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  1. #1
    Chris Philhower
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    Default Optima batteries?

    Hey all. I have a question about Optima Batteries. Do they have problems with it being below freezing? I have an Orange top in my 2001 Escape. Have had it since last summer. I have a Whistler digital voltmeter that is plugged into the Power Port. When I go out to my truck in the morning it reads about 10.6 VDC. Starts up fine. Drive to work (About 9 miles) voltmeter reads about 13.6VDC. Get off work at 6pm. Reads about 10.3 VDC. I noticed my stereo acts funny at high volume (Skips, repeats, and garbles). Only when cold out. I shut the sub amp off and it clears up. And the voltmeter reads about the same 13.4-6. But after running for a while. When things get warmed up no problems.
    Any ideas? Like maybe something with the cd player or changer. Doesnt matter which I use. I drive mostly short trips. Tomorrow, I'll try driving to work with the radio off and see what happens on my ride home.
    Thanks
    Chris

  2. #2

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    i dont have a clue -- but i'll tell ya 10.6 is WEAK... something is wrong somewhere, i would not let that go idly by -- one way or another u gotta figure that one out.

    if all else fails in your endeavor - borrow a friend's battery for a few days, and see if it does it with that -- if it does that its not the batt.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
    - Anurag

  3. #3
    Chris Philhower
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    Well it happened again today. I live in NJ. Its been below freezing all week. Well when I am driving anyway. Maybe its something wiith the radio. Once warmed up no problems. My voltmeter has not exceeded 13.7 VDC today. Maybe the cold is causing this to happen. When hot, The volts were above 15 VDC. Its annoying. I am almost home when the problems disappear. I know not to turn up a radio on full when the speakers are cold. About 20 degrees F. For long term reliability. I always let them run for a couple of minutes to warm up. So, I dont think the speakers are the cause of the garble.
    Chris

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    i had nt thought of this before but when u said its over 15v when its warm out ---------

    your alt should not break 14.5, especially in a non-foreign car. usually you'll get 13.8 - 14.2 in a domestic suv/truck from ford / chevy / mopar.

    if your alt is going bad, it coul dbe causing abnorma **** in your car's electrical system which could lead to erratic behavior of lights / radios / heaters , etc etc.

    might wanna have the alt checked -- unless ford's come out with a difft alt that does 15v as of late (and if so -- i want one :) )
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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    im glad i dont have to worry about that
    its been in the 50s this week and itll be in the low 70s next week:p
    -Cody

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    50's ... u prick -- i went to rinse down my truck at the "robo wash" today -- cuz its too cold to actually wash it by hand... so they got these like pull in bays where u have a power washer hose, and for 5 bucks for like 10 - 15 minutes u can do a power rince / power wash with soap / rerinse / jet wax all with the power washer so its quick as hell and gets all the grime off --- well as soon as i shot the HOT water onto the truck, it FROZE ... so now the damn thing is covered in a "blanket" of ice. its clean... but its iced solid.

    buffalo, ny -- with the windchill we got -12 today... yay!
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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    Uh, this is not a problem with the battery or alternator. Although, that battery may have caused it.

    This points more to a problem with your voltage regulator. First things first, check the connection at the alternator for any water. Freezing water could cause this kind of a problem and explain why it works better when warm. If there is water in the connection, it may have fried your voltage regulator. If you car is still under warranty, take it to the dealer. If not, time to get all mechanic-like on it. Remove the alternator, take it to Pep Boys and have them test it. They can also test your battery. Since your vehicle ain't gonna be running without an alternator, might as well take the battery to test too.

    Inside the plug, there should be electrolytic grease caked in there. It's supposed to be, it diplaces water so you don't have this problem. If there is none or very little, make sure you get a new pigtail and cut the old one off and splice the new one on. Use waterproof butt connectors and tape them up with electrical tape or shrink wrap. The reason why is because the contacts down, inside the plug where the wires connect to the blades in the plug, may be corroded. Only way to fix that is replace it.

    But 10.6V is way too low. Your battery light should have come on at about 11V. It is normal to see a voltage drop during initial operation after a time being parked. This is because the charging system is recharging the bettery but it shouldn't drop below 12V. The reason things sound garbled is because there is not enough juice to go around and your amplifiers are pulling too much current from the charging system. This is that problem there the was a huge argument over about the proper use of capacitors.


