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GT40 Tech - Engines/Induction/Exhaust Motors and engine related - right here!

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Old 10th July 2004, 09:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Long term engine storage

Any thoughts on long term engine storage? My engine won't be blasing around for a while, maybe next year sometime. So I worry about the cyliners rusting and the valve train being left in one position for extended periods.

I hunted around the web and found some advice on the Corvetteaction forum attributed to GM which advises that if an engine is to be stored for nine months or longer, "remove the spark plugs and add approximately one (1) ounce of engine oil to each cylinder. The engine should be rotated just after adding the oil to the cylinders. The purpose of this step is to coat the cylinder bore to protect against rust formation during storage. Also note, this procedure is repeated after extended (18 months and longer) storage before start up."
I was planning something like this, but anticipated rotating the engine every other month or so (by hand).
The engine is a new roller cam version, but it has been bench run for an hour to tune and assist in break in.
thanks
Brian
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Old 10th July 2004, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

Brian, I worried about this also because my engine was built over three years ago and it has yet to be fired up. I let it sit for 18 months before I even turned it over, and was afraid it might have frozen. It wasn't. When I pulled my old oil pan off a few months ago all was well on the inside. FWIW, my exhaust ports were covered with aluminum tape, and the plugs were installed.

That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to add a little oil to the cylinder bores and crank the engine by hand every couple months. I would replace the plugs and tape up the exhaust ports and the carb inlet as well. If you really want to go crazy, I have a Moroso oil pump primer that you can attach to your drill and use to pressurize the oil system. Of course this would require that you fill your sump with oil. I can bring it up in a couple weeks if you want.
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Old 10th July 2004, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

Once upon a time I enjoyed agricultural pursuits in Florida. One of these was seasonal and we had two Chrysler Hemi Head industrial engines that ran on LP which we used as pump units during the season. During the off season, we would pickle them with Marvel Mystery Oil. We would pull the valve covers off and pour it over the rockers. Once the covers were replaced we would start the engine and drizzle the oil into the intake until it was billowing great clouds of white smoke. We would then start increasing the flow until the engine chocked down and quit. This is kind of touchy because you don't want to put enough in to hydro lock the engine, but enough to make it foul the plugs and stop running. The drizzling took virtually all of the deposits off of the valves and let the oil get all over then intake and exhaust paths. The oil that we had poured over the rockers got into all of the non-combustion internals and protected them until the following year when we changed the oil and cleaned the plugs.

You can't miss Marvel Mystery Oil in the parts stores as it is in a red and black can that looks very antique. I don't think they have ever changed the design of their logo and cans. The oil itself is very red with a distinct but not unpleasant odor.

Lynn
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Old 10th July 2004, 01:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

Besides the corosion issues which you all have addressed ,I dont think its a good idea to leave the certain valve springs fully compressed for long periods. Maybe rotate the engine to a different position so the same springs arent always the ones left sqeezed down all the way.
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Old 10th July 2004, 04:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

Thanks for the inputs guys. I am going to lube it up and give it a turn and a half every now and then. Mark, I'll pass on the primer for now, but will certainly be interested in borrowing it for the engine starting party!

Brian
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Old 11th July 2004, 07:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

If you have really stiff valve springs, just pull the valve covers and loosen the rocker arms.

Next, squirt some oil in the cylinders.

If the engine isn't in a car, put it in a plastic bag with a nice big dessicant to suck all of the moisture out of the air.
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Old 11th July 2004, 11:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

I am pretty sure I wrote this before somewhere but here it is again.

A good buddy of mine bought a 58 corvete a couple of months ago and was told the car had a newer 350 in it. The motor was to have somthing on the order of 425hp. We both drove the car before he paid for it and it felt good and strong, idle fine, kind of solid cam lumpy, but fine and showed good compression on all cylinders.

He paid the man and we started home, about 90 miles. Mike drove the car pretty easy, about 70mph or so with a 3.50 rear end, for about 50 miles and bang, a valve spring broke. Luckly the valve stayed up and didn't hit the piston be we had to rent a trailer to get it home form there.

Well here's where this story has somthing to do with laying up motors. This one had been sitting for a year and several people Mike talked to later said that it was not uncommon to break a valve spring when it had been compressed for a year. They usually break, only one or two, after a short time when you start it up and run it again.

I think any motor should be turned over at least once a month, better even once a week.
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Old 12th July 2004, 11:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

Yes, we have talked about the potential for compressed valve springs to break after extended storage. I've given this some thought and think that if failures happened after engine storage they were more likely attributable to corrosion on the valve springs rather than metal fatigue which, by definition, occurs after multiple stress events.
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Old 12th July 2004, 12:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

I don't know if the failure was caused by corrosion or from being compressed, but I know that keeping a spring compressed for too long can relax the spring because the molecules slowly rearrange themselves in the compressed position.

That 350 sounds like it was pretty mild, no huge roller cam. If the springs were close to stock style, there is no reason that they would corrode any faster than any other spring.

I have brought back to life an engine that was sitting for 7 years with the valves compressed and no real storage precautions. The biggest problem was the fuel had jellied up and was clogging the lines. The valve springs were fine and the engine would rev cleanly to 6,000+.
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Old 15th July 2004, 05:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Long term engine storage

My 289 was laid up, out of the car, for 20 years. The valve springs were slackened, and oil was squirted down the bores. That was it. Apart from blowing lots of smoke out at startup, no problems!
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