Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 20 of 54 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I wanted to share my accumulated knowledge after many(!) hours of research including reading every battery thread on the forums.

The stock 51R is woefully underpowered for the Element, particularly with cold weather and/or any kind of electrical mod or add-on. Judging from the numerous threads on battery issues, I would recommend everyone upgrade their battery at least one level (56) at next replacement.

Below is a list of proven sizes of minimal effort:

Group Size (w/ EOC URL) : Effort : CCA : Notes
51R Dropin ~450 (OEM - avoid)
56 Dropin ~500
47 Width ~550
35 Width ~600
34R Width ~650 (less common size)
24F Width ~700 (may require longer J hooks)


**51R & 56 are "Dropin", require no adjustments
**47, 35, 34R, 24F require simple "Width" adjustments: removal of plastic tray, wider tiedown strap, and bending J-hook tabs

**EOC URLs include DIY step-by-steps and hints and tips - read all even if not for your selected size

Some (simplified) general principles for consideration:

  • size 56 / ~500 CCA is fine for the average driver
  • anything >500 CCA increases reliability and allows for electrical mods
  • the higher the CCA the stronger the battery in cold temperatures and longer life when car is off
  • higher CCA = larger battery volume and/or higher price
  • CCA varies by brand, quality/level, and price - numbers listed above are a guide
  • using size variations not listed above may not fit .evdl.org/pages/bcigroup.html
  • Optima batteries tend to be smaller thus terminal position is more flexible, but they're expensive $$$
  • Sears DieHard has wonky numbering - be sure to go by "group size" not product number e.g. C-14, P5, G34R, etc.
  • assuming similar CCA, go by dealer warranty and price, not by brand - I have yet to see convincing evidence either way that expensive batteries last longer (plenty of Optimas fail in <24 months) or that inexpensive batteries won't last long (my OEM 51R lasted 6 years)

Terminal Position

The reason the sizes above are listed and not others is both because of battery size, and because terminals come in a variety of positions. The positive (red/+/POS) and negative (black/-/NEG) can be anywhere. Imagine the top of a battery in a 4x4 grid:
1 2
3 4

The OEM battery cables are only so long and the OEM placement accommodates sizes only so well.

The ideal battery terminal arrangement without any mods is:
+ -
x x

This can also be accomplished by flipping a battery around! Where the "front"/sticker is doesn't matter:
x x
- +

All size listed above are in these arrangements. The "R" MUST be included - it means "reverse". Without out, a 51 may not fit, and a 34 is an absolute pain in the ass with lots of required adjustments.

Diagonal arrangements can be okay (but are less common and not included above.
+ x
x -

Middle arrangements can also be okay (but are less common). The Optimas below have middle terminals
x x
+ -
x x


Below is a list of proven sizes of more than minimal effort (bent/new tray, longer cables, longer hooks, remove and replace surrounding parts, etc.):

Group Size (w/ DIY URL) : CCA : Notes
34 / P4 ~750-900 (terminals wrong sides and obstructed)
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67197
31R ~900 (monster, Optima 'red top')
31A ~900 (monster, Optima 'blue' or 'yellow top' only(?) because of terminals)


Backup Plans (highly recommended!)
I cannot recommend enough you get a battery jump pack. I've given away my jumper cables! This bad boy has saved me and others multiple times (Jump-N-Carry JNC300XLC).
.amazon.com/Jump-N-Carry-JNC300XLC-Ultraportable-Starter-Compliant/dp/B00CMP3Z4E/
It'll jump a stock Element on contact, and has jumped a V8 in seconds. There are lots of jumper combo kits available which are all mediocre. For not much more you can get quality individual components: jumper, tire pump, and inverter, but everyone's priorities are different. BTW, avoid this crap tire pump (Slime 40022);
it worked three times then broke. Get this heavy duty professional compressor for just a few bucks more (Viair 00073).

Finally, if you can't risk a dead battery (critical response, remote travel, etc.) get a battery protector. They're expensive (~$80-100), but they shut off all draw from the battery if it dips too low but leaves enough power to immediately start the vehicle. They also extend battery life by not allowing batteries to drain.


Me
I have little to no electrical experience. My personal struggle/journey of discovery started almost 3 years ago when GetAround added their "Connect" device to my car, an always-on GPS/cellular unit that allows tracking, data gathering, remote lock, etc. Though a small draw, it would drain the battery to the point of being unable to start the car if not driven for 4-5+ days. Then, when the temperatures dropped my car was dying daily. Long story, I eventually replaced the battery. It has lasted 2 years but is in the same position as before hence my need for an upgrade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
I put a group 24 in my element. It was an easy fit, as the group 24 size has lots of generic accessories. I found a plastic base for $10 and a nice metal hold down for another $10.