    The only other thing I can think of that would make sense in being wrong is that you have been drawing too much current from the system for a long time and one of the battery cells has fried causing a voltage drop when you are trying to charge it. If your charging system can't charge a high current battery fast enough, you end up overworking your charging system and it breaks at one point or another.

    Get your parts tested. It's the only way to find the problem for sure. If it is your alternator, consider using a higher rated one in place of your stock one to provide extra power for your stereo. If it is the battery then, your battery may be too big for your charging system. You should consider a smaller battery or a bigger alternator.

  8. #8
    Chris Philhower
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    I noticed that when I turn on my sub amp(Even with radio off) My headlamps dim. I do have a 2 farad cap on my sub amp and a 1 farad cap on my stereo amp. I think the volts at the battery is fine. But when I have a chance (Weather permitting) I'll check the battery. The HO alternator is nice. However, After being out of work for over a month (With no Unemployment checks) I cant afford one yet. Besides my Alternator is buried in back of the engine. You have to remove the axle shaft just to remove it. And I forget what else. I would rather have it done than to try it myself.
    Chris

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    alt is buried ? --- is the escape a side mount engine? (like not straight up like you see in trucks / muscle cars -- i saw a chevy celebrity -- 1988 -- with a side mount engine, the damn alt was like pressed against the firewall in back part of engine compartment and under some other crap. this is why i fear eventhe slightest-ly complicated of engines... i'm afraid either i'm going to break them or that they will break me.)

    what Jstas said actually sounds more like it makes sense than anything else that's been tossed around.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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  10. #10
    Chris Philhower
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    Yes, Execpt mine is underneath. Its the DuraTec otor based on the one used in the Taurus. Has few changes. like the intake, Location of waterpump, and so forth.
    I did notice my headlamps didnt seem as bright last night. I used to have a factory sub. I removed it and sold to a guy with another Escape. Also gave him part of the wiring harness. I didnt remove the fuse out of not knowing what else was powered. Maybe i'll pull the fuse and see what happens.
    By the way, It's 6 degrees F this morning in bordentown, NJ.
    Chris

  11. #11

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    The Escape, like all modern mini-utes, is FWD in it's standard configuration. Even in the 4WD configuration, it stil has a transversely mounted engine and transaxle. Just an extra output shaft that runs to a rather wimpy rear differential.

    If the alternator is buried behind the engine then I can promise you that it will be expensive to get serviced due to labor hours.

    As far as the fuse goes, I think that if you pull the stereo fuse, your current stereo will not work.

  12. #12
    Chris Philhower
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    The fuse I was referring to was for the Factory sub amp. I removed the fuse.
    I did check the Battery volts this morning at 6am (6 degrees F outside) was reading 12.18. This afternoon, I checked the voltage at the battery with the engine running. Was reading 14.5 at idle. So that tells me that my plug-in voltmeter is reading low.
    The stereo garbled this afternoon again at full volume. I did notice that the dash lights flashed when it happened. The Alternator is getting weak. I need an HO model. Now I need to find one. Wrangler NW wants to sell me a model with external regulator and brackets. Which tells me this might not fit well. AIS has helped me in the past on a 93 Escort GT. Brand new 150 amp alternator. Kept the car for over a year and no problems. I wish they made one. Would definately buy from them again!! Bolted right up and used the factory plugs.
    Could anybody at Polk tell me where to find one? I know you had to replace the factory unit on your Escape demo cars.
    Thanks
    Chris

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    6*F !?!
    it was 42 this morning
    it got up to like 58
    i was walking around outside in pants and a long sleeve tshirt with the sleeves pushed up to my elbows
    just though id rub it in :-)
    im beginning to hate these engines now
    theyre so hard to work on
    they probably do it on purpose so youll have to pay someone to fix it
    i saw a 99 ford truck and half the engine was where the fire wall used to be in older model trucks
    same way with dodges
    chevys arent that bad but they have so much plastic crap to take off
    i was taking the alternator off my 96 truck last month or so and it was pretty easy
    its right in front
    but i was taking out a bolt and hit a hose and the damn hose broke off
    i broke it good too...
    the part you screw in was still there but nothing above it where you could take pliers and screw it out
    i had to get a hack saw blade...grind it down to where it would fit in the hole
    and make about 8 cuts through the part stuck in it by hand
    no handle
    just the blade
    pos crap
    my dad sold a 74 cj a month ago to a friend of his
    old straight 6
    there was so much room under the hood you could hide in there
    no plastic crap
    no electronics
    dont make them like they used to
    -Cody

