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Old 01-13-2015, 08:54 PM
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Default The Cayman S battery replacement from Hell

Guys:
I just had the Cayman battery replacement from hell, and though Iíd share the specifics to keep some other poor schmuck from going down this road.

First of all, the car is a 2009 Porsche Cayman S with PDK. I did some research online, and found that the original Porsche battery as from the factory, made by Moll, is a crap battery.. Everyone said go with a Bosch or Interstate replacement.

So, I went online and found that Pep Boys sells Bosch car batteries. Cool so far. When I went to order it online for in-store pickup (with 30% discount), found that they do not list a battery for the Cayman S with 3.4L engine. (They DO list one for the 2.9L engine, but itís not AGM). Went to the store, and they looked it up and found that itís a special order AGM type battery.

My mechanic looked at the original battery, and verified that it was NOT an AGM battery. He said the carís charging module will not play well with an AGM batt if it was designed for a non_AGM type- different charging profile, voltages, etc.

So, I called Bosch USA, and finally spoke to a knowledgeable person who informed me the the Robert Bosch batteries marketed by Pep Boys are, not, in fact Bosch batteries, but rebranded Exide batteries. Not cool.

So, I called around to a couple of Porsche dealerships, to ask about replacement batts, and was told by all that they recommend the Interstate MTP94R.

My local Interstate store had one in stock, so I motored on over to have the battery installed.

They hooked up a charge keeper to the OBD port to keep the settings from being lost during the changeover, and proceeded to drop in the new battery. Lo and behold, the car was dead. Nothing, NADA, Zip, Zilch.

I called the same couple of Porsche dealers back, and was told to have the car towed in to get it serviced (120 miles to the closest one..)

Not only was the car dead, but it could not be shifted into neutral, even to move it to allow the tow truck to get in front. Crapola.

Finally, I called in a favor from my mechanic, who took an hour off work, and drove to the Interstate store, bringing his Porsche diagnostic suite on his laptop. After hooking the thing up, he determined that the communications system was down, thus immobilizing the car in place.

He thought to check the fuses, and we found the fuse diagram, but nothing labeled as specific to the PCM engine function. So, he removed each fuse, and finally found a blown one. Popped in a 15A replacement, and got the annunciator panel to light, and was then able to start the car.

It turns out that the stupid little box they plugged in to the OBD port was wired OK for Americans cars to keep settings alive, but poison to German cars. It blew the fuse that saved the main engine management computer, a $4500 replacement. Never found any mention of this when Googling the subject, and nothing mentioned in the owners manual. I figured that with the sheer number of batteries installed, Interstate would know what they were doing. Not so. However, I would be surprised if they would even TRY to install a Porsche battery now.

Hope this helps someone in the future. It was not my best day, and three hours of running worst case scenarios thru my headÖ.

regards,
gregor
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:28 PM
86911TLCAB 86911TLCAB is offline
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so the charge keeper which was plugged into the OBD Port is to keep the cars electronics juiced while you disconnect the battery? Is this required when doing a battery replacement, or does it just prevent the car from going back to some default settings on windows and seat positions, radio settings etc?

just in case I ever have to change a cayman battery...
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:27 PM
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I've never lost any of the memory settings by changing the battery on my Cayman S and not providing any other means for electrical backup during the switch...
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:55 PM
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In the 981/991 workshop manual the procedure for replacing battery specifies to hook up auxiliary power to keep the computers powered up. If this isn't done, the PWIS has to be hooked up to reboot everything and bring all the modules back on line. Maybe this started with the 987.2 cars forward.
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:57 PM
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Itís stories like this that really make me appreciate the simplicity of my older automobiles and keep me out of the new car show rooms.

I suspect that most modern cars have some sort of small battery similar to what is found on the mother board of a PC to keep memory to the onboard computers when the main battery is removed or is dead. But with time, those batteries would also expire.

When VW came out with the new beetle I read a story about a guy who had beetles in his youth and went and bought a new beetle for his wife.

About a year into ownership one of the headlights burned out. Being busy he told the wife to just take it into the dealer and have it replaced. After all, how much could it cost? $600 latter he received a call the car was ready to be picked up. NO other service had been performed.

A few weeks latter the headlight on the other side burn out. Not wanting to get raped for another $600 to replace a simple headlight he decided to do the job himself.

In order to gain access to the headlight, he had to remove the battery from the car. New lamp installed, battery back in place, job is done.

But the car wouldnít start. After exhausting everything he could think of he ended up having the car towed back to the dealer in desperation.

$600 latter they had reset the computer and the car was ready to be picked up.
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Old 01-15-2015, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86911TLCAB View Post
so the charge keeper which was plugged into the OBD Port is to keep the cars electronics juiced while you disconnect the battery? Is this required when doing a battery replacement, or does it just prevent the car from going back to some default settings on windows and seat positions, radio settings etc?

just in case I ever have to change a cayman battery...
I always thought that keeping power on the system kept "learned settings" intact. Some folks try to do this by putting 12v power into the system via the cigarette lighter. This Interstate dealer said their box accomplished this by supplying power thru 3 pins in the OBD port, so I took them at their word. Apparently the position of at least one of these 3 powered pins was not compatible, and it blew a fuse, putting the car in immobilize mode.
I've since read that others have simply done a battery swap with no ill effects, so in the future, that's the route I will take. Any lost settings are apparently quickly relearned by the cars computer.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:45 AM
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I swapped my battery without any 12V aux power source; no issues (987.2).

ed
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:02 AM
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Never had a problem with my 987.1 Cayman. Remember to write down your radio code on a 9x6 although no other issues there. None of mine have memory seats or mirrors or wheel position or blue tooth remote controls, etc. You occasionally get the rough idle issue due to forgotten fuel mix modifiers but the car learns its way back smooth after driving a few miles.

Certain pins on the OBD-II port are standard across all cars and certain pins are left for manufacturer-specific use (like pin 9 being the tach signal on 9x6 and 9x7.1 - they switched to CAN BUS for 9x7.2) as far as output. The manufacturers don't have to do anything specific with power inputs (i.e., support circuitry for powering your car or recharging your battery as far as the standard goes.

I could not get any power inputs to work on my 986 Boxster when the battery died. Not the Lighter. Not the pull-out fuse bypass designed to allow the frunk to be opened. Had to resort to a roadside tire and wheel liner removal to gain access to the emergency release under the right headlight. Will be moving that to the front bumper behind the tow hook - lesson learned after having the car sit in the cold rain for a week with the passenger window down....
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