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Optima Red Top 34/78 Install


niburja

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I just installed a new Optima Red Top 34/78 in my '09 Ranger & encountered a couple of minor difficulties so I thought I'd post my solution for others if they're curious about switching to a Red Top 34/78.
The factory tray is a little too short so I cut about 5 inches out of the middle of the lip closest to the front end so the battery would sit flat.
I drilled one 1/4" hole in each the driver & passenger side existing tray lips to accommodate the "J" bolts that I purchased along with a new battery hold down (see pics) to secure the Red Top as the stock hold down won't work anymore. I sprayed the tray with Flex Seal to protect it then I set the battery in the tray, assembled the new hold down pieces, added a flat washer to each "J" bolt, then cut off the excess threads to ensure the hood closes.
Last, the negative cable wouldn't quite reach so I had to break the clip nearest the front end to get it to mount over the battery
That's about it. All's well and I'm happy with the results.

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Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 7FA902352B4C01: April 5th, 2021

JMF661

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That’s a pretty nice looking truck.
 

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I use an Optima Red Top 34 and it is my understanding that it has basically the same dimensions as the 34/78. The 34/78 has both the top posts and the GM side posts where the 34 has only the top posts.. I know all the electrical ratings are the same, but I think the 34/78 is slightly heavier.

I don't recall having that much of a problem installing it. I think I had to bend the tray lip a little but I know I didn't cut anything. It did fit snug. I was also able to use the factory mount but I used one of the hold downs that came with the battery along with the original bolt. I recall having a little issue with one of the cables but was easily resolved. I may have done the same thing with the negative cable that you did.

I am wondering if Ford changed the battery tray sometime between 02 and 09.
 

35Remmy

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Optima 34/78 here in my 88 too....great battery
 

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I use an Optima Red Top 34 and it is my understanding that it has basically the same dimensions as the 34/78. The 34/78 has both the top posts and the GM side posts where the 34 has only the top posts.. I know all the electrical ratings are the same, but I think the 34/78 is slightly heavier.

I don't recall having that much of a problem installing it. I think I had to bend the tray lip a little but I know I didn't cut anything. It did fit snug. I was also able to use the factory mount but I used one of the hold downs that came with the battery along with the original bolt. I recall having a little issue with one of the cables but was easily resolved. I may have done the same thing with the negative cable that you did.

I am wondering if Ford changed the battery tray sometime between 02 and 09.
I'm not sure. All I know is that it wouldn't fit and I couldn't get my vice grips in any good position to bend the metal far enough to allow the battery to sit flat, so I cut it.
 

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Not to try and resurrect an old thread, but just wanted to give my .02 cents.

I installed an Optima Yellowtop 34/78 in my 09 FX4, and as i recall, all I needed to do was bend the side of the tray slightly on the rear side nearest to the cab. I was able to reuse the factory hold down by using one of the included adapters that came with the battery.

The reason I stumbled on this thread was because my battery was acting up, and when I went to remove it today, I snapped off the hold down bolt. So my project for tomorrow is to remove the old bolt and find a new one. Hopefully my charger can bring the battery up to speed. Optima's have become very expensive lately.
 

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Not to try and resurrect an old thread, but just wanted to give my .02 cents.

I installed an Optima Yellowtop 34/78 in my 09 FX4, and as i recall, all I needed to do was bend the side of the tray slightly on the rear side nearest to the cab. I was able to reuse the factory hold down by using one of the included adapters that came with the battery.

The reason I stumbled on this thread was because my battery was acting up, and when I went to remove it today, I snapped off the hold down bolt. So my project for tomorrow is to remove the old bolt and find a new one. Hopefully my charger can bring the battery up to speed. Optima's have become very expensive lately.
Make sure you use a charger designed for AGM batteries. They take a slightly different charging regimen than regular lead acid cell batteries. A good AGM charger will read the condition of the battery and charge it according to what it needs.
 

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In my experience the past few years... ALL batteries have got expensive... and they're mostly ALL junk. I was going to upgrade to an Optima until I read the reviews with many complaints of them being mostly junk now days. So I just bought an over priced standard junk battery and a jump pack for when it decides to leave me stranded.
 

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The battery is nice and all, but I wanna see more pics of the truck 👍
 

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The advantage of a gel cell is that they don’t get angry when tossed around from the rough terrain on the trails or getting turned upside down in a roll over.

That being said, I’ve seen similar when it comes to reviews on Optima batteries.

I also agree that battery quality as a whole has taken a dump.
 

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Make sure you use a charger designed for AGM batteries. They take a slightly different charging regimen than regular lead acid cell batteries. A good AGM charger will read the condition of the battery and charge it according to what it needs.
I actually picked up a small charger from Harbor Freight, the Viking 4 amp charger. It seemed to do ok for it.I don't think I will get many years out of it, but if I can at least get another year or two I will be happy. I also hooked up the battery to my old Motorcraft battery that was the original battery in my Ranger, from 2009.

The reason I went with the Optima's is that I had installed a Painless Wiring dual battery system, and Optima batteries were recommended for the system by them. The Yellowtop I had purchased in 2012 that I moved into the bed toolbox as a second battery is still perfect. That is why I am not worried if the battery under the hood dies, because I can self jump-start.

UncleGump and sgtsandman, you are 100% correct about Optima's. Recently it seems as though they have been hit or miss. They used to be a little better, and priced more reasonably. When I brought my newer battery in 2017, after discount and core exchange at Pepboys I paid 175 bucks. When I looked the other day, they cost over 300 plus tax, and no discounts applicable.
 

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In my experience the past few years... ALL batteries have got expensive... and they're mostly ALL junk. I was going to upgrade to an Optima until I read the reviews with many complaints of them being mostly junk now days. So I just bought an over priced standard junk battery and a jump pack for when it decides to leave me stranded.
Oh how I know this oh so well :bawling:
Many years ago, nothing ever beat the quality and longevity of Delco Voyager batteries (before 2007 or so when they were still made by East Penn). I never had one last less than 8 years, and that was without any special care whatsoever (with such care I'd bet 15 years could've been possible... I did have one last 13 years, I retired it only because it developed a leak around one of it's posts, not because it wouldn't hold a charge anymore).


These days (with rare exception) I usually just buy batteries at Costco. I pull off the caps, wrap 1½ turns of teflon pipe thread tape around each plug (making sure not to cover up the vent holes), and then seat them back down onto the battery case (this entirely solves the acid seepage issue (and subsequent corrosion) from it being sloshed around while off road).

As for the quality of Optima, what I observed over the years is that their quality dive-bombed around 2006 right after they moved production to their Mexico manufacturing plant. It remained dismal for a good 6-7 years or so. Lately it seems the quality has come back up somewhat, but still not enough for me to plunk down $200+ for one when a Costco battery works just as well (if not better-- more reserve capacity) for half that price. Sure, an optima isn't going to leak if it's upside down, however if it's upside down, I suspect there will be a whole lot of far more important things to be concerned about than a little bit of battery acid having leaked out. :eek:

FWIW, the Optima is an AGM type (absorbed glass mat). AGM has pretty much made the gel-cell type obsolete.
 
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