The battery is a crucial component for starting a car and in order to last for a long time, it has to be durable and reliable. A diesel engine is different from the one that works on gas. It actually requires more energy to start and if the battery can’t provide a smooth start, then the vehicle owner may lose precious time.
Trucks are commonly used as utility vehicles, meaning that they have to provide a high reliability in any conditions. This doesn’t mean that the battery has to provide additional power only during start of the engine, but also allow for all the accessories, like lights and pumps to work continuously as well.
Finding the best option is not always an easy task because it has to provide enough cold cranking amps (CCA) in order to start the truck. The CCA rating is very important, but there are other properties you need to keep track of.
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AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries
In the early 70s of the twentieth century, the research for the creation of a more practical and safe rechargeable batteries ended with the development of the AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) technology, in which absorbed electrolyte was used instead of liquid acid electrolyte.
Unlike other technologies, this one uses plates made of ultrathin glass fibers as a separator to hold the electrolyte, forming a heterogeneous porous system, between which electrolyte and gases circulate. In addition, the electrolyte is bound in the small pores of the separator due to the capillary effect, and the gas wanders through the larger pores which constitute the volume of the power source. During the initial filling of it, the quantity of electrolyte is dosed in such a way as to fill only small pores, which further reduces the consumption of electrolyte.
Structurally, the separator can be made in the form of plates and spirals. The spiral system is patented by Johnson Controls and can only be used in the Optima series. Such blocks are available only in America.
Spiral accumulators with AGM technology have an increased separator area, which makes it possible to obtain large short-term currents and a smaller charge time from such a truck battery. However, such batteries have a lower specific capacity due to a larger volume/capacity ratio.
Benefits of AGM batteries
- Rechargeable batteries made according to this technology do not call for continuous maintenance during the entire service life due to complete sealing during manufacture.
- Valve adjustment and leak tightness are specially created to prevent against electrolyte leakage and contact corrosion, and the battery remains operable even in case of damage to the container.
- The tightness of the case allows the power source to be used in any position. However, it is not recommended to put the battery upside down, because control valves will be at the bottom.
- By following the recommended battery charge mode, it makes the charging process safe and eliminates the release of acid fumes and the possibility of an explosion.
- Batteries retain their performance over a wide range of temperatures above 30 °C. Due to crystallization of the electrolyte at lower temperatures, the contact surfaces of the electrodes are destroyed, which reduces the service life and battery’s capacity.
- Batteries maintain performance over time in harsh conditions such is vibration, which is typical for road and rail transport.
- The most important advantage of batteries with AGM technology is considered resistance to deep discharge. This is ensured by a more dense packing of separators and electrodes, the retention of electrolyte in the pores of the separator and the absence of evaporation of the electrolyte and, as a result, oxidation of the surface of the electrodes.
Disadvantages of AGM batteries
Since an acid solution is used as an electrolyte, all the disadvantages of conventional lead-acid batteries are inherent in batteries:
- Large battery weight, environmental hazards due to the use of acid and lead;
- Limited number of full charge/discharge cycles – from 100 to 4000 (depending on the type of battery);
- Sensitivity to overvoltage when charging is associated with a smaller amount of electrolyte than in conventional batteries, therefore, it is necessary to set the appropriate battery charge mode and correctly select the charger.
How to select the right battery for your truck
On the market it is possible to find batteries of various sizes. This is why it is important to replace the OEM battery with a power source that fits really well. In case you not exactly sure what you need, you can try entering the necessary parameters into the filtering system on the website of the manufacturer. Your OEM power source can serve as point of reference. You will surely be able to find a number of options that meet your requirements. All that’s left to do is to choose the option that provides best characteristics if your budget allows doing that.
It is crucial to look for the battery with terminal that with the connections of the vehicle. The surface of the power source does not need to touch the hood because of the possible fire danger. Also, it would be important to assure a tight fit, so that it wouldn’t jump out of its allocated space as a result of vibration.
Other parameters a car owner should look for is the location of the terminals. Whereas most car power sources have the terminals located on top side of the casing, some of them used side terminals or a combination of both. One of the main advantages of AGM products is that it can be installed in any position. But first it is necessary to examine the exact dimensions before finalizing the purchase.
