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Winter Storage

I recently moved to northern Ontario, Canada [from San Diego] and, perhaps foolishly, brought my restored '70 1800E. I have heard so many conflicting approaches to winter storage I'm not sure which way to go. The car will be in a large, old, unheated wooden structure. I did purchase a car jacket (basically a zip-up "sleeping bag" with dessicant for removal of moisture) to store it in. As I won't be able to run the car periodically, have you any suggestions re: fluids, clutch plate, etc.
Ric von Neumann

David says: Greetings from Wisconsin! I have no experience with the sleeping bag approach for winter hibernation. It does not sound bad.

The "old wooden structure" is, I hope, solid.

The car should have comprehensive insurance for the storage period.

Rodents and vandals should be feared. Is the baggie rodent-proof?

My impression is that "up on stands" is precluded by the baggie. If so, if you have a set of other wheels or even bald tires, put them on to avoid the good tires from taking a "set."


  • Drain the washer bottle if it is recently from California. Welcome to the North! The further north you go, the lower the freezing point of the winter washer fluid that is available.
  • Use antifreeze for proper protection to -?? temperatures. Run the heater on full heat to be sure antifreeze is mixed and in there as well.
  • Bleed the brakes to get corrosion-causing moisture out.
  • There are many schools of thought on the gas tank. My current theory is: Fill the tank, add stabil to the gas, drive the car a little to mix it thouroghly and make sure it is all through the fuel system. If it pings in spring, I'd add some 110 - 112 octane leaded race gas to it. One gallon will do wonders to unleaded from the pump.
  • If you are sure the car will not have to be started until spring, leave the summer oil in. If it may have to be started in subzero temperatures, thinner oil is in order.
If it will sit until spring, it would be best for the motor to back off the valve adjusters, so no valve is sitting wide open with the spring fully compressed. Remove the spark plugs, pour some oil into each cylinder, turn motor by hand to coat walls liberally, then reinstall the plugs.

In spring, adjust the valves, install battery, remove plugs, place rags by holes to catch oil, pull the fuel pump fuse, crank the motor until you have oil pressure, replace the fuse and plugs and start it, warm it up and change the oil.

The clutch should not be a problem. All the possibilities to keep it from sticking to the flywheel or pressure plate, I see as worse than leaving it alone -- straining cable, constant pressure on springs, etc. If it sticks, call me in the spring.

Remove the battery. Put it somewhere above freezing and trickle charge it monthly.

Lubricate everything! Hinges, latches, throttle and pedal linkages, distributor, etc.

Apply a good fresh coat of wax, not only on the paint, but the trim as well, inside and out if you have time. Give a good treatment with "Hide Food" on the leather, to preserve it and keep it from drying.

We'll make it through winter and so will our cars.

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