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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The people on this site have been a great help to me in the past, and now I have one more question for ya: How should I properly prepare my 1999 9-3 for long-term storage?

I've done google searches and there are discrepancies on various points, especially on whether to disconnect/remove the battery. Plus alot of the recommendations are for classic vintage cars which don't apply to modern cars, then the modern car guys get on and tell you to do some of the things the vintage guys said don't and overall it's just alot of information to sort through, let alone decide which is best for my Saab.

So if anyone has some good advice, please help me out. I've never stored a car before. I'm shipping off for Army Basic Training and need to store it for roughly 9 weeks while I'm gone. This is my plan so far:
1. Store the car in a rental storage facility
2. Fill the tank and add a fuel stabilizer
3. Jacks are a BAD idea, the car is basically just gonna sit on the concrete, preferably a mat if I can find one
4. Inflate all tires an additional 10psi to prevent flat spots
5. Crack all the windows slighty. I've heard put charcoal on a pan inside to absorb odors (?)
6. Wash/wax/clean/polish the car before storage
7. Give a friend the keys and have em start er up about once a week

The jury's still out on what to do about the battery. Should I remove it or just hook up a trickle-charger? I was gonna drain the oil to prevent crankcase condensation but it seems changing it just before storage and running the car occasionally is the better option. Like I said, any advice would be sincerely appreciated

Happy Saab-ing,
Erik
 

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9 weeks is probably short enough that flat spotting of the tires isn't very likely, so no need for the jack stands.

I've heard that it's better to spray some oil in the cylinders, rotate the engine to distribute the oil and then let it sit, than to drive it just once a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No it wouldn't actually be driven around once a week, just back out of the storage garage and run til it reaches operating temperature. Personally if theres a way to store it so it can just sit I'd prefer that, but I've been to told if you're gonna do that, drain the oil so you dont blow/crack the crankcase 9 weeks later
 

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The people on this site have been a great help to me in the past, and now I have one more question for ya: How should I properly prepare my 1999 9-3 for long-term storage?

I've done google searches and there are discrepancies on various points, especially on whether to disconnect/remove the battery. Plus alot of the recommendations are for classic vintage cars which don't apply to modern cars, then the modern car guys get on and tell you to do some of the things the vintage guys said don't and overall it's just alot of information to sort through, let alone decide which is best for my Saab.

So if anyone has some good advice, please help me out. I've never stored a car before. I'm shipping off for Army Basic Training and need to store it for roughly 9 weeks while I'm gone. This is my plan so far:
1. Store the car in a rental storage facility
2. Fill the tank and add a fuel stabilizer
3. Jacks are a BAD idea, the car is basically just gonna sit on the concrete, preferably a mat if I can find one
4. Inflate all tires an additional 10psi to prevent flat spots
5. Crack all the windows slighty. I've heard put charcoal on a pan inside to absorb odors (?)
6. Wash/wax/clean/polish the car before storage
7. Give a friend the keys and have em start er up about once a week

The jury's still out on what to do about the battery. I was gonna drain the oil to prevent crankcase condensation but it seems changing it just before storage and running the car occasionally is the better option. Like I said, any advice would be sincerely appreciated

Happy Saab-ing,
Erik
1) Sounds good
2) Great idea, no void for humid air means no humid air.
3) Don't understand this, If you are storing a car long term it should be on jacks or jack stands, The shocks and tires will fair far better if not under load
4) Not necessary if it is on jacks
5) Fine idea
6) Great idea
7) Terrible idea...don't do it! It is not necessary to start a car every week to make sure it will still start...it will start don't be concerned. Older cars would get oxidized points and varnished fuel in the carburetor(s) (not even a big deal) This is mostly a bad idea because when starting a car there is an introduction of moisture to the crank case and unless the car reaches operating temperature for a sustained period this water will accumulate. The process is additive for all times the car is started where it does not reach operating temperature; this is directly detrimental. If anything every 6 months the car could be started, preferably driven and brought up to operating temperature, this will keep gasoline from varnishing in injectors and knock off accumulating surface rust on the rotors.

The battery it depends, it's best if it is attached to a battery tender or goes in something else. If it sits for a long period of time it will discharge, the acid will go to its auto-ionization equilibrium (water) and it will likely be history, or if in freezing temperatures you may end up with a mess as well.

DO NOT drain the crankcase. Where there is oil it will not rust. If anything overfill the engine, just remember to drain it back to the appropriate level *before* the car is started next.

How long are you storing the car anyways?
 

