What have you done to your wagon lately? (Let's keep the thread going!)

Discussion in 'General Station Wagon Discussions' started by Dogbone, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    I mean, batteries are going up in price, everything is, but there are alternatives, even if the battery is crappy and has a short warranty. There are also 'seconds' available, I know Interstate (who have the best batteries, IMHO), sells them, they're not warrantied, but they are inexpensive.
     
  2. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    My friend and coworker owned a Napa for 10 years. He recently told me about the batteries that they carried. He had the cheap ones and the expensive ones, all different levels of cold cranking amps and warranties, etc., the whole 9 yards. He always believed the Napa Gold batteries were the best and pushed those because (A) they made him a little more and (B) he genuinely thought they were of a higher quality.
    A few years ago they brought him, along with other Napa owners to the factory where they manufacture the batteries.
    He was shocked to find out that despite what everyone tells us, all of the batteries are identical. The short version is that it's all marketing.
    He couldn't believe it. At one point the factory rep was talking to a large group of the Napa owners and my friend asked him point blank "So what your telling me is, there is no difference between the super cheapo battery and the super high dollar battery?" and with a straight face the rep said "No, none at all. Well, other than the decals and sometimes we change the case. That's why Interstate batteries cost more. The white case is non-recycled plastic. It costs us more to build so that's why we charge more for it. But the internals are identical to the black case batteries."
    And ever since he's never bought anything other than the cheapest Wal Mart batteries for his vehicles. Buying anything else is just a waste of money.
    This all came up when I told him how much I paid for the battery I just put in the 74 F-250. He said "you should have gone to Wal Mart"
     
  3. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    As a former battery seller for over 35 years, I can tell you that statement is complete BS. One only needs to heft a 24 month guarantee battery and compare its weight to a 60 month battery. The longer the guarantee, the more plates the battery has.....hence more CCA. However, as batteries wear, the residue from the plates falls to the bottom of the case. As it builds up, it will eventually short out the plates and kill the battery. Since the cheap batteries have shorter plates, they last forever whereas the expensive ones short out quicker because the plates extend farther into the case. The price difference covers the warranty period because they don't last as long. That's old lead/acid batteries. Newer batteries now have cadmium and other metals in their plates cast as grids which are are enclosed in plastic envelopes, and the grids degrade as the batteries are used. Also, today's cars have higher amp alternators to run all the electronics when the car is running and to maintain the correct voltages in the battery.

    Most of you guys are living in a relative temperate zone on the west coast. If you lived where the winters are routinely in the teens to below zero you would see the difference good batteries make. I had two 1050 CCA batteries in my F250 plow truck and also installed the highest amp alternator I could find. When plowing snow, it gets on your alternator belt which starts slipping and can't maintain the batteries charge. You run partially on your batteries to raise and lower the plow and you had to check the tightness of your alternator belt every day because they would stretch. Once, the switchover valve on my gas tank froze and I ran out of gas. I drove 10 blocks on my battery alone and got up into 3rd gear on a hill, to get to a gas station to fill up the empty tank. On mornings that were -15, my truck was the only one that started and I would have to drive around and pick up my employees so we could open the business. Then I plowed the drive and we got out the service and tow trucks, both which were stored inside and had Marquette starting units on them. We would have so many calls that we often had to take the phones off the hook because we couldn't handle any more.
     
  4. kevdupuis

    kevdupuis Membrane

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    All I know is I dread having to replace the huge Bosch batteries that crank over the diesels in both of my Mercedes.
     
  5. RMay

    RMay Well-Known Member

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    Just replaced a Delco 800 CCA battery in my 56 Chevy. It was still under the 42 Month warranty and less than 3 years old. Always start my stored cars up a few times during the winter months and had no problems. First nice day when I wanted to drive the car, I had to charge the battery. Got more bad weather and the car sat another couple weeks. Next time I went to drive it the battery was low again. The alternator and wiring all checked out fine so I took the battery back and got a new one. Not totally pleased that a battery that was suppose to be better and cost more lasted less years than the discounted blem batteries I used to get when my friend worked at an Auto Parts store. At least I still had a good warranty and now have 42 more months with the new battery.
     
