International Full Size Jeep Association
Home Forums Reader's Rigs Tech Library Trail Stories FSJ-List
International Full Size Jeep Association  

Go Back   International Full Size Jeep Association > Tire Kickin' > General FSJ Tech

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-22-2012, 02:06 PM
PlasticBoob's Avatar
PlasticBoob PlasticBoob is offline
All Makes Combined
Join Date: Jun 30, 2003
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 4,007
Are Optima batteries still any good these days?

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while since I've posted. Just been pretty busy and haven't really had anything to say. I'm sure you all missed me!

Anyway, my six year old abused Red Top is finally about to die, so I was wondering if a new one is still worth it (quality-wise) as of 2012. A few years ago I heard that Optima's quality has slipped, and a lot of guys were no longer recommending them. I'm going to be buying factory direct, but would like to see what the IFSJA braintrust has to say first. Happy holidays!
1974 Cherokee S, fuel injected 401, Trans-am Red, Aussie locker 'out back'
Click for video

The Southern California FSJ forum
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 02:13 PM
tgreese's Avatar
tgreese tgreese is offline
Join Date: May 29, 2003
Location: Medford MA USA
Posts: 11,251
The usual recommendation today is the Diehard Platinum.

I run Walmart and Napa batteries, but I don't wait for them to conk out - I replace them after 6 or 7 years.
Tim Reese
Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
GTI without the badges: '95 VW Golf Sport 2000cc 2D
ECO Green: '15 FCA Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 02:28 PM
joe joe is offline
Join Date: Apr 28, 2000
Location: PNWet, USA
Posts: 22,392
Don't know about today's versions but I was never impressed with the early ones. 10 years ago ran a pair of red tops in a CJ with each costing double of any conventional battery. $130 each -vs- $65 at that time. Both wouldn't take a charge after 4 years. Since then been running the biggest Napa or Les Schwab battery that will fit in the box. 4 years seems about par battery life for me with Optima's or conventional. I sure don't see me buying Optimas again. Lotsa folks like'm but I'm not one of'em.
"Don't mind me. I'm just here for the alibi"
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 02:34 PM
Carnuck's Avatar
Carnuck Carnuck is offline
Join Date: Feb 12, 2011
Location: Gold Bar, WA
Posts: 6,457
I got 10 years+ out of an Orbital, then my neighbor borrowed it and killed it in a van with a short
Jeep gauges are for amusement only. Any correlation between them and reality is purely coincidental.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 04:16 PM
rocklaurence rocklaurence is offline
Join Date: Jan 14, 2009
Location: 33812, Lakeland, Fl
Posts: 1,772
[quote=tgreese]The usual recommendation today is the Diehard Platinum.

I agree. IMO, its the Free Replacement warranty that makes the diff' and the Diehard has the AGM's with 3 or 4 year (not pro-rated) replacement. The best I've seen on the Optima is 2 years replacement. Plus, the AGM Gold is only $155.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 04:31 PM
Tad's Avatar
Tad Tad is offline
Join Date: Nov 30, 2001
Location: Out West
Posts: 17,617
I hear all the bad stuff about them.
I have 3 yellow tops ranging in age from 2-7 years.
None have given me a bit of trouble even when I have drained and ignored them and none are replacements for dead Optimas.

I get mine at Costco, cheaper there yes.
The only problem is the selection is hit and miss.
So when you see what you need/want you have to get it then because it may be months until they have them back on the shelf in that flavor.
2000 Infinity QX4, 3.3L, MPFI, 4 speed auto, 2 speed Nissan tcase, Unibody, IFS front, 4 link rear solid axle with 255-70/16s


...Pay no attention to these heathen barbarians with their cutting torches and 8" lift kits!...

