Dec 9, 2015 update to the Ford SVT Focus project car

Choosing a Lightweight Battery for our SVT Focus

Is there a better way to start the morning than with a dead battery? Yes.
The old battery was covered in acid, and completely dead.
We found this Odyssey on Amazon for just over $100. It's much smaller and lighter than a stock battery.
The factory battery tie-down is remarkably simple: just a nylon strap with a bolt on one end.
To make the tie-down fit a smaller battery, we poked a new hole further up the strap.
The new battery fits great, and has plenty of juice to start our little engine.

We subjected our daily-driver 2003 Ford SVT Focus to yet another rallycross and a track day at Sebring. Then, we walked out to it one morning, clicked the unlock button, and were met with nothing. A quick peek under the hood revealed a battery box covered in acid.

We topped up the battery’s water, slapped our NOCO jump starter on it, fired up the car, and drove to work. Then, lunchtime came, and we had to jump the Focus yet again. A full charge and a multimeter confirmed our fears: Our battery was toast. We’re guessing something internal was shaken loose during one of the rallycross’s many bumps.

It was time for a new battery, so we started shopping around. We figured this was a good opportunity to save some weight, but we also wanted something that would put up with all of our abuse. And, of course, it couldn’t cost much money.

After lots of deliberation and a few testimonials from Focus forums, we settled on the Odyssey PC680. It weighs 15 pounds, handily starts our Focus, and can be found online for just a touch over $100. Plus, Odyssey (and many of its happy customers) claim their batteries are nearly indestructible, as well as spill-proof. We modified the factory hold-down, fired up the Focus, and pointed its nose south: It was time for another rallycross.

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Comments

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captdownshift
captdownshift UltraDork
12/9/15 10:29 a.m.

The lightweight battery market has gotten fantastically competitive, meaning lightweight options, including those that are Lithium Ion, now cost as much as AGM spiral cell options did just 5 years ago.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/9/15 10:45 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: The lightweight battery market has gotten fantastically competitive, meaning lightweight options, including those that are Lithium Ion, now cost as much as AGM spiral cell options did just 5 years ago.

What's your favorite low-buck lightweight battery? I'd like to see how it compares.

Thanks!

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
12/9/15 11:13 a.m.

I've got a Braille B2015 installed in my car.

wbjones
wbjones MegaDork
12/9/15 11:38 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: We subjected our daily-driver [2003 Ford SVT Focus](http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/2003-ford-focus-svt/) to yet another [rallycross](https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/2003-ford-focus-svt/another-round-rallycross/) and a [track day at Sebring](https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/2003-ford-focus-svt/focus-sebring/). Then, we walked out to it one morning, clicked the unlock button, and were met with nothing. A quick peek under the hood revealed a battery box covered in acid. We topped up the battery's water, slapped our [NOCO jump starter](http://www.geniuschargers.com/boost/) on it, fired up the car, and drove to work. Then, lunchtime came, and we had to jump the Focus yet again. A full charge and a multimeter confirmed our fears: Our battery was toast. We're guessing something internal was shaken loose during one of the rallycross's many bumps. It was time for a new battery, so we started shopping around. We figured this was a good opportunity to save some weight, but we also wanted something that would put up with all of our abuse. And, of course, it couldn't cost much money. After lots of deliberation and a few testimonials from Focus forums, we settled on the [Odyssey PC680](http://www.odysseybattery.com/default.aspx). It weighs 15 pounds, handily starts our Focus, and can be found online for just a touch over $100. Plus, Odyssey (and many of its happy customers) claim their batteries are nearly indestructible, as well as spill-proof. We modified the factory hold-down, fired up the Focus, and pointed its nose south: It was time for another rallycross. Not a subscriber? You're not reading the full story. Each magazine contains everything you're missing and more. Subscribe to Grassroots Motorsports now.

FWIW I'm in the process of replacing my Odyssey PC680T in my TT/autoX CRX ... it lasted 7+ yrs

FSP_ZX2
FSP_ZX2 Dork
12/9/15 11:54 a.m.

Walmart Lawn Tractor battery. 11# (confirmed on Walmart bathroom scale, located two aisles over from battery rack). $25.00. We put a new one in the FSP car every 2 years or so.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/9/15 12:01 p.m.

