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Long term storage

13819 Views 21 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  CALWATERBOY
For the next three years I will be spending 4 months at a time out of the country in Germany. My 335xi coupe will be a garage queen during those periods of time. I'm wondering what advice the community here has about long term storage issues. Can I leave my battery minder on the car this long. Do I disconnect the battery. Any other issues to think of? Thanks.
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I'd disconnect the battery & let'r sit.

Change all fluids on return. Fire it up....

Long time. Why not sell?

.
For the next three years I will be spending 4 months at a time out of the country in Germany. My 335xi coupe will be a garage queen during those periods of time. I'm wondering what advice the community here has about long term storage issues. Can I leave my battery minder on the car this long. Do I disconnect the battery. Any other issues to think of? Thanks.
Assuming your battery minder has a computer control to shut down on a full charge that should be the best way to go.

Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer in the gas tank.

If you could get the car on jack stands to relieve pressure on the tires that would be good to prevent flat spotting.

Not ideal but probably the best you can do.

Oh ........ and a cat to keep the mice and squirrels out of the wiring!
I would get the weight of the car off the tires (jacks) if possible. Another concern should be rodents getting in the car and chewing on wiring, etc. Quite frankly, I would ask an exterminator how to prevent this considering the length of your storage.
A friend just went through this with his car...after years without any incidents. Very expensive repairs.
For the next three years I will be spending 4 months at a time out of the country in Germany. My 335xi coupe will be a garage queen during those periods of time. I'm wondering what advice the community here has about long term storage issues. Can I leave my battery minder on the car this long. Do I disconnect the battery. Any other issues to think of? Thanks.
Well, I'd:
  1. Clean it to spotless, inside and out. Don't want gunk spending months drying on or eating in.
  2. Change the oil before storing the car. Don't know what the contaminant level in the old oil is, but you will for the new.
  3. Fill the gas tank. Less room for breathing with temperature changes, and less surface area per gallon of contents for high end evaporation.
  4. StaBil in the gas tank
  5. Store it inside, and even then I might cover it.
  6. Put it on a battery minder. Maybe put the minder on a timer so it's not on 24/7 or get one of the smart ones.
  7. Get it off the tires, on sleepers or stands.
  8. Worry incessantly about mice. I did some work on a '72 Vette that had 2 mouse problems after long term storage: a huge nest (with mom and babies) inside the air filter, and another nest up one of the exhausts (complete with roasted acorns and baby mice spitting out the exhaust when I fired it up). Then there's the wire chewing. I'd think about traps (with a friend to change them regularly) and covering obvious entry points.

The old school side of me would also want to pull each plug, spray a little oil into each cylinder, and crank it over before replacing the plugs, but that may wreak havoc with the DI system, so I'd likely not do it to my 335. The old '72 Vette? Hell yeah.

FWIW,
George
Storing a car does it no good. Best plan may be to sell the car and then replace it when you return. Otherwise Zooks527 gave some good advice.
That's an over-reaction. Four months out of the year for three years? That's called "winter storage." I know plenty of people who mothball their summer cars for 4-5 months out of the year, year after year, with no major ill effects. Zooks covered the critical points, with vermin being the most difficult one.
Storing a car does it no good. Best plan may be to sell the car and then replace it when you return. Otherwise Zooks527 gave some good advice.
He means that he's driving the car 8 months out of the year though, right? I'd keep it too then.

I helped someone with a BMW storage last year, and it's running well once again. We used Stabil, car cover, ArmHammer fridge n freezer boxes, steel wool in the pipes, overinflated the tires to max (no stands). We didn't put in mouse traps, but I think I recommended it. Personally, I think it could be a lot worse than 4 months, indoors, washed/waxed/covered. I went to recharge it for her once, maybe twice, with my CTEK, a brand I'd like to recommend (sealed system).

