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Re: Winter Storage

Subject: Re: Winter Storage
From: (Denise Thorpe)
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 95 11:26:31 PDT
I've been reading with increasing amazement the stories from people who
go to great lengths to store a car for four months.  Maybe it's that I 
live in Southern California where we drive our cars all year round with
the top down, or maybe it's that I _do_ drive my car all year round with
the top down thereby causing the Bernoulli effect in my head, but I think
that all of you who are doing a bunch of stuff to your car to store it for 
the winter are a bunch of looney tunes.  Here are some facts I just made 
up to support my opinion.

> fresh fluids

My racer friends tell me that acids start accumulating in engine oil as
soon as a car is started.  That's why they drain the oil out of their 
cars between race weekends.  A street car that is driven regularly always
has acids in the oil and I've never heard of anyone having to rebuild an
engine because the acids ate their bearings away.  By draining the oil or
replacing it before a car is stored merely prevents infinitesimal and doesn't 
apply to the tranny and diff.  
Driving a car at all after parking it nullifies the effect of putting 
fresh oil in because it creates more acids.

> removing the battery(ies),

Batteries spew acid when they're being charged.  A car that isn't running,
isn't charging the batteries.  I don't see how having batteries sitting in
a stored car can corrode the battery boxes unless the acid in the batteries
freezes causing it to crack the case or be forced out the filler holes.  I
suspect that the battery boxes rusted out from residual salt on the roads
or battery acid that got on them when the car was running.  Having the 
batteries sitting in the boxes for eight years probably just hid an existing

> Disconnect the distributor lead to get the car to turn over
> without starting until oil pressure turns up on the gauge.

An engine gets oil pressure faster if it's running than if it's cranking.  
Based on the same principle, it's better to jump in a car and drive, rather
than letting it warm up idling because it warms up faster while driving.
Is this not true in very cold weather?

> * If a good solid block of warm-ish weather (thank god for Chinook winds)
> appears, I put the battery in and run the car up and down the driveway a
> bit, making sure I leave the car running long enough to get as much of the
> moisture out of the exhaust system as I can.

Water is a byproduct of combustion.  HC and O2 combine to make CO, CO2 and
H2O.  Running the car is what causes the water in the exhaust and it only 
seems to be gone when the exhaust is hot enough to evaporate it.  As soon 
as the car cools down, it's back.  Unless you've got rain going up the
tailpipe, you'd be better off disconnecting the exhaust below the exhaust
manifold, blowing out the water with compressed air, and then not driving
the car.  The cars that need to be driven regularly are MGA's because they
have leather seals that dry out and shrink if they don't get sloshed with
oil occasionally.  All of the seals in MGB's are rubber and would probably
be happier if they didn't have to work in cold weather.

> *I've waffled back and forth on the blocks. Now I just leave the car down.
> The radials don't get too square and my occasional forays down the driveway
> (I hope) keep the suspension from getting too set in its ways.

I've driven cars that have been sitting for years and I've never felt any
squareness in the tires or "memory" in the suspension and you obviously 
haven't either.  Of course, their tires have never frozen.

> * Keep a window down slightly so the humidity inside and outside the car
> remains equal, to avoid mildew, etc.

Good idea, but I'd take all vinyl off the car so it can't hold moisture
against the paint.  I've seen some nasty damage from this.  Of course,
in the frozen north, you may have reasons I don't know about for leaving
the top on the car.

So why am I doing all this typing and taking a chance on earning your
undying dislike by criticizing your advice?  Because I suspect that all of 
the things you're doing are based on car myths that were either made up by 
some guy to make himself look smart or only applied to the Model A.  My
job in life is to dispell myths.  If I'm wrong about any or all of this,
please correct me because I really like being right.
> Oh to be back in Victoria, where I got my B 12 years ago. Nothing like
> memories of a top down run to the pub on New Years Day with the Victoria MG
> Club to make me wish for warmer climes.

Nothing like cold air in your face while your toes are sweating.

Denise Thorpe

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