: Winter Storage of My 98 ETC



C0RSA1R
04-05-09, 07:52 PM
So this may not count as a "Tech Tip" fit for inclusion in this section, but I wanted to share with everyone the success I had storing my 1998 Cadillac Eldorado over the winter. I had actually asked around for proper storage tips before I garaged her, and got a few good ones back. I took their advice to heart, and followed it as much as possible. The car was put to bed in November, and is being woken up for summer tomorrow.

Before I tucked the car in for hibernation, I of course had the coolant changed and the oil changed. I let the guys at the dealership do it (the official Cadillac/Buick/GMC place, not the used-car lot where I bought the car). I know what I'm doing as far as oil changes go, but I've never changed coolant before and I figured they could use the business.

First thing I did was to sweep out the floor under the car, removing dust, leaves, little twigs, and cat hair (Holy balls, there was so much cat hair!). Since the floor was concrete, I had heard it was a smart thing to park your car so your wheels were on top of plastic or cardboard. I found this not necessary, and did not do it. I inflated the tires to two PSI over what it indicated on the door panel - when I checked them just now, they were all about 1 PSI lower - so on average, I lost just over 1 PSI over the winter, which is within acceptable tolerance, I'm pretty sure.

No flat-spotting on the tires, so I continued my walkaround. I had been told to seal the exhaust pipes with something covering them to prevent infestation - I garaged my ETC at my mother's house, since she has a two car garage and only drives one car. She has a cat - that took care of any possible mouse/rodent related problems. This cat probably killed two or three mice per month until February, when he nabbed only one, and in March he got another. So my guess is that all the ones who were lurking were take care of by January. After that, all the other creatures had probably found homes elsewhere, and the ones who didn't were corpsicles. I checked with flashlights under the hood, in the intake tubing, and as far up the exhaust as I could see. Then I started the car - ran just fine, started immediately. So, no mice in the works.

For the interior, I used a fridge-box of baking soda on the center console/armrest, along with a dryer sheet (placed on top of paper towels to avoid leeching into the leather of the backseat):
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Here is the baking soda on the armrest

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Here are the dryer sheets on the paper towel in the backseat.

I also used both baking soda and dryer sheets in the trunk. I was told the dryer sheets were extra repellent against rodents, so I figured it couldn't hurt to put them in here too:
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I had also used a car cover for much of the time it was stored, to prevent the cat from getting pawprints on the car. I took it off last week, and already the hood is marred up! Good thing I had it on most of the time, or else the car would have gotten totally covered!
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Finally, to keep the battery charged and prevent it from damage, I used a battery tender. It cost about $30, hooks up easily with both alligator clip and ring attachments, and has handy indicator lights to ensure proper operation. It float charges, meaning it lets the battery discharge a little bit before charging it, and then repeats the cycle. When I first went into the car last week, the battery voltage readout looked just fine at 12.5 volts, and it was the same today. I'd say it worked well. Not sure how necessary it really was, but it was a good buy anyway, considering all the uses it has:
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So, yeah. The Eldo is in great shape, all she needs is some washing and waxing, and she'll be ready to cruise. Hope this helps someone next time they plan on storing a car for the winter.

Submariner409
04-05-09, 10:49 PM
A "battery tender" is one of the most beneficial additions to long-term storage ever invented. Google "guest battery charger" or "xantrex" and read up on Smart Charger technology.

You might also consider a marine oil additive called, duh, Oil Stabilizer. We use it in all our marine engines.

mtflight
04-17-09, 06:50 PM
A "battery tender" is one of the most beneficial additions to long-term storage ever invented. Google "guest battery charger" or "xantrex" and read up on Smart Charger technology.

At the now defunct GM "Autoshow in Motion" where they let you test drive GM cars along with the "competition" through these "test courses," they had Onstar demo areas.

At the Onstar demo, you'd hop aboard a GM car (each brand had a representative car--e.g., Cadillac had a Deville, Buick had a Lacrosse etc). One thing I noticed is there were extension cords (regular AC home-style) running into the cars, and these cars were off. But Onstar was on, and you'd talk to an advisor etc.

So N*Caddy tells me these were plugged into battery chargers! So at times I come home from work, and I park and listen to music and sometimes keep turning the key, after RAP shuts off power. So I'm wearing the battery down... Would I benefit from such a charger and what kind do I need?

Submariner409
04-18-09, 11:36 PM
Hard shot to call..........RAP will shut down all accessory power after 10 minutes regardless of whether or not the car is on a maintenance charger, and the posted battery charger manufacturers DO NOT recommend that a battery charger or maintainer be used for an auxiliary power supply.

I would guess that an auto show car is rigged without RAP and "battery be damned" conditions because that's a show car, not what you can buy.

mtflight
04-21-09, 12:04 PM
Hard shot to call..........RAP will shut down all accessory power after 10 minutes regardless of whether or not the car is on a maintenance charger, and the posted battery charger manufacturers DO NOT recommend that a battery charger or maintainer be used for an auxiliary power supply.

I would guess that an auto show car is rigged without RAP and "battery be damned" conditions because that's a show car, not what you can buy.

(sigh) well thank you for the info. What would we do on this forum without seasoned knowledgeable folks like you?

I'll taper my listening of music down.

C0RSA1R
05-18-09, 07:22 PM
I would think that sitting and listening to some tunes for a half hour or so is not going to drain the battery significantly, unless you have subs, amplifiers, and capacitors involved. I do that sometimes too, and I just set the DIC up to look at the battery voltage. With an unmodified BOSE sound system, no sub, and the 12-disc changer in the trunk, I usually keep it above 11.9V after 45 minutes of music. It always starts the next day with no problems.

I've heard that putting the battery to work without the alternator topping it off can be beneficial from time to time - could be wrong, but that's what I've heard. For long-term storage though, voltage creep is to be avoided if possible. Unhooking the battery and losing all my saved settings (especially the seats - I have them perfect right now) was unpalatable, and I love buying new toys. So, the battery tender was purchased with no regrets.