Anyone have any suggestions for winter storage of your Fiero? I live in New England so I only take my Fiero out during the Summer (and occasionally the late Spring or early Fall). But it stays in my garage when not in use. Should I disconnect the battery from the engine because every spring I find the battery COMPLETELY dead. When I turn the ignition - no clicking, no attempt at turning over no nothing.
I have a battery jump box (you know the one that you plug into the wall) and when I hook it up (positive -> positive post, negative -> negative post) it looks ok but when I sit down in the car the box start beeping like you hooked the posts up backwards. Not sure if the battery is so far gone that I need a new one. I just had a new battery put in last summer and the alternator replaced so I don't think it is the alternator.
Two issues I need help on: (a) trouble shooting and (b) storage strategies to minimize purchasing a new battery every year
The reason your battery dies after only a single winter is because the clock and radio pre-set memory draws enough power to drain your battery over a month or two without being recharged. Once it's dead, then it's much more susceptible to freezing as well, which is what likely makes it irrecoverable even on a charger.
I have a small business storing approximately 90 cars in the winter for other folks, and what works best is first disconnecting the battery (one lead is sufficient) and hooking up a small 1A to 2A automatic battery maintainer. These are small (maybe 3" X 2" X 2") rechargers that you can leave plugged into the wall (with leads running out to your battery) continuously. They have a small voltage sensing circuit that constantly monitors the charge and shuts off when not needed. You can get them at any automotive parts supply store for about $50... just beware that the cheaper ones aren't automatic, meaning you have to keep checking so as not to overcharge the battery.
This lightweight 12v battery charger lets you skip the hassle of recharging a battery by maintaining the charge in your car battery. The automatic battery float charger features an automatic safety shut off and copper battery clamps for better conduction. Lightweight and easily stored for quick access, this 12v battery charger is a must-have safety precaution for battery maintenance while traveling.
Copper clamps Floating circuit for full, continuous charge Automatic safety shut off mechanism
I have my cars inside and not used that much. I have a couple of the cheap (Harbor Freight) battery tenders on two of the cars and a real Battery Tender on the third. The only issue I had was one of the cheap battery tender over heated because the rear deck was a bit open and the trunk light remained on. I killed a battery in the car once from that issue.
I have my car in storage 8-9 months per year and I always pull the battery out of it and put it in my basement on a small block of wood on the floor. The wood acts as an insulator so the battery won't discharge to the floor, and the basement is a fairly steady temp year round so I don't have to worry about it freezing. There have been many years when I install the battery back into the car that I can start the car without jumping it off another car.
Battery tender jr is what i use too. The harbor frieght ones dont tell you if the battery is charging.. The real battery tender jr does. I replaced my harbor freight ones with the real ones. Leave them plugged in over winter and have a good battery in fall. I leave the car hooked up to the battery the entire time, with charger attached
Another vote for the Battery Tender. I use the regular Battery Tender on the Fiero and the Battery Tender Jr. on my motorcycle. You can also wire in leads for either unit so that you simply have a capped plug that can't be reversed to hook up to.
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For what it is worth, Sears sells a Die Hard Battery Maintainer and a Die Hard Battery Maintainer Platinum....I believe that these are Battery Tenders simply relabeled for Die Hard.
Sears, if nothing else, honors their warrantee....free replacements for a year. And they are needed!
I purchased the standard battery maintainer from my local Sears on deep summer discount....and ended up replacing it FOUR times under warrantee....at one point it even reverse charged my nice new Fiero Battery!
On the last warrantee replacement, I paid the price difference between the basic Maintainer and the Platinum....and it has been trouble free for two years! I think that is impressive since my poor Fiero lives outside and I ran a 50 foot output line from where the Maintainer is mounted to the car's battery.
So, if you want the ease of replacement of your local Sears, buy ONLY the Platinum version!
For a slightly different purpose (storing an electronics-laden, quickly-battery-draining, year 2000 car during much of the year), I'm using something slightly different, a "Battery Tender Plus" rather than a "Battery Tender Junior".
Both the "Battery Tender Plus" and the "Battery Tender Junior", are offered by the same company. Nonetheless, perhaps the biggest differences between these two products are:
At 1.25 amps (versus 0.75 for the Junior), the Battery Tender Plus can charge a car's battery more quickly (and I know I can be impatient at times).
The Plus is "temperature-compensated" (unlike the Junior) "to ensure optimum charge voltage" for its surrounding temperature.
In powdercoated aluminum (versus the plastic of the Junior), the enclosure of the Battery Tender Plus seems more sturdily constructed to me.
The Junior is listed as lighter in weight (1 pound) than is the Plus (2.7 pounds).
The Junior is less expensive than the Plus.
They're both well-received products, as is currently evidenced by each product's many --- predominantly very favorable --- reviews on Amazon.com, which is one retail source for each.
By the way, buhockey56789, to clarify matters, both of these products are "maintainers" which don't charge car batteries "continuously", the "watchout" rogergarrison correctly cautioned you to avoid. I've used the Battery Tender Plus successfully, for decades, on one or more of various cars I keep in long-term winter storage.
In fact, I used one on the year 2000 car I mentioned up front, for 12 long-term, "winter" storage sessions, keeping the Battery Tender Plus always plugged in during those times --- before deciding to not press my luck any further, and finally replace that car's 12-year-old, OEM, battery in the Spring (which here, often starts in earnest only after we get to around late April or early May).
Thanks Project34.. I'm convinced that my current battery is completely dead... no cabin lights, no engine compartment light, gauges don't register. My first step is to replace the battery and I saw the BT Plus at Wal*Mart so I think I'll pick one of those up to maintain the charge in the off season.
BTW, I have a plug-in-the-wall battery jumper for undervolting batteries to get the engine started to re-charge the battery off the car engine.
I remove the batteries from the Fiero and the Vette and put them in the basement on wood like previously stated. Vette battery is 9 years old and is still in good shape. Fiero battery is the AC Delco factory battery from my brothers 98 monte carlo, which up until 3 years ago was in that car year round, and it to functions flawlessly
I found that I needed the 8mm and 13mm ratchet wrench sleeves to take the battery out but once I got those ($3/ea at AutoZone) I brought the battery down there and they re-charged it for free!! What a deal... I was thinking I'd have to shell out close to $100 for a new battery. Plus I had a spare dead battery hanging around and got a $5 store credit for that so I actually only spent $1...
I got the BT Plus on order from Wal*Mart ($10 less than AutoZone) so I think I'll be good this winter.
charged battery has a lower (better) freezing point than discharged. Radio etc slowly discharge battery, then it freezes, water expands and breaks the plates. Take the battery out and put it on a block of wood in your basement.