Battery replacement for 2002 TBird

According to the fitment specs there is no aftermarket battery available for the 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbirds or the Lincoln LS, and the only place to get a battery is the dealer, with that oh so popular ADDED DEALER PROFIT built right in! There are many aftermarket batteries available that have the same amps ratings or higher and the same dimensions and post configuration - is there some legitimate reason I cannot use one of these instead of helping cover the dealer’s boat payment?

O’Reilly Auto parts shows a Motorcraft BXT 66-650 special order; and that O’Reilly branded group size 65 and 66 may work. I would start there if O’Reilly has stores in your area. For the future, telling us the exact group size you need would be helpful. It is generally on the battery.

Thanks, unfortunately I live in AZ and the nearest O’Reillys is in TX - at least until they finalize their proposed purchase of CSK, but I can’t wait that long!

I’m not familiar with this battery configuration but since they’re rear mounted the oddity would be that the battery is probably equipped with a vent tube, whereas most batteries do not have this or even need it. It would be done to keep hydrogen gas out of the trunk compartment; a la Hindenburg.
There’s about a 98% chance this could be worked around but not being familiar with the battery setup details I can’t be of much help on that.

You might do a search on the O’Reilly site; I think they have a shipping option and this might be cost effective.
The dealer will have a high price on the battery out of necessity; their overhead is extremely high and FOMOCO is certainly not giving the dealers new batteries at a cheap discount rate. The dealer is also paying dearly for them.

Thanks. Since posting this question I have learned, as you say, that the TBird and Lincoln LS batteries do have a vent tube, otherwise they are pretty much a regular group 65.

No O’Reilly shipping option for the wet batteries. Two options, though:

  1. The info at the O’Reilly website shows that possibly a Group 65 (very, very common) or Group size 66 fits. I would measure the battery dimensions and go to your favorite store and measure a Group size 65. If the venting issue is a requirement, then see #2 below.

  2. Find a Motorcraft supplier who is not a Ford dealer, and you may get a better price break on the battery. O’Reilly price range was $72-101 for their own brand battery, and you had to call to get the Motorcraft BXT-66 price. Depending on where you live, some local auto part store may be able to procure a Motorcraft battery for you at a competitive price.

Try calling different dealers and ask for a lower price. There’s nothing that keeps them from offering lower prices… Honestly, there are plenty of dealers around here who will sell to you at the same general price as you would get from any outside store/shop…

Had the same thing with my Olds with battery under seat. Required a Delco but I found an AC supplier and got it for around $100. Check with a Goodyear dealer since they offered it for just slightly more and would have been able to get it in a day from their supplier.

There may a way around this, even if not completely proper.
Is the battery inside a completely enclosed box and does the vent tube originate at the battery itself?

I don’t know why a “normal” battery could not be used if the battery is completely enclosed and the vent tube could simply vent the box itself rather than the battery; assuming the tube is connected to the original battery instead of the box.
The tube can be angled backwards underneath the car and slash cut on one end. This would allow the road draft to pull any fumes out of the battery compartment. This would be similar to the old road draft tubes they used 50 years ago to pull crankcase fumes out of the engine while it was running; back before PCV valves, etc.

One of my “tinker toy” cars is done like this with no problems. Due to engine modifications, and no battery space left over, the battery was relocated to the rear hatch area, cables routed through the car to the engine, and a vent tube run underneath the vehicle.

Of course, if the battery is not enclosed in a near airtight box and merely sitting on a tray then this would not work. A box would have to fabbed or purchased.
Just offhand, what are they wanting for a new OEM battery? Or should I go ahead and cringe? :slight_smile:

Of course the battery is not in an enclosure (other than the trunk). Dealers here last year wanted $129 for the battery (only one option) and this year for some reason it is $109 exchange.

For the difference between Motorcraft from a dealer at $109 and the O’Reilly own brand exact fit option, I would just pay the $109 and be done with it.

If the dealer only wants $109, what is the big deal? That isn’t that much more than most batteries cost…

For example, for my 1997 Taurus, here are the costs:

Duralast Gold: $82.99
DieHard Gold: $99.99
Autocraft Battery: $86.98
Werker Ultra: $64.99
Interstate Mega-Tron Plus: $89.95

So $109 isn’t cheap, but it really isn’t much more than a DieHard would cost…

I’m inlcined to agree about just shelling out the 109. It’s high but not nearly as high as I assumed it might be.
The only other option would be a mounting conversion to an enclosed box. This would not be hard to do but may only be feasible if you’re planning on keeping the car for many, many years.

You could install a recombinant (sealed), AGM battery and no venting is needed. I don’t know about the cost. It seems like auto manufacturers will go this way anyway. I think several cars have these already installed in the trunk or under the seats.