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Old 09-27-2006, 09:43 AM   #1
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Winter Storage

HI,

I have received several PMs asking for the Winter Storage Procedure I have followed for nearly 30 years. Never let me down and I even still own the car I originally started using this procedure with - a 1-owner, Pristine, '71 Datsun 240Z w/ 20k mi.

Also, for your amusement and berusement, I'll post the Storage advice from the Boxster Owners Manual. Not surprisingly, there are several similarities. Hope this helps...

Here is a copy of some good Winter Storage Tips I posted a last Fall. Hope it helps...

The best way to store any car for the winter is to do the following:

1. Change the oil just prior to storage. Oil absorbes moisture (a natural byproduct of combustion) and if old oil is left in the motor, moisture will evaporate out of the oil and condense on the engine internals causing corrosion. Also, oil becomes acidic with use and should be changed for this reason also. Change oil, start engine and run just long enough for the oil to circulate, then shut off for the season to prevent a buildup of moisture. If planning to change the tranny fluid in the coming season, it's also a good idea to do this now for basically the same reason.

2. Loosen the spark plugs and shoot either fogger oil (aerosol - NOT WD-40!) or a squirt of motor oil from a can into the sparkplug holes - about 1 tsp. This will prevent the rings from corroding and seizing to the cylinder walls over the winter. Upon initial startup in spring, oil will burn off in the 1st few minutes. I have seen piston rings seize to the Cylinder walls and tear-up on initial start-up requiring a rebuild to correct it, so I always follow this step.

3. Increase tire pressures to 59PSI. This will prevent flatspotting and leaks. The tire pressure will drop with ambient temp. Some will say to put the car on blocks, but with modern independent suspension, it's not good to leave it 'unsprung' for long periods. If you want to get really anal, fill the tires with Nitrogen. This is a Dry Gas and will prevent Dry Rot. Nitrogen can be obtained from any welding supply.

4. Store desiccants in the car. These can be purchased and laid on the floor front/back. This prevents mildew from growing and keeps leather from deteriorating due to accumulated moisture. Also, consider spraying some 'Fabreeze' in the Carpet, this will aid in keeping things fresh smelling. The 'Car Cacoons' currently being sold are very good for long term storage and use only a couple bucks electricity the entire season, also reduces door dings and the like. Absent this, use a quality car Cover.

5. Wash the car - don't allow pollution, Tree Sap etc. to work on the paint through the winter.

6. Remove battery from the car and put on a maintainer, preferably inside where it's warm. Be sure to allow plenty of ventilation to prevent Hydrogen Gas buildup.

7. Place the car on a sheet of Vinyl laid out on the garage floor. Make sure the vinyl extends 2 feet from any edge of the car. Garage floors seep moisture through the winter which can condense on the underside of the car, suspension, etc. causing corrosion.

8. Fill Gas Tank with Fresh, Premium fuel. A partial tank will corrode from moist air. Plus, it'll probably be cheaper than filling it next season. You can also add a stabilizer if you wish, won't harm and may help (I do). Just be sure to run the car sufficiently that the stabilizer circulates through the entire fuel system.

9. Check Anti-freeze to be sure sufficient for temps anticipated - not relevent to an A/C Flat 6.

10. Leave the car out of gear and with the Handbrake Off. If your garage is not level, place a brick under the front tire to prevent the car from rolling. Emergency Brake system and Calipers have been known to seize over a season of non-use. If they are engaged, it can be very difficult to dis-engage them (you may need to disassemble the caliper or mechanism to free it). On the other hand, if they are dis-engaged and seize, the hydraulic pressure and/or mechanical advantage of a cable/lever system is often enough to loosen them up again.

11. It may also help to place a couple of Mouse Traps strategically under the car, such as where the exhaust outlet(s), Frame openings, etc. are located. This can prevent something from Moving In to your car over the season. Mice will eat Plastic, Leather and Rubber, in addition to making a mess in general.

