PDA

View Full Version : Motorcraft batteries


Valentine One Radar Detector

chiph
11-24-2007, 04:34 PM
What is it with the factory Ford batteries?

I just spent 90 minutes rescuing my father's Focus that the factory battery had died. No warning -- no dimming of the lights or sluggish performance -- he just drove to a shop and when he came out, not only wouldn't it start, there wasn't even enough juice for the power door locks.

I had the same experience with the Motorcraft battery in my Mercury Capri -- drove to work one day, and when I came out it got me as far as the bad/scary part of town before dying.

Why can't they put a decent battery in there?

Chip H.

ChevyMan
11-24-2007, 05:11 PM
Chip,

Maybe a deffective alternator?

Eric
11-24-2007, 06:16 PM
What is it with the factory Ford batteries?

I just spent 90 minutes rescuing my father's Focus that the factory battery had died. No warning -- no dimming of the lights or sluggish performance -- he just drove to a shop and when he came out, not only wouldn't it start, there wasn't even enough juice for the power door locks.

I had the same experience with the Motorcraft battery in my Mercury Capri -- drove to work one day, and when I came out it got me as far as the bad/scary part of town before dying.

Why can't they put a decent battery in there?

Chip H.



This exact same thing recently happened to my Dad's car... but it was a GM!

I don't get it, either. Every time I have had a battery croak on me there were indications it was becoming weak before it got terminal... maybe someone here can shed some light?

D_E_Davis
11-24-2007, 07:00 PM
Here I've become quite accustomed to having car batteries die suddenly, regardless of the brand. Others here ascribe this to the severe summer heat, but I'm not sure that's correct.

DonTom
11-24-2007, 07:10 PM
"Why can't they put a decent battery in there?"

Lead acid batteries can fail in a lot of very weird ways. I replace mine every four years in all my vehicles and that prevents almost all possible problems.

BTW, if you ever drain your battery all the way down (by leaving the lights on, etc). Expect the battery to be fine (after a charge) for about six months and then leave you stuck with a dead battery. If the battery is older, it will be less than six months.

-Don-

chiph
11-24-2007, 08:35 PM
Chip,

Maybe a deffective alternator?


If it had been the alternator, there would have been ample warning -- the charge indicator light, dimming lights, etc.

Chip H.

mrblanche
11-24-2007, 10:55 PM
The problem with most batteries dying suddenly is that once the flaked-off lead in the bottom of the cell builds up high enough to short out the plates in the cell, the whole battery dies in a short time.

Jim Rose
11-25-2007, 01:18 AM
>>BTW, if you ever drain your battery all the way down (by leaving the lights on, etc). Expect the battery to be fine (after a charge) for about six months and then leave you stuck with a dead battery. If the battery is older, it will be less than six months.<<

Yes, that used to be true, but doesn't seem to be the case with the battery in my Toyota Sienna. It has been run flat several times when I have been using the aux. power outlet. I jump start it and drive it to the place where I buy batteries, tell them to test it and it always shows as good with full CCA capacity!
It is now 3 years 8 months old. The tester is one that will test a completely discharged battery and was designed by a gentleman with whom I used to work. It has been updated and shrunk down to a hand held device from large roll around device. All Sam's Sears, and Autozones use it!

DonTom
11-25-2007, 03:46 AM
"It has been run flat several times when I have been using the aux. power outlet. "

What were you using it for? I mean how much current for how much time? Perhaps your car wouldn't start but you might not have discharged as much as from lights. But still not good for the battery.

True Deep Cycle batteries are a lot more forgiving. But they are lousy for starting engines.

-Don-

DonTom
11-25-2007, 04:28 AM
"I had the same experience with the Motorcraft battery in my Mercury Capri -- drove to work one day, and when I came out it got me as far as the bad/scary part of town before dying."

I too once owned a Mercury Capri. 2.3L, 1981, 5 speed manual tranny. The only car I ever purchased as new. That was the car that got totaled out when I was waiting at a red light.

Anyway, it too had a very weird battery problem with the original Motorcraft battery. It would sometimes go completely dead, will give no trace of there even being a battery in the car at all. Not even a click or anything. But I would let go of the key for a few seconds and then the battery will start the car as if it were new and fresh charged. At first, I didn't think it was a battery problem. I would only have the problem when trying to start with a warm engine. But I was ready to test, because I brought a VOM with me. Then, one day in a mall parking lot, after retuning to the car, I tried to start and nothing. I had Tom hold the key in the start position (I knew if I let go it would start at next try). I then lifted the hood and measured the battery voltage right on the battery itself (not the connectors, but the battery terminals themselves). It measured 0.0 VDC and I was sure I had a good connection and wasn't doing anything wrong. I then had Tom let go of the key. As soon as he did, the battery voltage went back up to 12.6 VDC. And then the car would start just fine.

I replaced the battery (and the car was still quite new, the battery might have even had a warranty, but I didn't bother with it) and I never had the problem again.

-Don-

Eric
11-25-2007, 07:48 AM
The problem with most batteries dying suddenly is that once the flaked-off lead in the bottom of the cell builds up high enough to short out the plates in the cell, the whole battery dies in a short time.


Batteries can be so entertaining!

Some seem to last forever; others die early and unexpectedly (my '03 ZRX still has its OEM battery and it still operates perfectly; my '01 KL250 has gone through three batteries over the same time period) ... so far, I've never had one just "die" though. I usually get a warning - in the form of a weak start, for example. But I've heard from people who kive in really hot/arid areas that it's not unusual for them to just croak as happened to Chip...

