Long term storage of engines
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! Ralph's Avatar
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    Icon7 Long term storage of engines

    I have an an XN1 motor and want to keep it as a spare for my newly gotten 505GR. Has anyone stored a motor for any length of time and how do you successfully go about it? The term of storage is indefinite, my daughter could be using it in 8 year's time!

    Is it worth breaking it up to component level i.e. head, block, crank shaft, cam and a box full of the rest all dowsed in Inox or is it best stored as a whole with oil injected down the plug holes?

    The spare engine is in good condition and the plan is to rip out the broken one and put in the stored one if the need arises.

    If stored as a whole, I could imagine that the engine would need to be turned over periodically by a socket on the crankshaft pulley to keep it from binding up and keep it all lubricated. Has anyone had experience in storing an engine?

    Matt.

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    There are, I think, three things to be concerned about...

    1. Rings getting gummed up, not being free when you use it again.

    2. The oil in the timing chain tensioner glugging up the tiny hole that allows pressure to flow into that part.

    3. Possible head gasket deterioration.

    I think a light oil down the bores, maybe even diesel, and an occasional turning over.

    For the timing chain, when it's time to run the engine again, take it off and clean it out.

    The head gasket will be a suck it and see job... keep a close eye on it when you run it again, don't take it too far for the first few weeks just in case.

    I wouldn't dismantle the engine...

  3. #3
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    Ralph, you can buy kits that have special spark plug replacements which contain something like silica gel to keep the bores etc. dry. They have other bits and pieces, too, I believe. I don't know if this is really worth it though.

    Another important thing is to make sure the oil's changed for new oil before laying it up, to remove any contaminants (acids, water etc.) from the oil...and I've read somewhere that it's best to overfill the engine by a litre or so. Of course, stuff all holes with rags as well.

    Stuey

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    ive heard of people filling the motor right up with oil, as in right up the the brim of the filler cap....................but thats only what ive heard.............diesel down the spark plug holes followed by turning it over a few times by hand sounds like a terrific idea. maybe even keep a starter motor bolted to it and hook it up to a battery now and then to make turning it over easyier....i dunno.....

    the best way is to keep it in a car or something so it can be started now and then..............but that is the awkward and hardest way obviously, having a car sitting around doing nothing...lol

    my thoughts anyways.....

  5. #5
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Well, it's going to take up space anyway... why not leave it on a crossmember and have the gearbox attached?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    There are, I think, three things to be concerned about...

    1. Rings getting gummed up, not being free when you use it again.

    2. The oil in the timing chain tensioner glugging up the tiny hole that allows pressure to flow into that part.

    3. Possible head gasket deterioration.

    I think a light oil down the bores, maybe even diesel, and an occasional turning over.

    For the timing chain, when it's time to run the engine again, take it off and clean it out.

    The head gasket will be a suck it and see job... keep a close eye on it when you run it again, don't take it too far for the first few weeks just in case.

    I wouldn't dismantle the engine...
    I'd back Ray's advice. Even if you decide to dismantle and rebuild partly when the time comes to use the engine, I'd leave it neatly bolted together until then. The alternative is to wonder what you've lost 8 years down the track. I've two 4CV assembled blocks and can't quite understand why I haven't a single R8 one. The reason is probably that I dismantled them and eventually chucked the blocks away. Bad decision. But I'd never throw a block away with the moving parts inside!!

    Wouldn't you be inclined to do bearings and valves after storage of a used engine that you are going to the effort of reinstalling?

    good luck

    JohnW

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    Fellow Frogger! Ralph's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. Ray, seriously, you've seen my shed. I've swung many a cat in there and none have survived! I've had to toss out that much stuff to make way for the 504 parts and the 505 I'm buying next weekend. I'd love to have it mounted where it could be run every few weeks. I'll keep an eye on the head gasket, a compression test should indicate it's condition. A timing chain replacement would be done as a matter of course.


    I'll get some of that cheap 'n' nasty Safeway oil, flush it out and dowse the pots and other moveable parts to keep them rust free. I would've thought a thicker oil woul be more suitable as it would stick to the surfaces better. I like Owen's suggestion of using the starter motor to turn it over occasionally.

    As John said, a minor rebuild would be the best way to go if the engine were to be used again.

    Thanks for your help.

    Matt.
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  8. #8
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    I'll be there in December to pick up the gearbox that came out of the car... if you no longer want the one I gave you I'll pick that up too.

    You won't need to replace anything in the timing... just clean out the oilway before installing it in a car.

  9. #9
    WLB
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    Penrite make all sorts of vehicle lay-up products.
    The overfilling is probably best left to a soak just before getting running again.
    The water jacket needs to be empty and dry. Even with an inhibitor, there will be pockets of air and these will be wet with water with no inhibitor. One of the soluble machine tool oils might be a good thing for running through the cooling system before draining as it will leave an oily coating.
    Might also be worth running with a light high-detergent oil before draining to get as much gunk out as possible.
    Plug the holes with oily rags to keep out the ants and mud wasps.
    Outboard motors are "winterized" for storage by running them and spraying a light oil mist into the carby until the plugs oil up and it stops. Then you leave it like that.
    The clutch plate may eventually rust to the flywheel and/or pressure plate if the air is damp.

  10. #10
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Overfilling one of these engines with oil, of course, simply results in oil puddles on the floor... no seals in the crank, remember?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW
    I've two 4CV assembled blocks and can't quite understand why I haven't a single R8 one. The reason is probably that I dismantled them and eventually chucked the blocks away. JohnW
    Hmmmmmmmmm. I'd ask your wife, John!

    Quote Originally Posted by WLB
    Outboard motors are "winterized" for storage by running them and spraying a light oil mist into the carby until the plugs oil up and it stops. Then you leave it like that.
    Now THAT is a really good idea!

    Stuey

  12. #12
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    I would agree with the broad cross section of ideas, suggestions regarding the long term storage of engines.

    In my years as an engineer in the RAAF, the storage of aircraft piston engines was known as inhibiting or 'pickling'. The length of the storage determined the methods to be followed.

    In essence, engines that were 'out of action' for say up to three months were inhibited by (a) draining the normal running oil, then (b) replenishing a certain % of the oil tank with a special inhibiting oil. After this (c) the engine was run at low power until temperatures stabilised. During shutdown, a special fitting was attached to the induction system, which allowed a spray of heated oil to be coated onto the induction trunks, supercharger impeller and casing etc.

    The spark plugs were removed after cooling, and the bores were sprayed with inhibiting oil. This was critical, because some of the engines had nitrided bores. The nitriding process added to the finish and wear resistant properties of the bore, but would also cause early bore corrosion if left untreated. Thus, over Christmas stand down periods for example, those aircraft on standby had to have their engines run every three days!

    The spark plugs were then replaced with silica gel plugs (which had a crystallised moisture drying agent in their bodies), and the engine was then not turned again until returned to service.

    If the storage was to be genuine long term, the engines were further sprayed externally with a protective coating. The engines were placed in special cannisters that included silica gel bags, sealing plugs for openings that remained (induction, exhaust, propeller shaft etc). The cannister was then vacuum sealed, and was logged for re-inspection at specified times.

    I have stored motor car engines using some of the suggestions from other members. An additional procedure I follow is, after spray-oiling the bores etc, I back off the valve adjustments to allow all valves to sit on their seats. This delays any possible valve seat or face corrosion, as well maintaining uniform valve spring tensions.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

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