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Opportunity is missed
by most people
it is dressed
in overalls
and looks like
- Thomas Edison

This Tech Tip was originally written in 2005 by Kevin "Ole Twuk" Pennell (from the Original NAPCO Owners Group) and pretty much stands the test of time. We recently asked in the General Truck forums if anyone had new tricks or tips. You might want to check the response or add a few of your own ideas. We incorporated a few in here. Listed at the end of this article are some additional links from other sites you may want to check out, too -- variations on the theme, ya know!   November 2015 Update

Now that the cruisin' season is done, the shows are over, the old truck rides for the neighborhood kids are safely completed and everyone has snapped their family holiday pictures with Grandpa's truck -- all that remains is to put the ole girl down for her winter nap. It's not a mission to Mars -- just a few simple steps to ensure the truck is ready for you in the Spring.

Stored trucks should have a high-quality security system.

Minimum recommended requirements

Hey all. Was just warmin' my piggy toes on the ol' Potbelly whilst sippin' on a fresh batch of corn likker, and decided I needed me a hefty dose of Stovebolts. Since I don't drive my "real" Stovebolt whilst partakin' in spirits, I fired up my "puter," dropped the mouse down into 4-wheel drive and moseyed on over here to the Stovebolt site, which is one of my all time favorite passin' time evolutions.

I was checkin' out the new batch of eye-candy, and happened to notice that mebbe some folks don't have a clue on how to prep their old truck for its hibernation during those wicked winter months. Now, personally havin' some experience in this department, I figure I'd take a minute and share some o' this here hard-learned data with y'all.

Two ways to do it

Preppin' for a Long Winter's Snooze... Let's see here. Well, there's about 300 or more ways to do winter preparation based on what you want to do with your truck after the winter's over... Now, that sure is a whole bunch, so we'll just pick out about two opposing views and go there... We won't go into all of 'em. (You can read more articles listed at the end of this tip. ~ Editor)

1. The Redneck way

The FIRST way to go about it works particularly well if, upon your death, you plan on leaving your truck to a nephew that you really aren't too awfully fond of... You just drive it off into a far corner of the yard, and git out. That's it! Your truck will probably still be there for him when you die, and he'll hate you 'til HE dies. Not to mention the fact that yer old truck really won't be very happy with you, either. Not too many folks choose to go this route though. 'Cause if you decide you want to drive it the following Spring or Summer, it generally takes a whole lot of time, effort and MONEY to get it back into shape... So for the sake o' argument, we'll say that this really ain't a good way to go here.

2. The Right way

Not only is the SECOND method more common among Stovebolters with at least a two-digit IQ, but it is the recommended approach of the Stovebolt site for those who don't want to drive their truck through the winter. You guessed it -- storage! The park it, lock it up and then pull it back out in the Spring kinda storage. This ain't too awfully hard, but it involves a few simple steps you really need to follow if you want Sleeping Beauty to awaken in the Spring:

