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Hello everyone,

I have just finished tearing my 74 down to do a back half and new front clip. My question of the minute is, how do I prepare my old engine for a long, long winters nap? It is a great engine, just not big enough. I plan on keeping it for a future project. Maybe 3 -4 years. Does anybody have a checklist for this?

I think I know most of it, just don't want to miss anything.
1. loosten Rockers springs
2. put oil in cylinders and hand crank to coat walls
3. cover all holes, exhaust, carb, water, etc.
4. I have a good stand
5. do I drain oil?
6. wrap in blanket, no plastic (can hold moisture)
7. some say rotate engine 1 turn every 6 months, some say no way!

any input is greatly appreciated.

Thank you
Doug

will keep apprised on car progress.
 

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With #1 do you mean loosen the rocker arms to close the valves? You wouldn't want to remove the springs to extend them, to clarify.

I have a some suggestions and comments on your list:

Remove the water pump and thermostat, and pull the water drain plugs in the block down toward the oil pan rail to drain all the coolant. Blow air through the coolant holes to get as much out as possible to reduce any flaky rust.

Draining the oil doesn't really matter either way because you'll be changing the oil when you fire the engine in the future.

If you plug all the holes, you don't need to wrap the engine in a blanket. You can cover it with something to keep dust and debris off of it, but wrapping is unnecessary for protection reasons. I would rather have the engine unwrapped than create a comfy place for critters to make their home. Plus, I'd end up lighting the blanket on fire while welding, grinding, or torching something.:D No thanks. Any dust will go away with some compressed air or a blast with the water hose when you're ready to use the engine again.

I see no reason to rotate the engine during storage. First, if you continually rotate the engine by hand, you'll remove the protective coating of oil on the cylinders, rings, bearings, camshaft, etc. Second, I have better things to do than mark my calendar to rotate a stored engine every 6 months. Shoot some heavy oil into the cylinders, and rotate the engine by hand one full turn to coat the walls and rings. I use gear oil for a thicker coat. Once that is performed, assuming no water will enter the engine, the rings won't corrode to the cylinder walls, so no need to rotate. If you wanted reassurance, I suppose you could rock the crank back and forth a couple degrees once a year to make sure the rings don't get gummed up to the walls, but that would just be to make you feel better.

Also, years down the road when you are ready to use the engine again, I would pull the intake and remove and lube the lifters to ensure they spin freely, so no rotating during storage is necessary to keep those parts from sticking.

You say "cover the carb." I'm not sure if you mean the intake plenum hole or if you will have the carb attached to the engine. You'll want to prep the carb for storage if you are storing it too.
 

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I see no reason to rotate the engine during storage. First, if you continually rotate the engine by hand, you'll remove the protective coating of oil on the cylinders, rings, bearings, camshaft, etc. Second, I have better things to do than mark my calendar to rotate a stored engine every 6 months. Shoot some heavy oil into the cylinders, and rotate the engine by hand one full turn to coat the walls and rings. I use gear oil for a thicker coat. Once that is performed, assuming no water will enter the engine, the rings won't corrode to the cylinder walls, so no need to rotate. If you wanted reassurance, I suppose you could rock the crank back and forth a couple degrees once a year to make sure the rings don't get gummed up to the walls, but that would just be to make you feel better.
Huh, for 6 months I rotated my engine by hand while I had a 1/2 drill spinning the oil pump over to circulate the motor and sprayed fogging oil in each cylinder before I fired it up and I did this every 2 weeks during that time frame and it cost me only 15 minutes per engine turn-over cycle. Was it a pain? Not if you know what you are doing and in the long run, it helped.

As for the oil, I wouldn't drain it. But, if it's less than 6 months I would change it out at the 3 month mark and use the el-cheapo oil from the zone. This way, you will eliminate any build up of moisture that the oil will collect due to condensation and the like from the motor.


Loosen the rocker arms will help with manually turning the engine over by hand. As for saving the springs, that's beyond me.