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The reason for so much disagreement is the time of storage and the value of the car.
Nine weeks is nothing...a man with a Dusenberg may wish to store this beast for 9 years...
You could just give her a good cleaning, wash and wax and maybe use a trickle charger...that all... just store her under a carport...maybe cover the mirrors.
Fogging the engine will not hurt nor help; the battery could come in or stay... I'd keep the windows up; the charcoal, a nice idea, probably not necessary.
Older tires will lose air, depending on how much they lose; maybe an air pump or a source of air under pressure would be nice, after the 9 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
3) Don't understand this, If you are storing a car long term it should be on jacks or jack stands, The shocks and tires will fair far better if not under load

How long are you storing the car anyways?
Well first off I don't have four jacks, but more importantly putting it up on jacks can supposedly warp the frame. Whether thats true or not, beats me. I can see why people would say that and I can see why that could very well be impossible. Regardless the bottom line is its not like its being stored for a year or anything, just 9 weeks. I don't feel thats long enough to cause some alleged frame damage or flat spots. But hey if somehow 9 weeks is long enough to cause one of those, I'd rather have flat spots than a bent frame, know what I mean? Just playing safe on that one, that's all.

But I certainly appreciate you going point by point through my ideas and helping me out.. I didn't even think about the rust-protective qualities of oil, you're right on that one good sir. See I was definitely focused on the fact that letting oil sit causes it to deteriorate, building up condensation and therefore pressure within the crankcase so when you finally go to start up it'll crack. The guy who advised me to drain the oil said this had happened to him. However turns out he was French hahaha maybe I shouldn't have taken his word for it.

Honestly I think if I just change the oil (I use synthetic, breaks down less than conventional) and let her sit, I should be alright. I mean chances are the guy who was adamant about draining the oil probably was using conventional oil and somehow the pressure release valve on his crankcase malfunctioned...
 

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My biggest concern would be the changing of air temps. Let's say you store the car and the temp goes down to 10 degrees. Then, it warms up to 30 degrees and the car starts to sweat due to the change in temperature. What is doing to reduce the chances of rust due to the change in temperature? I've seen cars stored in vacuum bags, with shop-vacs pulling out the mositure. Is this solution the best one?... Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You could just give her a good cleaning, wash and wax and maybe use a trickle charger...that all... just store her under a carport...
Have you ever done that? Just wax it and let it sit?

I know two months isn't that long but surely most post-storage problems are caused by lack of pre-storage prep.

Leaving it out in the elements under a carport is bad idea in my case because I'll be storing it in the winter. I'll opt for the storage facility.

Ha and yeah I thought the charcoal seemed a lil uhh over-the-top; I put it in the list to get some feedback on it. I'm glad I'm not the only who thinks it to be a bit much. And if the battery dies, so be it. Those are replaceable. But I do agree hooking up a trickle charger to the battery, whether its in or out, is the best way to go
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've seen cars stored in vacuum bags, with shop-vacs pulling out the mositure. Is this solution the best one?... Ron
Vacuum bag? Sounds pricey. How does a heated storage facility sound? Thats about the best I can do because yes, temperature changes are something to be aware of

By the way nice Saab! Just wanted to say, judging by the pic, it looks gorgeous. I wish mine was an SE sometimes, better trim. (different subject i know)
 

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When I used to store my '83 Datsun 280-ZX in the garage over the winter, when it started to warm in the Spring, the car would sweat during that period. The best that I could do was to open the garage so that the temperatures would be eaqulized... Ron
 

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Well first off I don't have four jacks, but more importantly putting it up on jacks can supposedly warp the frame. Complete nonsense, don't believe it for a second. What are the suspension components attached to when the car rests on the wheels...Whether thats true or not, beats me. I can see why people would say that and I can see why that could very well be impossible. Regardless the bottom line is its not like its being stored for a year or anything, just 9 weeks. I don't feel thats long enough to cause some alleged frame damage or flat spots. But hey if somehow 9 weeks is long enough to cause one of those, I'd rather have flat spots than a bent frame, know what I mean? Just playing safe on that one, that's all.

But I certainly appreciate you going point by point through my ideas and helping me out.. I didn't even think about the rust-protective qualities of oil, you're right on that one good sir. See I was definitely focused on the fact that letting oil sit causes it to deteriorate, building up condensation Oil will repel water as it won't go into solution; aside oil will not deteriorate by virtue of it sitting. and therefore pressure within the crankcase so when you finally go to start up it'll crack. The actual crankcase is VERY vented relative to the burst pressure of the block. The guy who advised me to drain the oil said this had happened to him. However turns out he was French hahaha maybe I shouldn't have taken his word for it.

Honestly I think if I just change the oil (I use synthetic, breaks down less than conventional) and let her sit, I should be alright. I mean chances are the guy who was adamant about draining the oil probably was using conventional oil and somehow the pressure release valve on his crankcase malfunctioned...
For 9 weeks I wouldn't do a thing to it honestly. All issues that could arise would take far longer than that to do so.
 

