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winter and long term storage

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Hi All, I am now the manager of the Cranker's Collection of Mechanical Marvels , here in Sterling, Pa .


We have 26 or so cars on our display floor and I was wondering what you all recommend on storage of these cars , I have found fluids under some of the cars some look like anti freeze other look like rear end fluid or engine oil. We are storing these cars inside a heated building what do you do recomend? Drain out the antifreeze or leave it in? I'm not going to drain engine oil but I will be checking the seals etc on the rear axles and engines or put large pans under the cars. I'm also thinking of draining the fuel out of them any recommendations?

Mark Golding

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We have a smaller 12-15 car collection at TP Tools (www.tpcarcollection.com) and have the same issues. Our cars range from 1917 to 1966. See my sig for a list of some of our cars, but not all are listed, as some have been added recently and my son's cars are also on display. Our two latest additions are attached to this reply, along with a picture of the car museum exterior and one of the interior.

Removing the fuel from all cars is risky, as could be a fire hazard and what can we do with all of the fuel anyhow? I have been adding a small quantity of Bill Hirsch fuel stabilizer - others recommend Stabil Marine Grade. Both claim to be good for 2 years. Prior to parking our cars for the winter, we got them all running (with the exception of our 23,000 mile original 51 Ford Stake which wouldn't start - we will check into this after Hershey).

This fall, all cars were driven a minimum of 20 miles prior to parking, to be sure of a full warmup to minimize any moisture. We try to drive every car at least 40-50 miles per year total (about 3 runs) if possible. Last year we did not do this and had 2 or 3 cars with clogged up fuel pumps, fuel lines or carburetors, which I attribute to the Ethanol in today's fuel. This problem is a "sleeping giant" and will be a big problem to all of us with antique cars - maybe not right away, but eventually will happen.

We have an in-floor heated building, but definitely keep anti-freeze in all of the cars, preferring the green anti-freeze based on several recommendations. If the heat should ever fail, would hate to not have anti-freeze in the car and we feel that the rust inhibitor in the anti-freeze might be helpful. We change the oil and oil filters (if any)and lubricate the grease fittings on a regular basis. Most important, we keep detailed records on each car to be sure we don't miss anything. For our older cars, we add about 8 oz. of EOS (zinc additive) to each oil change and try to use oil that has some zinc contents. We check the air filters too (some are oil bath and some of the later cars have paper filters. We also note any odds & ends required for each car for when we find the time. Air pressure is checked too. (The beauty of an old car collection is that you never run out of things to do).

We put pans under each car to monitor the leakage and to keep the floor clean. Cars with automatic transmissions seem to leak after they are not driven for some time. Some never leak, or leak very little (just a few drops), but after sitting for several weeks or months, the leakage increases substantially.

We have battery cutoff switches for every car and attach Battery Tenders to each to keep the batteries fully charged. This adds to the battery life. We check the water level of each battery and add distilled water only (never tap water). We even like distilled water for our ratiators if necessary to add, although do not recommend filling the radiators to the top on the older cars without an overflow system.

Our car museum is open to the public every Saturday and we have an employee check the pans under the cars for excess leakage (if any) and he checks the battery tenders to be sure all are functioning properly. Sometimes (if he is in the mood), he will do a little spray detailing of the cars and keep the place neat and clean. Our museum is located in Canfield, Ohio (NE Ohio 10+ miles SW of Youngstown and about 15 minutes from the turnpike.






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