I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

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WinginEngineer
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I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by WinginEngineer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:33 pm

As the title says, I used the same battery every modern corvairer uses... a 51R. Mine's a duralast gold. I know everyone uses the 51 R because its the only one on the market! That fits anyway...

The old one that was in my barn find didn't seem to hold a charge. The starter just dragged and dragged, but never gave me a good spin. So i put in the new DG. Same result.

So i replaced the starter. The new starter fried itself as soon as i put it in and hit the key the first time. I pulled the new starter, removed the brushes from it, installed them in the old starter and put the old one back in. Still the same result.

So a rampant, radom series of tests, attempts, and failures later checking and trying everything under the sun, i was at the end of my rope. I was trying something to free the rings and possibly get some compression and while the plugs were out the engine spun like a top. I put the plugs back in and it was back to dragging! Again!

I almost fell on my sword.

But then for kicks, i pulled the battery out of my old suburban, gave it about half a charge, and stuck it in the corvair. What'a'ya know, she started cranking and coughing. She almost even started!

So wtf folks?!?! If the 51R doesn't have enough juice to crank this old girl, what else am i supposed to use?

The 78 whatever from my suburban is far too physically big.

Suggestions?
Kevin - Maricopa/Mesa, AZ
1962 Corvair 700

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County98
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by County98 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:43 pm

I have no idea man. Maybe pull the 51 and put it on the workbench with a trickle charger overnight to top it off? Maybe you have a voltage drain or short somewhere that's dragging it down?
Cheers!

-Shayne
Lawton, OK

'66 Corsa work in progress
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SyntheticBlnkerFluid
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by SyntheticBlnkerFluid » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:57 pm

Well remember that all batteries are not created equal, even if they are the same size.

First off, did you check your new Duralast battery and make sure it's good? Have you put it on a charger and then checked that it's fully charged and holding a charge? Just because it's new, doesn't mean it isn't bad. You may need to take it back to Autozone and have them load test it.

Also, you need to check what the cranking amps are (not the cold cranking amps). I have seen some 51R batteries have 700CA and come that have 500CA. Compare it to what your Suburban battery is. Most likely your Sub has an 900CA battery.

If the engine spun great with no plugs in it, but didn't spin as freely with the plugs in, it sounds like either the battery doesn't have the amps or the starter worn out, even though you swapped the brushes and can't handle the compression on the motor.


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Chebanse, IL

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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by WinginEngineer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:35 pm

The 51R is 400 something and 500 something. I'm tired and can't remember the exact numbers off the top of my head, but thats ball park.

The suburban battery is 625 and 850.

The fact that it cranks well with the big battery indicates to me that it's insuficient battery capacity.

I was under the impresion all the 51R's would be relatively close in load ratings with the DG near the top. It's always been that way with every other size battery i've ever messed with anyway.

Maybe i'm wrong. That's why i'm here though. Is there a higher rated 51R out there? Or another size that will fit?

I can modify the car to take a larger battery, but that's like using a bazooka on an ant hill.
Kevin - Maricopa/Mesa, AZ
1962 Corvair 700

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SyntheticBlnkerFluid
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by SyntheticBlnkerFluid » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:16 am

Well here's the issue, 400CA/500CCA is more than sufficient to crank over a stock Corvair motor. This is why I'm saying to go get it load tested. It could possibly be a bad battery.

If you cranked the motor on a half charged 650CA battery, but couldn't get it to crank on a fully charged 450CA battery, I'm thinking there is something wrong with the battery.


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Jerry Whitt
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by Jerry Whitt » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:38 am

Your statement that everyone uses a 51 R is not correct. I have used Group 24 F batteries for years, rated at 700 cold cranking amps. These are available at NAPA, Autozone, and other auto parts stores.

