The tyranny of too many options
Dave Barker finds that too much choice means too much effort to make a sensible decision about a battery for his SI
Iknow, it’s entirely my own fault. I have neglected my Series I for well over a year now. It’s not been driven any distance; in fact, I suspect it’s a year since I started it. But on the plus side, during that year looking at prices of other Series Is that have come up for sale, even non-roadgoing trials cars, mine has increased in value just sat there. But with the recent rush of nostalgia for older Land Rovers, from Facebook sites such as the Old Trials Motor Group, and the planned Patina Nationals RTV Trial in September, I felt I needed to get mine running and be out driving it again.
Not unsurprisingly, the battery was flat. I do have a spare battery and once connected quickly got the V8 turning over and, after a minute, once the fuel pump had pumped enough fresh petrol into the carbs, it fired up and was running with the familiar V8 burble. I tried to charge up the old battery, an Odyssey, but after testing it it was still showing up as faulty and needed to be replaced. I was a bit
disappointed as normally Odyssey batteries are superb and survive not being used. Maybe I let it run down for too long this time. Or maybe the battery was getting a bit old; it will be over eight years now, so a new battery was required
After checking the price of a replacement Odyssey PC1500 I thought it was maybe a bit expensive for what I needed, so I took a look at alternatives. Now the internet should make looking for things easier, opening up the world of suppliers, but what it’s done, is make it even more complicated with far too many options. With so many batteries of the same size or similar size, some with bigger capacity or a few extra cranking amps, I was left wondering which one to go for?
For a bit of fun I checked out a website which only seems to let you look at batteries if you put your number plate in first. Bizarrely, it didn’t recommend any battery, it just said that the vehicle is not listed. So, instead, after deciding what physical size of battery I needed and its type part number, I looked at the various options available, which was around 30 different types, sizes, makes and prices.
The one thing the internet did do however, was show up the massive difference in prices for the same battery from the various suppliers. For an Odyssey PC1500 the difference is not great, around £40, but on more normal batteries it could be far more.
With a Bosch battery, the same as I have in my Defender, if I collected it from my local branch of a national autofactor it was listed at £185.99. I did manage to find a discount code for them offering 33 per cent off, but even then it was more expensive than a mail order company which was £97.02, including postage.
Then a similar battery with the same output and cranking amps and warranty from a less well-known brand could be had for £76.16.
So, I’m now left wondering what I should do. I suspect I will go with the mail order company, but I might wait, I have a car battery that will do for now and I will shop around at the next 4x4 show for a good deal on a gel deep-cycle battery. Until then I suspect the battery charger will be doing its job keeping the Series I’s battery going.