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Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter?


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picasso7
New User

Dec 2, 2012, 9:34 AM

Post #1 of 12 (38499 views)
Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

2006 Acura TL. 55k miles.

A few weeks ago, I had trouble starting my car. All lights were fine. No turnover. One of maintenance guys in my highrise tinkered around with the key, ignition, and on his tenth attempt or so, the car started right up. Not surprisingly, a few minutes of trial and error led us to conclude it was a starter problem. I took it to a dealership and explained.

Their diagnosis read, “During inspection found battery putting out 914 CCA (cold cranking amps) and normal CCA is 550. Further inspection shows starter has a dead spot, not allowing vehicle to start at times. Replaced starter, battery, and positive battery cable.”

I explained that I got a new battery at another retailer that had an automotive department (like Kmart or Midas). The dealership explained that that retailer installed “too powerful” of a battery. My subsequent dialogue with both the retailer and the dealership has been disappointing, but that’s not really relevant to my primary hope to get some peace of mind. Is there merit to the dealer claim that the retailer installed an inappropriate battery? Or did the dealership get a little hungry?

Thank you for any opinions!


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 2, 2012, 9:48 AM

Post #2 of 12 (38494 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

No, a higher than specified CCA battery won't destroy or harm a starter motor. The CCA is the available amount of current the battery can put out at 0 degrees F. The amount of current flowing in an electrical circuit is dependent on the load(s) in that circuit. The load is a device that uses current to operate. The load itself is what determines how much current is flowing in an electrical circuit. The only thing a battery does is store electrical energy and is used as a power source.

Now, if the battery's voltage was different, such as more than what the load's voltage rating is, then yes there will be damage done. For example you have an electrical motor rated for 12-14 volts and you connect that to a 24 volt power source (two 12 volt batteries connected in series), there will be damage and a lot of smoke.

So to answer your question, a battery with more storage capacity isn't going to harm your starter motor.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 2, 2012, 9:56 AM)


Hammer Time
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Dec 2, 2012, 10:18 AM

Post #3 of 12 (38463 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

That is the most outrageous statement I have ever heard to sell a battery. Arte you sure it was a dealership that said this?

As DS stated, CCA is just reserve capacity. Higher CCA is actually better for components as insufficient capacity will lead to component damage. It's like trying to pay your mortgage every month with no money reserves as opposed to having a savings account. Higher CCA reserve will make the battery last longer also because it will be cruising rather than straining all the time..



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Dec 2, 2012, 10:57 AM

Post #4 of 12 (38454 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

Ditto and NO as more CCA may not be mandatory for starting this car. Low CCA is what can be hard on a starter. The only downside I can think of is packing too many plates in the same size could make the battery less tolerant to vibrations and normal flaking with age with ordinary lead/acid type batteries,

T


Sidom
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Dec 2, 2012, 11:54 AM

Post #5 of 12 (38442 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

I think someone needs to explain ohms law to the writer at that dealership. I would love to hear the theory on this one...

So I guess the normal starter draw for this vehicle is 550 amps????? & now it's drawing 950 amps??????????? LMAO......Damn I guess all those starters I replaced that were cranking slow & causing the cable to smoke that were only drawing 200 amps were really good???? My bad....


Discretesignals
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Dec 2, 2012, 12:11 PM

Post #6 of 12 (38432 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

Believe this or not the intial amount of current the starter uses to just get moving is pretty high. Once the starter motor gets rolling the current in the circuit drops once the motor is up to speed. Of course since the motor has resistance from the pistons compressing air, the current is going to go up.

I took this waveform of a Express Van with a 4.8L. It's a normal waveform. The blue trace is the current flowing in the battery cable and the red is the battery voltage. The humps in the blue trace is each time a piston is compressing. The current spike is higher than the rating of my amp probe, so I didn't get a max reading.

Imagine the current spike from a big diesel engine cranking in cold weather. No wonder they need more than one battery.







Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 2, 2012, 1:27 PM)


Sidom
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Dec 2, 2012, 1:45 PM

Post #7 of 12 (38409 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

Yea the initial force to get anything moving always will pull a high draw.
I use that test if I suspect a compression problem, you can use a 2nd channel & sync off an injector or coil to find the exact cyl if you get a low hump or no hump.....

I don't do much diesel work so I don't know what you could sync off of other than trying to kill the comp in a known cyl


Discretesignals
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Dec 2, 2012, 2:35 PM

Post #8 of 12 (38399 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In


Quote
Yea the initial force to get anything moving always will pull a high draw.


Just like getting out of bed on a Saturday morning or getting your ass off the couch on Sunday to grab munchies out of the fridge. Or even better, trying to get Congress to work together.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 2, 2012, 2:37 PM)


picasso7
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Dec 2, 2012, 4:27 PM

Post #9 of 12 (38378 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

Thank you everyone for your time and expertise (and humor!) with this. I was a electrical engineering major in college, and remember V=IR, but of course haven't applied it since exiting college. I follow well everything said in the posts. I *am* very sure it was a dealership who explained the high CCA stance to me. I kept the invoice that states what I quoted above and would be happy to upload a photo of it to this site if appropriate, interesting, or entertaining. If it didn't breach etiquette of the site, I could even reference the dealership and the person I dealt with (shame to do that, he seemed very competent and genuinely nice/likable guy). At a minimum, I plan to send a link of this dialogue to the Customer Service person with whom I swapped emails shortly after my visit to them. They have a right to defend themselves, after all.

Unfortunately I guess, I gave the green light to the dealership to do the work. The inconsistency of the car starting, time and effort to drive to the battery installer (8 miles away in congested traffic) to complain to them, etc. felt taxing. The dealership explanation was quite convincing. I did visit the battery installer after the fact and explained. Their conduct was deplorable and won no points with me (although I now suspect that their response was technically correct).

Soon after *that* visit, I emailed the dealership again and asked them if they would/could provide more formal documentation (from some existing manual) about this CCA standard, so I could show it to the battery installer. They did not respond.

So, again, thank you everyone. Even though this rates as just another tough (expensive) life lesson, your remarks speed "peace of mind" for me. Shall I invite the dealership to join this conversation? Shall I photo and post the invoice? Shall I expose the names of the dealership and the battery installer?


Hammer Time
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Dec 2, 2012, 4:32 PM

Post #10 of 12 (38372 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

We don't need to see the invoice. Your explanation was very clear. I suspect you were dealing with a service writer. They are more salesman than technician and they have been know to throw out some BS in an effort to make the sale that they are getting commission on. The tech that recommended it in the first place however should have known better and I suspect his motives were just greed.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Dec 2, 2012, 4:33 PM)


Sidom
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Dec 2, 2012, 10:14 PM

Post #11 of 12 (38352 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In

No we don't need to see any invoices, this site isn't about that. it's more about offering free advise & help. There are many different ways a battery can fail, shorted cell, won't hold a load, leaking acid, etc. I'll have to admit this is the 1st time I've heard this one over my 30+ years.

If I had to guess I would have to say the dealer just wanted all OE parts on the system they worked on & as long as they present it that way, then that would be different. Let the customer decide if they want to scrape a fairly new 1000 CCA battery (which isn't cheap) to get a full warranty.

But even going the warranty route would really being stretching it since no car manufacturer makes their own battery.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 3, 2012, 4:08 AM

Post #12 of 12 (38336 views)
Re: Can a battery's CCA be too high & damage a starter? Sign In


Quote
Let the customer decide if they want to scrape a fairly new 1000 CCA battery (which isn't cheap) to get a full warranty.

But even going the warranty route would really being stretching it since no car manufacturer makes their own battery.


Not to mention that it would be 100% illegal to require OEM parts to maintain a warranty. (Moss-Magnessun act)



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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