Monday, November 24, 2008

Porsche 911 Battery

At Least I Only Need The Battery To Start Mine ...

I got to spend most of the weekend wondering why one of our cars wouldn't start. Decided on Friday morning to take the Porsche to work. Jumped in, turned the key and was greeted by a very lethargic looking set of dashboard lights. Hmm, definitely not a good sign. Either my eyesight was fading rapidly or the battery was flat. Fortunately, it turned out to be the latter so tried to start the car and, apart from a succession of clicks from the starter relay, got nowhere fast. Gave up, changed cars and left.

I tried charging the battery overnight but that didn't help. Bummer, so now it's either a completely dead battery or something else has gone like the starter motor that's now shorting all the juice as soon as the key is turned. I have a battery booster so once that was charged then I added that to the arsenal to be deployed and ... nothing. Voltage gauge on the dashboard barely crept to 10 volts even before turning the key. Definitely not good news. Can the battery really be so bad as all that? Given that it's now 8 years old and at least once in its life got completely discharged when I left the key in the ignition for a few days then it felt worth changing it out on-spec to see if that was indeed the culprit.

Given the state of both the world's and my economy, buying one form Porsche wasn't a viable option! I hate to think what they would charge; in fact, I hated it so much I didn't even bother looking. I poked instead at some Porsche forums, most notably Rennlist, and got pointed to Autozone for a replacement, grand cost of $90 for the 48 DL, plus $12 refunded when you take the old one in. (Note: make sure it has the vent pipe included. It should be in an envelope stuck to the battery. You will need this bit of rubber to finish things up properly.)

Switching it was easy, if you happen to have a 13mm socket for the battery clamp and a 10 mm socket for the battery terminals themselves that is, and thankfully I did because that thought didn't cross my mind until after I got back from the parts store of course. Although the replacement unit is a bit smaller than the original (model year 2001, 996 coupe version at least) Porsche kindly has provided several holes for the single clamp fitting so low-and-behold the new one does indeed fit snugly into the retaining tray. (One other hint, remember to go and search out the radio code in advance, OK?? Removing the battery will kill power to it and the radio take this as a sign someone is trying to kidnap it. As a result it goes into a very deep sulk, mollified only by you feeding it the requisite 4 numbers provided in the original handbook documentation.)

Anyway, nailed it all back together, turned the key and voila - it started first time. Job done. Amazing that a battery can die quite that comprehensively overnight, but apparently it can. So there.

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