Optima Battery Problems

TheJosh

Explorer
i currently have a yellow top (main) and a blue top (aux) in my 4runner. I've been having problems with my blue top keeping a charge for the past few months but never my yellow top. my blue top on has one outlet hooked up to it to power the fridge but the fridge is on in the truck for trips. never once have i had a problem starting my truck

the major issues started last night...

i picked up my truck from toyota walnut creek and once i picked it up they told me they had to jump start the truck (which is something i never have to do and the truck sits in my driveway for days at a time) they stated the checked the voltage and it came out at 12.7 volts so it was good.

with my truck running i drive away and go to napa auto parts a few minutes away. i parked my truck and go inside. when i come out to start my truck its completely dead. like no interior lights, alarm going off dead. (the alarm will go off if it senses the battery has been removed or in other words, zero juice) i go inside and ask for a jump and it took a couple tries because it wouldn't stay running. so i leave my truck running and decide to buy a battery charger to give the batteries a proper charge. i got home and hook up the charger to the main battery with the charger selected on the 12v 10amp auto charge. i leave the truck for 24 hours


fast forward to tonight. i come home and see the charger still charging, it appears its at 75% and still charging. i remove the charger and try to start the truck and nothing, same exact situation like at napa auto parts the day before. both batteries are completely drained. now i don't know what the hell is going on. I've been frustrated with my blue top for some time but my yellow top has never let me down and down the are both the pits!

can anyone help?
 

jsmarine

Adventurer
Ill give a it shot, Im NOT much of an electrical guru, but it could be just bad batteries now. First, how old are the batteries? 5 years is about the life expectancy of a car battery.

Second, how are they hooked up? Are you using a system like the national luna dual battery system? If so, have you checked the connections, along with any relays and fuses? I would start at the main starting battery and test the voltage, (using a voltage meter) then work my way down the cable continuing to test, along with the relays and fuses to see if there is a problem somewhere along the cables.
 

TheJosh

Explorer
Ill give a it shot, Im NOT much of an electrical guru, but it could be just bad batteries now. First, how old are the batteries? 5 years is about the life expectancy of a car battery.

Second, how are they hooked up? Are you using a system like the national luna dual battery system? If so, have you checked the connections, along with any relays and fuses? I would start at the main starting battery and test the voltage, (using a voltage meter) then work my way down the cable continuing to test, along with the relays and fuses to see if there is a problem somewhere along the cables.
i just checked the voltage and the yellow top is at 12.5v and the blue top is at 12.3v i also checked the parasidic draw on both batteries and the yellow top is at 23milliamps and the blue top is at 2 miliamps. so both are in the normal range


the yellow top is almost 3 years old and the blue top is 1.5 years old. i referred to optimal website and went through the trouble shooting and they stated that highly discharged batteries below 10.5v can still be recovered but the problem is that my battery is showing normal voltage
 

jsmarine

Adventurer
Might try switching out the starting battery with a friends battery (that you know is good) and see what happens. If it starts right up, then you know you have a battery problem. If not, then something else is wrong. Process of elimination I guess is how I would approach this issue.
 

greg mgm

Explorer
Might try switching out the starting battery with a friends battery (that you know is good) and see what happens. If it starts right up, then you know you have a battery problem. If not, then something else is wrong. Process of elimination I guess is how I would approach this issue.
Exactly what I was going to say. Try it with a different battery before you buy a new one. That should tell you where the problem is.
 

aka rover

Adventurer
kinda sounds like a connection problem maybe a wire was left off after the dealer worked on it, what did they do to the truck. If the battery is at 12.3 volts you would at least have dash lights. Check the voltage on the battery and then down stream of the positive cable to see if you have voltage at the silenoid. sounds like a simple connection problem.

Ed
 

Backroad Explorer

Adventurer
TheJosh a couple questions. Did toyota walnut creek check your charging system for proper voltage output & when you charged the batteries did you have the NAPA charger on the AGM battery setting? It may be a low voltage charge from the alternator it should be between 13.8 to 14.2 volts.
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
Are they wired in parallel from the alternator or are they switched and separated? If parallel, are the cables good? Of equal length and size?
When in parallel, it's recommended that the batteries be the same size, type, age; your batteries aren't...
How's the alternator?

