I went Ballistic over my Optima... | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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I went Ballistic over my Optima...


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Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
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City, State
anaheim hills,california
Year, Model & Trim Level
95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
...How I wound up with an Optima battery and the search for a Hold down for it...

...Thanks to 90Ranajo and ScottB for helping me with finding some solutions...:salute:

...Here is a link for The Ultimate Optima Battery Information Page

..The Problem..

...My battery in my 95 Ranger was charging and holding a charge but would reset the radio in the truck every morning when I would first start it...After checking the connections and my voltage testing it still was a good battery...

...I had a buddy of mine watch the voltage at the battery as I started the truck up...The voltage dropped to 6 when it should not go below 10 for this test...It was time for a new battery as it was apparent that the battery had taken some abuse over the last 2 years...

...I had been buying batteries for years and doing proper maintenance on them...The failures on my batteries were always due to heat or internal damage...Everyone kept saying buy an Optima you won't be sorry...Here is a discussion we had in the past on Optima's and Batteries...

...The Solution: Optima...

...Optima's had always been to pricey for me as they are hitting about the $200 price range now....A well known and proven battery for "Rock Crawling" and "Desert Racing" is the 34/78 model......I found a deal on a Optima 34/78 battery which is the model that has the Ford post on top and the GM terminals on the front...
...Optima Home Page...

This is perfect as I want to add accessories such as "on board air" for the ARB and tires, lights, switches, and a bunch of other little goodies and this will give me a good separate connection to "add a secondary fuse panel" as found here...


...Besides the above mentioned reasons, I also did this for safety and will do this eventually in all my vehicles in the future...This battery can be mounted almost in any position, is heat tolerant, and 15 times more vibration-resistant than standard packs. This battery is designed with a "spill proof casing" which comes in handy in case you flip your vehicle or get in an accident...
...Info from 4wheelparts...

...Another safety reason is one I had to learn the hard way...I was rear ended in my Explorer by a Hummer while stopped in traffic...I had a proper sized battery and the stock factory hold down...

...The impact was so hard it let the battery easily come out of it's position and battery post was fractions away from meeting the starter relay...This could have resulted in a fire, loss of vehicle, or loss of life...

...With safety in mind, that is what lead me to seek out a battery hold down for the Optima as I was not going to rely on bottom retainers again...

...The Battery Hold Down Search...

...I searched every auto parts store I know of in my area and they all had the same "over the top" plastic hold downs which were secured by "J" bolts after drilling holes in the existing battery tray outer edges...I did find one with a metal 1-1/2" wide piece of metal but it too was held by "J" bolts...

...I thought back to my accident and figured there was a possibility of either the "J" bolts pulling thru or more likely, the failure due to heat and shock movement of the plastic part due to the battery still being able to shift as it was held by 2 points...

...This lead me to thinking I would have more luck by contacting all the performance and race stores that Sold Optima's...The results there were leaning towards having something fabricated and I figured I was just as likely a candidate to fabricate something for my truck...

...Optima Battery Box Option's...

...After discussing this with 90Ranajo and ScottB, the 3 of us came up with these options....

...In Arizona on Ebay...$55

...at Polyperformance...$95

...From SummitRacing and several other online stores...around $100 but seen cheaper

...in Ohio on Ebay...$43

...from ruffstuffspecialties $39

...In Canada, a company makes a version near Toronto too...$46.95

...And the one I chose from Ballistic...$39

...and for those looking to run dual 34/78 Optima's, Ballistic has those too...They are working on supplying three different dual boxes for different battery orientation...

...Both are $69.99 @


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...Ballistic Fabrication...

...My hat's off to Chad at Ballistic for making this happen...I called Chad at about 2 p.s.t. on Monday and got some measurements and info from him...A half hour later I ordered the box online and within 72 hrs. and one day ahead of the UPS scheduled delivery, I received my package from the big brown truck...Thank You Chad...:salute:

Description from their website
Ballistic Optima Battery Box is perfect for safely mounting your 34/78 Optima battery or equivalent. Cut from 1/8" steel on our in-house laser and bent on our in-house press brake, this battery box will add some style to your battery without breaking the bank. The four tabs and six holes on the bottom allow for mounting in any position. This box not only clamps over the top to secure the battery but also includes side tabs which the battery slides over for maximum protection against side-to-side movement. Painting or powdercoating required. Battery not included.

...The two retaining side tabs is one of the many reasons that I purchased this box...One of the problems I needed to resolve was how I was going to fit this in my Rangers stock battery box with the 4 mounting tabs...This box is made for offroad applications as in, you either fabricate around this or you relocate your battery...I took it as a challenge...

...I originally thought I was going to cut the tabs off but decided to leave them on, as I wanted to save the box intact for a future mod...This allowed me the fun of going crazy with the grinder and see if I could actually fit this bad boy in a stock Ranger battery tray...:hammer:

...Additional Parts needed/ Specs of my own...

* My stock Ranger battery is smaller in width and not as tall as the Battery in an Explorer
* the 34/78 Optima is about the same size as a stock Ranger battery
* The shipping wt. of the Ballistic battery box is 5.8#
* Total priced shipped - $50.70
* Hardware I purchased was about $3
* Can of Rustoleum paint $3.99 at wallyworld with plenty of paint left over

A) I used 1/4 x 5/8" Grade 5 bolts to mate the top and bottom halves (full thread)
B) I used 5/16 x 1-3/4" Grade 5 bolts w/ top and bottom washer to secure base (with shoulder)
C) I used Nylock's on all bolts


1) I would have been able to use 3/8" bolts to secure the base but the store I was at did not carry full threaded bolts in that length and the shoulder on the bolt would definitely not fit.
2) The length of the base bolt was long as the 2 center bolt locations are in the valley of the stock Ranger Battery Box.
3) Use of a block of wood (or similar) in this valley is recommended by me as a filler/spacer, as to not over tighten and flex the base of the battery box.