I'm not sure if this would be the perfect excuse, but maybe you could get yourself a lift! :D I remember the Professor getting one, I'm not sure which if any are good for long term lifting though. It gets your tires off the ground, but it also makes your future DIYs easier too.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=616105&highlight=
Agreed, if it is four months out of the year, but he says "4 months at a time" so I assumed he would only be back for a short time and then gone again....
Four months per year is not a big deal.
Everyone has offered good advice but I'm going to add "Don't worry about it too much". There were times, during the winter, where I didn't drive one of my BMWs for months and I took no precautions to store it (because I wasn't really storing it, the months just got away from me). Never had a problem with them. Started right up.
For the next three years I will be spending 4 months at a time out of the country in Germany. My 335xi coupe will be a garage queen during those periods of time. I'm wondering what advice the community here has about long term storage issues. Can I leave my battery minder on the car this long. Do I disconnect the battery. Any other issues to think of? Thanks.
Great stuff all. Thanks. Keep it coming. To answer the question of time it will be four months stored then two months driven over and over again for three years.
I see you're in Colorado. I'd be happy to take it out and exercise it for ya! :D
Great stuff all. Thanks. Keep it coming. To answer the question of time it will be four months stored then two months driven over and over again for three years.
Well, that makes it a little tougher. BTW, you should ignore anything I say, and pay more attention to those who live where it gets very cold.

If you sell it, will you have a car to drive when you're home? If so, I might* start leaning towards selling it.

If you instead replace it with some other cheap beater, but decide not to take care of it in a similar way with storage, I suppose any savings are more likely to be negated by surprise costs.

Are you willing to do rinse/repeat the cycle every 6 months? You know, I think you can keep the car, but obviously some people will lean one way or another, and there are some details missing here. Not just the availability of other cars, but the mileage you might put on in two months, etc. I don't think anyone is going to strongly try to convince you one way or another w/o more details, and/or it's just really a personal decision kind of thing to begin with.
Great stuff all. Thanks. Keep it coming. To answer the question of time it will be four months stored then two months driven over and over again for three years.
As others have recommended - Sta-bil in the gas tank, Battery Tender on the battery, inflate the tires and keep the car waxed & protected against rodents.

I'd also add to make sure the oil is changed annually, even though the mileage will be low.

Tom
I store mine from Dec till late March due to sand and salt in my area during these months. I've done this since new and did it with a previous car.

Here's what I do.

Change oil/filter.
Clean car and make sure it does not have any standing water. Take for a ride so water gets out of the spots where it holds water.
Fill gas tank and use stabil.
Put down tarp on garage surface to keep moisture from rising.
Put a box of Arm/Hammer baking powder to absorb oders that may form inside the car.
Cover car with breathable material. I use a flannel sheet.
Use a battery tender.
Over inflate tires about 10 lbs to prevent flat spots.

I don't have critters in my garage. If you suspect them, use moth balls or dryer sheets everwhere around the car. Put in steel wool in exhaust.

Come home, start and let idle for a while to get the engine well lubricated. Drive out and drive it like it's meant to be driven!
Tangent: I will be garaging my new 328xi e92 for a month and wanted to connect up a battery tender. Does that get connected directly to the battery in the trunk or under the hood to the jumper clips?
I can't help it: I read that and immediately thought, "from what height?"
(Cool product, even if a load of hammers dropped from a passing C-130 still poses a risk. :rofl:)

Their website said:
It's so strong that you could accidentally drop a 5lb. Hammer on it, and it will bounce right off!
Tangent: I will be garaging my new 328xi e92 for a month and wanted to connect up a battery tender. Does that get connected directly to the battery in the trunk or under the hood to the jumper clips?
Under the hood.
Most of the advice here seems really good. I'd also consider putting a container of Damp Rid somewhere in the car. I have an RV that sits for months at a time while I'm out of the country exploring many of the less desirable parts of the world and leave a container of Damp Rid inside. It'll accumulate a lot of moisture that would otherwise just hang around and embed in the interior.

Might also want to check an RV forum for ideas. RV'ers are storing their vehicles all the time.
I have been storing cars for the Winter for many years, one other good tip is to take the wiper blades off so they don't take a set. Otherwise fill the gas and add a stabilizer, plug in the battery tender, pump the tires up to max or put it on jack stands, keep it clean and dry.
I have one car that I have stored for 27 years and another for 8 so I have a system. With fuel injection it will fire up easily when you get back.
David
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