Now, from the Porsche Owners Manual

Storing Your Porsche

If you intend to store your Porsche for a prolonged period, please consult your Authorized Porsche dealer. The staff will be glad to advise you on the most suitable and necessary methods.

Clean your vehicle thoroughly inside and outside. Clean the engine compartment. The undercarriage and chassis components should be free of duirt and salt deposits.

Fill up the Fuel Tank.

Increase the tire pressure to 58PSI (4bar). It is not recommended to lift the vehicle, due to the possibility of corrosion on shock absorber piston shafts and potential bending of suspension components.

The vehicle should be moved approximately every four weeks to prevent flat spot on the tires.

Climate Control

The air conditioning system should be in good working condition and fully charged.

Change the Oil and Oil Filter, run the engine for several minutes.

Windshield/Headlight Washer

Check and correct antifreeze/cleaning solution level as necessary.

Electrical System

The battery should be removed from the vehicle and stored in a cool, dry, place, not on a cement floor.

When battery is disconected, the alarm system is deactivated.

Recharge the battery every 3 months. If the battery remains in the vehicle with cables connected, it is necessary to check, remove and recharge the battery every 2-3 weeks.

Do not fast charge the battery

Follow the instructions in the battery chapter.

Vehicle Interior

The interior must be dry, especially in the area of the floor carpets. The use of drying agents (silica-Gel) is recommended in vehicles with Leather Interior and in areas with high humidity. The recommeded amount is 3 fabric bagsm of 1.1lbs. (500 grams) each placed on the floor carpets.

Windows, doors. lids and top must be closed. On cars with manual heating/ventilation systems, air flaps should be opened.


You'll need to undo several of these steps on Spring Start-up, add the battery and if stored longer than 3-4 months, it's a good idea to rotate the engine without starting it.

You can do this in one of two ways. First, if a Manual, put the car in Neutral and push it back a few feet. Then, place the gearshift in 5th gear and push the car forward, this will rotate the engine. If you run out of room, say in a garage, go to neutral again and repeat procedure so you're sure one complete revolution of the engine has occured. This will loosen any frozen engine parts (such as rings, chains, etc.), without the extreme torque of the starter motor. This torque is so great that it can tear rings or do other damage. If you have a TipS car, take a large socket on a breaker bar and turn the crankshaft pulley bolt clockwise to rotate the engine.


I live in Mpls./St. Paul - similar winter conditions. This is how I store each of my cars - Boxster, Lotus Esprit, 240Z, Formula Vee. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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Old 09-27-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
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Thanks Jim, I learned #10 the hard way a few years back with a Miata. Great stuff.
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Old 10-02-2006, 06:50 AM   #3
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After doing these steps to prep the car for storage, some people still say you should drive the car a couple of times during the winter.

Is this true, or once it is ready for storage, leave it until the Spring.

If anyone could provide information on why this is or isn't a good idea, that would be great.

Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2006, 07:26 AM   #4
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drburton, take a look at the bottom of this thread:
http://986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7566
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Old 10-02-2006, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drburton
After doing these steps to prep the car for storage, some people still say you should drive the car a couple of times during the winter.

Is this true, or once it is ready for storage, leave it until the Spring.

If anyone could provide information on why this is or isn't a good idea, that would be great.

Thanks.
Hi,

100% Hibernation is best and perhaps the hardest (like waiting for Xmas morning) jonesing for that cacoon in the corner of the garage.

Will starting the car a couple of times during the winter grenade it? Probably not. Is this the best practice... probably not.

It's a myth that starting the car will circulate the oil. If you change the Oil as the last thing, and run it just a minute or so to circulate the Oil, the fresh oil will cling to all the parts through a winter.