Just used some self tapping screws to mount the plastic base to the OEM base, and the new larger battery just slipped in, it fit perfectly.
Only issue I had, is my cables pass over the top of the battery and connect to the terminals along the radiator edge of the battery, instead of the windshield edge of the battery. The OEM cables were long enough to accomplish this, and it doesn't look weird, unless you're looking to find flaws in my custom mod.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Good contribution to summarize a whole bunch of disparate threads on battery sizes. I feel it is appropriate, once again, to stress the importance of battery maintenance.

YOUR BATTERY FAILS BECAUSE YOU DON'T MAINTAIN IT!!!

Now that I have your attention, please forgive my tone...I don't mean to say this specifically to the OP, I mean it for everyone who does not maintain their batteries. And really I am not yelling, I mean it with all due respect.

Vehicle charging systems are simply not designed to "maintain" a battery. They do not properly control the voltage and current while concurrently measuring temperature to keep a healthy battery. Nor are they capable of controlled over-charging, which is necessary (more on that later). Therefore, when you go buy that $150 dollar triple platinum 3 yr warranty battery and it fails after 2 years, you take it back to the store, they give you 1/3 of the price back, and sell you a "brand new" one. But here's the dirty little secret. You're not buying a brand new battery, you're buying someone else's 3yr warranty battery that they replaced a month ago, that was sent back to a battery "recycler" where all they did was refresh the battery and resell it back to the store. Your battery will be the next guy's "new" battery. They check the batteries for gross failures, the ones that pass the test get the electrolyte dumped out, refilled, super-charged, dumped out, cleaned out, refilled, and re-stickered. All of this costs relatively little money when done in bulk with the right equipment. You pay full price for a "new" battery.

This racket makes the battery companies a lot of money because, trust me, with proper maintenance, your battery will last for 5 years or more. How do I know this? Because I've done it. My new-to-me 2008 E happened to have the OEM battery (the date of manf sticker was early 2008) and it was exhibiting very poor performance. When I bought it from the original owner in 2013, it was barely holding 11.5 volts. I revived it completely and the battery is currently working splendidly; it is now going on 8 years old. I've just recently completely revived another dead battery from my Acura that was barely putting out 7 volts and wouldn't hold a charge worth a damn. It is now happily holding 12.7 volts after sitting for a week in my garage.

How do you maintain a battery properly? Well there are 2 ways.
  1. Be a nerdy engineer, know what you're doing and be very careful with explosive gasses and caustic acids, buy or acquire a 20V DC, 10A to 30A power supply, a hygrometer, and a voltmeter with a thermocouple capability, do a bunch of reading and follow the procedures on this EXCELLENT website, specifically this part. This method allows you the flexibility to experiment and teaches you a lot about batteries and electrical systems if you're inclined to learn.
  2. or, don't care much about all that stuff and just buy a battery maintainer with a desulfation algorithm, something like this guy. You can also buy one designed to be mounted in your vehicle that does what your vehicle's charging system should do but doesn't. I have not had experience with these but as long as you occasionally drive long distances, in theory it should work. Something like this little guy. You should still read the website above so you know what your desulfator is doing.
Do one of these two things once a year or when performance starts to noticeably degrade. Best time is before the winter hits.

Sorry to hijack your post. If enough people want to, I will start a new thread for discussion purposes on this topic. But I wanted to get it in people's minds that batteries SHOULD NOT go bad after 2 years. I hope that was helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I put a group 24 in my element. It was an easy fit, as the group 24 size has lots of generic accessories. I found a plastic base for $10 and a nice metal hold down for another $10.

Just used some self tapping screws to mount the plastic base to the OEM base, and the new larger battery just slipped in, it fit perfectly.
Only issue I had, is my cables pass over the top of the battery and connect to the terminals along the radiator edge of the battery, instead of the windshield edge of the battery. The OEM cables were long enough to accomplish this, and it doesn't look weird, unless you're looking to find flaws in my custom mod.
Thanks for the post! Proof that the 24 fits with the terminals on the far side but without any apparent problems.

I just installed a 24F (Knecht's (Oregon chain) 720CCA, $100 (got a free defect exchange and paid the upgrade difference of $20), 3year warranty, 100month pro-rated). Bent the J-hook tabs like many others and got a new tiedown. Drop-in install otherwise. However, it's not seated as solidly as I would prefer so I'm going to tinker a bit, or add a proper group 24 base.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Good contribution to summarize a whole bunch of disparate threads on battery sizes. I feel it is appropriate, once again, to stress the importance of battery maintenance.

