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Storing Car for Winter

Discussion in '206/246' started by MRONY, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. MRONY

    MRONY Formula Junior

    Mar 17, 2007
    707
    New York City
    Full Name:
    Mike O.
    As the snowflakes flutter down, I have to come to the horrible end of the driving season around here, which means putting the car away for the winter. It will be in my garage, which is very clean, dry and heated to about 50 degrees (assuming it doesn't fail, the temp should never get below freezing.) Any opinions on the following:

    1) Top on or off?

    2) Cover the car?

    3) Disconnect battery or trickle charger?

    4) Overinflate tires (New Michelin XWXs)? WHAT PRESSURE??

    5) Start it/run it occasionally? (The mechanic who worked on it in Ct. said not to bother)

    Any other suggestions?

    It will sit for at least 4 months, maybe 5. There's a tiny chance I would roll it out for a spin if there was no salt on the road and a really nice day.
     
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  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,551
    I'm not able to answer all of your questions, but I will tell you that I turn my engine over by hand every couple of weeks. In the case of a 308, it's simply a question of putting a 36mm socket on the crank and turning it (clockwise) with a ratchet. It's easy enough to do, and certainly removes any possibility of the valve gear sticking. Actually, now I think about it, you have to lean down quite a long way, so it's pretty tiring on the legs!

    My battery died last winter even though I stored it in a warm basement. So, you should give your battery a charge once on a while (I think every 3 or 4 weeks is fine). In my case it was terminal, so I had to buy a new battery in the Spring.

    I inflated my tyres to about 40psi for storage. This year I shall also put it up on axle stands, although I didn't do so last year, and there didn't appear to be any negative consequences.

    I'd put a cover on it, and, as strange as this may sound, I wouldn't be afraid to put a few mouse traps on the ground ... just in case!!

    Top up the tanks and put a bottle of fuel stabilizer in it.

    That should just about cover it, although I'm sure there will be other suggestions.
     
  4. TonyL

    TonyL F1 Rookie

    Sep 27, 2007
    3,031
    UK
    Full Name:
    Tony
    De-humidfy the room is a must

    I crank the engine over, more to save the water pump from sticking. Probably does more harm than good, but it makes me feel as though i am not ignoring her!!

    Also i leave the battery on these electronic trickle chargers. I bought one of those external PVC plug & sockets you get on the lawnmower and attached it to the spare tyre well, connected it to the battery and the other end to the charger. Simple case of just lifting the bonnet and plugging it in.

    I also roll the car forward every 2-3 weeks to roate the tyre positions
     
  5. ENZOSON

    ENZOSON Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 3, 2004
    602
    Full Name:
    PIETRO


    6) Move to Arizona
     
  6. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2006
    4,995
    1) Top on or off?
    On, just to keep the dust out.

    2) Cover the car?
    Doesn't really matter, except for a little dust accumulation.

    3) Disconnect battery or trickle charger?
    Trickle charger, definitely. I recommend Deltran or CTEK 3300.

    4) Overinflate tires (New Michelin XWXs)? WHAT PRESSURE??
    I would just keep them at standard pressure, see #5

    5) Start it/run it occasionally? (The mechanic who worked on it in Ct. said not to bother)
    Couldn't disagree more. I would start it at least every couple of weeks and let it run until the oil is good and warm. Weather permitting, run it back and forth in the driveway or around the neighborhood a few times to "massage" the tires, clutch, brakes, etc. Dino parts tend to bind and stick with lack of use.

    One more thing. Don't leave the handbrake on. Either leave it in gear or (better yet, if you don't already have one) get one of those bump stop thingies that goes on the garage floor. The one I have has two "bumps" that hold the tire in place so there's no need for the handbrake or to leave the car in gear.

    I promise not to taunt you with tales of how much I'm enjoying my car throughout the mild South Carolina winter! ;)
     
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  8. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,858
    Mike - I suggest installing a battery cutoff switch. Leave the battery disconnected from the car WITHOUT a trickle charger. Once a month or so start it up to operating temperature (to evaporate water vapor from exhaust, muffler, and cylinders). Drive it on those winter days in the northeast that are on the picture postcards...sunny without snow.

    I have shut off my battery in a number of cars. Six months later they start right up without a charge. Constant charging, even with a trickle, is like keeping infrequently worn watches in watch winders...wear and tear without need. Charging the battery deposits electrons...and there is no free lunch. Some other element has to donate the electrons, and this gets consumed.

    Tire pressure should be normal. Spin them occasionally to avoid a flat spot. Cover should be on car, with top on. There is a great deal of dust in the air. Why let it settle on the car.

    If the garage is situated on the lower-east 40, then mouse traps are appropriate. If you visit the garage frequently, I doubt that mice would find it comfortable. I did find that mice had eaten much of my wiring harness, but this was when the car was left in a garage for 20 years with a cover, and no humans. (The former owner).

    Jim S.
     
  9. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2006
    4,995
    I have to respectfully disagree. While you are absolutely right that a constant trickle charge will cause wear on a battery, the chargers that I recommended are so-called "smart" chargers that apply a small current (1.25 to 3 amps, generally) only when they sense that the battery's voltage has dropped below a certain level. This will not cause undue wear, and in fact is very "healthy" for the battery, for the following reason. Leaving a battery uncharged (in a "discharge" condition) for extended periods causes large quantities of lead sulfate (a normal by-product of the discharge reaction) to precipitate out of the electrolyte and form as crystals on the battery's negative plates. In normal operation, these crystals are few and small, and convert back into lead and lead dioxide during recharge. Large accumulations, however, are not so easily converted and cause problems. These non-conductive crystals "get in the way" of the battery's electrochemical mechanism by blocking the electrons' recharge path. In extreme cases, this "sulfation" will render a battery totally unable to hold a charge. Although I'm sure that your batteries that were inactive for six months had no trouble starting a car, I'm curious as to how long they "lived" after that. (I was with Interstate Batteries for nine years specializing in chargers and testers.)

    Cheers,
    Dan S.
     
  10. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,858
    Dan - thanks for your post. I appreciate your experience. I agree that discharged batteries should not sit uncharged. However, a fully charged battery without load (no current flow - open circuit), will remain that way for a long time without damage. Having left cars with open terminal batteries for several months, then starting them, in my experience has not perceptibly diminished the lifecycle.

    That said, your professional experience trumps my electrical engineering training. I bow to your experience.

    Jim S.
     
  11. MRONY

    MRONY Formula Junior

    Mar 17, 2007
    707
    New York City
    Full Name:
    Mike O.
    I'll go with the trickle charger, and 40 psi with the occasional roll, and chocks with the handbrake off. I really don't want to take the car out after the first snow. The local town road crews just can't wait to pile on the sand and salt -- the town pays about three times what the stuff costs, so they go nuts. I'd have to wash the underbody after every use. Hell, they pay public school girls' volleyball coaches $110-120,000 around here, and spend about $30,000 per student every year, so what's a couple of tons of salt (in my tax wounds)???
     
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  13. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2006
    4,995
    If there are days when the roads are completely dry, I wouldn't think that salt would be a problem. $120K for a volleyball coach? Good gawd!
     

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