Optima Battery Upgrade

Made it to 63k miles, now I need a battery replacement / upgrade.

Normally, a battery is not much of a car mod, but in this case, it was quite the upgrade. I have needed a battery for a while, and I thought I’d make it through the winter, but I didn’t want extra strain on the alternator, so it is time. I pushed it one day too far, as I had ordered a new Optima Red Top battery, but the car shit out on me the day it came in! [doh!] The stock OEM battery is $120.00 @ AllMoparParts + shipping, and is rated @ 600 CCA. Optima does not make a battery specifically for the Dart, so I had to improvise a little bit. I found a universal Optima Red Top that fit, and was rated @ 900 CCA – 300 over stock, and only $100 more, found locally.

The terminals were a little farther forward, so I had to bend the battery connections a little bit. Now all of the extra ground lines are tied to the same post, so I need to do some cleanup. Admittedly, the engine bay was a bit of a disaster, anyway, and I was waiting to swap the battery before I cleaned everything up, re-routed the non-factory wires, and tidied up. I’m going to add posts on the front of the battery and separate the main lines from those, and re-solder some of the ground lines, as one had come off when I was pulling cables around. This battery is a beast – all of the small issues I had (random cylinder mis-fires, random CELs from the Unichip, and strange DRL switchback behavior) are all gone. The unichip uses 100% of the electrical system in the Dart, so it makes sense how much better it runs now. Since I put so many leds & add-ons that this was a needed upgrade.


The strange looking white bar in front of the battery is an LED strip used for resistance to cure the “park light out” error. It will be mounted and moved, eventually.


Voltage Stabilizer and Additional Ground Lines

  1. Next up is the Raizin Voltage Stabilizer – this smoothes out small variations in voltage, and also monitors battery voltage under the hood. It gives an LCD readout, and alerts if there is a battery issue. The small cables that came with it were fine for functionality, but since I added third party items that draw voltage (Amplifier, interior LEDs, exterior LED’s, etc) I wanted more support.

    In addition to this small controller box, i added large 0/1 Awg grounding wires all under the hood, and connecting to the fuse block, as well as grounding the audio components in the trunk. I used the wires that came with the kit, and also created/soldered my own using bulk wire and connectors from our shop. The connections were heavily soldered for extra rigidity and support. This connected virtually everything under the hood and supported it’s grounds. You have to be very careful, as the engine gets super hot, so the cable must be run in specific places to avoid melting.

  2. yodamusic's Avatar

    I love this freakin’ car!