MK2 Golf / Jetta / GTI - Simple Lightweight Battery Replacement

  • Category: Electical Electrical
  • Difficulty: Easy Easy
  • Benefits: Improves Economy Improves Economy
  •                Improves Performance Improves Performance
  • Author: DIYJus
  • Date Submitted: 2007.02.02
  • Date Updated:
  • Version: 1.0

Overview

  • Lighter batteries are all the rage these days. The concept is a really good one; if you can get a smaller/lighter battery that will fit correctly and still start the car, you'll improve performance and economy. Less weight means faster acceleration, better braking and better handling. It also translates into an improvement in fuel economy and a reduction of wear on brakes and other components. Its smaller size makes it easier to install and opens up some space in the engine bay. Most US-spec MK2 cars came equipped with a battery with a size code of '41'. This battery usually weighs between 37 and 45 lbs. While doing research on the available options to go lighter, I got frustrated because none of the expensive racing batteries are a really nice 'direct-fit' replacement. More research showed that on a few US models and many European models they used a size '42' standard battery. This battery weighs-in between 29 and 32 lbs. It's also a perfect 'direct-fit' replacement, and it's cheaper than the normal size '41' battery.
  • Note: This smaller battery has a lower Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) rating than the original. This shouldn't be an issue unless you live in an extremely cold climate. I've used a size '42' battery on my Corrado VRT for years with no problems.

Tools

This D.I.Y. references the MK2 Battery Removal guide, and requires the same tools.

Parts

Size 42 battery

Here's is the part needed for this project:

1) Group size '42' standard battery

Instructions

DISCLAIMER: No warranty or guarantee is provided for the information provided on this site; you use it at your own risk. Although contributors to DIYNexus have an impressive depth of knowledge, neither they, nor DIYNexus can be held liable for any technical inaccuracies, typographical errors or consequences from the use of this information. Depending on the project, it is possible to void your factory warranty, disable a safety feature, create a hazardous condition, be injured or killed. :-( If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced working with anything described on this site, please consider having the work done professionally.

  • VW MK2 battery location1) Have a look at the standard size '41' battery in this MK2. It's large enough that it actually touches the inner fender well on the right side. You'll need to remove it to install the smaller battery. Check out our MK2 Battery Removal guide for instructions and warnings about this procedure.
  • VW MK2 battery terminal2) Once removed, here's a side-by-side comparison of the two; you can really see the difference in size. I checked the weight using a bathroom scale. :-) The original battery was 37 lbs and the smaller one is 30 lbs. Your weight savings may actually be greater than mine because my old battery was the lightest size '41' I've seen.
  • VW MK2 battery terminal removal3) Here's a shot of the engine bay with the new battery installed. It uses all the factory mounting hardware, the terminals reach easily, and now there's room to spare all around it!