Why are WestCo batteries such crap?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by ozmoses, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    Just found out my fourth (& last!!) WestCo is dead after spending the off season on a tender, in a heated shop.

    Some background-

    Battery #1 arrived and was installed but failed before the month of May, 2 years ago, was out. IIRC, it lasted 29 days exactly. I did contact MK Battery, they did send a replacement which arrived cracked & leaking...so they sent out another. The package was not damaged, just the battery, which I found odd.

    In the meantime:

    Not believing it could be a failed, new battery I performed troubleshooting,etc & out of frustration bought a WalMart "neverstart" that I could always use in the tractor. It fired the bike right up.

    When the replacement for the replacement arrived I installed that in another bike. That WestCo was in use for 6 months, then stored as per my conversation with Paul(?) at MK battery- on a tender in a heated space. The next spring, which was last year, that battery was leaking. After a few conversations, he sent yet another one my way. Though the bike it was in last year saw minimal use, it was on a tender & it seemed to function fine up to the day I removed it.

    Taking it out of storage & installing it earlier today, I was anxious to hear the bike wake up. What I heard was...nothing. No starter, no lights. Dead.

    Battery seems to have a "surface" charge only, failing under load. Not only that, but if I'm reading the code correctly, this battery is actually older than the one I initially purchased by one full year!

    So, at best for me, a WestCo lasted 6 mos of minimal use. The WalMart version is still going strong.

    I'm not interested in any sort of warranty replacement again, pro-rated, 100% free or otherwise & won't even make the call. These batteries, whomever manufacturers them vs labelling, are at least in my experience, crap.

    Am I alone in this experience?
    #1
  2. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    Wow, sounds like you've had troubles! I have a WestCo battery that is still good after 9 years.
    #2
  3. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    You may be alone with that sort of run of bad luck, but I've replaced lots and lots of Westcos. Many of them didn't last long or allowed ABS faults on Oilheads from the beginning.

    I think they're junk. Maybe they used to be OK when they were actually Panasonics but now they seem to be lowest bidder.

    I sell a lot of Odysseys and they last very well.
    #3
  4. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    Anton, I may want to try an Odyssey for my other R90S.
    #4
  5. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Made in China gives me a lot of trouble. Nothing against Chinese people. I know they can make good stuff if they want to but I guess most buyers don't want good stuff. Working 70 hours a week for 28 cents an hour isn't good either. Especially when just saying the word 'union' can get you 12 years in prison. In this country China is a lot of people's model for free market capitalism. China is run by Marxist. It's really quite a good example of what any country would be like without unions and workers rights. Without unions and workers rights a marxist and a capitalist end up being about the same thing I guess.
    #5
  6. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    Don't discount the tender as being bad. For long term storage I've taken to using a digital lamp timer and setting it to come on only for a few hours ever few days.
    #6
  7. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

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    Wow..

    I've had two in my airhead. First one lasted 9 years, and I replaced it because I thought, damn that's an old battery.

    That was in 2008. The second seems to be holding up just as well.

    I don't trickle charge my batteries. My airhead will sit sometimes 6 months over the winter in my unheated garage. :dunno
    I've never had to jump start the bike.
    #7
  8. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    AGM batteries are the new technology, but I'm a traditionalist and use the old reliable slosh-batteries. At least you can remove the filler caps and check the state of each cell with a hygrometer. And Yuasa is built here in the USA.
    #8
  9. Boxer Metal

    Boxer Metal Mad Scientist

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    I sold thousands upon thousands of Westco batteries over 10 years and the only issue we ever had was one batch of 12V30's which was a /6 and /7 battery. Westco took care of them and never a problem since.
    Sounds like your charger might be the issue or.......
    #9
  10. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    9 years?!? That's living right.

    All in all though, it seems I'm not alone in my sentiment about WestCo brand...interestingly mine were (are) the 12v30's.
    #10
  11. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    AGM batteries have been around for 30 years now. Even good batteries have a lot of bad batteries in the mix. Panasonic has been the buzz battery for a while now and I hear bad stories along with the good about them too. That's batteries in general but I think that part of the deal is a lot worse coming out of China. I have seen Battery Tenders cook wet cells dry in a year's time. They over charge big time as far as leaving them hooked up continuously is concerned.
    #11
  12. batoutoflahonda

    batoutoflahonda Long timer

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    I don't charge them over winter (Oct.-April/May) and I've had a mix of batteries, including wesco. They sit in the bike (dirt, oilhead, airhead) unheated and still hooked up and usually have enough juice to get the bike to fire. If not, I just put a regular old charger on them for about an hour and never had a problem with them. I change them out more often for time than any thing else.

    Be an interesting pole: trickle charge vs not over winter/results. Maybe keeping them at full charge isn't a good thing?
    #12
  13. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    I've never trickle-charged a battery, even over winter. I do at times bring them into the the house. Of course, I don't remember which decade that I first heard of trickle chargers.

    I have heard the 'old wives tale' that setting them on the concrete in a cold garage would deplete them.
    #13
  14. lkchris

    lkchris Albuquerque

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    The original mission of Westco batteries is hospital emergency lighting.

    They're not designed for automotive use let alone to fit a BMW.
    #14
  15. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    To trickle charge or not, that is the question. I was never sure myself, hadn't done so previously but went w/ the advice of MK battery rep.

    It's funny, I also will not put a battery on concrete for fear of that same tale.:eek1


    Dunno' Ikchris, you should inform WestCo of that in as much as mine has printed, not labelled, on the back:

    Replaces BMW 53030.

    Hopefully y'all are out riding!
    #15
  16. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I have always trickle charged my batteries but I have never left them hooked up to an automated charger because I have seen them not work as they were intended to too many times. I just hook up my regular charger set for slow charge for a day or two every once in a while but I am still running wet cell batteries.

    I would run AGM if I could find them the same size and with the same posts and the BMW 19 amp battery. I am in the market right now. Maybe I'll look again for something that will fit right.
    #16
  17. Thickasabrick

    Thickasabrick Adventurer

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    #17
  18. Boxer Metal

    Boxer Metal Mad Scientist

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    That is incorrect. Their line of batteries are designed for motorcycles and they offer one car battery.
    #18
  19. Moonshiner

    Moonshiner aka "B-dog"

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    I had a Westco last a whopping 2 years in my '77 R100S. My experience with AGM batteries is one day they're OK and the next day, they're completely gone. Back in 2007, went on a 5 day riding excursion. No issues. Parked the bike, didn't ride for a few days, turned the key and the fricking dash lights wouldn't even flicker. It was completely gone, unchargeable.

    I'm now running a Batteries Plus AGM in my remaining airhead. So far, so good. Next time, I'll probably go the Odyssey route, though.
    #19
  20. saddlsor

    saddlsor my butt hurts

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    here is a battery that I put in my r80 2 years ago. it's not the same brand but probably made in the same chinese factory. I bought it from a local starter shop for $42. been doing a good job and still holds good voltage so I expect it to last for a while longer. I realize it's not the correct application, but what can I say, it does the job. a guy I know had put the same thing in his 1150. the battery that came out of it was a westco and the replacement battery looked exactly the same going by the case. I'm sure internally they are different but who knows. just a heads up for someone looking for something a little cheaper and isn't afraid to give it a try. as far as charging goes, I stick a 1/2 amp charger on it about once a month in the winter for a day just to top it off. in the summer I don't bother with any charging, figure I ride it enough for that.
    #20