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Trailblazer 251 need battery help

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  • showme
    replied
    If you have a NAPA around, I'd try them. Their battery has been in my '51 Chevy truck (my daily driver) for almost 8 years now. Seems they wanted half of what Interstate wanted for the same cca/

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  • walker
    replied
    Well I wish I had a better solution than just buy another crap battery, but I don’t.

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  • MMW
    replied
    Just had my trailblazer battery crap out today. No warning, started fine on Monday and today nothing. Checked it when I got home today, 9 weak volts. Auto Craft silver series from Advance auto. 4 years old. Luckily the job I was on had 120v from a residence and I was able to just cut and fit everything. New battery tomorrow.

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  • Aeronca41
    replied
    All true. There are very few battery makers any more. Found this link the other day. Not sure if the guy really knows, but he sounds legit.

    http://jgdarden.com/batteryfaq/batbrand.htm

    And he even states that Johnson Controls is now Clario--probably part of the Mexican connection. It is truly sad what has happened to manufacturing in America. Beancounters!!!!!

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  • Bushytails
    replied
    The problem is that Interstate doesn't make batteries. Nor does NAPA. Nor does anyone else you can buy a retail battery from. Johnson Controls makes most of them, with Exide making a few. Doesn't matter where you shop... Go to Walmart or Autozone or Sears and you're getting the same Johnson Controls battery too. Literally, no matter where you buy from, if you buy from a retail chain, your battery is coming from the same factory. Which factory depends on which side of the country you're on, but all stores in the same area will be from the same factory.

    What the local Interstate dealer has told me (he freely admits that Interstate doesn't make anything but stickers) is that Johnson Controls makes batteries in several tiers, and that the tiers are the same no matter what the brand on the sticker says. The new costco ones are the bottom tier, as are the cheapest models at any dealer. Almost all lawn and garden batteries are low-tier, although most places sell the higher-tier ones as well - you can tell by the weight, if the sticker doesn't have much info - the cheapest ones literally weight half as much as the highest-tier ones. Different retailers have different names for the higher-tier batteries, like gold, platinum, premium, super, etc etc, but the same relative tiers are the same batteries, that is, the mid-grade tier of one retailer is the same battery as the mid-grade tier of the next retailer, etc.

    And then Johnson Controls keeps moving more and more production to Mexico, which I can't help feeling correlates with all the tiers getting ****tier with time...

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  • showme
    replied
    I've used Interstate batteries for over 30 years, and have had one last for over 8 years (before we sold the conversion van it was installed in). But in the last few years, Interstate has proven to be like so many other companies, which is to rest on it's laurels (Interstate's good name and track record), raise their prices drastically (all while lead prices have plummeted- I live in southeast Missouri where a huge amount of lead mines surround us), and then let their bean counters tweak the quality to zilch. This winter, my wife's 2 year old battery went south. We had a new one installed before a trip to Phoenix at that time. I always liked the fact that Interstate had an 18 month no cost return policy, and a reputation for batteries that lasted years longer than the competition. This winter when I took it back in, they said, yes, it's got a bad cell, and proceded to tell me that I would owe them $95 for the 'pro-rated' exchange. (?!?!). I told them to put the old battery back in the trunk, take their new one out, and then told them off in front of the other customers sitting in their waiting room when they told me that Interstate batteries have a shorter life span now, and are expected to get 2-3 years. And this was an Interstate store, not a shop just carrying IS batts. They told me cars these days have a lot more electronics than whatever the 8 year old battery was in, but it was a conversion van with t.v., lights everywhere, and all kinds of draws.
    Also, if you google Interstate battery complaints, you'll see that not only the car/truck batteries are getting worse, but the smaller lawn mower and motorcycle batteries aren't even lasting one season, as if they were some cheap Chinese make. I've gone to Napa for my batteries since that day at the Interstate store. Actually, my old '51 Chevy 3100 pickup has had a Napa battery in it since I bought it 8 years ago. It was a Sunday, and IS wasn't open, but NAPA was. I'm glad they were.

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  • walker
    replied
    I ended up just swapping it out for free. I wouldn’t mind paying more if it was a better product, unfortunately a higher price does not guarantee a better product.

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  • Bushytails
    replied
    Originally posted by 1997CST View Post

    I don't recommend using just any old truck battery to run the welder. The voltage regulator and the stator are designed for a specific battery size. Besides if either fails, you'll drain the truck battery and not only will the welder fail to start, so will your truck.
    Put a disconnect switch on the welder if you're worried about draining the truck battery accidentally.

