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Winterization Tips

Started by Art, October 28, 2008, 02:52:29 PM

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With an unheated garage, freezing is the most immediate problem.  Check all coolant antifreeze levels, fill it with fuel and add an anti-watering (gas) treatment to the tank.  Make sure the cap is sealed.

Though attached to the house, my garage is 2 1/2 cars wide, unheated and has the sump and pump for the French drains from the basement in it making moisture a constant threat.  I installed a large dehumidifier, which reduces moisture in the air and generates a bit of heat.I highly recommend this.  I even routed the drain from the unit directly into the sump, so I never have to empty it.

You should put the convertible top up before it gets too cold (I just did that this weekend as it got a bit warmer) to keep it from cracking.  I have left it down and folded through the winter if I missed all warm days without effect, but it definitely has gotten tighter from being down so much.  I will also put clean, soft towels over the rear windows (even when folded) to prevent damage and scratching from settling dust, even though the car is then completely covered as well.  I instaaled the top almost 17 years ago and it still looking like new, soft and very serviceable with very clear windows.

As for taking the tires off the ground, if do not intend to or cannot use the car for several months, it is a good idea.  You can use stands or blocks, which I prefer to put under the rear axle and front suspension, rather than the body.  If you plan suspension wok over the winter, you might support the body, but that means it is higher and the contact point to the body could become a moisture trap.  Just my opinion.

Putting a plastic sheet under it is also a choice and only a necessity if your garage's floor is pourous and allows moisture to seep up from beneath.  Being that all LBC's end to leak something - the addage being that if any Brtish car does not leak oil, it is dry - you might want to protect your garage floor.  I use plywood and a large plastic drip pan.

The battery need not be removed, but installing a battery disconnect switch (and shutting it off) and a good trickle charger (a small electronic unit, as used on a boat) would be advisable to protect both the battery and your electrical system from harm.  The slight heat generated by the lightly charged battery and trickle charger will also keep the battery from freezing and frost from forming on the inside of the windows.  Of concern would be if the battery is old or a new/old style one not of the sealed variety.  Chargeingr then could generate acidic gas that might damage the car.  That is why I say to get a good unit.

I also routinely change the oil and filter before the Winter and again in the Spring, even if the car has not been used.  Moisture and acid can build-up in the sitting oil, so I look at it as a cheap investment in protection. 

While starting the car occasionally is often done, unless you have a very moist environment. I do not recommend it.  Cold, dry starts can do more damage to the engine than letting it sit.  I would pull the plugs and squirt some heavy motor oil into the cylinders (reinstalling the plugs afterward) and covering the carbs to prevent moisture intrusion.  It may smoke a bit on the first start, but enough oil will sit on the pistons to prevent the rings from freezing. 

If you do have a moist garage, even with the dehumidifier, I would occasionally start the engine, more to keep the clutch from freezing to the flywheel that for concerns about the engine.  It has happened to me before and you would be amazed how little rust can freeze the plate to the flywheel solid.  Run the car long enough to get warm and well lubricated and burn-off any moisture in the system, as well as recharge the battery (though with the trickle charger in place, that is less of a concern).

One year I built an enclosure of PVC pipe and plastic sheets, much like the storage "cocoons" they sell for many hundreds more than it cost me.  Without a heater, it served only to collect moisture.  That was the year I had the most surface rust on the underside and the clutch froze.  Admittedly, I now know it would have worked had I just added the dehumidifier inside.  Live and learn.

Art Isaacs
Art Isaacs
AMGBA Tech Staff

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