But, that's just me...
 

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I don't do a damn thing. My 355 sat in my nova since 89. Put a little fuel in it and warmed it up to change the oil. The valve seals dried up during that time but there's really not much you are gonna do about that....
 

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Huh, for 6 months I rotated my engine by hand while I had a 1/2 drill spinning the oil pump over to circulate the motor and sprayed fogging oil in each cylinder before I fired it up and I did this every 2 weeks during that time frame and it cost me only 15 minutes per engine turn-over cycle. Was it a pain? Not if you know what you are doing and in the long run, it helped.
To each his own, but rotating the engine as you describe would be an absolute pain for me. 15 minutes every two weeks multiplied by the OP's possible 3 year storage comes out to around 19 hours of turning over an engine by hand, and it would have no proven benefit over doing nothing at all so long as the OP preps the engine for storage and takes precautions when readying the engine to fire again.

As for the oil, I wouldn't drain it. But, if it's less than 6 months I would change it out at the 3 month mark and use the el-cheapo oil from the zone. This way, you will eliminate any build up of moisture that the oil will collect due to condensation and the like from the motor.
Why would you change oil in a stored engine? Oil doesn't collect water, but some condensation will pool under the oil whether the pan has 5 quarts or no quarts. A simple paper towel through the drain hole will soak that up easy enough. No need to change the oil during storage.
 

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Huh, for 6 months I rotated my engine by hand while I had a 1/2 drill spinning the oil pump over to circulate the motor and sprayed fogging oil in each cylinder before I fired it up and I did this every 2 weeks during that time frame and it cost me only 15 minutes per engine turn-over cycle. Was it a pain? Not if you know what you are doing and in the long run, it helped.
How do you know this "helped in the long run"? 6 months is really nothing at all; my engines sit this long each and every winter for the last two decades that I've been storing limited use vehicles, both engines are nearly 20 years old since last assembly and they're doing great without me ever having done the process you've described above. I'm not implying that your process necessarily "hurts" at all, but it's certainly not needed for such short term storage of an engine that's already broken in.

As for the oil, I wouldn't drain it. But, if it's less than 6 months I would change it out at the 3 month mark and use the el-cheapo oil from the zone. This way, you will eliminate any build up of moisture that the oil will collect due to condensation and the like from the motor.
No need to change oil in an engine that's not running, as there is no heat cycling and no combustion byproducts entering the oil. I would recommend changing/draining it prior to storage if the oil has a lot of miles/use on it, ideally doing a "last run" on the engine after the change to let the new oil circulate, but once that's done it won't need to be changed again until the engine is back in use.

To each his own, but rotating the engine as you describe would be an absolute pain for me. 15 minutes every two weeks multiplied by the OP's possible 3 year storage comes out to around 19 hours of turning over an engine by hand, and it would have no proven benefit over doing nothing at all so long as the OP preps the engine for storage and takes precautions when readying the engine to fire again.

Why would you change oil in a stored engine? Oil doesn't collect water, but some condensation will pool under the oil whether the pan has 5 quarts or no quarts. A simple paper towel through the drain hole will soak that up easy enough. No need to change the oil during storage.
I agree on all counts. :yes:
 

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Well, well well.....


I make a helpful comment on what I DID to MY MOTOR and all the "experts" come out of the woodwork..

In the long run is that the oil within MY motor was circulated to help keep the lifters from not being pumped up which you "experts" failed to mention in any post.

I'm a retired Aviation Machinsts Mate and for the past 20+years, I've stored countless motors for short AND long periods of time and within the requirements of storage, we had to pump preservative oil into the motor and windmill the motor over to circulate that oil within the motor. When we windmill a motor, we spun the motor up either by hand or by the starter to circulate the oil thru the motor. Huh, circulate a motor while in preservation for a long storage period, military procedures, imagine that... And those enginges were a-lot more expensive than just a simple small or big block engine.

