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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!
After just about 7 months of winter storage I went to finally let the 4c roar free once again. This winter the car has been stored in a heated garage without power sockets, thus the battery surely slowly discharged.

Around 9 o'clock the inevitable happened: All systems were go, but the starter could just give a light kick. Not a click, the starter actually tried.
During that couple of quarter-of-a-second long tries, with screen and warning lights going on and off, the car threw some weird messages.
  • Something overheating (couldn't read what it was exactly, but hard to take seriously, since the car was stone cold and that was just my second attempt);
  • Empty fuel tank (which it was not);
  • Check engine.
With no success in sight, I consulted the book about potential ways out. Removing the battery in that tight garage to trickle charge it someplace else would have been a nightmare.

Ah! It is possible to jump start the car by using proper cables and a "donor" car. I did everything by the book (my great thanks to a dear friend and his trusty 2008 VW Polo 1.6) and the 4C jumped to life with great cheerfulness, like a dog greets its family after a weekend alone.

Unfortunately, all is not well: the dreaded Check Engine Light stayed on, the screen showing a short "Engine Malfunction", just in Italian. I turned it off after a minute. To start it once again needed the help of the Polo, but the CEL was still there. I went for a drive to charge the battery, just about 30 miles. The CEL stayed on and I couldn't get out of Natural.

Any recommendations about next steps?

Thank you all, and sorry for the lengthy post.
Carlo

EDIT: just to add, the car drove WONDERFULLY, even if only in Natural mode, both in Auto and in Manual.
 

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Is the CEL still there if you “reboot”? Specifically, disconnect the negative ground cable, and then reconnect with a fully recharged battery.
That’d be my first route. Fully charge the battery, disconnect the battery the reconnect after 30 min or so then try again. Codes might show up for a short while but disappear on after stop and restart. Failing the codes disappearing on their own get yourself a code reader of some description and clear them manually. The battery needs to be (near) fully charged to go through all it’s restart diagnostics in the fraction of a second between ignition on and engine start.
 

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Discard the battery. Get a new one. Charging it and trying to use it is going to cause more issues.

For downtime when you have new battery, use the quick release clip on the black cable where it attaches to battery, and just wrap in cloth and move away from battery. Elapsed time: 5 seconds.

The days of deeply draining a battery and recharging it are over. Given how long and deeply it was drained, combined with age, it's done. You turned it into cinderblock now. Attempting recharge will just cause more electronic glitches, and even get things like pumps and actuators caught in odd in-between states.

In the old days you could overheat a car and kill a battery and recover from both at almost zero cost. Now they are death sentences.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for chiming in! After some more driving, the CEL did not disappear. I had a friend read the stored codes, but he was too fast in deleting it for me to properly understand what it was. Something with low voltage to a potentiometer. I drove 60 more miles after the code was deleted and it did not present itself again, with Dynamic as well as All Weather modes back to working order. I parked the car back in the garage for the night, tomorrow it'll be a guest at another friend's garage to trickle charge the battery. What replacement am I looking for?
 

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Thank you for chiming in! After some more driving, the CEL did not disappear. I had a friend read the stored codes, but he was too fast in deleting it for me to properly understand what it was. Something with low voltage to a potentiometer. I drove 60 more miles after the code was deleted and it did not present itself again, with Dynamic as well as All Weather modes back to working order. I parked the car back in the garage for the night, tomorrow it'll be a guest at another friend's garage to trickle charge the battery. What replacement am I looking for?
How old is your battery? As Philster says, they don’t take kindly to deep draining. The Giulietta I bought in 2019 has been sitting in the showroom for over a year and I have a feeling the electrical check engine issues stemmed from a poorly maintained battery while it was sitting for so long. A new battery after the warranty sensor fix has given me renewed confidence. It’ll be interesting to hear how your battery holds up if you continue with it.
 

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The 4C battery is small and if deeply discharged will never attain full strength and reserve capacity after being killed, especially if it is original. Put it on a modern charger and see if it recovers but you are just setting yourself up for an on-road failure. The only reliable way to try to revive is with a modern charger that will go through a long cycle, preferably with recovery cycle (which itself will take some capacity out of the brick). I’d be doing a full charge after 7months even if the battery is disconnected, and preferably give the battery a charge every 1-2 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The 4C battery is small and if deeply discharged will never attain full strength and reserve capacity after being killed, especially if it is original. Put it on a modern charger and see if it recovers but you are just setting yourself up for an on-road failure. The only reliable way to try to revive is with a modern charger that will go through a long cycle, preferably with recovery cycle (which itself will take some capacity out of the brick). I’d be doing a full charge after 7months even if the battery is disconnected, and preferably give the battery a charge every 1-2 months.
The battery was not completely dead, the pumps were working upon opening the door and turning the key. Does that make any difference at all?
Today I added over 100 km of mountain roads, once again the car performed flawlessly in every mode even if I turned it off and on at least 5 times in between. I'd like to try and give it a charge either way, should I unplug the battery completely or can I place the clamps of the charger directly onto the connected battery? I'm not sure about the effect that would have on the car's electronics.
 

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The battery was not completely dead, the pumps were working upon opening the door and turning the key. Does that make any difference at all?
Today I added over 100 km of mountain roads, once again the car performed flawlessly in every mode even if I turned it off and on at least 5 times in between. I'd like to try and give it a charge either way, should I unplug the battery completely or can I place the clamps of the charger directly onto the connected battery? I'm not sure about the effect that would have on the car's electronics.
Battery disconnection is not required.
 
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