YOUR BATTERY FAILS BECAUSE YOU DON'T MAINTAIN IT!!!

I wanted to get it in people's minds that batteries SHOULD NOT go bad after 2 years. I hope that was helpful.
Thank you. It's a separate but directly related topic so it's not a highjack. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting a larger battery. But your advice is very true: proper maintenance is necessary to ensure that ANY battery lasts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Thanks for the post! Proof that the 24 fits with the terminals on the far side but without any apparent problems.

I just installed a 24F (Knecht's (Oregon chain) 720CCA, $100 (got a free defect exchange and paid the upgrade difference of $20), 3year warranty, 100month pro-rated). Bent the J-hook tabs like many others and got a new tiedown. Drop-in install otherwise. However, it's not seated as solidly as I would prefer so I'm going to tinker a bit, or add a proper group 24 base.
The base is super important.

Look in the trailer section of your local auto parts store. Or check with custom hot rod shops.
The group 24 seems to be popular with both of those groups.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
I put a group 24 in my element. It was an easy fit, as the group 24 size has lots of generic accessories. I found a plastic base for $10 and a nice metal hold down for another $10.
Is this a 24F? I thought the terminals should be on the other side with 24F.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Is this a 24F? I thought the terminals should be on the other side with 24F.
It's a 24. So both 24 and 24F work. As they noted, the cables pass over the battery to the front on the 24. No apparent issues. There are other sizes where this will not work because of OEM cable length and/or clearance with other components.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,041 Posts
Upgraded my Element to a group 24 right after I bought it, picked up a metal battery tray at a local hotrod shop, installed new battery terminals (to accommodate stereo amplifiers), & never looked back. Thing has been rock solid reliable & has never left me questioning if it was going to start or not, and going on 5+ years with this battery already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Thanks to all of the above posts -- just installed an Autocraft Gold 24 --Reserve Capacity: 130 min, made all the parts except for the tray
Worked Great
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Autocraft 34 AGM here, cables just reach. Replaced Optima that had been there for 7 years.

Cheaper price via coupon on website, but then they don't install. Did lend me some barely functional tools to do it myself, was traveling so saved me digging mine out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Question. I installed a 24F battery today (3 year old 51R died). For the time being I have it "wedged" in the OEM metal tray sides that I had to bend outward, is this okay for long term or should I get an aftermarket tray so the battery sits completely flat and supported? As it is now the bottom of the battery is probably suspended above the OEM tray. I have a 2008 E EX. The battery seems to be very stable and won't slide or move around.
 

·
Registered
MM 2005 EX, AT southwest WI
Joined
·
582 Posts
Question. I installed a 24F battery today (3 year old 51R died). For the time being I have it "wedged" in the OEM metal tray sides that I had to bend outward, is this okay for long term or should I get an aftermarket tray so the battery sits completely flat and supported? As it is now the bottom of the battery is probably suspended above the OEM tray. I have a 2008 E EX. The battery seems to be very stable and won't slide or move around.
Get or fabricate a tray or spacer for the OEM tray so the battery bottom is fully supported. It is important! I fabricated a tray out of hdpe plastic for my group 35 but there are pretty good ones available cheaply for the group 24s IIRC.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Get or fabricate a tray or spacer for the OEM tray so the battery bottom is fully supported. It is important! I fabricated a tray out of hdpe plastic for my group 35 but there are pretty good ones available cheaply for the group 24s IIRC.
Thanks for that advise Marv. This will be one of my weekend projects to get a spacer underneath the battery so it's fully supported. This kind of perplexes me as the OEM tray has sides that can't easily be removed thus I had to bend them outward. Unless I completely remove the metal OEM tray (at the moment I can't exactly remember how it's attached but I don't think it's easy to remove) and install a new one, I'm thinking that a spacer is the way to go. Tell me this, could the spacer be made from wood or like you said best to get a sheet of plastic?
 

·
Registered
MM 2005 EX, AT southwest WI
Joined
·
582 Posts
People have used plywood but I prefer plastic as it absolutely won't soak up moisture. My wife keeps me supplied with 1/2" and 5/8" hdpe sold as cuttingboards at Sams and TJMax or tossed from commercial kitchens (we're both closeout and scrounge specialists). It has a myriad of uses, doesn't glue as well as ABS but plasti-welds quite well.
 
1 - 20 of 54 Posts
Top