That 12.7 volts isn't normal for a resting voltage on a yellowtop that's at full charge; my Optimas rest at 13.1-13.2 volts without fail.

I'd start by looking at the cables, the grounds, the alternator.

Go on Youtube and look at Optima's page. They have some troubleshooting videos.


Right way to wire in parallel:

 

Deib

New member
Another option is one battery is bad and draining the other.
Unhook them both, take a voltage reading on each. Let it sit over night and recheck in the morning. If they are not where they were last night you have a bad one.

I have not had good luck with optima, I don't use them anymore. They are not the company they used to be.
 

OptimaJim

Observer
Hi TheJosh, I'm sorry to hear about the problems you've been having, but I'm glad to see so much good advice has already been posted, especially Bill's comments about checking your wiring and the need for identical batteries in non-isolated configurations. As Bill indicated, fully-charged our YellowTops and BlueTops (except for the 34M) should measure about 13.0-13.2 volts. To be honest with you, the first red flag went up for me when I saw the words, “I picked up my truck from...”

I deal with quite a few folks who bring their vehicles in for service somewhere, only to realize their doors were left open, a tech was listening to their stereo or something else was done to the vehicle that resulted in the battery being deeply-discharged. When that happens, shops usually wheel out a 200-amp charger and jump-start the battery, hopefully without cooking it in the process. I don't know what happened at the shop you dealt with, but at least you know they jump-started it and you did the right thing by attempting to fully recharge your batteries with a battery charger as soon as possible.

While the parasitic draw you measured sounds good, especially if your BlueTop is isolated and only used to power the fridge on trips, I noticed you also have an alarm on the vehicle and 23 milliamps sounds very low for a vehicle with an alarm system. If you can disconnect your batteries from your vehicle and any other draws and fully-charge them to about 13.0-13.2 volts (about 12.6-12.8 for RedTops and 34M BlueTops), they should be able to hold close to that voltage for 12-24 hours afterwards. If they hold voltage when disconnected from your vehicle, but drop voltage when connected, you probably have an electrical issue within the vehicle that is discharging them. What is your alternator putting out?

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
 

dbreid

Adventurer
Another option is one battery is bad and draining the other.
Unhook them both, take a voltage reading on each. Let it sit over night and recheck in the morning. If they are not where they were last night you have a bad one.

I have not had good luck with optima, I don't use them anymore. They are not the company they used to be.
I second this. I had two Yellow Tops (both brand new) running in my Offroad truck. I had a dual battery setup (with switches, etc etc) and a nice big fat Alternator. All of a sudden, my alternator died. Weird, I thought. So I put a new one in. Outputting 14.4V, everything was good.... for about a day. Then it was dead again.... Huh? This was a 454 Chevy in a 1984 truck, so it wasn't a complicated wiring system (I use a one wire exciter)... So in goes another alternator.... One day... dead again.

Long story (and lots of diagnosis later) the issue was one of the Yellow Tops had a bad plate, which prevented it from ever taking a full charge. So the alternator would literally kill itself trying to charge it. It is called "Alternator Death". :)

So I returned both Yellow Tops and bought Sears AGMs. Never looked back. :)
 

getlost4x4

Expedition Leader
I had the same problem with my yellow top in my jeep. luckily it died before the warranty ran out. I returned it like a bad dream to Costco and got a full refund. they said they quit selling them because they were loosing so much money on them.
 

aka rover

Adventurer
Im suppriseed to here you guys are having troubles with the optimas. I have ran the blues and yellows on competition winch rigs since the late 90s and the only problem I have has was due to me overcharging one and killing it, that was my fault. I run a blue top and yellow togather both light gray bottoms and love them. These current optimas are just going on one year old, ill keep an eye on there condition and see if they last the two years I run them before selling my used ones and buying new. So far so good...!


Ed
 

Ludedude

Adventurer
Since Josh decided not to follow up here, I'll post what I know the resolution to be. He had some sort of hokey "pro-audio" battery cable connector that ******** the bed. Nothing to do with the batteries at all.
 

scrubber3

Not really here
I've used the same red top optima battery from 2004 to 2010 in 3 different vehicles ranging from a 2004 GTO to a 2002 Xterra. let it go with the Xterra and to this day, it is still in performing flawlessly. I have had a blue top in my boat since 2006 and I just put a yellow top in my Montero. I don't expect to have any problems with either.
 
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