Ok, let’s face it; it’s been several months since we’ve done anything with Wicked6, our 1987 Buick Grand National project car. We left off with it way back in October after we installed our Spoolfool bumper fillers, which it desperately needed at the time.
Since then however, we’ve been so busy these last few months building GM EFI Magazine that our Buick had taken a backseat on the list of priorities. After almost five months of traveling, meetings, scheduling tech stories and everything else that goes with creating a new publication, it just slipped our mind. Now we’re looking to change that, and the first thing we’ve got to do is fire her up! *Click. *Click. *Click… Great, the battery’s dead. We’ve left the battery connected from the last time we’ve driven it back in November, with the full intention of driving the car on occasion – but it didn’t work out that way.
With the battery now completely dead, we went for our jumper cables and keys to our Trans Am to jump start it – but then it dawned on us that Kirban Performance, supplier of Turbo Buick restoration and performance parts, now offers a second option. Called the Multi-Function Jump Starter, this brand new kit is a simple and very affordable solution to the typical heavy jumper box and even more compact and convenient than traditional jumper cables. This is a product that Mr. Kirban has been very excited about for a while and we felt that in order to truly put it to the test, we would use this as an opportunity to see what it can do on our Buick.
Wanting to learn more, we headed over to KirbanPerformance.com to read up on their description of the product. As it turned out, the Multi-Function Jump Starter has an interesting list of features and capabilities that we’ve never encountered from any jumper box.
For starters, it can jump-start most gas-powered or diesel vehicles equipped with a 12v battery. Ok, so maybe that’s not that interesting on the face of it, but considering that it’s handheld and can fit in your pocket, it’s pretty impressive. Next, it utilizes a 12,000 mAh capacity high-power, fast charging battery, along with 250 cranking amps and 500 peak amps of charging power! Dennis claims that although there are similar systems on the market, none of them offer this kind of output.
Equipped with 2 USB ports (more on that in a minute), a 1,000-time cycle life and a series of five blue lights to indicate how much of a charge the unit has, the multi-function jumper really is an honest-to-goodness battery jumper in the palm of your hand! With a retail price of $99.95, it really is a more convenient and affordable solution to the 30-pound jumper box we’re all use to.
The kit comes complete with:
- Power Supply Module (battery)
- Built-In LED Flashlight (three settings; standard, flashing and SOS)
- Jumper Cables
- 4-Way Adapter with USB connectors
- Cigarette Lighter Charger
- Wall Charger
- Factory User Manual
- Carrying Case
- Replacement Jumper Cables with Reverse Polarity Protection ($15, PN 7631)
- Replacement 4-in-1 USB Connector ($12.95, PN 7641)
- Charge Level Indication
- Built-In Circuit Protection
- Overcharge Protection
- Fuse Protection
- Anti-Reverse Battery Jump Plug
- Sleep Mode
We called up our friend Dennis Kirban, placed the order for PN 7629 and it arrived at our door in just a couple of days. Weighing in at a mere 9 ounces and sharing roughly the same physical dimensions as a Samsung Galaxy smartphone (albeit, just a bit thicker), the Multi-Function Jump Starter is the modern-day solution to simple jump starts.
After removing it from the box, you may have to charge it to ensure a full-capacity output. Kirban claims that each one has a slight charge when it comes to your door, but being as how we received ours in the middle of one of the coldest winters in recent history, this wasn’t the case in our particular situation. You can charge the system either one of two ways; including using your cigarette lighter or the wall charger adapter, but we simply went with the included wall outlet charger. If you decide to use your jumper to charge your cell phone, you can do this as well – the kit comes with a 4-way adapter for Android, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and other types of phones.
There’s a series of five blue light bars on the left side of the Multi-Function Jump Starter that let you know how charged it really is. We’ve actually tested it a total of three times (more on that below). The photos in this article were from our third attempt, hence, only three of the lights were lit.
With our Grand National sitting idle for months, we knew it was completely dead. Our dummy lights on the dash wouldn’t even light up when we turned the key, it was that noncompliant. We attached the the jumper cables into the output of the Multi-Function Jump Starter, and connected them clamps to the battery terminals. Just to test the kit, we immediately tried to start the car, but it wouldn’t go – although the dummy lights were now illuminating and there was a slight click of the starter from it wanting to crank.
After giving it a solid two minutes, we tried it again and presto, it fired right up! We let it idle for a few minutes with it on the charger. After which, we removed the charger, shut the hood and took it around the block a few times. When we brought it home we let it run for another five minutes, shut it off, gave it a minute, then turned it over again – it started right up! Happy with our success and with other projects begging for immediate attention, we pulled the Buick back in the garage for another day.
Three days later, the Buick wouldn’t crank again. So we broke out the Jump Starter and gave a second attempt. Our luck was much the same as it had been the first time, but why did it die a second time? To find out, we yanked the battery, took it to a local parts store for an overnight session with their charging station and waited until the next morning for the results. As it turns out, the battery in question was completely toast.
We’ve purchased another battery since, but just for laughs, we reinstalled the old battery first and it wouldn’t crank. We connected the Multi-Function Jump Starter one last time and sure enough, it fired right up. Although we inevitably had to buy another battery because ours was a lost cause, it goes to show you how well the kit works on a battery that’s expired. If it could jump an old junk battery like the one we had, how well would it work on a battery that’s actually salvageable?
Our results actually left us rather impressed, even though it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for from our 5-year old battery. Apparently the capability of starting a dead battery that has been dormant for an extended period of time is actually pretty common occurrence according to Dennis. During preliminary testing, he claims that the first Guinea pigs he used were batteries that were attached to vehicles that were sitting in junkyards for several years.
Although the product we used for this test was a remarkable one, Dennis has already told us that they are currently working on an even smaller and lighter version of it for enthusiasts. Honestly, we’re quite happy with our example and we would definitely recommend it to others for emergency situations. It’s small enough to keep in your glove box or in your saddle bags of your motorcycle. It’s cheap insurance when you’re on an extended road trip and run the risk of a failing battery.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.