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Thread: Winter Storage

  1. #1

    Post Winter Storage

    The standard recommendation for long term storage is to put the car up on jack stands. This will prevent the tires from flat-spotting, which can be permanent. An alternative is to park the car on TireCradles (877-227-9090 I would also over inflate my tires by around 10psi.

    If you can, use a car bubble either like this one from Cal Car Covers or these ones from Carcoon.

    I have recieved a good set of recommendations from the Z8 Club regarding the best possible way to store your Z8 (or any other car for that matter).

    Have a complete service/oil change/fluid flush BEFORE storage. The seasons fluids will have some condensation in them, while the brand new fluids will be water free.

    Fill your gas tank before putting the car away so there is less chance for moisture to accumulate in the tank or lines.

    When you park up the car make sure to crack the hood, trunk, and doors, as this will increase the life of the rubber seals. Also close the soft-top all the way, but don't pull it tight to the screen, leave it almost shut.

    All that's left is to plug in your trickle charger, zip up your car-cover and say goodnight!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  2. #2
    Sport Button On
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hi Andrew,

    How about the battery, do you hook it up onto a charger for the winter season and if so, do you recommend a particular brand.

  3. #3

    I use the BMW trickle charger which came with the car.

    I think that battery life is around 4 years or so for our cars, regardless of what we might try. They also seem prone to drain their charge quite quickly, thus even in summer i keep mine to the charger.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Interstate Batteries

    I couldn't get more than three years on any of my cars. I use Battery Tender Pluses on them and they are all stored in a climate controlled garage.

    So a couple of years ago when I lost the battery on the 996TT my mechanic replaced it with an Interstate. (It has always been my practice to take the Fiamms out of my Ferraris upon delivery and replace them with Interstates.)

    Discussing the problem with him he suggested I bring it back after 17 months and he would replace it under warranty. I now do that with all the cars.

    All that is required is a sympathetic mechanic and a tolerance for bending the warranty rules. Not for everybody I guess, but it works.
    Herb Summerfield

  5. #5

    Airchamber vs Bubble

    Hi Andrew (and everyone),
    I live in a condominium & share the garage with aprox. 250 cars. This traffic creates a lot of dust, street residue (winter slush & salt) & soot that regular cloth or plastic car covers just cannot cope with. My car is always dusty, even though it is always covered.
    My Z8 deserves better, & I would love to save some elbow grease.
    I found this old post from 2002 & was wondering which type of airtight car protection system you prefer. Back then you used the 'airchamber'. But I thought I saw somewhere else on this website, much more recently, where you have a 'bubble' for your Z8. I was wondering which system you prefer, seeing as you have used both of them at one time or another.
    I have been able to find a 'carcoon' which seems to be similar the the 'bubble' in theory.
    For information, check out They recommend a size 4 for the Z8. It costs ?329 = 671 Canadian Dollars, $708 CDN delivered. This includes a battery charging system similar to the BMW trickle charger, except that when there is a power shortage, power is continuously supplied to the TC. Only 1 external electrical socket is required for the entire system to operate, which is an issue for me.
    Thank you, Andrew, for everything you have done & continue to do, & thank you to everyone who has contributed to this website, to make it the most informative Z8 resource for upgrades, mods, trouble-shooting, trips, etc . . . the list is endless. I cannot express my appreciation & enthusiasm for everything on this site & everyone who has contributed to it!
    2003 Z8 Midnight Blue (ext)/Arizona Sun (int)
    2001 330xi
    1989 325ix

  6. #6

    I use the Cal Car Covers for my Z8...

    and I'm very happy with it - but it requires constant power to keep it inflated. The advantage with the Carcoon (which my Dad uses in the UK for his vintage Bentley) is that it can be hung from the ceiling. He unzips it, lifts the front up, and away he goes, while I always struggle to uncover the car with the deflating top, and it is usually best to have at least two of you to prevent anything from scratching your paint.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  7. #7
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Midnight Blue and Arizona Sun?