    At least on the onans I've worked on, the regulator and stator are perfectly happy charging anything you connect to them. They're actually fairly over-sized for welder usage, as the same engine is used on lawn tractors with lights and electric deck clutches and the like continually running off the charging system.

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  • 1997CST
    replied
    Originally posted by Bushytails View Post
    I've also had bad luck with Costco batteries lately. From what I gathered from what the local Interstate dealer said, even though they're all made in the same factory (by Johnson Controls), they spec them to be as cheap as possible. I recently bought some of their golf cart batteries for a renewables application, and they didn't last two years. The older costco batteries seem to have held up a lot better - I think the one in my car is 8 years old now.

    If the welder is bolted to a service truck, just run some old welding lead up to the truck's battery, and skip the battery in the welder.

    Another option is to get an AGM battery. They're generally a lot more vibration-resistant due to the design, with glass mat packed tightly between the plates. They also put out more current for their size, so you can go one size down if you can't find a perfect fit, and it'll still start great.
    I don't recommend using just any old truck battery to run the welder. The voltage regulator and the stator are designed for a specific battery size. Besides if either fails, you'll drain the truck battery and not only will the welder fail to start, so will your truck.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bushytails
    replied
    I've also had bad luck with Costco batteries lately. From what I gathered from what the local Interstate dealer said, even though they're all made in the same factory (by Johnson Controls), they spec them to be as cheap as possible. I recently bought some of their golf cart batteries for a renewables application, and they didn't last two years. The older costco batteries seem to have held up a lot better - I think the one in my car is 8 years old now.

    If the welder is bolted to a service truck, just run some old welding lead up to the truck's battery, and skip the battery in the welder.

    Another option is to get an AGM battery. They're generally a lot more vibration-resistant due to the design, with glass mat packed tightly between the plates. They also put out more current for their size, so you can go one size down if you can't find a perfect fit, and it'll still start great.
    Last edited by Bushytails; 04-22-2020, 01:29 PM.

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  • ryanjones2150
    replied
    It’s been hit and miss with batteries for me. Have one now that’s 5 years going on 6 and some that last barely 2. Same here, usually just one bad cell. Batteries these days aren’t cheap and they’re starting to suck.

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  • lars66
    replied
    Been having my share of problems also with Interstate batteries the last few years.

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  • Aeronca41
    replied
    When mine failed, it was always one dead cell. Always read about 10.5-10.6 volts between the posts. Hydrometer would easily locate the bad cell, although it really didn't matter. I never cut one apart to see, but I often wondered if they have shallower precipitate collection wells in the bottom than other batteries. Lead-acid batteries slough off sediment from their plates with use (which is accelerated by lots of vibration--batteries don't like vibration), exposing fresh lead for the chemical reaction. In the bottom of the battery, there is a "well" where the sediment collects. If the sediment gets deep enough to touch the bottom of the plates, that cell gets shorted out and quits storing power. At least that's one of the failure modes they taught us about battery theory back in the sixties.

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  • walker
    replied
    Thanks, at least I know it is somebody else too. It has happened the exact same way several times. Work one day and everything is fine go to another job, roll out all my cable, set up scaffold, get all my gear ready, get all my PP on and go to crank the welder and nothing! And I am usually by myself.

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  • Aeronca41
    replied
    I suspect you're on to a very logical reason for problem there with the washboard roads.

    As to battery brands, FWIW, I bought three Interstate batteries for trucks and my car over a period of a year or so some years ago. They have a reputation as being really top quality, and I appreciate their sponsorship of the great long-distance race of vintage cars. I was very surprised to find they were probably the worst batteries I ever owned; I found it hard to believe after all I'd heard and read, but facts are facts. All three were replaced under warranty, one of them twice. When the others failed the second time, I just bought different batteries.

    With two to six vehicles on the road at any one time over 50 years, I think I have only had one other battery that had to be replaced due to failure under warranty, and that was a cheapie I bought from Montgomery-Ward back in the late 70s at a moment when I had to have a battery quickly. Like you, I appreciate the warranty replacements, but I need engines to start when they're supposed to, not sit while I go get replacement batteries. There are probably people who have had exactly the opposite experience and always buy Interstate; and I'm happy for them, but it hasn't worked out for me. I haven't bought another one since.

    I agree with the Delco recommendation. I have never had an issue with them, and all I've owned have worked perfectly years beyond their warranty period. I have also been doing well with NAPA batteries.

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