Cold-cranking amps (CCAs) represent the amps a power source can provide for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping a voltage of 7.2 amps. These parameters are very important for those who live in areas where the temperatures drop on a frequent basis. Diesel engines are known to start more difficultly in the conditions when the temperatures are approaching 0 degrees.
Finding the appropriate CCA ratings for starting your engine is crucial when choosing a battery. This can be done through contacting the car manufacturer. The numbers are different from one model to another, so keeping in mind the necessary value would be very important.
Reserve capacity (RC) is the time in which a battery can fully function with a discharge of 25 amps at the temperature of 27°С before it shows values lover than 10,5 V. This value is usually interesting to those car owners who are using a number of accessories at the same time or charge devices with their engine turned off. Not all batteries may boast with great values because it is difficult to achieve great results, especially after deep discharging. AGM power sources are capable of maintaining almost their entire capacity even following a deep discharge.
Similarly to the capacity, every battery possesses an individual life cycle. The value is indicated by the number of times during which the power source can be charged and discharging, keeping its full functionality. It is usually possible to find a predictable value in the battery’s characteristics. This number, as it turns out, depends on many factors, the main one being the mode of charging.
Batteries for trucks must meet a number of very demanding requirements. The capacity of batteries of almost all models for American trucks is 135-145A/h, which of course is a quite a solid indicator. In addition, they are equipped with a charge indicator located on the top cover of the product. The main differences between the models of batteries for American trucks are the different strength of the cold cranking amps. This indicator plays a decisive role when choosing a battery for its use in a particular machine. A battery model that produces cold cranking amps of more than 650A is best suited for ordinary trucks. But other models with a cold cranking of 950A and higher can be safely purchased both by owners of smaller trucks and bigger vehicles.
Best Batteries for Diesel Trucks
Analyzing the options for best truck battery available on the market is important for identifying the ideal choice your type of engine.
1. Optima REDTOP
Batteries of this brand are known for their high reliability. 800 Cold Cranking Amps is not something to sneeze at. With the terminals being present on top and on the sides, you can be sure that it will match perfectly to the car’s connectors. 100 minutes of RC will provide a constant work even in the toughest weather conditions. The replacement warranty is 36 months and in case of a production defect the power source will be replaced for free. This is a good and inexpensive choice when the primarily goal is to start a car. For the stable work of a large number of accessories it would be a good idea to look for other options.
2. Optima YELLOWTOP
This model can be considered a step above the RedTop series as it offers a better RC of 120 minutes and 750 Cold Cranking Amps. Thanks to materials used in its construction, it is incredibly resistant to shock, vibrations and other external influences. Optimal starting power is ensured in any weather conditions. With more than 300 cycles, it can be considered a power source with decent longevity. It offers the same warranty period as the Optima RedTop and comes with a higher price tag.
3. ACDelco 78AGM Professional
This model is safely protected against acid leakage and offers decent 740 Cold Cranking Amps, which may be suitable for a smaller diesel engine. In the class of batteries made after the AGM technology, the price stands in middle range. Due to the promised 36 months of limited warranty, the user can stay assured in the quality of this power source. It is important to note that the dimensions may differ from the stock batteries, so make sure to check every parameter. The reserve capacity for this model ranges between 110 and 115 minutes.
4. Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT
Odyssey Extreme series offers very good 850 CCAs and incredible 135 minutes of RC. These numbers are great for truck users as they can safely start the diesel engine in any conditions. With an ideal charging mode, the power source can be used for more than 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. The 4-year replacement warranty certainly indicate confidence in the product. It comes at a higher price, but the truck owners may certainly be attracted by the benefits this model has to offer.
Comparison between the top battery modelsTable could not be displayed.
When choosing the best battery for diesel trucks, it is necessary to look into the main parameters and identify the right match. The warranty can serve as an indicator of superiority of the power source, but this is not always the case as well as the price cannot be considered a sign of quality for every model. A lot depends on the use of vehicle, so extra power may be needed when the truck has to perform well in difficult conditions.