This article shows you how to replace the OEM Ford batteries with Optima D34 series Yellow-Top batteries. This "how to" article was performed on a 2000 Ford Excursion with a 7.3L Powerstroke. The concept outlined in this article may also be applied to other vehicles, too.
The Ford Excursion and SuperDuty will use the Optima D34 series Yellow-Top battery. There are also hybrid series where Optima offers top and side mount posts. You will only need the D34 top-post series for your Excursion or SuperDuty.
I opted for the Yellow-Top deep-cycle batteries because I have an aftermarket stereo. I've run my OEM batteries down multiple times just having the stereo play while working in the yard. The Optima Yellow-Tops are specifically designed for this type of extended use without losing significant charge.
The goal of this install is to show how to replace the dual OEM batteries with Optima's deep-cycle, D34 Yellow-Top batteries.
Using a 13mm wrench, loosen the nut on the battery terminal of the negative wire first. Set the negative wire aside, then loosen and remove the positive cable. Be sure the positive cable doesn't hit any metal otherwise it will spark.
b.) Remove the battery retainer bolt.
The OEM battery has insulation around it. The bolt is located between the insulation and the battery.
c.) Remove battery.
Careful, it's heavy. There are two handles on the sides of the battery. Watch your knuckles as you pull it out, it's a tight fit.
Remove the plastic wrapping and the red and black terminal covers. Pay close attention to the positive and negative terminals for when you reinstall the battery.
b.) Install the retaining clips.
Install the retaining clips on each side of the battery prior to setting it into the tray. These retaining clips are a must as the Optima battery is significantly smaller than the OEM battery. The retaining clips provide the necessary extension for the battery to fit securely into the OEM battery tray.
c.) Install the battery.
d.) Secure the battery.
Use the new plastic fastener (with the old bolt) to secure the battery into place. Make sure the battery can not be moved after tightening the bolt.
e.) Reconnect negative and positive cables.
Reconnect the negative wire, then reconnect the positive wire. Tighten using your 13mm wrench. Wiggle the wires to ensure they do not come loose.
(The process of removing and reinstalling the battery is the same for the driver's side. The only difference is the plastic casing that is installed on the driver's side. This shows you how to remove it. Otherwise, follow the same steps above for removal and installation of this battery.)
a.) Remove plastic housing.
There are several plastic tabs that hold the battery casing into place. The tabs are all labeled, simply loosen them all and the housing will come loose. Note that the housing will not correctly fit over the Optima when it's reinstalled. You will need to leave the housing off.
My battery light had started going on after 155,000 miles and 5 years on my OEM batteries. The new Optimas certainly made a difference when starting and I can now confidently listen to football games on Sundays when working outside and not have to worry about draining the batteries!
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