If you are like a lot of Jeep guys I run into, the Jeep often gets parked in the winter until the snow gets too deep for the commuter car to handle. So, that often means that it sits through most of the fall and early winter neglected and the first big snowstorm finds you guys either hooking up the jumper cables or charging box or, worse, replacing the battery.
Hopefully this column comes before you end up doing any of that. Once I found out about this new automatic battery disconnect from Flaming River, I got one as soon as I could because I know how winter is for you guys. The idea is simple, really. This thing is a huge relay that can handle all the power your Jeep draws, including starting power. It is rated for 250 amps continuous and has a mind-bottling 2,500-amp surge rating. I wouldn’t run a winch through it, as a winch can draw more than the 250-amp rating when under load, but everything else in the Jeep should be good to run through this thing. It is IP 65–rated, which is a fancy way of saying “Drown it—it will take it.” And if you wire it up like the instructions say to, it works automatically when you shut the Jeep off.
If you guys are honest with yourselves and your Jeep is a second or third vehicle, when you get home from driving it and shut it off, it could sit there just for the night, or it could sit there until your next Jeeping season. Wire this up the way it should be, and the battery is disconnected when you turn the key to the “off” position. So whether the Jeep sits a few hours or a few months, the battery will be 100 percent when you come back to it with no worries about battery drain.
I was kind of surprised to find out that the manufacturer of high-quality steering parts was getting into electronics, but once I realized the company already made steering columns with ignition switches for hot rods and Jeeps that don’t get driven that often, this kind of made sense.
For this story, I put the Automatic Battery Disconnect Switch in a carbureted Jeep with no radio or other electronic gizmos. Fuel-injected guys or guys with stereos or other things that need power for a memory, you might need to do it a bit differently. I’ll talk about your fancy Jeeps later.