And I changed the oil in MY motor during that short time. Hey, to each his own and you guys failed to debunk my theory what so ever. You "SAY" you did this and that but, in MY mind, and received my information from a good friend whom has been building engines for the dirt model cars for nearly 20+years since I've known him, informed me of what I need to do to store my motor.

I spent good money on my motor. I just ensured that MY MOTOR is will protected before I fired it up. Hey, if YOU want to fire up an older motor with oil that has been sitting for a period of time and not worry about condensation or any other contaminates within that oil, go for it. It's your money and not mine.

I just choose to do the extra stuff because that's the person I am. I go above and beyond what is necessary to protect what I own.

Merry Christmas...
 

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Well, well well.....


I make a helpful comment on what I DID to MY MOTOR and all the "experts" come out of the woodwork..

In the long run is that the oil within MY motor was circulated to help keep the lifters from not being pumped up which you "experts" failed to mention in any post.

I'm a retired Aviation Machinsts Mate and for the past 20+years, I've stored countless motors for short AND long periods of time and within the requirements of storage, we had to pump preservative oil into the motor and windmill the motor over to circulate that oil within the motor. When we windmill a motor, we spun the motor up either by hand or by the starter to circulate the oil thru the motor. Huh, circulate a motor while in preservation for a long storage period, military procedures, imagine that... And those enginges were a-lot more expensive than just a simple small or big block engine.

And I changed the oil in MY motor during that short time. Hey, to each his own and you guys failed to debunk my theory what so ever. You "SAY" you did this and that but, in MY mind, and received my information from a good friend whom has been building engines for the dirt model cars for nearly 20+years since I've known him, informed me of what I need to do to store my motor.

I spent good money on my motor. I just ensured that MY MOTOR is will protected before I fired it up. Hey, if YOU want to fire up an older motor with oil that has been sitting for a period of time and not worry about condensation or any other contaminates within that oil, go for it. It's your money and not mine.

I just choose to do the extra stuff because that's the person I am. I go above and beyond what is necessary to protect what I own.

Merry Christmas...
I agree to change the oil when first stored and overtime wouldn't hurt either. My brother's brother in law had a radical big block that he serviced the oil while in storage.

Years back I seen some pieces that screwed into the cylinder heads like spark plugs that had an indicator on them and would show when they needed to be changed.They were there to absorb any moisture in the cylinders.

I see these guys(got a good friend like that) that soak a motor that's been sitting and locked up for years. When they get it freed up they think they are good to go. I always mention to them those rings are scrapers and now have scraped all the rust off and packed it into the ring lands. Don't be surprised when the rings stick and the engine starts smoking.
 

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Well, well well.....


I make a helpful comment on what I DID to MY MOTOR and all the "experts" come out of the woodwork..
I think it's equally helpful to inform interested readers that others have tried different methods with equal success. Presentation of differing opinions based on personal experience and results is healthy for those looking to gather an array of options and information.

In the long run is that the oil within MY motor was circulated to help keep the lifters from not being pumped up which you "experts" failed to mention in any post.

I'm a retired Aviation Machinsts Mate and for the past 20+years, I've stored countless motors for short AND long periods of time and within the requirements of storage, we had to pump preservative oil into the motor and windmill the motor over to circulate that oil within the motor. When we windmill a motor, we spun the motor up either by hand or by the starter to circulate the oil thru the motor. Huh, circulate a motor while in preservation for a long storage period, military procedures, imagine that... And those enginges were a-lot more expensive than just a simple small or big block engine.

And I changed the oil in MY motor during that short time. Hey, to each his own and you guys failed to debunk my theory what so ever. You "SAY" you did this and that but, in MY mind, and received my information from a good friend whom has been building engines for the dirt model cars for nearly 20+years since I've known him, informed me of what I need to do to store my motor.

