Quick Update - More details to follow
Before the long update, can anyone offer anything negative/positive against the ACDelco 24FA battery? Seems like it may have what I am looking for: side hold down lug rails & a smooth top to use the Autolite battery covers. I haven't seen it in person... yet... but the sales person said the top is a bit more 'rounded' then the other batteries. Not sure if that will be a problem for the covers.
Please post back with any comments/suggestions around the above ^^^ because I will be going down later this afternoon to look at it in person.
Thank you! Now on to the good stuff
My Findings / Update -
Exide is no longer making the battery form factors that several VMF members recommended.
This information comes straight from the source. The 24F with side rails is just not desirable as it once was. Apparently this form factor goes to power a lot of gasoline golf carts and it was decided that the side hold down rails would be done away with.
So what Exide models did have the side hold down lugs? I found that the Exide 24FS and 24FX were what consistently came up. There is a caveat around the 24FX, however. The 'Master Number' (etched on the back side / opposite side of the front label) must be 24F800MOW. This number signifies a 800CCA with the MOW being the model of the case. That case model, I was told, had the side hold down lug rails (aka "feet"). Apparently there may be some of these batteries in the Dallas, TX area but beware, they are probably 8-12 months old.
As for the 24FS, this was the battery that had the NASCAR sponsorship all over it. I found one locally but it had a Manufacture date of 3/18 and a ship date of 1/19. When we tested it (thank goodness I did before handing over my credit card) the battery tested bad. Now, I could have probably bought it, opened up the tubes, topped to 1/16" over the metal plates with distilled water, charged and everything would have been alright, but why risk all that to end up in the same predicament if the battery truly was bad. Besides, it appeared to have been serviced at least once before, the left cap was discolored.
All of Exide's new lines start with a 'S' that stands for Sprinter. None of these 24F batteries have side lug hold down rails. Also, the official retailers for Exide are as follows (again straight from the source): Home Depot, Auto Plus, Parts Authority, STS/Mavis Tires and Atwoods
So you can check those retailers above for the older FX and FS batteries but beware the manufacture date and make sure to test the battery before going to much further.
Lastly, the Bosch batteries that Pep Boys sells, that some claimed to be Exide batteries but just relabeled. Well, they too have gone to a new form factor. Even though the website shows the old picture with the side rails (the Bosch battery part number is 24F700B) the new form factor goes to a sealed top (aka maintenance free) with the side rails removed (aka smooth sides).
So it does seem that this form factor is quickly going the way of the DoDo. Please chime in with any of your thoughts.
1965 Fastback Mustang
289ci V8, 4-speed Toploader