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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 convertible and E86 Z4 coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2012, 06:01 PM
Drexel5 Drexel5 is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW Z4 3.0i
Storing a Z4 during Canadian Winters

Unfortunately, in the next few weeks the 2004 Z4 3.0i is going away for a few months to hibernate, and I've been doing some research on what needs to be done to make sure that once the summer comes around, I don't have any nasty surprises.

Being Canadian, our winters (at least in Toronto) can be pretty brutal, so the Z4 won't really be seeing the light of day from around Nov to March/April/May. Sad, but necessary.

What I've read so far is that I need to:
  • Fill the tank, and include an additive - Anyone have any suggestions on what additive to use? I've also read that I should drive for a few minutes with the additive in the gas before storing it. True?
  • Connect a battery trickle charger - Apparently I can get one that connects to the cigarette lighter and any standard wall electrical outlet. Anyone have any opinions on a model? Obviously I don't want to spend a fortune, but I want something that'll work, and not burn my house down. Should I be leaving this connected for the entire duration of storage, or disconnect on occasion?=
  • Put carpets or some other material under the tires - this is meant to prevent flat-spots, but I'm driving on the run-flats... so does this matter?
  • Leave the windows open a crack - this is supposed to keep the interior less stuffy and allow it to breathe. No biggie, but opinions?

Any opinions and/or additional suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Drexel.
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2012, 06:37 PM
3PointO 3PointO is offline
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I'll be doing the same with mine too. I'm lifting mine off the ground onto jack stands, so i can do a bunch of work underneath (exhaust, oill change, ATF etc)
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2012, 08:27 PM
WestCDA WestCDA is offline
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I give mine a thorough cleaning inside and out, fill the fuel tank, do an oil change, connect a smart charger (CTEK) to the remote battery terminals under the hood, and put on a car cover. I don't put in fuel stabilizer, lift the car on stands, or isolate/insulate the tires - it's a few months storage, not a few years. Now is the time for an oil change, so you don't have contaminated/acidic oil stewing in your crankcase over the winter.

In the spring, I check/adjust the tire pressure, start it up and go driving. It's basically the same routine I've used with motorcycles for the past couple of decades - no problems so far. Hope you have a few more weeks of pleasurable driving before the snow flies ...
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  #4  
Old 09-21-2012, 10:12 PM
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Bucko521 Bucko521 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
I give mine a thorough cleaning inside and out, fill the fuel tank, do an oil change, connect a smart charger (CTEK) to the remote battery terminals under the hood, and put on a car cover. I don't put in fuel stabilizer, lift the car on stands, or isolate/insulate the tires - it's a few months storage, not a few years. Now is the time for an oil change, so you don't have contaminated/acidic oil stewing in your crankcase over the winter.

In the spring, I check/adjust the tire pressure, start it up and go driving. It's basically the same routine I've used with motorcycles for the past couple of decades - no problems so far. Hope you have a few more weeks of pleasurable driving before the snow flies ...
That is pretty much what I have done.... Plus i live in the cold cold dark, windy praries. Toronot...no so cold! LOL
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  #5  
Old 09-21-2012, 10:40 PM
comsult comsult is offline
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I store my Z outside under a snow roof.
Last year I used Star Tron Enzyeme Fuel Treatment.
My brother recommended it to me, he has been using it for years in his boat, snowmobiles etc.
I remove the battery, and store it in the basement. I charge it for a few days every month.
I take the stress off the springs by jacking up the car a little, but not off the ground. I also overpressure the tires.
Last year, I replaced the battery, started her up. She started on the first crank, then entered the Radio Code, (Make sure you have this).
While she was idling, I took her off the jack stands, equalized the pressure on all tires and took her for a spin.
Oh Yes.... I also change the oil just prior to storing her for the winter.
I only do about 5,000 kilometers during the summer, so the oil change is not needed, but oil collects acids during driving, so the oil change is a good preventative measure.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2012, 12:04 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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We store our Z3 every winter. I just put on a Battery Tender (brand) charger. Nothing else.
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2012, 09:18 PM
SpaceManGray SpaceManGray is offline
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Has anyone ever had a problem with brake rotors getting rusty while stored? I had another car of mine stored in my garage for two months while I was away on business and the brakes were terrible to drive with for a couple weeks after I returned. I had read about some treatments that can be done before storage, but didn't see anyone mention it here.
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2012, 09:31 PM
comsult comsult is offline
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This was one of the things I checked when I took my car out the first day.
There was absolutely no rust on the rotors.
Not sure of the brand, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I've also had cars sitting for a week and see rust spots on the rotors when I check.
So it must depend on the brand of rotors and type of steel they use.
BTW the car is stored outside under a snow roof.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2012, 01:25 AM
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It depends on whether there is moisture on them when parked. A good hard drive to have the brakes warm when you part will evaporate any moisture.

I find that a few hard brake applications clean off the light surface rust. Do it like a brake pad bedding.
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2012, 06:51 AM
jafxdwg jafxdwg is offline
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I always use a fuel stabilzer for winter storage. Canadian Tire has a couple of brands. I consider it cheap insurance up here in the Used To Be Great White North.
Not too sure about carpet under the tires and flat spotting. If that's a concern lift the car on axle stands. I have maxed the air pressure to avoid flat spotting.
Cracking open the window allows the interior to match the humidity of the dryer winter air. At least that's what I always thought.

Last edited by jafxdwg; 09-26-2012 at 06:58 AM. Reason: additional info
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2012, 02:47 AM
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I have not had flat spotting issues (not exactly flat spotting as that involved wearing a flat spot) since the days of nylon carcass tires.