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    haha -- you could hide in the hood... i like that... ya i've still got plenty of room in my dodge 1500, but i agree... they're getting a lot worse --- my 88 D-150 was much like the CJ -- you can fit a dead body under the hood.

    this cab forward design crap is what's pushing the engine into the firewall -- people want to be able to not have a big front end on a car so they can drive like retards and not hit stuff... so they want litle rollerskates with cab forward design. its's like a ford econoline van... ever worked on one of those? you open the hood and its like "um... where's my hand go?" -- the whole thing is PACKED with equipment and the guts of the engine are buried so far under the dashboard / firewall area that you gotta jack the car up off the ground to even get a rough idea of what you're lookin at.

    for alts -- try www.mralternator.com -- he doesnt' ahve an escape listed on his website, but i was lookin for alts for other stuff so i mailed him a while ago and he bascially told me "i'm too busy working on my parts to update my site -- if you want an HO alt, just tell me the car and i'll get it for you / make it for you". he's got a good repuatation too.

    most will run you like 200 bucks at most with all the brackets and crap you need... but getting it put in will probably cost you coin if you cant get back ther eyourself.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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  15. #15
    Chris Philhower
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    Thanks PBD. I e-mailed 4 places today for one. I even tried SummitRacing and was told to call Powermaster. I might try to tackle the job myself. Just a shortage of time and with this cold weather. There is supoosed to be a place in MD that makes alternators for limos. Dont know the name or phone number. They supposedly have one. A local speedshop told me this about a year ago. But I dont like dealing with him. Had problems in past with orders not coming in and not being able to reach him on the phone.
    Chris

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    You all are not going to belive this. But I am a member of the club Polk. I forgot all about it.
    Chris

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    i have a queston i have a 2001 alero with a alpine mrv 1000 amp and a ppi 2200 power class amp when i turn up my sterio to real loud i get a bit of dimeing if i add a seccond optomi baterey will i kill my altinator?
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  18. #18

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    I was told by SummitRacing that if you use a Solenoid you wont have a problem. It's supposed to isolate the batteries so that only one gets charged at a time. dont know. Never used one before. I always belived a second battery would make matters worse. However in my case, The factory alternator cant charge the one battery enough. I think you would still need a HO alternator to charge both at a faster rate.
    Chris

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    chris -- powermaster alts aren't bad -- they're not creme-de-le-creme, but if you get a good price, then by all means they are a known company so you should do fine.

    regarding the alero -- if your lights dim just a little -- get one or two one farad caps... probably solve your problem... if they dim a good deal, then you're going to need another battery.

    whether or not your car can handle another battery is another question... i've found most pickup trucks / suv's can handle up toe 3 batteries without difficulty -- this being that their alternators are a bit more rugged / can take more of a beating.

    If the alero's alt is rated at least 100 ampheres, you can probably instally two 750 - 900 cca batteries. if its less.. you probably can't.

    I dont' really know the exact science of it, but by adding more batteries, you add more 12.5 v power, you will not gain 14.4 volt alternator output voltage power. by adding more batteries, you resign yourself to running yoru system of fyour batteries, not your alternator.

    thus your useable voltage willd rop -- if your system is drawing 150 amps, and your alternator is 100 amps, then the other 50+ amps needs to come from the batteries, in which case you're mising 12.5 v power with 14.4 volt power and u end up somewhere in the 13.6 / 13.8 volt range... which is fine. hell i havne' tseen anything but foregin cars that actually run at a true 14.3/ 14.4 volts.

    I'm going to be adding my third battery to my truck soon... i just tied the two under the hood to the alt output with 150A fuses... and ran each a 0 /2 gaguge line to the distribution in the cabin... the third will be in the cabin near the distro. Hope it works right or i'm going to bust a nut.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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    PBD, I received an e-mail from Tom at Mr.Alternator. he said they have a 200 amp unit for $275. Very good price. Do you know if they need a core? I would need to get an extra fuse and holder, split loom, maybe power and ground wire, and terminals.
    Chris

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    i've no clue whether he wants a core or not - he never mentioned it to me... but maybe he assumed -- ask him, best way to find out.

    275 for 200a is pretty good, you're right... i was lookin at 165A for 200... round the same range.

