Are all truck batteries created equal?

My truck battery is dying, and I was wondering if there is such as thing as a "better battery", or are they all created the same. Thnks

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Ignoramus9135 wrote:

How old is it?
John
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2-3 years old
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Ignoramus9135 wrote:

That's a bit short, you should generally get around 5 years. You may want to check your alternator, grounds, etc. to see if there is a problem beyond the battery.
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wrote:

Wow! I get about 8-10 years from Douglas or Interstate car batteries and replace them at the first indication of trouble.
jsw
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Ignoramus9135 wrote:

That's just beyond the warranty period, like all of wally-marts batteries do.
First check the voltage coming out of the alternator at a higher than idle engine rpm.
It should be no more than 14.2 volts. If it is than that is the reason the battery is failing.
John
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John, it is below that, I have a voltmeter on my dash.
So, what is the word on gel cell batteries?
i
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Ignoramus14196 wrote:

Gel cells have different charging requirements and will not directly interchange into an auto environment properly. Look to AGM type batteries for something compatible.
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wrote:

Err ... Actually battery manufacturers recommendations are:
Lead-Acid Maximum charging voltage    2.45 - 2.7 VDC/Cell or 14.7 - 16.2 VDC/12 volt Battery
Gel-Cell    Max Recommended voltage    2.35 - 2.4 or 14.1 - 14.4
AGM    Max Recommended        2.35 - 2.45 of 14.1 - 14.2
My own experience is that few, if any, automobile systems will put out a voltage high enough to be of danger to any of the three batteries and that gel-cells, at least, can be a direct substitution for lead-acid with no problems, and I certainly know people that installed AGM batteries in their boats and didn't report any difficulties.
It is useful to note that the only advantage that Gel-Cell or AGM have over lead-acid is that they don't spill if you turn them over.
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wrote:

Not the ONLY advantage. They also do not gas under normal charge or discharge.
In aircraft use a "wet" battery needs to be in an enclosed and vented battery box, while AGM and Gel batteries can just be strapped down anywhere. Gel and AGM batteries are not considered hazardous cargo either (which is mostly due to not being spillable) but there are valved spill-proof wet batteries as well - which are NOT non -hazardous.
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On Mon, 14 Feb 2011 20:02:04 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That is the theory anyway. However I've seen a number of dead gel-cells cut apart and it appears that they do, in some manner gas, as the gel drying was what kill them.

Shipping lead-acid batteries is not considered as hazardous as the electrolyte isn't loaded until the battery is sold.
But we were talking about a pick-up.
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wrote:

Not true today with maintenance free batteries. They are shipped wet. VERY FEW lead acid batteries today are shipped dry - the exceprion being motorcycle batteries and cheap utility batteries - the vast majority (other than industrial deep cycle etc) are maintenance free sealed or semi-sealed batteries.

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On 02/14/2011 07:30 AM, Ignoramus14196 wrote:

I wouldn't trust an in-dash voltmeter to be that accurate.
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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ditto. if you haven't got 14.2 to 14.4 at a decent rpm, your charging system has a problem. That would kill battery life.
Karl
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wrote:

I recently diagnosed the charging system on my car. The manuals and such (I have a few) weren't much help beyond what-wire-connects-where, but there were some very odd indications.
You can charge a battery, give it a known discharge, and see if it is holding enough energy. My battery was OK.
You can monitor the charge voltage to see if the normal operation causes the correct charging voltages (in the 13 to 14.5 range). This, was inconsistent. Tightening wires and replacing one cable seemed to fix it.
But almost nothing else; there was no easy way to test the generator ex-situ, or any clear indications what the voltage regulator was doing except as part of the full assembly of components.
So, there was no clear determination of what to replace. The generator came with a helpful little pamphlet that said 'replace the voltage regulator at the same time', and it's a common recommendation to replace the battery after any charging problems. So, I'm thinking a 'professional' would replace battery, regulator, generator all at the same time. Whether they need it or not. Without ever diagnosing to the individual faulty part.
That's just bad engineering.
My problem was an intermittent short inside the generator, which clobbered the battery charge four times in the space of a year (but usually worked when the meter was attached).
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whit3rd wrote:

Sounds like your regulator points are sticking or welding shut once in a while draining the battery back through the generator. The contacts on the regulator close when the output of the generator reaches about 12 volts, below that they should be open. You could put a heavy current diode in series with the generator to prevent this back current flow. New technology combined with old. :)
John
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wrote:

Is this vehicle older than 1963? Hasn't been a DC generator with a cutout relay installed on anything (except perhaps in Russia or elsewhere in eastern Europe) since that time. More likely an intermittently shorted diode.
Intermittents are difficult to troubleshoot, but back in the day I was pretty good at it (and still surprise myself every once in a while when I get called in on a "stickler")
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

He did say he had a generator which almost never came with a solid state regulator. I installed a bunch of the Motorola alternator kits when I was a kid working in the local garage, as well as overhauling generators and starters. The sticky points on the regulator was usually the problem with intermittent dead batterys.
John
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wrote:

Hey, I did a lot of "generator" work in years past , and saw the sticky points etc too - but my bet is he said "generator" meaning "alternator".
And most vehicles in the last 30 years don't even have external regulators any more. The ones that do, they are built into the main control computer.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

An alternator is a type of generator. Even the service manual for my 2009 truck refers to the "Generator", which is clearly a three phase brushless alternator.
"The PCM simultaneously controls and monitors the output of the generator. When the current consumption is high or the battery is discharged, the PCM will raise engine speed as needed to increase generator output. The generator charges the battery and at the same time supplies power for all of the electrical loads that are required. "
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