Self Inflicted Flesh Wound
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 05:01 PM
junkr junkr is offline
Join Date: Jun 28, 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 83
No more Optima's for me.I only bought not a lot of track record.The Dekka's that come in this military surplus junk I get cant be killed for 1/2 the price.All mill spec batt's have the glued plates at the bottom of the case to keep the grids from contacting each other.
1968 M715,4bt/46rh/205 with KP60/14HP going in any day 1980 j10 short box 1998XJ
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 05:43 PM
trailscape's Avatar
trailscape trailscape is offline
258 I6
Join Date: Feb 23, 2009
Posts: 338
I went with a diehard platinum myself due to convenience (It's usually not hard to find a Sears nearby).

I think a big issue on the bad rap Optima is getting is from people using a "Red Top" with deep cycle expectations. If you need a deep cycle, you go with the Yellow Top.
1974 J10 258 T18/D20
Project since 2009. Collecting dust while in school.

2002 Tundra - Daily Driver
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 06:12 PM
Tripwire's Avatar
Tripwire Tripwire is offline
hey,does anyone here know how to.......
Join Date: Jul 30, 2000
Location: WA State
Posts: 4,475
I am running three right now, had them for years and years...... Had replace one and they exchanged it no sure to keep your reciept in a safe place
Abort? Retry? Ignore? >

86 GrandWag. Howell fuel Injected 360. MSD Ignition + Dizzy. 727/229 swap BJ's 2" Lift and 31's

88 Wrangler 4.2, Howell TBI and MSD - Borla Headers w/ Cat-back + winch and 31's AND a M416 trailer (-:
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 07:11 PM
will e's Avatar
will e will e is offline
Always Broke
Join Date: Nov 16, 2001
Location: Mesa AZ
Posts: 9,996
The trick I have found is they need to be slow charged. If you try to fast charge them it seems to kill them.
82 Cherokee WT – SFwith Alcan/agr box/Borgeson shaft/ 401/performer/Holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS(2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave,Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37/Corbeau Moab Seats /Hella/tuffy console/sliders/custombumpers&roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CO2 Tank/dual batts/custom TCskid plate

Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 08:41 PM
rockrollin's Avatar
rockrollin rockrollin is offline
Grease Monkey
Join Date: Apr 19, 2012
Location: Grand Haven, Mi
Posts: 287
Thumbs up

I just went through weeks of exhausting research on this subject. I went with a yellow top 34/78. I paid $138 at advanced auto. I had talked to a fellow Jeep enthusiast who does commercial sales for Advanced, and he sells a lot of yellow tops, mostly industrial, and doesn't see many returns. Only two and one was nearly melted , and almost three years old. They exchanged it at no cost. I tend to run my battery down often and I wanted a deep cycle starting battery. They did have issues with red tops several years ago, but it hasn't been recent. Now I have only had mine a few weeks, so no long term results. However I did like what I've seen as far as others testimonials.
OI!IIII!IO "I like fun" Eddie Ott
Clawed 90 GW
Slightly off stock
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 09:00 PM
mattmopar440's Avatar
mattmopar440 mattmopar440 is offline
AMC 4 OH! 1
Join Date: May 17, 2007
Location: Algonquin (Chicago suburb) Illinois
Posts: 4,095
Bought one last year can't tell you how many times Ive left the lights on for 3-4 hours come back out and it starts right up never had an issue worth the money
87' Grand Wagoneer
401/727/229, Currently:RUNNING
84 J10/20 hybrid 258/727/208 Daily Driver
80' J10 4BT/AX-15/208
74' J10 Go Grabber Green Sold
Originally Posted by Heavy_Metal_Thunder_81
Inferior Chevy

Last edited by mattmopar440 : 12-23-2012 at 12:26 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 09:06 PM
ferox's Avatar
ferox ferox is offline
Join Date: Dec 17, 2011
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 62
I've run a couple red tops and wasn't terribly impressed. One cell went bad in each of them, rendering them useless. They don't take a charge like a regular lead acid, and don't like to be charged by an alternator if you happen to run your battery down away from home. Unless you are wheeling at crazy angles, plan on taking on gunfire, or need to mount your battery in a strange orientation I would go with a high quality lead-acid. Some red tops have really high cold cranking amps which is nice, but I personally will not toss my money at an Optima again unless I need a back-up deep cycle yellow or blue top.
"The Bruiser" '82 Wag, 258, T176, NP208, D44, AMC20
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 10:29 PM
asphaltrockdweller's Avatar
asphaltrockdweller asphaltrockdweller is offline
350 Buick
Join Date: Jul 09, 2009
Posts: 1,170
I have two yellow tops. One is almost three years old, and the other is right around one year old.