    When you do this hookup, easiest way to keep it simple would be to just mount your alt , tie in the original OEM wire as it was, then tie your amp's power wire (pref 0 gauge) into that terminal on the alt as well -- within 18 inches, a fuse holder w/ 200A fuse... loom the whole thing and call it a day.

    as far as cheap -- www.sounddomain.com has stinger platinum 0 gauge ANL fuse holders for 8 bucks... they're not waterproof, but if you just tape over the whole thing with electrical tape, its fine... i've got 3 under my hood -- no problems. its that or u can get the waterproof ones -- they're 50 bucks though. 2 pair of ring terminals -- u can get rockford fosgate brand ones --- they're a good deal cheaper -- streetwires / monster / etc want 10 bucks per pair and they're hard as hell to crimp... Fosgate are like 4.99 per pair and they're fairly easy to crimp... sounddomain also has the 200 Afuses for like 3 or 4 bucks... stinger brand... lightning are cheaper but they're not really made as well -- gold versus silver... i dunno if it matters... most other places will charge you 15 bucks for that fuse.

    dunno where to ge tlooom cheap tho -- i couldn't find any -- ended up getting a 4 foot piece from pep boys for like 5 bucks -- probaby got raped but i coudln't find it anywhere else.
    Last edited by PoweredByDodge; 01-21-2003 at 03:11 AM.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
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    PBD, I have done it before. Changed the unit in my 93 Escort GT. Took a couple of hours. I have a source for fuses. ANL wafer for $3.90 each. Gold plated. Waterproof fuse holder for $18.50, 4 gauge wire for $1.25, 2 gauge for $1.85 per foot.
    Chris

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    for those prices, can i be your friend ? lol... is it an online store or are you just gettin stuff cheap off a buddy??, cuz i could use a discount like that... 18 bones for a WP fuse holder... ay che wa wa.
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
    - Anurag

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    Try WWW.PARTSEXPRESS.COM
    They have 1" split loom at .32 per foot. Bags of Gold plated terminals for less than $3, 2 Farad cap at $139.80 (If I remember correctly) They also sell Phoenix Gold, Monster cable, Scosche. Along with a lot of other brands.
    Chris

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    big guy named bubba says "YOU DA MAN"...
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
    - Anurag

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    PBD, I removed my pair of 15's from my Escape. I replaced them with a pair of Dayton loudspeaker DSQ 12.4's. In a sealed box with little bit of stuffing. Have a nice tight sound. However my amp now makes 250 watts rms at 4 ohms each. The 15's had 500 watts to each. I noticed my headlamps dont flash like they used to. But, i dont have the volume. I found a RF BD1000 used on Ebay for $250. That would be able to provide 500 to each sub. The ratings are 350 rms/ 500 max. I was thinking I could just keep the gain down a little. What do you think? I do plan on getting the alternator. hopefully next month.
    Chris

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    Chris-
    12s wont be as loud as 15s especially if they have a lower rms rating
    but you will get better sq
    if you can try using a vented box if youre using a sealed
    it will be a little louder
    another thing...
    my bd1000 pushes out 1200 watts
    my other amp
    power 500 pushes out 810 watts
    405 watts to each sub rated at 350 will do great
    if you can find it cheaper
    but man for $250 you cant go wrong but youll need to turn the gain down
    probably wouldnt hurt to get a 1 farad cap either
    mine was like $100 @ www.ikesound.com
    it was a rf w/out the digital read out
    but the digital read out isnt necessary unless youre really big into car audio and plan to go to major competitions where you need to know
    -Cody

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    one more thing
    350w rms and 500w peak doesnt sound right...
    ususally peak power is double the rms or more
    ex. mm120..rms-500....peak-1000
    so you might want to double check what your rms is to be sure youre getting the right amp
    -Cody

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    I do have a 2 Farad cap on my sub amp. I just realized after bidding, I will be needing tires soon. Can't afford to do both. So i'll have to do the tires and wait for the annual RF clearance this spring.
    Chris

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    rf 1000 d is a good amp... i think having more power is better than less in general.

    i'm not familiar with your new speakers, but ya cody is right 350 rms / 500 max is odd sounding... 350 rms , 700 - 1000 max would sound right.. i've got a 10" jbl that's 250 rms / 1000 max. but that's a whole nother discussion on mechanical versus thermal limits of a sub.

    anywho -- turn the gain uptill u hear them fart... then pull it back a hair.. who cares abotu rated power... just pour all that you can on them. ... that's just how i feel.

    i had 400 on 300w polk dx's.... have 1200+ on 1000 watt ID's... long as they're not making noise, then you're good. :)
    "With your own attitude it is hard to survive here... But who gives a damn, we are here to change the world, and we dont need a password for that."
    - Anurag

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