View Full Version : What does CCA and CA mean on a battery?

07-05-2007, 07:34 PM
Hi Folks,

I am having problems with the volt meter reading low and I am wondering if my `87 442 has the right sized battery. It is a NAPA battery with CCA 540 and CA 665. What do these mean?

I have the original bill of sale and the car was ordered with a HD battery (UA1). How would I find out what size that would have been?


07-05-2007, 07:35 PM
"Cold Cranking Amps" CCA

84 H/O
07-05-2007, 07:38 PM
CA = Cranking Amps. I believe that's the rating for hot weather or a warm engine as opposed to cold as the CCA relates

07-06-2007, 03:48 PM
the more CCA your battery has the better off you are IMO no matter what!

07-06-2007, 06:03 PM
CCA 540 and CA 665 seems really small for a v8 to me! I think my lawn tractor has a bigger battery then that! I'd look for a batt in the 800 amp range, if I were you.

07-06-2007, 06:15 PM
Ca Means Cranking Amps Or How Many Amps It Will Put Out When You Crank Over Your Engine
Cca Means Cold Cranking Amps Same As Above But At Either
0 Degrees Or 32 Degrees I Forget Which

07-06-2007, 07:10 PM
Dang, I sell auto parts for a living I should know this :rolleyes:... 540 CCA sounds like an economy battery or a medium range 75 group size. Battery sizes (not CA/CCA ratings) are standardized. A BCI Group 75 or 78 will fit, the latter being a couple inches longer but same height & width. The 78 group is almost always more powerfull, averaging around 750 CCA. An '87 may have a tab in the battery tray that is designed for a 75 group battery, just bend it over or trim it off to get the 78 to sit flat. If for some reason you have a top-post battery in there then you can use a 34 group size. The 34 group has the same dimentions as a 78, but less power... unless it's a dual post design.

Anyway, the battery may not be your problem. Is this an in-dash volt meter reading low? If so it should be reading between 13.5-16.5 VDC. If not, the alternator may not be operating properly for any number of reasons... bad regulator, brushes, diode trio, burned out fusible link, burned out dash lamp etc.

I'd suggest you get both tested before replacing either. Battery and alternator testing is free at most auto parts stores nowadays.


07-06-2007, 09:00 PM
I was thinking the alternator, my battery died so I tested the alternator. It was the problem, not the battery, though it's also undersized.

07-07-2007, 10:42 AM
CCA 540 and CA 665 seems really small for a v8 to me! I think my lawn tractor has a bigger battery then that! I'd look for a batt in the 800 amp range, if I were you.

CCA and CA are measure of cranking power, and nothing else. It has nothing at all to do with a charging problem. Granted, a less powerful battery (like the one listed) that is struggling to start a V8 to begin with - well, if it were slightly undercharged it probably would act like it was completely dead due to the load of cranking the V8.

I'd look for something at least 650CCA for any decent sized V8, and 750-800+ if the engine has a fair amount of compression.

marcar1993 - glad to see you found your problem without throwing money at it...

07-07-2007, 10:52 AM
Who knows you might get lucky and it's just a bad fusible link. Ya know those "extra" wires going to the starter solenoid? One of them is a fusible link that supplies power the voltage regulator... If they haven't been modified.

I'd hate to count the number of customers that had their alternator test bad and then say the new alternator was bad too, all because a $4 piece of wire was broken. :slap:


07-07-2007, 11:04 AM
Delco makes 75 series batteries for most G-body cars, with standard 500 CCA, and you can get the upgrade 75-60 battery with 600 CCA.

IIRC, which I'm NOT sure...I still got my black 85 442's original battery somewhere around here...I think back then the UA1 heavy duty battery was something like 575 CCA while the standard was 500. But I'm not 100% sure on that.

07-07-2007, 11:22 AM
Info in the autobatteries.com faq. Hopefully this can help.


Cold Cranking Amps is a rating used in the battery industry to define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating is the number of amps a new, fully charged battery can deliver at 0 Farenheit for 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12 volt battery. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.

MCA or CA rates....

This is a rating used to describe the discharge load in amperes which a new, fully charged battery at 32 degrees F (0C), can continuously deliver for 30 seconds and maintain a terminal voltage equal or greater than 1.2 volts per cell. It is sometimes referred to as Marine Cranking Amps or Cranking Amps.


Reserve Capacity, (RC) is a battery industry rating, defining a battery's ability to power a vehicle with an inoperative alternator or fan belt. The rating is the number of minutes a battery at 80 degrees F can be discharged at 25 amps and maintain a voltage of 10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery. The higher the reserve rating, the longer your vehicle can operate should your alternator or fan belt fail.