Batteries are rated by voltage, and although general terminology calls them 12 volt batteries, that is not correct. Most lead acid car batteries are
composed of 6 cells, each producing 2.2 volts per cell, and in turn, this is 13.2 volts when fully charged. The number of plates will vary and the more plates, the more cold cranking amperage is available. The plates are made of lead peroxide, and the acid is sulfuric acid. The actual weight of the battery will be directly related to the number of plates and the surface area. If you have two batteries, the heavy one will generally produce more amperage.

Your description of symptoms is similar to a nearly dead battery or one of improper amperage rating.

A proper test of a battery starts with a visual inspection. If a lead acid battery, are cells full? Initial voltage should be close to 13.2 volts. If much lower, a charge is appropriate. One test is called a 3 minute charge test. The charger is set to 40 amps and turned on. Watch a volt meter as the test is happening. Should the volt meter go beyond 14 volts in this 3 minute test, the battery is sulfated (meaning the lead peroxide has combined with the acid and formed a coating that will prevent the battery from charging )(Charging system on the car is designed for about 14 volts, if the battery cannot be charged at 14 volts, it is no good)

Another test will be a load test. Most parts stores have a hand held device that can produce a load. For a small
engine car, 300 amp load for 15 seconds, and the voltage should remain above 9.8 volts. Should the voltage be lower, try the 3 minute charge test.

Some of the new "dry cell" batteries can be tested the same way, but most home battery chargers do not work, as the voltage requirements are much different than the lead acid type.
Jerry Whitt
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notched
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by notched » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:50 am

What year car are you putting it in? Earlies typically do not have a lot of room and a Group 24 will not fit. So using a Group 51 I would assume you have an early.
The Group 51 should have more than enough cold cranking amps to start any Corvair but maybe some highly modified high compression engines.
I have used tractor batteries to start Corvairs. Assuming the battery is good and has been verified to have at least 12.4 to 12.6 volts and will support a load without dropping more than 3 volts under the load.......
If it is dragging down then you have issues in the starting circuit such as battery cables with high resistance, bad ground (there are 2..........1 to the frame rail and 1 to the cylinder head) OR the starter is in fact bad OR the engine has something seriously wrong with it.
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1987 Buick Grand National

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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by bbodie52 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:25 am

Although the "new" battery condition is certainly in question (it could have an internal factory defect), you should also check the condition of the positive and negative cables. A poor or dirty connection inside the terminal connector could cause a high resistance between the battery post and the connector. A faulty cable could also be a point of excessive resistance or inadequate high-current capacity.

Be sure to check the condition of your battery for adequate voltage and check/clean/wire brush the battery terminals and the inside of the battery terminal connectors.
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The starter needs a ground return path that is equal in wire gauge to the red positive cable that connects directly to the starter motor. That is why it is important to have the negative ground cable connected directly to the engine hardware. All other automobile electrical (lights, radio, ignition, horn, etc.) feed from the smaller gauge wire that goes from the positive terminal to the voltage regulator. The return charging voltage from the generator/regulator back to the battery also can travel on a smaller gauge wire. The heavy current draw from the battery is for the starter motor, and that is why it requires the thickest gauge cable to supply the starter directly. And for every current draw from the battery, an equal return path must exist back to the battery negative terminal to complete the electrical circuit. That is the reason for the thick negative cable from the engine back to the battery. The engine is mounted to the car via rubber engine mounts to provide some vibration isolation between the car frame and the vibrating engine. But this also isolates the engine electrically, so the thick cable cannot be connected only to the car chassis. Doing so would weaken the current capability feeding the starter. Some EM ground cables "daisy chain" from the negative battery terminal to the car frame, and then on to a connection on the engine, near the generator. This provides adequate ground connectivity for both the car chassis and for the engine.
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:link: http://www.corvair.com/user-cgi/catalog ... IN&page=81
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The information below pertains to the Interstate battery line that fits the limited, odd sized battery box area in Early Model Corvairs. Feedback I've heard from buyers of the Interstate battery line seems to indicate that this brand is a quality product.
If you need a new battery, the odd size and shape of the EM battery box might confuse things a bit. Although it has now been discontinued, Clark's did charge quite a bit for a battery that is similar in appearance to the originals...

