I have an 76 that sits a lot of the winter and I just fire it
up occasionally, then drive it in the summer.
The other day, I drove home, parked and then it would not start. The
engine would not even turn over. Then I stuck the key in again and it
almost threw the engine out of the car turning over. I have had this
happen numerous times and it has always been the battery - one cell
goes bad and those are exactly the symptoms.
I took the battery in and it checked out ok, but I suspect it still
may die again. I go thru one every 2-3 years sitting this way. It's
under lifetime warrantee as long as I own the car, so I don't really
Now - I am cleaning up connections, etc just as a precaution since I
dont want to get stuck somewhere and I have heard that a starter can
develop a 'flat spot' from sitting too long.
My question is - is this actually a possibility (a starter developing
a flat spot), or a misnomer, or an old garage hoax....???
Yes - thanks - your replies make perfect sense. As I say - I usually
have battery issues, but it is not a new car and I expect othr things
(namely connections, solenoids, etc) to deteriorate with time.
Thanks for the clarification about the starter dead spot... versus....
Yes, sometimes there are dead spots in starters. I'm not sure what causes
them, as I have never had one, but sitting in one spot could create
corrosion on a contact and make it so that you can't get current through, I
Your winter storage method doesn't sound all that good. When a car is
sitting, firing it up to idle creates its own problems in that moisture is
not forced out of the whole car from warming it completely. It usually
takes a half hour run in the winter to warm the parts like the transmission
and rear end, not to mention getting the mufflers hot enough to dry out. So
often it is better to sit unused for long times than to fire it up, run for
10 minutes, and shut it down.
IMHO, it is rarely bad enough in winter anymore to not drive it. Now if you
live on a dirt road that is mud in winter, of they use a ton of salt on the
road pass your house alone, then yes, that is something to avoid. But in my
experience, they don't salt until it snows the first time, and that can be
anywhere from November to January, depending on the winter and the location.
Yet many put them away in September to sit.
Drive it until the first snow.
If they don't salt, there is no reason not to take it out even in the snow
to get a half hour or more running in to keep everything going. Unless the
snow is deep and it is an automatic, they really are decent in the snow,
too. If you worry about rust, you can spray the dry clean frame with a
light coat of oil before each winter. Or you can repaint the frame.
Remember, the paint on them new wasn't that great, yet it kept most from
rusting for 20 years or more. A fresh coat of paint on the frame could keep
it that way for another 20 years and let you not hide from every dark cloud
that passes overhead.
I'm surprised you don't have to rebuild brakes each summer. Sitting all
winter is well known for making brake issues.
I think if you set up to make a drive each month through the winter, you'll
find the car much more responsive to driving without many issues you have
If you are in a place where the winter is so bad you have to sit for the 6
months, then buy a battery tender. These are "smart" battery chargers that
control the charge so that the battery is never overcharged and will extend
the battery life greatly.
Here's info I received elsewhere about the starter question.
I normally hear the term flat spots used more for tires, but a
can develop a dead spot.
Two common things I see that could be happening to you (outside of a
The starter solenoid could be failing or the circuit feeding it.
The starter itself can get a dead spot or have worn brushes. You
carbon brushes in the body of the starter that are held against the
commutator by spring pressure. Here is a picture of a commutator
pieces of copper is an individual circuit. If one fails the starter
will be a bit weaker but you would probably never notice when it was
spinning. If one fails and the starter happens to stop so that the
brush is against only that one circuit then the starter won't spin
next time you crank. I don't think this is your problem though as
you normally have to do something to cause the starter to move a
little before it will work again.
As for the storage method - I agree totally. But I have lifetime
warrantee on the battery and the mufflers so it costs me zilch to get
them replaced every so often. Your points are well taken though. I
do, however, start it up about every 3 weeks for 1/2 an hour or so and
let it idle on the drive and sometimes run it back and forth on the
driveway a bit.
I'm in Canada and they salt for no apparent reason half the time and
in my area traditionally we have snow up to the eyeballs (except for
recent winters), so I don't bother trying to run it past when I feel
comfortable in it..
I do recollect reading (probably on this group) that one way to
eliminate the leaky caliper issues on these things is to pump the
brake pedal on them every so often during the winter. There are
probably much more rigorous regimes that could and should be applied
as you suggest. I do need a rebuild job on the brakes when I get to it
and I am sure that is the reason. I think, but am not sure, that the
pumping will eliminate the sticking of the piston and sort of
displacing the o-ring seal on it with subsequent leakage. The pitting
is something else entirely and I think is caused by electrolysis type
of effect and moisture between dissimilar metals and I think the only
way to really fix that is stainless steel sleeves.
I do keep it in a fairly dry garage, usually above freezing, but your
points on frame preservation are well taken.
I have had the beast since new and must admit to my embarassment have
not babied it at all (but now with a teenage son eyeing it, I now wish
I had). I have a new composite spring and shocks to go into it when I
get a chance and the above noted brake job. The rest of it needs a lot
of work, but maybe I will have the time to at least make it more
presentable as I go along. Without pouring money well past the point
of no return, it will regretfully never be a showcar. :(
I bought a 79' L82 that was cold natured... it would start cold and not hot!
Went thru batteries pretty fast also. Replaced the starter twice, fuse
links, carb plate and assorted other things... until someone on this group
told me a story about 'ground cables'.... you'd be surprised what happens
inside the insulation. Long story short... replaced all three for ~12 bucks
and haven't ever had the problem since...
====================================== An easy check to see if your ground cable is bad is just disconnect
the negative post on the Battery and hoop a jumper cable to it and
attach the other end of the cable to the frame....
Wish I did not learn this the hard way.....
64 72 76 79 & 98
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