What to do With This Sitting Car

Nick1994

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My great aunt and great uncle live in The Netherlands from ~April to November and here in Phoenix from November until April. So 7 months there and 5 months here. Their car is a 1998 Plymouth Breeze (same thing as a Dodge Stratus) and has the 2.0L. I go over to their place to check on it and run the plumbing, check the mail etc. every couple of weeks. The car has around 113k miles and is like brand new. They have the oil changed every November they come back as well. What can I do to keep the battery on the car charged? They own a condo/townhouse and the car is in covered parking but there's no outlets to plug in a battery charger. The car is also de-insured while they are gone, but I can if need be drive it to my grandparents house (literally 2 blocks away in residential) and charge it there. I usually start it once a month and let it run for 10 minutes or so to keep the battery charged. This last season it may have been 4-6 weeks since I last started it and the battery was just barely too low to start, but I jump started it and it has been fine since. The car has been driven the past 2 weeks that they've been here but due to medical problems they have left back to The Netherlands until March and they may come for another 2 weeks then, and be back in November. So essentially this car will only have 4 weeks of use from the time period of April 2014-November 2015. I'm not worried about fuel dillution since the oil is changed every year so I have no problem idling it. Will idling it for 10-15 minutes once a month keep the battery charged? Any other ideas? Also I would pop the battery out or disconnect the terminals but the battery is behind the front bumper and the tire and fender skirt has to come off to take it out - stupid. I'm not doing that. Thanks for your help. Also I need to drive it this summer in July to get it emissions tested so it'll have about 15 miles or so put on it then and it warmed up.
 
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What's if you connected a healthy second battery to the car's battery via jumper cables and kept it on the floor of the garage. Perhaps that would increase the amount of reserve the battery has so when you do start it, it will start OK?
 

Nick1994

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Originally Posted By: redhat
What's if you connected a healthy second battery to the car's battery via jumper cables and kept it on the floor of the garage. Perhaps that would increase the amount of reserve the battery has so when you do start it, it will start OK?
The only problem is the covered parking is like an apartment complex so people are always walking by it and parking by it.
 
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That might be your best idea unless the Plymouth turns off the cigarette lighter outlet when the key is off. Not sure... my Accord does that.
 
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You can easily disconnect the battery by removing the ground from the strut tower under the hood. One bolt does it, it's a direct connection from the negative terminal on the battery to the body ground.
 

Nick1994

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The car is in shaded parking so solar wouldn't work. Would disconnecting the negative at those jump start locations prevent the battery from draining so fast?
 
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Originally Posted By: Nick1994
The car is in shaded parking so solar wouldn't work. Would disconnecting the negative at those jump start locations prevent the battery from draining so fast?
Yes, as soon as you remove that bolt from the negative jump start location on the strut tower you'll see it disconnects the battery. There is a short jumper from the battery, and one that continues on to the engine that are held in by that bolt. It's really simple. You can leave the positive alone. Also there is a 10A fuse on the interior fuse panel that they shipped these cars with removed called radio memory/interior lights (something like that) that will lower the parasitic draw on the battery. It's elevated and away from all the other ones.
 

JHZR2

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The Breeze, depending upon how it is optioned, is a pretty low-tech car. My mother has one, still drives it. Nearly 200k on it and its also like new. My concern would be more about AC system seals than batteries. Even if you replace the battery once a year, its $100. An AC system repair could easily be thousands. Batteries self-discharge. Is what it is. Id just remove it and keep it floated in a cool, dry place. Otherwise, Id buy a group 49/H8 or even H9, marine deep cycle or some other really big battery, float it locally, and then parallel it with a fuse to keep the other battery in the car at higher SOC. Is there a way to get to permanent-on bus in the trunk, for example? That would work well. Just make the right resistance and fusing, and let them self-discharge together, far slower...
 
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I vote for a combo HF 2 stroke generator and 20 amp battery charger. Just let the little guy run as needed. But since that's too overboard put in a solar charger. You might be able to find the fuse that permits most of the discharge-- if it's not the cigar lighter you can yank it. Also would be a small theft deterrent if it were something vital like ECM, which is probably true.
 
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Why not remove the battery, bring it to your home and put it on a charger once a month instead of idling the car? The car does not need to be started during the 7 months that it is sitting. Then, a week or two before they come home, I would put the battery in, run the car for 20-30 minutes, including the AC if it works, check all fluids, tire pressure, etc. and call it a day.
 
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^+1 Good call there. Lets face it, that drivetrain in the Plymouth won't really care. Or if you really wanted to start it every so often, still take the battery out but bring a small booster battery pack with you and connect it to the car's leads and run it for a little bit.
 

Nick1994

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Well if the negative terminal by the strut tower will disconnect power to the battery I'll just disconnect that and let it sit. The last battery lasted 6-8 years. This one is around 2-3 and still going. A/C has a new compressor too. It's actually been a great car with almost no repairs, had a leaky freeze plug and needed an A/C compressor. I believe that's all the repairs it's had.
 
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You own a 10 year old VW. Don't worry, that Breeze will get plenty of miles every time you have to borrow it!
 
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I keep my batteries disconnected on cars I don't drive. They hold a charge fine over long periods of sitting.
 
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