Not a lick of problems out of mine. I also abuse them, so?

I would probably buy another one for jeep number four.
(Ristow) fram....that deserves a ratchet upside the head.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 10:45 PM
Ghinmi's Avatar
Ghinmi Ghinmi is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jul 02, 2004
Location: Middleville, Michigan
Posts: 2,147
I've got a yellow top that I constantly abuse. Sits all winter and starts up first thing in the spring. Then in the summer it gets abused at the track, tons of "start, move 50 feet, shut off" and running a 600 watt nitrous bottle heater with the engine off. It was the last one my local parts store sold because lots of people were having problems. Never a single hiccup for me and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who abuses anything on their automobile worse than I do.
Yep, I know my PM box is full. Email me instead.

1983 Cherokee WT - IFS, trailing arm rear, full cage, Hemi, 6 speed, turbocharged - Autocross project
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 10:46 PM
littlehandegan's Avatar
littlehandegan littlehandegan is offline
Join Date: Dec 13, 2012
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 29
Optima redtop died in a year on me....never again!
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 10:55 PM
FSJ Guy FSJ Guy is offline
Join Date: Mar 20, 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 10,061
The people who have them fail are often the most vocal. I think that's why you see so many negative comments online.

I have put them in most of my vehicles (Jeeps and daily drivers) and have never had a problem.

X2 on the slow charging. They will not recharge on a "regular" fast charger.

If I have the $$$, I always try to replace them with an Optima.
Ethan Brady
1987 Grand Wagoneer, slightly longer than stock.

Don't mess with me. I once killed a living hinge.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 11:17 PM
bigun's Avatar
bigun bigun is offline
Join Date: Feb 10, 2003
Location: Back in Mountainair NM
Posts: 20,092
There are a couple of threads abut them and the troubles folks have been having since they sold out and are now being made in Mexico. I went with a Car Quest labeled Deka in the W250 this time.
"Crom" 76/75 Cherokee/J20 Hybred,

Originally Posted by Gambler68
congrats...that's the first post on here I have absolutely no effing clue how to comment on.

How you behave toward cats here below determines your status in Heaven.
Robert A. Heinlein
The birth of CROM is recorded here
Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2012, 06:08 AM
rockrollin's Avatar
rockrollin rockrollin is offline
Grease Monkey
Join Date: Apr 19, 2012
Location: Grand Haven, Mi
Posts: 287
No negative on the Yellow Tops? They are very different batteries.
OI!IIII!IO "I like fun" Eddie Ott
Clawed 90 GW
Slightly off stock
Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2012, 06:17 AM
hookedup50 hookedup50 is offline
Master Mechanic
Join Date: Aug 07, 2010
Location: MA
Posts: 827
X2 on the costco batteries. I ran the red tops and did not last as long as conventional ones and they are a pain to charge.
Jennifer: 89 GW 360/727/D44 2"lift 31" BF KM2
Harriett: 97 chevy 2500 ext cab P/U 6.5 TD
Lorraine: 73 Datsun 240z
07 Colorado
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Waggy was delivered a few days ago asphaltrockdweller General FSJ Discussion 20 08-29-2009 01:19 AM
good days & bad days mt pokitz General FSJ Discussion 0 08-27-2009 03:50 PM
oh the trouble i cause with 2 days off... shaolinsifu General FSJ Discussion 15 02-27-2009 07:16 PM
GM HEI vs. Motorcraft/Duraspark ignitions (very long) Sycho15 General FSJ Tech 11 09-06-2002 07:46 AM
A little discussion on Batteries please, or is an Optima really worth it? Dive 30 General FSJ Tech 16 01-28-2002 01:09 PM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.5.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
corner corner