I spent good money on my motor. I just ensured that MY MOTOR is will protected before I fired it up. Hey, if YOU want to fire up an older motor with oil that has been sitting for a period of time and not worry about condensation or any other contaminates within that oil, go for it. It's your money and not mine.

I just choose to do the extra stuff because that's the person I am. I go above and beyond what is necessary to protect what I own.

Merry Christmas...
How do you actually know that your method has prolonged engine life and/or prevented damage? Seems that we've both tried different methods and seen the same results over the long term.....those results being no damage of which to speak following either method.

I'm confused about your theory regarding oil changes during short term storage; exactly what sort of combustion byproducts/contaminants are collecting in oil within an engine that's not being run? And what would be the source of excessive condensation in a dry storage environment which is free from the rapid temperature fluctuations that would only be seen with an in-service engine and/or storage outdoors? I would agree that it's best to store the engine with fresh (or at least reasonably fresh) oil, but I'm not understanding how that oil will become dirty/harmful over several months without any combustion taking place. I've been clear to indicate that I don't see anything harmful about your process, but that I simply find some of the steps/logic to be unnecessary for the storage period you have outlined (~6 months).

Ultimately, it's certainly your right to follow advice from the source with which you feel most comfortable. I too have spent good money on many cars/engines which I have stored for ~6 month periods every year for the last two decades - so my experience spans a similar time frame. I haven't seen ANY ill effects from my process at any point with any engine, including the two nearly 20 year old engines I'm currently storing for this winter, therefore I have ZERO intention of changing my personal storage program - I'm sure you feel the same and the intent of my post wasn't to persuade you otherwise. That being said, the purpose of my post was to present equally valid and comparably long term experience that has produced similarly positive results following a different process. Again, differing viewpoints with similar results for the benefit of those who may wish to gather more than one experience.
 

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I'm confused about your theory regarding oil changes during short term storage; exactly what sort of combustion byproducts/contaminants are collecting in oil within an engine that's not being run? And what would be the source of excessive condensation in a dry storage environment which is free from the rapid temperature fluctuations that would only be seen with an in-service engine and/or storage outdoors? I would agree that it's best to store the engine with fresh (or at least reasonably fresh) oil, but I'm not understanding how that oil will become dirty/harmful over several months without any combustion taking place. I've been clear to indicate that I don't see anything harmful about your process, but that I simply find some of the steps/logic to be unnecessary for the storage period you have outlined (~6 months).
If the motors are not in climate control they will sweat according to the weather in winter time. I have seen mine down here sweating big time on the outside and probably inside as well. Mine never sat that long as maybe a few months then I installed them. Anything that is gonna be sitting long term I just sell it regardless of if I want it or not, I don't like my stuff to sit long. If I am not gonna use it I figure it would be better of being used by somebody.
 

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If the motors are not in climate control they will sweat according to the weather in winter time. I have seen mine down here sweating big time on the outside and probably inside as well. Mine never sat that long as maybe a few months then I installed them. Anything that is gonna be sitting long term I just sell it regardless of if I want it or not, I don't like my stuff to sit long. If I am not gonna use it I figure it would be better of being used by somebody.
I guess this is location dependent, this is not an issue I've ever encountered in my region even without a climate controlled building. I know your area suffers from considerably more humidity, and it's important for provisions to accommodate any local concerns.
 

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Well, well well.....
I make a helpful comment on what I DID to MY MOTOR and all the "experts" come out of the woodwork.
First off, neither RPM Nova, 66II, nor I attacked you personally, so I find your tone unwarranted using "experts" and capitalized words (which equal shouting) to defensively if not pugnaciously suggest that members disagreeing with and debating your arguments are ill-informed and unjustified in disagreeing with you. You've responded as if people have offended your person by simply disagreeing with or questioning your advice. It's your business if you want to take personal offense when none was given, but there's really no need for you to get bent out of shape.