Any car put into long term storage by a museum or serious collector is always cacooned and left. It is the accepted practice. 'Course, owners are always free to do as they wish. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:07 AM   #6
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Since I am not very mechanically gifted, I called the local Porshe dealer regarding the process for Winter Storage. They offer a 'Hibernation' package that pretty much includes all the recommendations in this thread - oil change, coolant check, fuel stablizer, inflate tires etc.... The cost is $200 or you can upgrade that and get the car detailed for $290.

Does that seem reasonable?
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drburton
Since I am not very mechanically gifted, I called the local Porshe dealer regarding the process for Winter Storage. They offer a 'Hibernation' package that pretty much includes all the recommendations in this thread - oil change, coolant check, fuel stablizer, inflate tires etc.... The cost is $200 or you can upgrade that and get the car detailed for $290.

Does that seem reasonable?
Hi,

$200 is very reasonable. Where? Maplewood? Carousel? Thing is, you'll need to re-top off the fuel tank when you get it home - you want as little air in there as possible. Plus, remove the Battery and put it on a maintainer. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:02 PM   #8
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where can I get these dessicants? My car sits ouside for 2-5 days without during the winter. Anything I can do help out the leather and keep it smelling 'fresh' I'm all for.
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:06 PM   #9
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where can I get these dessicants? My car sits ouside for 2-5 days without during the winter. Anything I can do help out the leather and keep it smelling 'fresh' I'm all for.

PL, this should help you:

http://986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7460&highlight=Desiccators
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:10 PM   #10
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PL, I bought 12 of the 8-ounce bags that were recommended in the link from Denverpete. I plan to put 6-8 in the car and a couple each in the trunks (front & back).

MNBoxster, can I microwave the desiccator bags in Denverpete's link in the Spring, and reuse them? Please look. I don't want to start a fire in my microwave!
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:35 PM   #11
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The $200 deal is at Maplewood Imports. I will probably go for it. I'm holding out till mid-November though for some more nice days. Although after the last couple of days, I'm not hopeful.
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Old 10-12-2006, 02:45 PM   #12
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Hmmm

I couldn't make it out of October ....

It snowed here in Grosse Pointe, MI today so I got caught in several snow squalls from home to work and back. I was actually thinking of driving my bike today ... thank God I didn't. Heater works great and the car was as sure footed as a snowshoe hare.

I'm looking for a winter ride so I'll be taking this advice very shortly. Many thanks for your storage info!

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Old 10-24-2006, 01:05 PM   #13
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Jim, this is your advice for the spring:

"You can do this in one of two ways. First, if a Manual, put the car in Neutral and push it back a few feet. Then, place the gearshift in 5th gear and push the car forward, this will rotate the engine. If you run out of room, say in a garage, go to neutral again and repeat procedure so you're sure one complete revolution of the engine has occured. This will loosen any frozen engine parts (such as rings, chains, etc.), without the extreme torque of the starter motor. This torque is so great that it can tear rings or do other damage. If you have a TipS car, take a large socket on a breaker bar and turn the crankshaft pulley bolt clockwise to rotate the engine. "


I still don't get this! Can I do this on my own, or will I need to enlist the help of the Chicago Bear's front line to push my car?? Can I have the car in 5th or 6th gear and push the car backwards...down the driveway?? Or do I need to really go forwards?

OK, what if I store the car with the battery maintainer (I am not taking the battery out) and lock the car so the alarm is on. In the Spring, if I open the doors with the key (since the fob won't work with that much time past) how do I get the car pushed in gear to get one or two engine revolutions before the alarm turns on, because the car was not started soon enought with the key??

Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2006, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmussatti
Jim, this is your advice for the spring:

"You can do this in one of two ways. First, if a Manual, put the car in Neutral and push it back a few feet. Then, place the gearshift in 5th gear and push the car forward, this will rotate the engine. If you run out of room, say in a garage, go to neutral again and repeat procedure so you're sure one complete revolution of the engine has occured. This will loosen any frozen engine parts (such as rings, chains, etc.), without the extreme torque of the starter motor. This torque is so great that it can tear rings or do other damage. If you have a TipS car, take a large socket on a breaker bar and turn the crankshaft pulley bolt clockwise to rotate the engine. "


I still don't get this! Can I do this on my own, or will I need to enlist the help of the Chicago Bear's front line to push my car?? Can I have the car in 5th or 6th gear and push the car backwards...down the driveway?? Or do I need to really go forwards?

