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Long Term Storage or a New to Me Model A

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  • Long Term Storage or a New to Me Model A

    This is what I would do if you just got a Model A, or want to start one after many years of storage.


    If you have liquid gas in the tank, then I would drain it out and put in fresh gas. If the gas has evaporated and left dry residue behind, then I'd blow out all you can with a long blow gun and air compressor. Then flush out the rest by using some fresh gas and draining it through cloth into a pail. Keep repeating until it runs clean. Rock the car side to side to slosh the gas and help drain out the junk. Then install the tank filter to prevent junk from messing up the shut off valve and carb.

    When you drain the oil, bend a wire to 90* and spin it around on the bottom of the oil pan to see if you pick up any sludge. If you get sludge, then drop the pan and clean it out. If you don't get sludge, then I wouldn't drop the oil pan.

    New 6 volt battery with positive ground, then jump across the cutout terminals with a wire for one second to polarize the generator, just in case it lost it's residual magnetism over the years.

    Don't replace a thing on the ignition, just lightly sand or file the points to clean off a little oxidation. Fresh oil and gas, and you should be able to start the engine. Tire age doesn't bother me if they aren't showing cracks, but even if they look good, drive it around the neighborhood for several miles before heading out somewhere far.

    If you start out by changing a bunch of parts, then you'll be wondering why it doesn't start. It ran good when parked, so it should run good now, but removing the plugs and spinning the engine over with some oil down each plug hole is a good idea. Hand crank it first to make sure nothing is stuck, then spin it with the starter to spread the oil. Then reinstall the plugs and start the engine.

    Hopefully it wasn't stored with water. ALWAYS use antifreeze.

  • #2
    To add my two $$ to the great advice already given,
    I would drain the coolant below the head gasket level or all of it, pull the distributor and pour a fresh quart or two of oil in the hole to prime the mains with fresh oil. This will also spill over the damn and lube the timing gears. While the dist is out i would re re torque the head bolts and loosen the oil return pipe to make sure it's got pressure after starting the motor. After a run i would dump the oil again
    3 ~ Tudor's
    Henry Ford said
    "It's all nuts and bolts"


    Mitch's Auto Service ctr

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    • #3
      Tom,

      As usual , great thoughts but your title is misleading, "Long Term Storage", shudda been 'Removal From.....'.

      To me the three worst things that can happen to a car is a flood, a fire, and long term storage. Inactive storage is a killer. Just ask the guy who gets his car running for the Forth of July parade and again on Labor Day and wonders why a year later it won't start !

      Just my observation, JB

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      • #4
        Tom has wonderful advice for just starting and testing a Model A after long term storage. Works well also if one knows who previously owned and restored this stored Model A.

        For me, with my maybe unique experiences in our area, the next step would be:

        After knowing "who" used to own Model A's years ago in our area, and "if" not knowing "who" previously owned a long term storage Model A; and after hearing of "who" tries to restore Model A's today, (sometimes just to sell and get rid of it, all hastily assembled with the cheapest of parts), I would never trust any seller's "unknown" long term storage story.

        My new 1930 Town Sedan was supposedly stored in New York in a heated garage where the previous owners stated they only drove it 200 miles in 30 years. After dismantling the engine, one side of the cam shaft had globs of protruding rust and "deep" rust pits that could have quickly worn bottoms of all tappets. Oil holes from valve chamber were "completely" plugged, and the inside of engine looked like the mouth and teeth of an 80 year old man who lived on Gummy Bears and never owned a tooth brush ....... just to list a few things ...... not even mentioning the five (5) thumb guy who last adjusted the Babbitt bearings with Plasti-gage at midnight, while wearing a dark welding helmet, after drinking a six pack.

        The other stored Model A and Model A engines I bought in the late 1950's were far worse ...... one in particular, with switch off, with one swift turn of the crank, the engine could continue rotating at least for 10 seconds ...... 10 seconds is a long time while watching an engine rotate.

        In my humble opinion,nothing much different than from entering a doctor's office at 80 years old.

        All is absolutely great ......... until after the doctor uses his stethoscope, and after seeing results of this 80 year old's blood test, his EKG results, checking both carotid arteries, and after thoroughly investigating his underwear.

        Hope this can help one to decide which way to go after acquiring an "unknown" stored or new Model A.
        Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 07-15-2017, 09:56 AM. Reason: typo

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        • #5
          INTERESTING!! Someone wrote, "If you jack up the car from the side, up to an 18 Degree angle, it WILL drain the SPLASH tray completely"
          Bill Info

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          • #6
            While it is no secret that long periods of sitting unused is hard on almost anything mechanical there are worse sins. When I bought the supposedly running chassis I am using for the delivery it had been sandblasted and painted without dis-assembly. This has embeded sand in every crevis, then sealed it in heavy paint. The bottom of the frame was not blasted and only had overspray over the rust. Frame had a 10" missing chunk on the left frame rail where the rear bumper bracket bolts.

            The engine had been tarped over for the sandblasting, but had been exposed for thick black paint. Carbueretor float valve was stuck open so it leaked very bad. Makeshift wiring for the ignition system. Distributor would not advance at all.

            Brake shoes were new and still had the Ford script very readable. Nothing else had been done to the brakes. Which really did not matter as the rear brake shoes were covered in 600W (seals shot and transmission bone dry) and the wheel studs had been welded in and the weldsheavily contacted the park brake and would lock the wheels while pushing it off of the trailer and into the shop. Needless to say the carriers were bent and ruined.

            I replaced the carburetor, distrubutor and wiring and was able to get it running in short order. It ran ok after the condensation and mouse nests burnt out, but had a slight knock. Pulled the engine and removed pan and found no shims left anywhere in the engine. Cyl's were worn .012 on the best cyl. Needless to say full rebuild needed. Rod
            Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.

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            • #7
              The car at greenfield. village are stored for years with no fluids at all,this never seemed like a good idea to me but being in aclimate controlled building maybe it is ok?

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              • #8
                MANY cars were "KAPOOT" & NOT RUNNING, when they were stored!!! DON'T believe the B.S. stories that the seller tells:p!!! Expect the WORST from the car!!:
                Dad Negative

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