Jim Rose
11-25-2007, 01:51 PM
>>What were you using it for? I mean how much current for how much time? Perhaps your car wouldn't start but you might not have discharged as much as from lights. But still not good for the battery.<<

I was using it to re-charge my model airplane batteries at the flying field. I also had the tailgate open and forgot to turn off the interior lights. When the vehicle won't start because the starter won't engage, I think you could say that the battery is run down-- especially when you lose the radio programming--- Anyway. the battery is still going strong! I will run it till it tests low on CCA. Then it will get replaced. There is no sense fixing something that isn't broken!

DonTom
11-25-2007, 06:30 PM
"I will run it till it tests low on CCA. Then it will get replaced. There is no sense fixing something that isn't broken!"

You may find it fails not long after it tests fine with CCA. That's why I believe in replacing them every four years. I expect them to fail in about five years, but some will last longer.

However, no doubt newer batteries are designed better. But a lead acid battery that's designed for high CCA is never designed for a deep discharge. Batteries designed for deep discharge are larger and more expensive because the plates at spaced farther apart. And it's not good for them to be totally discharge either, but they are much more forgiving than are batteries with a high CCA rating.

-Don-

chiph
11-25-2007, 07:30 PM
There is no sense fixing something that isn't broken!

I would normally agree with you, but my experiences have shown me that batteries are not to be trusted.
So whenever one gives the slightest sign of weakness -- out it goes.

BTW, the replacement for the Focus was from Advanced Auto .. their "Silver" grade. $74 for the battery, $10 core refund, and $2 enviromental recycling fee. Not too bad, I suppose.

There was some guy standing around at the store where the car had died, and he was watching me drop in the new battery -- he didn't see me pull the bad one out for the trip to the store, so I think he was sort of impressed how quickly I was able to get the new one in there (practice makes perfect, plus Ford made it easy)

Chip H.

DonTom
11-25-2007, 09:52 PM
"plus Ford made it easy)"

Some vehicles, such as my 97 Sebring, made it very difficult. First step is to remove all the junk around the front left wheel.

-Don-

mrblanche
11-25-2007, 10:18 PM
Or the Lumina, where the first step is removing a strut brace in the engine compartment.

D_E_Davis
11-25-2007, 10:44 PM
Or the Lumina, where the first step is removing a strut brace in the engine compartment.

And the next step, which is to remove the windshield washer tank over the battery.

Jim Rose
11-26-2007, 02:44 AM
>>I would normally agree with you, but my experiences have shown me that batteries are not to be trusted.
So whenever one gives the slightest sign of weakness -- out it goes.<<

And how do you gauge "weakness"???

I gauge it by CCA Testing--- when it falls below 80% of rating, out it goes. There is no other test that is accurate.

Eric
11-26-2007, 07:31 AM
Or the Lumina, where the first step is removing a strut brace in the engine compartment.


GM is infamous for that trick... my '76 Trans Am suffers from the same issue. And the battery (heavy!) is partially tucked under the radiator support, too - making it a super PITAS for a strong man to get it out and virtually impossible for either women or not-so-strong men to do it.

And then there are those micro-sized side terminals....

ChevyMan
11-26-2007, 04:25 PM
I have no problem with my '76 Impala Landau custom coupe. After removing the cables from the side terminals, all I need do is loosen the holding bracket on the battery mount on the bottom.

mrblanche
11-26-2007, 08:31 PM
On the Cobalt, it's in the trunk.

I personally LIKE the screw-in terminals.

ChevyMan
11-26-2007, 09:49 PM
Not too long ago, there used to be a battery with both types of terminals. Screw in type on the side and clamp on terminals on top.

D_E_Davis
11-26-2007, 10:58 PM
On the Cobalt, it's in the trunk.

I personally LIKE the screw-in terminals.

Good place - cooler in summer. warmer in winter. But, I've been told by many techs that loosening of the terminals is a prevalent problem with the screw-in terminals.

Eric
11-27-2007, 07:03 AM
On the Cobalt, it's in the trunk.

I personally LIKE the screw-in terminals.


I like the screw-in type also; but GM likes to torment its customers with absurdly small heads on those screws (like 8 mm) which, when combined with limited access, canmake removing a battery cable much more annoying than it ought to be. Also, if you need to jump your car (or someone else's) there's not as much for the alligator clamp to grab.

But the real hassle is that the battery (in my car) is partially tucked under the radiator support, so it's necessary to slide it back, then tilt it up, then pull up in order to remove it. That's not so easy given the weight of the battery.

I have noticed that GM's new cars are more thoughtfully designed, in terms of battery access. Sometimes there's even a secondary attachment point for jumping, too.

mrblanche
11-27-2007, 07:18 AM
Not too long ago, there used to be a battery with both types of terminals. Screw in type on the side and clamp on terminals on top.


If you buy a replacement batter, it likely will have both. The battery I bought for my hot rod has both, and I use them all.

mrblanche
11-27-2007, 07:19 AM
But the real hassle is that the battery (in my car) is partially tucked under the radiator support, so it's necessary to slide it back, then tilt it up, then pull up in order to remove it. That's not so easy given the weight of the battery.

I have noticed that GM's new cars are more thoughtfully designed, in terms of battery access. Sometimes there's even a secondary attachment point for jumping, too.


Both the Lumina and the Cobalt have a remote jump terminal.