinum, same thing is as the Odyssey at half the price and has a 4 year full replacement with 100 month pro-rated warranty. It's around the same price as the POS optima too. It's the last battery you will buy with it's warranty period. Parasitic power draw will kill any battery as well.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:27 AM   #16
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My yellowtop is a warranty replacement. Same story here too, Wang. Leave that litte smurfer unattended for a couple weeks and it will die. Let it die 3 or 4 times and it will be gone forever. Got a tender for this second one. Next battery will be a Vatazone gold. Have one of those in all the other cars. Never dead, and some of those shits sit outside for month or two on end with no attention. I guess Goats do eat anthing and everything, including their own battery.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:29 AM   #17
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I replaced my stock AC Delco just this past summer. Worked fine for 55Kmi.

I replaced it with a Napa 75 Legend. No probs... $90.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:40 AM   #18
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Wow. I don't know what kind of cars you guys drive that drain the battery so bad, but when I got my GTO I replaced the battery like three weeks later with a cheapo one from Pep-Boys. About a year later we got 3 ft. of snow and I let the GTO sit outside without moving for almost two months. I had heard that these cars were hard on batteries so I went to go drive the car around and charge the battery up. It fired right up. I let that car sit all the time and never had a single issue.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:42 AM   #19
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Wow. I don't know what kind of cars you guys drive but when I got my GTO I replaced the battery like three weeks later with a cheapo one from Pep-Boys. About a year later we got 3 ft. of snow and I let the GTO sit outside without moving for almost two months. I had heard that these cars were hard on batteries so I went to go drive the car around and charge the battery up. It fired right up. I let that car sit all the time and never had a single issue.

Thank you. That's exactly what I'm talking about.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:59 AM   #20
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As soon as I get to work and as soon as I get home my goat gets plugged into a battery tender. My AGM battery works fine

That is retarded. Any battery would work fine in that scenario.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:12 AM   #21
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With our cars a battery-disconnect is needed or a battery tender if your car just sits; like mine. I have the disconnect on my Optima and never have a problem.

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:17 AM   #22
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:40 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wang...View Post
...unless you need an AGM battery for weight reduction or nutswinging ... stick with the highest cap lead-acid battery that fits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel Chicken...View Post
AGM rocks, you just suck at batteries. Also, the GTO will drain the shit out of them. Two weeks in cold winter storage? DONE. My GTO will kill any battery, AGM,stocker, whatever.

I use a sealed AGM batteries because they won't puke acid all over and ruin the tray and other sheetmetal below them, which some cars are prone to doing with traditional lead-acid batteries.

That said, I won't use a newer Optima battery. I've found the ones made in the last 6 or so years are not up to the standard that Optimas were originally (15 or however many years ago).

My GTO is also one that will "eat" batteries, regardless of type, if left unattended for a few weeks. I've had it drain both AGM and lead-acid batteries.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:53 PM   #24
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I work in auto parts and just from customers experience the Optima's are hit and miss. Its either you get one that works great and as advertised for years, or you get one that just sucks and last 2 months or less. Cherrys or lemons no gray area there.

I've had my red top so long I can't even remember when I got it. Still works like a champ even in this cold weather. One of the best I have owned.

I will say as great as my red top is (knock on wood), and as odd is it sounds...the absolute best battery I have ever owned was a Everstart MAXX (yellow style 1000CA/850CCA). Most ppl hate Walmart jobs, but it has taken 4 years of steady high amp stereo punsihment and cold weather. I could not phase that thing. It would crank for days. It's been in 3 different vehicles and the guy that bought my truck still has it today, almost 8 years old.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:54 PM   #25
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I don't know why the problems, my red top is 5 years old and died the first winter I forgot to tender it. Connected the tender and charged it up and it's been running fine since.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:29 PM   #26
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I let my yellow top go dead as a hammer and I will jump it off and it is good as new. I just recently started putting a battery tender on it. I would have went through a bunch of standard batteries the way I neglect them. Mine has served me well so far for 3 or 4 years now.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:32 PM   #27
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AGM rocks, you just suck at batteries. Also, the GTO will drain the shit out of them. Two weeks in cold winter storage? DONE. My GTO will kill any battery, AGM,stocker, whatever.

i agree.

although i do rely on a good 'ol group 85 lead acid number for the winter storage time. save my poor AGM for the good months and track days.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:37 PM   #28
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With our cars a battery-disconnect is needed or a battery tender if your car just sits; like mine. I have the disconnect on my Optima and never have a problem.

I may have to do this. if i ever get really serious i will probably need to anyway so i can pass tech at a GOOD track. smurf 41.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:39 PM   #29
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Had the stocker and won a new red top at a GTO event in 2007. Swapped out and within two weeks the battery failed. The event host gave me an interstate replacement that worked great for about 4 years. Got a new red top for free last year. When I get a chance she's going in the dumpster. If I leave it any longer than 2 weeks unattended its dead. Wang your on the money, great marketing piss poor product.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #30
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I put a Diehard Platinum in my Gto in 2009.
My Saab is ridiculously hard on batteries.
After two Duralasts in three years in the Saab, this fall, I bought a new Platinum for the Gto, put that Platinum in my 07 Silverado and put the Silverado's original Delco in the Saab.
My Gto sits in an unheated garage for weeks at a clip in the winter and I've never had a problem with the Platinums.
The four year old Platinum hasn't had any problems starting my Siverado even after sitting days in the single digit weather.
My Saab is dead in the driveway with the Delco after sitting one night in the cold.
The Saab is 10X harder on batteries than my Gto.
My friend's 2002 F-150 is still on it's original battery.
For the last few winters I've been telling him it's gonna die and leave him stranded but that fu&ing thing won't die.
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