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The people on this site have been a great help to me in the past, and now I have one more question for ya: How should I properly prepare my 1999 9-3 for long-term storage?

I've done google searches and there are discrepancies on various points, especially on whether to disconnect/remove the battery. Plus alot of the recommendations are for classic vintage cars which don't apply to modern cars, then the modern car guys get on and tell you to do some of the things the vintage guys said don't and overall it's just alot of information to sort through, let alone decide which is best for my Saab.

So if anyone has some good advice, please help me out. I've never stored a car before. I'm shipping off for Army Basic Training and need to store it for roughly 9 weeks while I'm gone. This is my plan so far:
1. Store the car in a rental storage facility
2. Fill the tank and add a fuel stabilizer
3. Jacks are a BAD idea, the car is basically just gonna sit on the concrete, preferably a mat if I can find one
4. Inflate all tires an additional 10psi to prevent flat spots
5. Crack all the windows slighty. I've heard put charcoal on a pan inside to absorb odors (?)
6. Wash/wax/clean/polish the car before storage
7. Give a friend the keys and have em start er up about once a week

The jury's still out on what to do about the battery. Should I remove it or just hook up a trickle-charger? I was gonna drain the oil to prevent crankcase condensation but it seems changing it just before storage and running the car occasionally is the better option. Like I said, any advice would be sincerely appreciated

Happy Saab-ing,
Erik
Just leave it at my place with the keys.
 

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For 9 weeks I wouldn't do a thing to it honestly. All issues that could arise would take far longer than that to do so.
Ditto.


Nine weeks is nothing. Disconnect battery, buy a cover, throw it on, walk away.
 

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Have you ever done that? no...Just wax it and let it sit?
But I have had many cars in storage, and have many every conceivable mistake.
Many covers are no good, they allow no ventilation, then bad things happen

I know two months isn't that long but surely most post-storage problems are caused by lack of pre-storage prep.

Leaving it out in the elements under a carport is bad idea in my case because I'll be storing it in the winter. I'll opt for the storage facility. The facility may be better if its well ventilated and kept dry; if not well vented - but its only 9 weeks.. Most garages and older homes are poorly vented..rust and smells result..
Carports are well vented and shield the car from UV rays, which are damaging..but cover the mirrors to deter narcissistic birds.

Ha and yeah I thought the charcoal seemed a lil uhh over-the-top; I put it in the list to get some feedback on it. I'm glad I'm not the only who thinks it to be a bit much. And if the battery dies, so be it. Those are replaceable. But I do agree hooking up a trickle charger to the battery, whether its in or out, is the best way to go
An older battery, from 50 years ago would have to be removed...and much of our knowledge comes from 50 - 100 years ago...I know mine does.:(
 

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For 9 weeks, all I'd do is put it up on jacks, especially in a colder environment, and that's just for the tires. "Warping" isnt an issue...like someone else said do you think your car warps while sitting on its suspension? Everything else is fine. Top off the fluids to minimize condensation and you'll be all set. Remember there are thousands of U.S. Troops who don't drive their vehicles for up to 15 months at a time and come back to a perfectly functional car/truck in top shape. Disconnect the battery and when you get back at the very most change your oil. You'll be just fine!

For an added piece of mind...think of the all the brand new cars that sit on a dealers lot for 3,4,5 month at a time or more without being moved or started. 9 weeks, not an issue my friend
 

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Or of course you could drain everything, take apart the whole car, make sure to label everything, file it all away, and put it back together when you get home. And Bob's your uncle. :eek:
 

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I agree with all that nine weeks is no big deal. Once you're in the Army, you'll see whole parking lots of vehicles that belong to guys who are in Iraq or A'Stan. The day after they get back, you'll see one or two vehicles still in the lot and they are typically late model vehicles. Hardly scientific evidence but those vehicles are sitting still for 12-16 months.

One trick I learned (the hard way) is to spray the crap out of your upholstery with Lysol. If your car is leather interior, you won't have much to do. But, that little bit of spilled Coke under your floor mat can make for a somewhat odoriferous homecoming.

Finally... best of luck at Basic! Keep your head down and your eyes on the goal. And remember, it's a rifle, not a gun.
 

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I believe the only problem with a car sitting would be tires getting flat spots. Modern cars could probably sit out of the elements without any issues for a year (if the climate doesn't change all that much).

I mean I've seen jeeps sitting in barns for 20-30 years, started within 20 mins using a battery and a auxiliary gas tank, granted our cars have way more gizmos and electronics to cause a no start.
 
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