...On to the Install...

...This is the Ballistic battery box as it is shipped...2 pieces and no hardware...



...The paint I used after lightly sanding out the shipping scratches with 320 grit paper was Rustoleum..

...The elaborate paint shop...

...Note the two voids in the bottom of the Optima battery design...The 2 center base bolt holes on the Ballistic Battery box center on these for bolt placement if using these 2 holes for mounting...

...The stock battery tray is actually two pieces, the tray and a metal support beneath it. I first removed the 5/16 head bolts out and found the tray was pinch welded to the metal support...So I opted out of going the route of mounting the new box to the tray support.

After setting the Ballistic base over the stock tray and marking the locations of the tabs, I put the grinder to work...

...Test fitting the tray...


...Drilling locations...Note how they wound up away from the factory bolts and weep hole...

...The bolts shown here are 1-3/4" and 2-1/4"...I found the 1-3/4" worked better and used them for the install...

...Bolting the base...

...The reason for using the 1-3/4" was to go thru the box, the stock tray, the tray support, while still having just enough room to get a nylock on and not having any thread of the bolt hanging down...This is why...Just above the inner fender...

...The finished product...

...These dimensions I submit here are rough and only supplied to help you for generally sizing up your project. These dimensions are not exact but they are pretty darn close...

...Outer Dimension Measurements...

..Outside to outside...7-3/4"

...Outside to outside...9"

...Outside to outside...10 1/2"

...Outside to outside mating bolt tabs...9-1/2"

...Bottom to top...7"

...Bottom to bottom of mating bolt flange...4-5/8"

...Bolt Hole Measurements...
...Center bolt location...3-5/8" o.c.

...Tab mounting...6-3/4" o.c.

...Across tab bolt center to center..8" o.c.

All of those are pretty nice. Which one will you install (or do you plan to fabricate one)?

...Hang on and I will finish the write up...:biggthump

Thanks for the writeup, I actually never thought of the strength of the stock hold down etc. Makes sense. Pics of install?

:popcorn: Yawn, waiting it's getting late :D:D

I'm partial to Dead Link Removed:


It was reasonably cheap as far as billet Optima hold-downs and it powdercoats well.

(Thanks:thumbsup: to Turdle for the bling.)

I just have one of those giant zip ties (like the cops use) holding mine in. :dunno:

...That reminds me...I have a brand new, barely used, bungie cord for sale cheap...:p:

...BB...Could you share the type of vehicle that Optima of yours was mounted in? Is that an Aerostar battery location?

...Celly, do you have a link to the quote in your signature?


...BB...Could you share the type of vehicle that Optima of yours was mounted in? Is that an Aerostar battery location?

That photo above is a Toyota, in fact I'm almost positive it is a Toyota pickup because the battery area looks like the one we used to own (93). That holddown is basically the same design as the Toyota original battery holddown except the crossbars on either side of the battery are bolted on (they are welded and the whole thing is plastic coated on the OEM holddown).

Pics of the bungie cord?:D
Seriously dig the Balistic Fab. tie-down! Decent price too.

...Thanks Dogfriend and BB...That may help other Toyota truck owners looking for answers to this type of hold down..:biggthump

Thanks, tbars - I like that we can "reuse" other people's ideas and research!

This spring, I am going to replace my Optima hold down (4 j-bolts and 2 cross-braces) with one of these.

So you fix the battery clamp issue? or are ya still using the "special" clamp:D

...That clamp was special and only needed for a short time...:p:

...I had the replacement parts in the X and found them when I got home...:rolleyes:...Seeing how my stock Ranger battery cables are rare design, expensive if found, and no longer carried by Ford, I wanted to get this battery box installed before I have some cables made in the future to accommodate mods..:biggthump

I'm partial to Dead Link Removed:


It was reasonably cheap as far as billet Optima hold-downs and it powdercoats well.

(Thanks:thumbsup: to Turdle for the bling.)


that is pricey but really nice! What kind of battery cables do u have? My negative cable has a crack in the connector I have been meaning to replace for the last 7 years.... Out of mind, out of sight forgot all about it til looking at this thread.


that is pricey but really nice! What kind of battery cables do u have? My negative cable has a crack in the connector I have been meaning to replace for the last 7 years.... Out of mind, out of sight forgot all about it til looking at this thread.

The battery holder was money well spent for me. I paid even less than he has them for these days. I just wanted a "Plain Jane" box (4 years ago). It was a just an unfinished aluminum until Jon sandblasted it and powdercoated it in July. Only the top cover is powdercoated. The rest of the box is pretty much out of sight so I didn't bother with a new finish.

The cables were just OEM (covered w/ split loom), but I've since switched to Knukonceptz 1/0 when I did the "Big 3" as few months ago. The terminals are from Stinger. I think the - runs around $30 and the + is a bit pricier because it's got the digital readout. The - does have an adapter so it can handle the + post as well. I like the construction of them. Very solid and they grab your battery posts like a vice. They do NOT have to be tightened down very hard or they'll strip (I trashed a + terminal once by finding out the hard way). I keep a small 3 way allen wrench in the side pocket of my truck. Battery terminals come on and off quickly. I also like the Stingers because they accept 1/0 or 4 gauge (two inputs/terminal).

I'm also using the side posts of the battery, but you just can't see them. I've got the power to my amp and HIDs running on the +. I've been pretty happy with this setup. It may look nice, but it also makes it real easy to work on the truck.

Thanks for the comments.

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...I just added some info in the first post for those wanting options for running dual Optima 34/78's...