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MY 2001 Boxster S - The Dead Battery Saga

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As I'm sure most of you know, when you leave a Boxster sitting for an extended period of time, the alarm system tends to do two things.

First, after 7 days of idle-hood, the security system "forgets" about the key fobs that came with the car. That wasn't fun the first two times it happened at 6:30AM, waking up my neighbors when I set off the alarm.

Second, the alarm system drains the battery. As in COMPLETELY. No stopping it, either, try as you might. The fun comes in when the battery isn't strong enough to pop the hood, but the alarm still goes off. MAN, is that loud in a closed garage!

Anyway, here's what I tried to get things to work. I didn't succeed until today, but this has been going on for the better part of 2 weeks now.

As my first attempt at getting the car charged up, I searched out the old Harley battery maintainer I had from years ago. Found it no problem. Following the instructions on the inside of the fuse panel (thanks to Renntech for that little tidbit), I hooked up the positive lead to the little red jumper from the fuse panel, and the ground to the door catch. Hoping it would charge the battery a little bit and not cost me a dime, I left it sitting like that overnight. Came back out in the morning, and nothing had changed. On to the next idea.

A week later, I finally managed to make it over to the auto parts store about a half mile from my house. The main reason I didn't get over there earlier? There's no parking nearby, and they like to close just after I finally make it home from work, so there's no time to walk there. I cut out a little early one day after working a little extra the day before, and I get a battery maintainer designed for regular car batteries. I even bought the really nice one that comes with leads you can leave on the battery. I tried the same setup as before, but this one at least had indicators on it. It kept telling me there was no battery attached. I thought maybe there was no ground, so I pushed myself under the side of the car, and found some bare chassis. No go. Not quite giving up, the following day, I called the auto parts store again and requested one of the cigarette lighter adapters for the particular maintainer I purchased the day before. They didn't have one in stock, but could get it for me the next day. I roll in there the day after, pick that up, and try the whole process again. Porsche: 3, Rob: 0.

Finally, after re-reading the advice on here AGAIN, I concluded that all I needed to spend the money on was a decent set of jumper cables, so off I went back to the auto parts store. I picked up the jumper cables with my dog in tow, and when I got home, hooked them up the way the diagram on the pamphlet in the fuse panel said to, started the other car, turned the key and voila! The button for the hood suddenly worked.

After a couple of minutes of searching, I discovered where the battery lived, pulled off the cover, and hooked up my trusty jumper cables properly (positive on the battery, ground on the chassis). It started right up! I let it run for 2 hours in the garage (I left the door open), and I was working around the house while it charged. Then I shut it off, hooked up the battery maintainer, and everything is everything. :)

When all is said and done, the moral of the story is this: when the advice is to use jumper cables, just go out and get a set of jumper cables. It works. =)

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The advice is now to get the battery load tested as repeatedly draining the battery will put it in a precarious state if you use the car for short trips with a/c and radio on, etc. And, if in doubt, get a new battery. It sure beats getting stranded.

The reason the maintainer didn't work is that the battery must be at a reasonable state of charge for the maintainer to work as it isn't a charger.

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The maintainer worked great after I let the car run for 2 hours. Took it from 2 bars to 8 (on the maintainer). The car started right up, all the lights were bright, there was no hesitation in the starter or the engine catching, so all is right with the world. :)

Good idea about the load testing. It's going to the dealer on Thursday for some service; I'll mention it to them. I'm hoping I don't need a new battery; those things are ridiculously over-priced.

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Please don't buy a battery from the dealer. I had similar problem as you, though I was able to get the hod open. My battery was not able to keep a charge well as it had aged. I replaced it with an Interstate from the local NAPA store and installed a maintainer that stays under the hood. When I'm done driving, I plug the car in. I haven't had any trouble since.

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I should probably state right now that my battery has only been dead once. I'm pretty sure I don't need a new one; the only reason I bought the maintainer is that I mistakenly thought it would charge it from dead. I was wrong.

My battery is most likely fine; it was installed only a year ago by the previous owner. I still have their receipt. :)

Thanks, guys!

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My car is nine years old and it's on the second Moll factory battery, which I need to replace when the car comes from winter storage; it is garage kept, unlocked and covered. Even though the car is always on a maintainer, the factory battery still dies an early death. I refuse to purchase another and will go to AutoZone for a Duralast, which is a direct replacement. I've had an Optima Red Top in the 911 for the eight or nine years and it doesn't show a sign of giving up...I don't even need to charge/maintain it, as there is no parasitic draw from an 37 year old car.

I think you've learned; if the car isn't going to be run, put it on a maintainer, as they draw too much power just sitting.

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A Wal-Mart battery works fine, even has the vent. They are made by Johnson Control who labels the same battery with several brands. I have one each in all 3 Porsches

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+1 to wal mart batteries. And costco and autozone.

LOL, one time a Nissan dealer replaced a battery in my truck, wanted to charge me $100 for it. I told them to take it out and I would walk to the wal-mart across the street to get one for $50. They promptly lowered the price. Even still, you don't want to pay dealer prices. There is a great battery thread here BTW if you use the search feature.

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