    Evie, I don't believe I've ever seen that combination. Any photos?

  8. #8

    Here are some pics . . . if it worked(?)

    The car, as am I, is Canadian:
    Midnight Blue (dark navy with a hint of deep purple in the right light)
    Arizona Sun (is this saddle?)
    I believe there were 6 sent to Can. in 2003, but have no clue worldwide. I tried to get more info from the dealer at time of purchase.
    To all Canadians: Happy Canada Day!
    To all Americans: Happy 4th of July!
    To everyone else: Have a great day!

    Evie from Montreal

  9. #9

    Sorry the photos are humungous . .

    I have to learn how to size them,

  10. #10

    Smile Evie, that is a really awesome color combo...

    and it is the first time I heard of this too - but while I was in Munich last year I did hear that BMW's Individual Dept had made a Carbon Black/Saddle Z8. The Carbon Black is a very metallic blue/black that is one of my favorite BMW colors. I couldn't tell from your shots if this car was metallic or not, but I really love your combo.

    I've added your color to this thread, and I also popped your pictures up, so please do vote in the poll, and also tell us more about your gorgeous car. We'll certainly need some great pix of it to put in the GALLERY too, so please get out to some great locations with your beauty and send us in some beautiful pictures.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  11. #11
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    stunning combination

    What a great color combination-enjoy and thanks for the photos!

  12. #12
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Nice !

    Congratulations from an ex - pat now living in the US. Beautiful car. Happy belated Canada Day.

    Dave P

  13. #13
    Not quite a winter storage note ...We all know that it is better to drive our cars, but these days, my car sits under the cover for months at a time. Can anyone answer whether it is better to start the car intermittently when it has been sitting for long periods? I have heard it both ways. Initially someone in the know mentioned to me that the S62 engine does not like to be idled. On the other hand, we know that oil runs off the cams and such and so that can potentially lead to corrosion. Any recommendations?

  14. #14
    Ted - I have heard the same - idling is bad at start up and even worse when it is very cold. I live in Iowa and I just take mine for a short drive when the roads are dry and the weather is relatively warm which would be anything above freezing. Pretty much every month there will be a day or two like that even in Iowa.
    Skip Hammerman

    2002 BMW Z8 - Meisterschaft GT, PP installed, CDV delete. 100,000 Mile Club
    2013 BMW X3
    2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  15. #15
    I believe conventional wisdom holds that during periods of extended storage you should not periodically start a car and just let it idle for a few minutes. Unless you can drive it around and get it up to operating temperature (20 minutes, plus or minus) the car is better off unstarted. I can tell you that for years my E39 M5 (same motor as the Z8) sits at my house in Florida for 5 months at a time unstarted, with no apparent ill effects. On initial startup after storage, I occasionally will hear a slight tapping noise which goes away after a minute or two once the valve lifters get pumped up with oil.

  16. #16
    Thanks to both of you for your thoughts.
    I do wonder what occurs when you start the engine for just a minute or two of idling. I imagine that that some moving parts don't fully lubricate and, when the engine stops, they are locked into some slightly aberrant poison, placing some strain on the drivetrain. But, it would be nice to learn the technical explanation of what actually happens.

  17. #17
    I think the biggest concern related to not getting the car up to operating temperature relates to moisture which accumulates within the engine as a result of combustion. It is my understanding that when the car is fully warmed up, moisture in the crankcase is turned into vapor and expelled from the engine. When the motor does not get up to temperature, that moisture remains in the engine, possibly causing corrosion. As evidence of this moisture, I know I have removed the oil filler cap on a warm engine and observed a small amount of water vapor escaping through the opening.

  18. #18
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Hi Ted
    My understanding has always been that - as you say, oil drains away from the top of the engine. So if you are starting it for short periods you are repeatedly running it with a suboptimal amount of oil. These engines will definitely 'click' until pressure builds. Word from my BMW guys in Vegas is that it is better to run it to operating temperature every 2 weeks. I started doing that early on and have never had the ticking since