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Old 05-22-2016, 10:42 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I got 31's at Rural King for $75. Check and see if you have a RK nearby.
I'd say just grab one.
No RKs in Georgia... Tractor Supply?
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:49 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by rjnye79 View Post
No RKs in Georgia... Tractor Supply?
Tractor Supply, NAPA. Although I got my 8D at an independently owned truck place for around the same cost as some of the other places
Hey! That's not an RV, that's a school bus.
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:01 PM   #23
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Not sure where in GA you are, but I'm not far from Athens and I picked up some Group 31's for about $80 each locally. Independent place, J&J battery I think is the name of it. They had less expensive options, but these were going in a truck with an ISX Cummins and I went with middle-of-the-road batteries.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rjnye79 View Post
No RKs in Georgia... Tractor Supply?
For your purposes I'd shop around and find a sub-$100 g31 somewhere local.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:32 PM   #25
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In the world of batteries, not all batteries are created equal.

In order to properly shop for the best value you need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

I have seen some Group 31 batteries that have a higher cold cranking amp rating than some 8D batteries I have seen.

For all practical purposes most school buses do not need much more than one Group 24 battery to get started if it has enough CCA's and the battery is fully charged.

School buses have large battery banks in order to never get a dead battery. During the winter with all of the lights, heaters, and blowers going even the largest alternators can not keep up with demand while the engine is at low idle--like it is at every pick up and/or drop off.

But for those of us who are repurposing a bus the odds are none of us will ever be driving one of these buses in the winter and stop with nine heaters/defrosters/blower fans running with the interior and exterior lights on while activating the crossover lights.

The best compromise would be to get one, or perhaps two, Group 31 batteries with the highest CCA rating.

If you are going to boondock you will need a battery bank to operate your 12-vdc house system which needs to be a totally separate system from the start batteries. For a house battery bank you will want deep cycle batteries that are built in a totally different fashion with different materials that do not lend themselves well to start batteries.

As to why you all of a sudden had a dead battery, a lot of things could have happened to your battery that run the gamut from it just chose this time to die or old age, a plate has become broken and shorted out the internals of the battery, or something has been inadvertently left on the last time you started the bus. One little dome light can suck an older battery down to the point where it won't resurrect in less than 48-hours.

I have had good luck with Interstate and Napa United batteries. My experience with Globe batteries have not been that great.

Since all lead acid batteries, regardless of the label, are made by one of three companies--Exide, Globe, and Interstate--it really doesn't make much difference whose battery you purchase. As long as you are comparing like CCA ratings you should be able to determine who has the best value for batteries this month.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:27 PM   #26
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I wanted to add something to Cowlitz's excellent post specifically for the DT466E owners out there.

Run dual batteries as a minimum, and three if you have room for them in the battery box. Why? Read on...

The reason lies in the FICM (fuel injection control module). Apparently a major cause of failure (second only to heat) is excessive current draw created by the dc-to-dc inverter in these units. The inverter always strives to put out 110 vdc. If you try to start a 466e with a weak battery (or a single battery), the inverter current draw can exceed the safe operating specs of the unit. (As input voltage drops, the inverter draws more and more current to compensate in an effort to keep 110 vdc at the output).

The long life solution is to keep the FICM input voltage over 12.1 volts even during cranking. Many times the only way to do this is with a second (or third) battery.

Having replaced two FICM's in a Ford F250, I can personally attest to this failure mode. Both times I had to service a FICM were the result of a low battery (or jump-start, same thing) on a hot day. As a result of this pocket-book lightening experience, I immediately put three new Group 31's into my 1999 BBird DT-466E when Imbought it, and have had pleasingly fast starts and smooth idles ever since.
"You can finally say you have enough horsepower when you leave two black streaks from corner to corner"
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