And in these days of ethanol containing fuels a stabilizer that deals with ethanol (StarBright Star Tron or similar) can be a good idea.

But again, we just park the car in the garage, throw on a Battery Tender and have done so for the 11 winters we have owned the car.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2012, 03:38 AM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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These are all all good reasons to move South and drive the call all year long. LOL One thought about putting the jack stands under the car while stored for any long period of time. From my dirt open wheel and stock car days we always put the car on stands to keep the pressure off the springs since they were aftermarket and for specific poundage. If you're running aftermarket heavier or lighter springs, etc, it might be worth while to miminize any spring rate change over time. Just my couple pennies worth.
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2012, 02:57 AM
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If your spring rates change over time, you have crappy springs.
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2012, 04:26 AM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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Could very well be Pinecone. But even with good springs I've seen the spring rates "change" over time due to usage/wear with everything else being equal using scales and sping testers. Might not be such an issue for the street, but there have been times we've chased the setup to find that a spring has lost/changed its rating. As I mentioned, for those who might be concerned with it, it was just a thought for consideration.
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2012, 04:30 AM
flahertb flahertb is offline
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Mein Auto: 325xi & X3 & Z4
I have stored mine in our Garage/Barn for the past 3 winters using the following:

Oil Change
Battery Tender
Seafoam in the gas tank to stabilize the fuel and a full tank of gas
Small dish of Peppermint oil in the trunk and passenger compartment (to keep out the critters)
and lastly a good car cover

Has started each spring without a problem and no critters !
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  #16  
Old 09-28-2012, 10:48 AM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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Flahertb, is "critters" as in bugs or animals or both? My Z was stored in the people's enclosed shed and mice/chipmunks starting nesting in the car. Pull a butt-ton of insulation and acorns out of the vents and from under the driver's left foot rest. I then pulled a another wad of snake skins out from under the rear console between the roll bars. I guess the reptiles thought they had the perfect hotel with lunch being served in the front. I have an old truck sitting and the oil sounds like a great idea, especially since it works.
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  #17  
Old 09-28-2012, 01:39 PM
BStanton BStanton is offline
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My Z3 had critters last winter... Yup the four legged and tail critters. Luckily I did not have any damage. Just a nest above the gas tank. Although I plan to drive her this winter, I am lining my garage with moth balls. I was told to even leave moth balls on the garage floor beneath her. If in the spring you have that smell of a barn in your car, you have critters.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2012, 05:42 AM
BStanton BStanton is offline
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Critter protection. You easily create something at home similar to these, maybe a container that tub butter comes in and cut or drill holes in it... Maybe even breath mint containers.

http://www.guardfather********/

http://www.guardfather********/

I am not sure why the link is not copying correctly but if you do a google search for guardfather you will find the site.
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Last edited by BStanton; 09-29-2012 at 05:48 AM.
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  #19  
Old 09-29-2012, 05:49 AM
flahertb flahertb is offline
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Critters as in the 4 legged variety (mice and chipmunks). I use the same oil that is used in candy making it is pretty strong and lasts all winter and as an added bonus the car smells better than moth balls. For comparison our daily driver x3 is parked right next to the Z and I am constantly cleaning acorns and nesting material out of the front shock towers. So I have to believe that the oil is working.
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  #20  
Old 10-04-2012, 01:06 PM
Drexel5 Drexel5 is offline
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Can someone suggest a battery tender & fuel stabilizer brand that's trusted with the Z4?
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  #21  
Old 10-04-2012, 01:30 PM
WestCDA WestCDA is offline
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I've never used fuel stabilizer but I use a CTEK 3300 charger/maintainer all winter long, connected to the underhood terminals. You can rig them up with a quick disconnect as well, so you can wire a pigtail directly to the connections. CTire has these on sale for about 40 percent off every once in a while.
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  #22  
Old 10-04-2012, 01:54 PM
Drexel5 Drexel5 is offline
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I was thinking of getting the kind that connects directly into the charger/lighter. I have to say I'm concerned about leaving these things connected (fire, etc.) - should this be a concern?

@WestCDA - when you say you have them connected to the underhood terminals, do you mean the terminals on the battery (i.e. in the trunk on the Z4), or is there another place to connect them under the actual hood itself? I'm not as experienced with the mechanics of all this stuff, so please excuse my N00b ignorance.
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  #23  
Old 10-04-2012, 02:32 PM
WestCDA WestCDA is offline
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There are positive and negative posts under the hood for connection of booster cables/charger - the positive post is on the firewall, offset slightly to the drivers side. The negative post is on the fenderwall, about half way down on the driver's side. It's shown in the owner's manual as well.

You'll get a far better connection using those posts with alligator clips than you will with the notoriously finicky and unreliable connection you'll have using the cigarette lighter in the car. You'll get as good a connection as possible if you hook up the supplied pigtail connector permanently to the underhood post wiring, and leave the pigtail attached for quick connects/disconnects.

You don't need to be concerned with fire or overcharging - these are 'intelligent' chargers that are designed to maintain a battery while connected for months at a time.
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2012, 08:23 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Battery Tender is a brand name.

I have several of their units and they have worked quite well, sometimes on a battery for years (generator). The BMW battery charger is a Battery Tender, with BMW logo and higher price.

I just hook one up to the terminals under the hood with the clamps.
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  #25  
Old 10-05-2012, 06:16 AM
flahertb flahertb is offline
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I use the Ctek battery charger. I hook it up directly to the battery and run the wires out of the trunk. I was worried about the trunk lid cutting the wires, but the sealing rubber leaves enough cushion so that has not been a problem. I normally hang the ctek from the wall behind the car.

I have used Seafoam as a gas stabilizer.
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