Part number C12541: 61-64 CAR & 61-65 FC SCRIPT BATTERY *1960 SEE C13056

Weight: 30 lbs 0 oz
Catalog Pages(s): 79
Price: $ 264.55


But there are some other choices that will fit, will provide better service, are locally available, and cost less. The battery information below has proven to provide a good fit in the standard early model Corvair (1961-1964) battery box.

:idea: Here is a battery tip for early model Corvairs like yours that may help you to get an affordable battery for your early Corvair. Be sure to compare the battery dimensions with the available battery space in your Corvair. The dealer catalogs and references are unlikely to tell them if this battery will fit your car...
freedo wrote:In my EM i ran a Interstate 51 battery, might have been a 51R can't remember off the top of my head. its a honda civic batter, its small so it fits in there, but it doesnt fill in the whole space. worked perfectly fine for me. cranked everytime, never let me down
:link: http://www.interstatebatteries.com/cs_e ... +++500+CCA

MEGA-TRON 51-R AUTOMOTIVE BATTERY 75 MONTHS 500 CCA

Get long life and premium performance with Interstate Batteries' Mega-Tron 51R. With 24-months free replacement and five-year performance, this 500 CCA automotive battery will meet or exceed your vehicle's starting requirements in any hot to moderate climate.

Sugg Retail Price: $107.95
List Price: $129.95
Dealer prices will vary

Product ID: MT-51R
Amps: 625
Cranking Amps: 625
Cold Cranking Amps: 500
Voltage: 12
Termination: A
Weight: 27.9
Width: 5.13
Length: 9.38
Height: 8.88
Plates: 24
WET/DRY: W


:wrench: Here is some additional info on the use of the Interstate 51 battery...
freedo wrote:you have to make sure your tie down is tight or it will slide side to side. or you can make some plastic pieces to wedge it into shape. but interstate are strong good batteries. when i blew the motor up i had the lights on and the interior light on for almost a hour and when i went to start it up the next day it cranked right over
It appears that the only difference between the Interstate MT-51R and the MT-51 is the location of the positive and negative battery terminals...

MEGA-TRON 51-R AUTOMOTIVE BATTERY 75 MONTHS 500 CCA
:link: http://www.interstatebatteries.com/cs_e ... +++500+CCA
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MEGA-TRON 51 AUTOMOTIVE BATTERY FIVE-YEAR PERFORMANCE 500 CCA
:link: http://www.interstatebatteries.com/cs_e ... L4%2f1.3L)
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As shown in the picture below, the correct battery appears to be the Interstate MT-51R, which places the positive terminal correctly on the right when the battery is placed in the battery area with the terminals facing the engine.

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Whenever the battery is disconnected from the vehicle for any reason the polarization procedure should be performed.

The recommendation on how to polarize a charging system is the following: After the installation of a battery, generator or voltage regulator follow these procedures. The terminals on the voltage regulator are labeled with letters and this is where you will do the polarizing procedure. Both of the components will have battery power so do not start the vehicle or turn on the ignition switch before polarizing them. You will need a small piece of wire fourteen or sixteen gauge with alligator clips on the ends. Find the "Batt" terminal on the regulator and attach one of the alligator clips, find the "Armature" terminal and touch the terminal with the other alligator clip. You can touch the terminals a few times and it will produce a soft light spark.

:nono: Under no circumstances touch the "Field" terminal or any other part of the regulator or you could damage the regulator.

:link: http://www.vv.corvair.org/pipermail/vir ... 13475.html
Polarizing a Generator System.jpg
What you want to do is polarize the generator. If in fact it ran with reverse polarity, everything should be fine after this process. You should not have damaged anything yet.

With key off, use a piece of 14 gage or larger wire to jump between the battery and armature terminals of the voltage regulator. I am at work without a shop manual, so I forget the actual writing on the terminals. BUT, it is the top and middle terminal on Corvairs (with the regulator mounted stock position, red wires on top terminal).