OK, what if I store the car with the battery maintainer (I am not taking the battery out) and lock the car so the alarm is on. In the Spring, if I open the doors with the key (since the fob won't work with that much time past) how do I get the car pushed in gear to get one or two engine revolutions before the alarm turns on, because the car was not started soon enought with the key??

Thanks!
Hi,

You can push the car in 5th or 6th - this gives you the greatest mechanical advantage, to try it in 1st, you'd have to go all Ahhhhnold on it. Without a Timing Belt, you could push the car either way, but forward turns the engine in it's proper direction, not a big deal either way w/ no TB.

If you keep the alarm on all winter (which I don't recommend), you'll be drawing considerable power from the battery and make the Maintainer work alot harder (maybe more than it was intended for, the battery too for that matter. But, so far as the Key Fob is concerned, it's the Car's Alarm, not the Key which goes dormant. You don't need to start the car to reinitialize it, all you need to do is unlock the car with the key, that will wake up the car's Alarm to accept the Key Fob signal. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

PS It should read - First, if a Manual, put the car in Neutral and push it back a few feet. Then, place the gearshift in 5th gear and push the car forward, this will rotate the engine. If you run out of room, say in a garage, go to neutral again, push the car backward, and repeat procedure so you're sure one complete revolution of the engine has occured.

Last edited by MNBoxster; 10-24-2006 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 10-24-2006, 02:00 PM   #15
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Hi,

You can push the car in 5th or 6th - this gives you the greatest mechanical advantage, to try it in 1st, you'd have to go all Ahhhhnold on it. Without a Timing Belt, you could push the car either way, but forward turns the engine in it's proper direction, not a big deal either way w/ no TB.

If you keep the alarm on all winter (which I don't recommend), you'll be drawing considerable power from the battery and make the Maintainer work alot harder (maybe more than it was intended for, the battery too for that matter. But, so far as the Key Fob is concerned, it's the Car's Alarm, not the Key which goes dormant. You don't need to start the car to reinitialize it, all you need to do is unlock the car with the key, that will wake up the car's Alarm to accept the Key Fob signal. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

PS It should read - First, if a Manual, put the car in Neutral and push it back a few feet. Then, place the gearshift in 5th gear and push the car forward, this will rotate the engine. If you run out of room, say in a garage, go to neutral again, push the car backward, and repeat procedure so you're sure one complete revolution of the engine has occured.

Excellent, thanks, Jim!

OK, I thought when the car goes dormant, and you use the to key to open the door, you had only about 30 seconds to start the engine with the key before the alarm sounds, since the car wants to make sure you are the "owner" and have the key vs. someone who just "broke" in? I guess I am wrong?? I need to read my owners manual more!!
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:48 PM   #16
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Battery maintainer?

Just out of curiosity why are you guys using a battery maintainer? Not that its a bad idea, just never used one before when I was in my "boat phase". With my boats I simply unhooked the battery and left it alone. I never once had a problem with the battery when spring came along? Of course 2 of the 3 boats I've been through were new and I never kept them for more than a couple years.
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Old 10-24-2006, 05:57 PM   #17
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Sammy,

My garage must be some type of power sucking vortex

About a month ago, my Harley sat in the garage for two weeks.

I went to start it up and the battery was dead ( brand new battery, replaced the beginning of this year ).

Now if the bike sits more than two weeks, on the charger it goes...

My Box also sat for about two weeks.

When I went to use the key to open the trunk, no dice...

Then I tried to open the door with the remote, nada...

