Small battery driving you nuts? A BIGGER BATTERY FITS! - Honda Element Owners Club Forum
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Old 02-18-2004, 04:56 PM   #1
MikeQBF
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Small battery driving you nuts? A BIGGER BATTERY FITS!

Check the date of this posting. It's old... practically ancient history in Internet time. Anyway, today's (early 2008 ) Optima is apparently not of the same quality as four years ago, although the packaging is the same. Accordingly, all of the below is caveat emptor.

I just put in an Optima "blue top" (marine spec) deep-cycle battery, in Group Size 31:



This battery is slightly wider, slightly taller, and about 3 inches longer than stock. It's rated 900 CCA (cold cranking amps), vs. 410 for stock, and 80 Amp-Hours, vs 45. It was not necessary to use the "blue top", but I wanted the extra terminals for other projects. The "yellow top" Optima D31A is the same battery.

Notes:

1) The stock battery cover and tray/heat shield are removed.

2) You'll probably notice that the big plastic box to the right is missing in my photo (that's the intake resonator). The new battery is a tight fit with the resonator, but it will fit if you unclip the cable clamp from the bottom left of the battery tray.

3) The "blue top" negative (-) terminal was too far back. I had to re-route ground cabling and move some clamps to get it to work with the stock ground harness. This particular wiring is very simple (it's just 4 AWG) and could be duplicated.

3a) This is not a problem with the "yellow top" D31 - terminals are in the right places.

4) There is no holddown clamp in the photo. The stock clamps are about 1/8" too short and the bar is too narrow. A trip to AutoZone is in order for generic replacements. Do not drive your E without the battery clamped-down!

5) A "regular" Group Size 31 battery may not fit. Optimas are usually physically smaller than their spec.

6) At 60 pounds, this battery is double the weight of the OEM battery.

I bought the battery through http://www.remybattery.com for $139 plus $16 shipping. This was by nearly $40 the best price I could find anywhere for this size, which is the largest single-unit battery Optima makes.

Last edited by MikeQBF; 01-01-2008 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Recanting recommendation
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Old 02-18-2004, 06:20 PM   #2
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Will that size battery work if you have an intake system installed?
It could just be the angle of the pic, but I have the short ram from injen installed right now and the filter sits right behind the headlight, looks like it would be a tight squeeze. Also the pipe for the cold air intake system may not work with a battery that length. Then again it could just be the angle the pic was taken.
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Old 02-18-2004, 06:32 PM   #3
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It might still fit, but obviously it's going to depend entirely on how they routed the intake tubing.

The key with this particular battery is that the width is the same as the width of the stock battery plus the cover; height is sort of a don't-care as long as you can still route the cables and close the hood.

Add 1" to 1-1/2" to the stock battery "box" on the fender side, and you'll get a good idea whether the Size 31 will fit with your intake.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the post.

I've had a couple Optimas in my Del Sol, and according to all the specs it won't fit. But if you remove the clamps and drop it in it fits just fine, no where to go but up.

I'm good and ready to swap the battery in the Element. I've left the rear hatch open a couple times while parked in the garage and killed the battery. ( why doesn't it time out like the front dome light?)
The Del Sol was like that before I put in the Optima, but after I could leave the headlights on for hours and still be able to start it.

I had been pondering one of the new "smaller" group 51 Optimas, but the full size one is really the way to go.
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Old 02-19-2004, 05:47 PM   #5
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I recently installed the smaller 51 Optima yellow top and the fit is exact. I agree the larger battery would be nice, but the one I installed has 500 CCA and 70 min reserve. That is better than the stock battery (which I've had nothing but problems with but that's another story) and I really needed something I "knew" would work, even with the CIA.
I can't understand why Honda did not install a larger battery to begin with, there seems to be plenty of room under the hood.
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Old 02-19-2004, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
I can't understand why Honda did not install a larger battery to begin with, there seems to be plenty of room under the hood.
My theory with the Del Sol was that they only put just enough battery to get by. The tiny engine in that car could almost get by with a kickstarter, so not much was required.

The downside was you had little reserve should you want to use electric gadgets while the engine was off. An hour with the headlights on a cold day might be enough to hinder starting.

I have the 5 speed, so pushing is possible. I just pushed the Element six feet to get the slope of the driveway to do it the first time, but that's annoying.


Hmm.. wonder if I can re-use my Element's stock battery as part of my home network UPS? At least it's bigger than the gel cell I have now
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Last edited by T Mac; 12-08-2004 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 02-19-2004, 06:17 PM   #7
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>..wonder if I can re-use my Element's stock battery as part of my home network UPS?

Technically possible but not recommended. The stock battery is a conventional flooded (wet) cell design, and is subject to the problems with that technology - off-gassing (hydrogen), leakage and corrosive vapor. IOW, something you don't generally want to have in the house.

There's a lot more to "gel-cell" (matrix electrolyte) batteries than just the ability to mount in any position.
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Old 07-01-2004, 02:07 PM   #8
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The D31A "yellow top" does indeed fit--barely! The negative cable was still tight. I later added a shutoff switch on the neg. post, which relieved the strain.



You can save the Honda battery to run ... a Game Boy!

Thanks, MikeQBF, for the find.
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:13 PM   #9
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I was used to a pickup truck with a shell on back and would leave the shell door open quite often on the truck and not think of it. As you point out, this leaves a light on in the Element that can drain the battery with time, and how often do you REALLY need that light?

I was thinking that even better than an irritating fade out light (fade just as you are loading some big item) would be a simple on off switch like the "dome light". So inspired by your post, I took a look at the light...

D'oh!

Already there. Just switched it off and will use the light as a "manual" light WHEN I need it.

Dang this is a nice vehicle for the money!!! I have owned a few cheap lower end vehicles in my day, because I prefer low end new cars to glitzed up used cars, and the Element does a nice job of putting in some well thought out appointments while still keeping the cost down.





[quote=" "]Thanks for the post.

......
I'm good and ready to swap the battery in the Element. I've left the rear hatch open a couple times while parked in the garage and killed the battery. ( why doesn't it time out like the front dome light?)....
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Old 11-10-2004, 11:43 PM   #10
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what would be the advantage of a bigger battery? (considering that the e already comes with a battery that is doin' it's job and that the models discussed add a lot of weight)

i'm all for it -and the yellow looks very cool
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