It will spark! Hold for 1 or 2 seconds. The wire may also get warm, be prepared.

Start engine again and check for red light going out.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO POLARIZE A NEW GENERATOR BY FOLLOWING THE PROCEDURES IN THE CORVAIR SHOP MANUAL. THIS PROCEDURE IS DESCRIBED ON PAGE 8-18 OF THE ATTACHED SHOP MANUAL SECTION. This polarizing procedure applies ONLY to vehicles equipped with a GENERATOR. It does not apply to vehicles equipped with an alternator.

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Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
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gnrand
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by gnrand » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:27 am

I followed Jerry's advice and purchased two Group 24 batteries for my '65 and '68. The '65 has a Walmart battery and the '68 has an Interstate from Costco which was much cheaper and has a better warranty.
Jeff
1965 140 Corsa
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by 64powerglide » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:08 am

At this point you should check the torque converter ring gear for worn teeth. If they are really worn they could cause the starter gear to bind & turn over slow. There is an opening on the right side you can look in, if the teeth are worn they will have sharp teeth, they should be flat & slightly tapered. Left click the page.
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WinginEngineer
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by WinginEngineer » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:56 am

Bodie, you are like an encyclopedia of corvairs.

Anyway, when I was screwing with the starter originally I got new battery cables to eliminate that as a possibility. I also stripped and shined all the ground points and just in case I ran an additional ground cable directly from the starter housing and piggy-backed it to the main ground on the generator bracket (if grounds are in question, i have a tendency to go over board).

When i bought the car the nice gentlemen threw in a brand new torque converter still in box. I obviously put it in. So teeth are off the table.

It is a first gen ('62). I should have mentioned that. So yes, the 51 is the only size you can cram in there.

I agree that it should be enough, and obviously is because of how many folks use them, that's why i'm so puzzled.

I will take the battery back and have it tested. Maybe it was a bum battery. Short of that i'm looking at a big battery crammed in where the spare tire goes.
Kevin - Maricopa/Mesa, AZ
1962 Corvair 700

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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by 64powerglide » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:19 am

Well the new torque converter eliminates that problem. That makes me wonder if the cylinders are trying to fire when the piston is coming up on the compression stroke. That would surely slow down the starters ability to turn the engine over. I still say you need to try to push or pull start it.
64Powerglide, Jeff Phillips

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64powerglide
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by 64powerglide » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:36 am

I ran an additional ground cable directly from the starter housing and piggy-backed it to the main ground on the generator bracket
If the generator bracket is not a good ground "it should be" then the jumper cable from the housing wouldn't do any good. :dontknow:
64Powerglide, Jeff Phillips

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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by WinginEngineer » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:13 pm

64powerglide wrote:
I ran an additional ground cable directly from the starter housing and piggy-backed it to the main ground on the generator bracket
If the generator bracket is not a good ground "it should be" then the jumper cable from the housing wouldn't do any good. :dontknow:
Agreed, that's why i piggy backed it... IE i put one bolt through both the negative cable and the new starter cable and then into the bracket.

The starter cable is basically tied straight to the battery's negative post now with no middle man.
Kevin - Maricopa/Mesa, AZ
1962 Corvair 700

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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by 64powerglide » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:16 pm

Here is my battery,it was new when I bought the car 3 years ago, this is the 3rd. winter & it fires right up. It's a Wolverine 29NF. Don't know where the previous owner got it.
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YES I NEED NEW CABLES!!!!!!!
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64Powerglide, Jeff Phillips

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WinginEngineer
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Re: I used the battery everyone uses and it don't work!

Unread post by WinginEngineer » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:11 pm

Just took the 51R to autozone for testing...........

Battery is at 100% charge and passes load testing with flying colors.

Battery is fine.
Kevin - Maricopa/Mesa, AZ
1962 Corvair 700

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