I opened the door with the key and thank goodness the car started.

So, now if the Box sits more than two weeks, on the charger it goes.

I will still drive the Box this winter if the roads are clean, so I am not going to put it in full storage mode.

I guess that's the price I pay for owning 3 vehicles

Nick
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:59 PM   #18
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Sammy,

My garage must be some type of power sucking vortex

About a month ago, my Harley sat in the garage for two weeks.

I went to start it up and the battery was dead ( brand new battery, replaced the beginning of this year ).

Now if the bike sits more than two weeks, on the charger it goes...

My Box also sat for about two weeks.

When I went to use the key to open the trunk, no dice...

Then I tried to open the door with the remote, nada...

I opened the door with the key and thank goodness the car started.

So, now if the Box sits more than two weeks, on the charger it goes.

I will still drive the Box this winter if the roads are clean, so I am not going to put it in full storage mode.

I guess that's the price I pay for owning 3 vehicles

Nick
I also had a "motorcycle phase" (might I add this was phase 1 and I expect phase 2 sometime in the future) and I had the same issues I had that you are finding with your Harley. Whenever I was ready to pull my bike from winter storage I would hook up the battery directly to my car battery and let it sit overnight (el cheapo trickle charging method). I never once started the vehicle with the motorcycle battery hooked up as I don't think that it is good for it. The car battery has plenty of juice without the car running. I'm pretty sure bikes are a different animal than todays cars (carb vs. fuel injection) which makes after storage starting a little tricky.

I am surprised that you have trouble with your Boxster. I can leave my truck at O'Hare for weeks at a time in the dead cold of winter and it always starts right up. I finally bit the bullet and bought a new battery for my truck this evening as the battery that was in it was 6 years old. I figure my luck was running out and I'd rather spend a little money on a new battery than risk it dying on me...

Does the maintainer actually prolong the life of the battery if the battery would've lost its charge? Or does it prolong its lift regardless of the condition?
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:27 PM   #19
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Does the maintainer actually prolong the life of the battery if the battery would've lost its charge? Or does it prolong its lift regardless of the condition?
That's a good questions and I can't say I honestly know the answer. I would assume that it is not good for a battery to discharge to the point where it will not start the vehicle, so I assume a charger would be good since the battery would be kept fully charged.

I bought my bike brand new in June 2005. After this winter and the bike wouldn't start I took the battery to the dealer. They ran some tests and claimed the battery was shot and would no longer hold a charge so they gave me a new one ( free under warrantee ). My guess would be that if a battery discharges to a certain point it is no longer usable.

This is my 6th bike and my 3rd Harley and the first time I ever had battery problems. My current Harley has a radio and a bunch of other electronic gizmos which I think still puts a drain on the battery even when it is in storage.

As far as the Boxster and the charger I figure better safe than sorry...

MNBoxster, perhaps you could shed some light on the subject ?

Nick
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Old 10-24-2006, 08:43 PM   #20
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Hi,

I don't want to bore you with all the whys and wherefores, but a Wet Acid Cell battery is a pretty poor device for storing a charge longterm. they're much better at storing the charge for a short term, then discharging (doing work), then being recharged either by the Alternator or some outside source.

Inside the battery, substances actually change into other substances and release electrons (electricity) in the bargain. Adding more energy from an outside source allows this process to reverse itself. The chemistry is such, that it's better to keep these changes (reactions) occuring repeatedly over the short term rather than allowing the substances to remain in their present state for long.

This is why a maintainer is good, it keeps the chemistry going inside the battery during the storage period and can extend the life of the battery by 2-3 years. Also, a battery in poor condition will work the Alternator harder once the car is running again. In addition to using more Gas because the Alternator is constantly charging the battery, you also will shorten the Alternator's life.

With Batteries running anywhere from $40-$100, investing in a $25 maintainer and using $2-$3 per season to maintain and extend the life of the battery is a pretty good trade. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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