  • Full Service! Get out the grease gun and hit every zerk you know of (and find the ones you don't!). While yer at it, check your oil levels in the transmission and rear axle. If the oil is old or looks like it has impurities, go ahead and change it. It's going to be a long winter and contaminants (like water or other yuckies) get mighty bored just sitting there -- you don't want them getting into mischief and starting fights with your gears. Don't have enough of the right gear oil? No problem. You're going to the gas station in the next step anyway! Check, but don't change your engine oil just yet. But make sure you have oil and a filter ready to do that a couple of steps from now.
  • Fill 'er up! Take one last drive to the gas station to fill the gas tank -- hopefully with an ethanol-free fuel. I always fill the tank with fuel so the high fuel level in the tank won't let rust grow inside. Then drive it to its winter resting place. I add some fuel stabilizer to the tank to keep that fuel from breaking down over time. (Ed. Note: You could get all fancy and install a super high tech tank inerting system that will fill the tank with nitrogen or some other inert gas to prevent vapors or moisture, but if you had the money to do THAT you could probably afford a nice climate controlled garage ... in Florida ... full of Ferraris ... and pay someone else to read the Stovebolt site and do all this ... So ... back in the real world ...)
  • Fresh antifreeze. While you're there, check out the antifreeze solution and make sure it's fresh, and the right mix for the temps you think you'll be seeing, plus a dose for good measure. Really would ruin yer day to reach the Spring missing your truck sumpthin' awful, and find out you got a busted block 'cause she froze solid on that one "really" cold night.
  • Change the oil. Once you get back from your run to the gas station, your engine will be nice and warm, and all the bad things in your crankcase oil will be all mixed up in the oil -- so it's a perfect time to drain it! Go ahead and change the engine oil now so the engine will be stored with nice, fresh oil.
  • Pick a spot. Pick out a spot where it won't be in the way. Hopefully with some ventilation to let the air git to it and dry it out. A damp, musty garage will probably result in a damp, musty truck. I don't have a garage, so I eyeball my spot pretty careful like. I try to avoid places like under a tree where branches might fall off in a storm, or where the leaves will set up on the truck and rot through the winter, or under power lines, where the birds can do the target practice thing.
  • Drain the carb & fuel pump. Once I'm at my spot, I disconnect the fuel line on the tank side of the fuel pump, plug the line, and then start and run the truck out of fuel. That fuel stuff gets all gummy over time and if you leave a carb full setting all winter, it'll trash the carb.
  • Oil the cylinders. Next, I take out the spark plugs and add a few squirts of oil into each cylinder. I put the plugs back in, then pull the coil wire and crank her over a few times to slosh around the oil in each cylinder. Put the coil wire back on, and then reconnect the fuel line.
  • Battery. Disconnect the battery. A good idea would be to remove the battery and store it on a wooden shelf (not on the concrete shop floor) connected to a battery tender. If you don't have one of these, then periodically give it a trickle charge over the winter.
  • Get a "Redneck dehumidifier." I buy a 20-pound sack of kitty litter and set it on the floor in the cab. Keep the
      A raised hood will prevent kitties from leaving paw prints in your expensive paint job.
    kitty litter in the bag, mind you. It ain't necessary or advisable to dump it on yer floorboards. Just cut open the top of the bag with yer trusty Buck Knife, and that kitty litter will absorb a ton of moisture, keepin' the inside of yer truck from gettin' all mildewy on you. If you park it with the windows all closed up good, that stuff will do a good job of keeping mold to a minimum.
  • All jacked up. I jack up the truck and set the frame on jackstands so's the wheels ain't supporting the weight of the beast. Helps prevent the tires from developing flat spots and gives the suspension a little rest, too. My Uncle Moose always told me to do that, saying it done the same thing fer your truck as just like you getting off your feet after a long day. But before you do, make sure the surface the truck is parked on is level and firm enough to support the jackstands. The last thing you want is for the jackstands to sink or worse -- fall over.
  • Tires. If you don't jack the truck up, just be sure to put something like a piece of wood or an old mud flap between each tire and the ground or concrete. Concrete, dirt and even wood debris can wick the oils out of your tires' rubber over the long winter months, leaving you with dry rotted or weather checked tires in the Spring.
  • Cover it? I don't much like the idea of puttin' a tarp over the truck either, 'cause a tarp don't breathe well, and it'll keep all kinds of moisture up underneath it. Bit rough on the paint, too. I've heard them new fangled car covers are much softer and are made to breath pretty good, but my personal preference is just to let her sit, uncovered. That way I can check for squirrels and mice makin' a house in there and what not. I don't have one o' them ten gazillion dollar paint jobs to worry about either. (Extra can of Rustoleum is always layin' around somewhere handy...)

Have a nice snooze!

With all that said and done, you should be pretty near close to set up for the winter, and ready to tackle all your other late Fall chores! Got all yer wood split and stacked?? Me? I'm due for another snort of corn likker, so I'll call it a day here, and mosey on.

Good luck to ya!



Further reading on storing your vehicle for winter:

Auto Trader Classics
Newsday -- with a "scientifically proven method"
Polluck Auto Restoration -- They have a break down into different systems protection
Hagerty (Oh how we love these guys) -- Another step-by-step





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