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Long Islander

Optima Battery Install

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Optima Battery Install


Note: Part numbers sometimes change without notice. Always double check with your supplier that you have the latest part numbers. These instructions show how to install an Optima Group 34R battery in your Porsche Boxster or 996 using a plastic adapter plate. The cost of the materials (other than the Optima battery) should be under $20, and an hour or two of your time. You don't need to make any modifications to your car or to the Optima battery. All you need to do is to make an installation pla

 

Edited by Oggie (on L.I.)

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I cut the HDPE mounting plate to 12 1/2" instead of 14" as in Oggie's instructions. 12 1/2" is a standard battery length. (Of course, you should check the battery tray in your own car to make sure there's a hole there) If you do this, you don't need to measure the distance and drill a hole for the mounting bolt. Instead, you just bolt the mounting plate down using the hold down clamp, as you would with a regular size battery. Also, there is no need to remove the battery tray, unless you need to clean it.

HDPE is very easy to work with. Instead of cutting notches for the corners, it's relatively easy to round the corners enough using just a hand sander. If you can only find HDPE in 1/2" thickness, it's also easy to bevel the edges to fit under the lip of the battery tray.

I found a very high density polyethylene cutting board at Bed, Bath and Beyond in just the right thickness, and it only cost $15. It was a lot easier than tracking down the HDPE from a plastics supply store. It was easy to cut to size with a saw.

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Good instructions Oggie... :clapping: worked for me. Thank you. I used Starboard from a boating supply store (about $30) and rounded the corners with a Dremmel tool. Here are some Pics...

I made two adaptor plates, one for me and one for a friend, but he might be selling his car so I might list it on the for sale forum.

post-5803-1168272352_thumb.jpg

post-5803-1168272597_thumb.jpg

post-5803-1168273164_thumb.jpg

post-5803-1168273803_thumb.jpg

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I was recently asked about the vent tube and where I put it, so thought I'd post the pictures here in case anyone else needs them in the future.

Here's how the vent tube looks after I coiled it up. It's to the far left of the battery area (i.e., passenger side when standing at front looking back toward the battery). You need a T-25 Torx driver to remove the screw holding the black plastic cover to gain access

post-84-1192302381_thumb.jpg

And for comparison, here's a picture showing how my Optima mounting base is held down using the stock hardware

post-84-1192302407_thumb.jpg

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It seems finding a small piece of high density polyethylene plastic without buying a large sheet of it is proving difficult for many. I spoke with someone at Plastic Supply Inc. (800-832-6774), www.plastic-supply.com, and they are willing to sell small remnant pieces for a nominal sum and mail it out. You can also try doing a search on the internet for Starboard, Seaboard or Marineboard.

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Some words of warning regarding the Optima battery replacement option:

After all this custom fabrication, you end up with a battery less secure than the original, significantly less capacity and CCA, and save very few pounds over a normal replacement battery. How Optima could design their battery case to be incompatible with standard mounting provisions is beyond me! When I did this swap myself, I somehow managed to get a few drops of battery acid from the now unused vent tube on my fender which went unnoticed until they had burned into the paint! :censored:

One year out my new Optima had lost it's energetic starts. Two years out, it would go flat in a couple of weeks!

I returned it to Costco and they gave me my money back - no questions asked! (They even said I didn't need my receipt, which I still had, since the battery barcode would be in their system. After 2+ years it wasn't so that receipt came in handy!)

Took my refund cash, and went to Autozone and bought a regular replacement battery like I should have done in the first place!

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Recently did a similar install in my 2002 996. Couple notes that may help others...

Plastics: West Marine referred me to TAP plastics http://www.tapplastics.com/ They cut the HDPE piece to size for about 6US$ total. Cool, less work for me. The HDPE that I bought from them is a lot less floppy and less gummy than the cutting boards in the kitchen. I used a router to round the corners. This produced a huge amount of tiny plastic pieces that are fun for kids to play in but due to static cling a disaster to clean up afterwards.

Hardware: I picked up the stainless steel bolts from ACE hardware. Instead of locking washers I got self locking nuts, and a set of #10 and #12 washers for better hold down.

Hold down: I decided to use a combination of the original clamp to hold down the battery, and a second bolt to the left of the bracket. If anything, you'll have the bracket with you in case you battery dies somewhere in the middle of nowhere and you need to hold down something else.

Optima 34R: Indeed hard to find. Found one across town, but didn't feel like spending two hours of my life chasing it. I ordered it from http://www.1st-optima-batteries.com/ instead. It was a little bit less (40US$) than what they quoted me locally if you include tax. I have an Optima in another vehicle for several years and so far it's been good. If anything, not having any corrosion is a plus.

Cables: The cables to the battery are bolted to the frame and some porcelain receptacle that looks like it came from some 1920's east German nuclear plant. Loosening the nuts gives you just enough slack to fit the battery in. Tight fit though. As usual measure twice before you drill.

Tray: Take it out, it'll make your life measuring so much easier. Mine had a couple of bare spots that I touched up with some Rustoleum black paint. You'll need to tilt the tray to get it out of the car. Forgot which way. You'll figure out in 5 seconds.

Rigidity: At worst the battery is going to experience a sideways .9Gs and <1G? up or down. I held the battery by the HDPE piece and it wasn't going anywhere. I'll report any future problems if they occur.

The whole process was surprising easy and quick.

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Here's another supplier for the plastic piece: www.plastic-supply.com.

I recently bought some custom-cut small HDPE pieces from them for my home. They're quite willing to deal with small orders.

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Little bit off topic, but has anyone else had issues with life of their Optima or other lightweight battery (e.g. Braille). I have the 11 lb Braile, and after about 2 years, it's not holding a charge. I've heard anecdotal evidence that the lightweight batteries can cause damage to the alternator? I'm curious if anyone has any experience or opinions about either life, or possible issues with the alternator. Thanks.

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Little bit off topic, but has anyone else had issues with life of their Optima or other lightweight battery (e.g. Braille). I have the 11 lb Braile, and after about 2 years, it's not holding a charge. I've heard anecdotal evidence that the lightweight batteries can cause damage to the alternator? I'm curious if anyone has any experience or opinions about either life, or possible issues with the alternator. Thanks.

The Optima is a full output and normally BCI rated CCA spiral wound AGM design, highly vibration and temperature resistant, so it actually lives quite long in these cars (7-8 years is not unusual). Optima's were designed to exceed the rigors of automotive type applications.

Braile on the other hand is a very lightweight “racing” AGM design, with much lower CCA ratings when tested according to the industry standard BCI procedures. It keeps its weight down by leaving out all the heavy stuff that allows normal SLI (starting, lighting, and ignition) to live in the tough environment of the automotive world. End result is they weigh less, have shorter lives, and often lead to current related problems (dim lights, poor cranking in cool/cold, short lived alternators, electronics issues, etc.).

For a race application, they would be fine; they are not designed for the street (regardless of the marketing hype).

Edited by JFP in PA
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Thanks JFP - makes sense. Looks like I'll be replacing the very cool and light Braile, with a more durable and 10lb heavier Optima (still half the weight of the boat anchor from the factory).

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