In the long run is that the oil within MY motor was circulated to help keep the lifters from not being pumped up which you "experts" failed to mention in any post.
I already addressed any lifter concerns in my original post, so there is no need to prime and rotate a stored engine:
Also, years down the road when you are ready to use the engine again, I would pull the intake and remove and lube the lifters to ensure they spin freely, so no rotating during storage is necessary to keep those parts from sticking.
I don't follow how lifters bleeding down would create any issue if the OP preps the lifters for firing after the storage period, just like one would do with new lifters. Lifter prep after storage will negate any need for priming the system during storage.

Hey, to each his own and you guys failed to debunk my theory what so ever. You "SAY" you did this and that but, in MY mind, and received my information from a good friend whom has been building engines for the dirt model cars for nearly 20+years since I've known him, informed me of what I need to do to store my motor.
Failed to debunk your theory? I beg to differ. If you reread my and others' posts, you will quickly see that people have countered your reasons quite well and maturely. You said you primed and rotated the engine "every 2 weeks during that time frame and it cost [me] only 15 minutes per engine turn-over cycle. Was it a pain? Not if you know what you are doing and in the long run, it helped." Then you said that changing the oil at 3 months "will eliminate any build up of moisture that the oil will collect due to condensation and the like from the motor." I questioned and complicated your claims by pointing out that 15 minutes of rotating work every 2 weeks comes out to about 19 hours of rotating and priming an engine by hand over 3 years, which I think many people would agree is a pain. I then countered your oil changing argument by pointing out that oil does not "collect" water as you argue, that condensation could still build up even with 5 quarts of oil in the bottom of the pan, and that there is no rational reason to change unused oil in a stored engine that doesn't need rotating. Then 66II replied to the thread claiming he does absolutely nothing to his stored engines (far less work than what I suggested or recommend), and then RPM Nova replied supporting the arguments for not rotating and priming the engine or changing the oil during storage. So in summary, the majority of posters in this thread have addressed your claims with both physics and personal experience.

Hey, if YOU want to fire up an older motor with oil that has been sitting for a period of time and not worry about condensation or any other contaminates within that oil, go for it. It's your money and not mine.
Here you use a textbook straw man argument in an attempt to cast doubt on all opinions contrary to your own. Show me using the quote function where either I or RPM Nova ever suggested the OP do nothing for storage and then just fire the engine years later without any prep. If you take the time to read my original post, I advised changing the oil and prepping the lifters before firing. And neither I nor RPM Nova suggested firing an engine with water in the pan. 66II's advice seems to suggest firing the engine without precautionary prep, but you use the generalized "you" to all participating members into the single subject of your response.

Nova Doug, For what it's worth, and because much of the advice given in this thread stems from personal experience, I can say that in all the years I worked as a shop and pit crew mechanic on a national-championship-winning USAC Sprintcar, Silvercrown, and Midget racecar team we never once rotated, primed, or changed the oil during storage of our engines. We had two backup engines for each division, so six total. The 800+ hp 410 Sprintcar engines cost $60,000 each new for a point of reference. The stored engines sat in a non-climate-controlled storage room until we needed to swap out an engine and send the used one in for freshening up. During the winter, the engines would sit for at least four months, and we had some backup engines sit for up to a year before putting them into the rotation. The engines used a dry sump oiling system, so no oil sat in the pans during storage aside from whatever residual oil was left from draining the pan. I'm not saying that the way I was taught to prep and the way I have since prepped many stored engines is the only way, but that' how the builder of about $500,000 worth of high-performance engines advised us to store them. Through all the crazy abuse those engines took (some racing at 8,000+ rpm all night long, five days a week), we never had an engine failure, and we won many races. Get your cylinder walls coated well with thick oil, prep the block to keep out critters, debris, and as much moisture as possible, and then prep the engine for firing just like you would a rebuilt/new engine, and you shouldn't have any issues. 66II brings up a good point about checking your valve stem seals for liveliness before firing the engine, and I like sbc1320's input about those moisture absorbing spark plug fittings.
 
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