I ran a 680 in my last two cars.. great battery

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
12/9/15 12:10 p.m.
FSP_ZX2 wrote: Walmart Lawn Tractor battery. 11# (confirmed on Walmart bathroom scale, located two aisles over from battery rack). $25.00. We put a new one in the FSP car every 2 years or so.

I am running that exact battery in the Accord. It has unleashed 2 liters of fury every time. Even when Tunakid #1 drove it and it stalled a few times in a row, it restarted each time without an issue.

And it made way more room under the hood.

Untitled

echoechoecho
echoechoecho Reader
12/9/15 2:00 p.m.
FSP_ZX2 wrote: Walmart Lawn Tractor battery. 11# (confirmed on Walmart bathroom scale, located two aisles over from battery rack). $25.00. We put a new one in the FSP car every 2 years or so.

I got the same battery In my FSP/Challenge car, works like a charm. Got it on sale plus with a $5 coupon it came out to 15 dollars total! I really want to try out one of the lithium iron batteries from Battery Tender but for a 6lbs difference I dont think it justifies adding a zero to the above price.

jere
jere HalfDork
12/9/15 2:07 p.m.

I like universal battery brand, lots of different sealed batteries for half the cost of the name brands. I have bought hawker/odessy clones for $45 shipped. They last just as long, always fire up weigh the pretty much the same and fit in the same space. The only difference i ran into was the terminals. 2 10mm bolts and a few inches of scrap copper tubing fixed that problem

dj
dj Reader
12/9/15 2:17 p.m.

I have bought two pc680s. One is going over four years old and the other was stolen! They are awesome batteries.

DanyloS
DanyloS Reader
12/9/15 2:39 p.m.

I put a Shorai Lithium battery in my Buell this past spring. Worked great all summer and fall. Very noticeable difference going from ~10lbs to ~2lbs I considered the need to adjust my rear suspension settings but decided it was easier to eat more junk food and gain back the 8lbs

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
12/9/15 2:46 p.m.
dj wrote: I have bought two pc680s. One is going over four years old and the other was stolen! They are awesome batteries.

Don't let it die. You'll never get it back, and you may get a very scary bulge in the side.

Other than that, I really loved the PC680 I had in my GTV.

iceracer
iceracer PowerDork
12/9/15 5:22 p.m.

My PC680 started my ZX2SR in below zero temperatures. Didn't think it would but it did.

Will
Will SuperDork
12/9/15 6:16 p.m.

I run this one in my Camaro. Weighs under two pounds, and it's strong enough to start an LS1. Though I will say I haven't let it go more than 4 days disconnected from a battery tender.

sesto elemento
sesto elemento Dork
12/9/15 7:02 p.m.

3 years in to 4 different shorais, zero failures, zero issues, always exceed expectations.

pirate
pirate Reader
12/11/15 2:13 p.m.

I have a PC680 in a project car. ordered the battery before I actually needed it so it set for 6 weeks or so. Put it in the car and it started right up without ever having to charge it. Since then the car has sit for extended periods of time of over a month at it still has the cranking power to start the car. I have never been able to that with acid batteries.

asoduk
asoduk Reader
12/11/15 6:33 p.m.

I'd really like to see a build on a custom A123 battery pack. They are popular in the sport bike world and somewhere online (that I cannot find ATM) there is a huge thread about building them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTDctiyUa9E

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/11/15 7:23 p.m.

Odysseys are great. I've got them in a bunch of cars, and if you have a kill switch on the car the battery will last forever.

You do want to use the right kind of charger, though. I use one of the CTEK Multi 7002s, as recommended by Odyssey. It's brought back a couple that were flatlined.

jere
jere HalfDork
12/11/15 8:06 p.m.
asoduk wrote: I'd really like to see a build on a custom A123 battery pack. They are popular in the sport bike world and somewhere online (that I cannot find ATM) there is a huge thread about building them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTDctiyUa9E

I would be worried about battery life, i love lithum-ion 18650s and cutting weight.There would need to be a battery management system i would think. If anything one has ever had a gps or laptop and just left it plugged in all the time its the same problem that would occur in a lith-ion battery pack. The batteries need discharged or they have a shortened lifespan.

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS HalfDork
12/14/15 9:43 p.m.

I recently went with a XS Power 680 for my 78 Z28. It sits on a battery tender and is not driven daily. I installed in fall and made it to the track on a TNT night for 8 passes in 3 hours - no problems.

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