  6. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    All I know is what I was told. The fellow that told me this swears it's true and I have no reason to doubt him.
    But I also don't have years of experience as a battery salesman either. So your input is welcome information.
    I just thought it was pertinent to the conversation so that's why I shared it.
    And as a side note your inference that you guys on "the west coast" all live in the same climate is quite the blanket statement. I may live in Washington State, but geographically I'm nowhere near the coast. We live in the Sagebrush steppe, in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Typically we see temperatures down into the negatives teens during the coldest part of the winter and up to 110+ in the summer. Not exactly what I would consider "temperate". Although it's not nearly as miserable as Minnesota where I lived as a youth, so there's that.
    I know that the El Cheapo batteries in my F-350 diesel lasted just as long as the "super awesome" (ie Super Expensive) batteries I replaced them with. When I asked our sales rep "what's the deal? They only lasted half as long as they where supposed to! The cheap ones lasted just as long" his reply was to shrug his shoulders and say "it's a diesel"
    So, just going off of my own personal experience I have to say that whatever the truth is, ultimately a battery is just a battery. It is susceptible to the climate you live in, how well your vehicles charging system is working, what type of engine it has, etc., etc., etc. You can spend a lot of money or as little as possible and you might get a winner on an El Cheapo and you might get a dud on the Super Expensive. Everyone needs to do what they feel is the right thing to do, based on their own personal research.
    I just know that personally I'll never buy an expensive car battery again.
     
  7. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    Cheap and expensive are economic terms based on the perception of the user. They have nothing to do with performance. Some guys are tighter than the skin on a fart and will always justify their stance. Others think expensive signifies quality. Both are wrong.
     
  8. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    This had me laughing my head off! I've never heard this term before. I have a new phrase to add to my repertoire. Thank you.
     
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  9. 60Mercman

    60Mercman Well-Known Member

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    The ultimate cheapo was a friend of mine here in Albuquerque. He had about 45 cars and had 2 six volt batteries and 2 12s He would move them from car to car and had an extra one of each in case he forgot the last car, or the other one was on the charger. He always seem to get full use out of them. For an 85 year old guy his right arm looked like Popeyes.
     
  10. Fullsizelover

    Fullsizelover Active Member

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    Got tired of polishing rims so I had them powdercoated and wrapped up with some Vogue Customs. Brought the set with old white walls to my brothers garage and cleaned that up (he has a 2CV fetish). I am not much into the "bling" and was a bit hesitant at first but after my first trip I've never had so much thumbs ups knowing I made the right call. And that candy gold does sparkle nice when the sun touches it..:)
     
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  11. wagoninsane

    wagoninsane Well-Known Member

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    I also am not into bling, but I really think you hit it out of the ball park with your choice ! The wheels compliment the di-loc trim nicely (in my humble opinion) Looks great!.....Longroofs Rule!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
  12. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    It makes the car look like a Johnny Lightning toy car, but believe it or not, that's a very good thing! I am impressed with them.
     
  13. kevdupuis

    kevdupuis Membrane

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Next project, vacuum pump and injection pump timing gear bushing.
    [​IMG]
    Light wear from the vacuum pump roller on the timing gear face with no discernible groove.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The roller face shows a bit more wear and the bearings feel a bit loose and none have fallen out, thankfully.
    I have a new vacuum pump on order and if there is a kit available with a new roller & bearings I'll rebuild this one as a spare.
    This is a project I was going to save for this winter but I decided to do it now in anticipation of the opening of the east coast, my wife wants to visit family and I want to cruise the Cabot trail in the the old Mercedes wagon.
     
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  14. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    As far as I see, it's still looking to be in spec, but preventive maintenance is always a good idea.
     
  15. kevdupuis

    kevdupuis Membrane

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    Well the wagon's back together the new vacuum pump has taken the scenic route so I reinstalled the original, it's still fine but I wanted a new one in so I wouldn't need to pull the front of the engine apart again until I decide to rebuild it. As for the rest of the work it went well the timing gear bushing was still well within spec even the timing chain chain shows almost no indication of stretch as you can see by the two pics.
    [​IMG]
    It's a bit hard to see but the cam timing marks are in the center of the pic on the cam tower and timing gear.

    [​IMG]
    Over all I'm happy to have it back together I wish the vacuum pump hadn't taken a detour but I want to take the wagon to the East coast when my wife and I head out in a couple weeks.
     
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