Winter Storage Guide
By Lou Tull
Start preparing your storage area early fall, or start looking for a storage mid summer
Store in a closed area to ensure an animal-free environment
Attempt to avoid direct sunlight which will fade a good finish
Attempt to secure a clean and dry facility. If the facility is not heated, verify there is sufficient ventilation to reduce trapped moisture
Place visqueen (plastic drop cloths) on the concrete floor and an old rug on the visqueen, then the car. The barrier will prevent moisture coming up from the concrete.
Set traps around the car and frequently check the traps.
2. Exterior Cleaning
Wash and wax the exterior, including the chrome.
Wash the exterior with one cup of kerosene to one gallon of water. The result is a nice film on the surface to protect against rust.
For protection of the undercarriage, many people clean the undercarriage with the same procedure. As an alternate, spray the undercarriage with WD-40 and wipe the area clean.
Ensure any debris or road material is remove from corners Touch-up paint chips Make sure that any exposed wood parts are well waxed
3. Interior Cleaning
Vacuum and wash the interior. Apply a protection such as Armor All on all vinyl, rubber and plastic parts. Spray with a moth repellent. Leave the windows down 1/4 inch so condensation will be minimized on damp days. Use moisture absorbing Dry Pack in and around the car. Place 2 open boxes of moth balls in interior floor Release seat bottoms and pull out a couple of inches to allow for circulation Place 1 open container of baking soda in car to absorb odors and moisture
4. Lubrication Oil and lubricate the chassis. Lubricating includes items such items as door hinges, hood, carburetor, brake linkage, accelerator linkage, etc. Change Oil and run engine Drive the car before storage to be sure that all parts are well lubricated .
5. Fuel Fill the fuel tank to the top to reduce the amount of fuel exposed to oxygen. Filling the tank will prevent moisture and rusting in the tank. A full tank is less likely to sweat, causing moisture contamination and is less dangerous than a half-full tank in terms of fuel evaporation and fumes. Add dry gas to fuel tank If your tank shut-off is questionable, disconnect the fuel line and drain the tank, fuel filter/sediment bowl, and carburetor into an environmentally acceptable container. Gasoline has a tendency to gum-up and form a varnish when stored for a long period of time. Add a fuel stabilizer to the gas on the last trip of the season. The stabilizer must be well missed with the gas.
6. Battery Make sure the battery is fully charged. If the battery is to remain in the car, disconnect the negative or ground strap. If the battery is to remain in the car, consider a 1.5 amp battery tender system, but do not let the battery freeze. If you remove the battery, store it in a warm place, but do not store a battery on concrete or it will lose its charge. Store the battery on a piece of wood. If the battery is removed, remember to replace the battery cover (floorboard) to eliminate an entrance for rodents. If the battery terminals show signs of corrosion, they should be cleaned with baking soda. For long storage periods of time, occasionally charge the battery.
7. Radiator and Cooling System Flush radiator and add the correct mixture of water and coolant Be certain that the cooling system is filled with a sufficient amount of good-quality antifreeze to protect from rust and freezing. If the antifreeze is replaced, run the engine to ensure the antifreeze and water is well mixed. The antifreeze will eliminate rust in the block and engine.
8. Tires and Wheels: Clean both the tires and wheels on both sides and spray the tires with a protestant to eliminate cracks. It is highly recommended to place the car on jack stands to prevent flat spots on the tires. If not on jack stands, increase tier pressure to 50 pounds, but check the car frequently to ensure a tire has not gone flat. Consider jack stands on the frame to relieve the suspension Cover wheels and tires with canvas.
9. Engine Treat the interior of the engine with a rust inhibitor. This is known as fogging the engine. Start the engine and set the hand throttle at a fast idle. With an oilcan, squirt about half a pint of good grade 10W detergent oil (which contains a rust inhibitor) in the carburetor opening. Slowly at first, so as not to choke the engine, and then gradually increase the amount until the engine is finally choked. This coats all the inner parts with a fine film of oil and prevents rusting while in storage. Another option is to purchase a aerosol can of fogging oil at your local NAPA dealer and follow the directions.
Spray Marvel Mystery Oil in the cylinders and turn the engine over by hand. If you just spray the cylinders, hand turn the engine at lease once per month thereafter. An issue to remember is having sufficient oil in the bearing caps when you turn over the engine after a period of storage. Babbit can be ruined if the engine is started without sufficient oil, so hand turn the engine before starting the engine.
10. General Store with vinyl or cloth cover, and do not permit a fold in the material. Never cover with a plastic tarp. The cover must be able to breathe. Place the transmission in neutral and release the hand brake. The drums could rust and seize the shoes. Block the clutch pedal down using a 2 x 3 to the underside of the dash, or a 2 x 2 between the clutch pedal and the floorboard. The object is to remove pressure off the clutch. Plug the exhaust pipe using a rag. The car should be covered to prevent damage from birds, cats and bugs. If the car is to be stored inside, use a breathable cover to prevent moisture from forming and creating more problems than no cover at all. If the car is outside, of course, it must have a waterproof cover, or moisture will collect and attack the chrome and body. In consideration of a cover and outdoor storage, wind will cause the cover to move which will rub against the painted surface. Make a list of what you have done and place the list on the front seat. The list will help you prepare the car for the next driving season. Each Model 'A' owner will have a few tips that they use to preserve the Model 'A', all a person needs to do is to ask a question and you will receive more tips than you can catalog.
Northern Ohio Model A Club