Classic Chatter

 The Independent Classic Vehicle Website 

Classic Chatter Helping Hand

The website of John and Robin Beardmore (Beardmore Bros) England's premier car builders and modifiers. Specialising in Morris Minors modified and standard.
See all their cars with build up pictures on these pages  to 

Click on the logo for a visit to the site

THE GREEN SPARK PLUG COMPANY


How Spark Plugs Work

Fault Diagnosis.

                                                                   To visit the online shop please CLICK HERE or on the image

Singer 4A   Steering Box Overhaul

Some play is to be expected in the Singer steering. In fact, about 4 inches at the steering wheel is normal when the car is fully laiden. When rebuilding the steering box, this translates to about 1" of play with the box on the bench and about two in an unlaiden chassis.

To read this article click on the picture above which directs you to the article from the North American Singer Owners Club.

Leaving a car unused for a while

Getting your car ready for long term 'storage'

If you are going to leave your car unused for a while there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that it will be in good condition and ready to use when you get back. What you will need to do depends on how long the vehicle will be left.

We've broken it down to 'up to a month', 'one to three months', and 'more than three months'.

Read this first

Don't remove a battery lead unless you know the radio code.On-board computers can be affected by long term disconnection of the battery – check the handbook or contact the manufacturer.Don't let plastic covers rest on the paintwork. Flapping covers can damage paintwork.Make a note of what you've done to the vehicle and put it in the car as a reminder when you need to use the car again.For long periods or high value cars think about using a commercial storage company.You could simply arrange for someone to use the vehicle once or twice a month in dry weather – providing insurance, tax and MOT, etc. are in order.

One month


If you are not sure if the battery will stay charged consider buying a 'smart charger'. These only charge the battery when it needs it and can be left connected without risk of overcharging.

  • Get the anti-freeze concentration checked – particularly in Winter
  • Leave the handbrake off if parked off road – chock the wheels securely first.
  • Leave windows partially open for ventilation – but only if the car's is in a secure garage.
  • Unpainted metal parts can be sprayed with WD40 to reduce corrosion – don't spray rubber or trim.
Up to three months


In addition to the 'one month' points:

  • Clean, and polish the car – hose under wheel arches to remove mud but make sure it'sdry before putting it away.
  • Invest in a 'smart charger' that can be left connected to the battery without risk of overcharging.
  • If you suspect dampness, raise or remove carpets and dry thoroughly.
  • Check that drain holes in doors, sills and bulkhead/heater are not blocked.
  • Lift wiper arms so that the blades are clear of the glass.
  • Consider a refund on your road tax by declaring Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). More details on the DVLA website.
  • You may also be able to reduce your insurance cover to fire and theft only.
  • If the car's in a garage, make sure there's plenty of ventilation
  • Alternatively, seal the garage and use a dehumidifier – cheaper and probably better than heating. (A dehumidifier will need a low-temperature shut-off though as it can't work below about 4C but corrosion is not a problem in very cold weather, provided the car is dry and free from road salt.
More than three months


In addition to the one month and three month points:

  • Carry out an 'oil and filter' service.
  • Slacken auxiliary drive belts – alternator, power steering, air conditioning, etc. Don't slacken the camshaft drive belt.
  • Lubricate locks with a suitable lock oil.
  • Spray under the bonnet, around the battery box, under the wings and the metal in the boot area with WD40 or similar.
  • Lift the vehicle onto blocks or stands to raise the wheels clear of the ground and unstress the tyres.
  • If you can, remove the wheels and store them flat in a cool dark place.
Starting a car left unused for a long time

The work required to start a car that's not been used for a long time will depend to some extent on how well the car was prepared before being put into 'storage'.

  • Check tyre pressures
  • Check that nothing's nesting under the bonnet or has chewed through the pipes/hoses
  • Re-tighten any drive belts loosened when the car was put away.
  • Check all fluid levels before starting – change the oil once the car's running
  • Stale fuel could be a problem – hopefully there's not too much in the tank so that fresh fuel can be added and can get through to the engine
  • Taking the plugs out first and turning the engine over is a good idea as this will reduce the load on the engine whilst the oil is redistributed

Check brake operation including the handbrake – the brakes will probably be seized on if the car's been left with the handbrake applied. Try engaging a gear and driving gently, otherwise dismantling may be necessary.

Arrange a full service once the car is running again.

MOT

You can only drive a car without an MOT on the highway if it is being driven by prior arrangement to a garage for an MOT.

If garage work is required before the MOT then the car should be moved only by truck or trailer.

FOR FURTHER HELP AND ADVICE VISIT THE AA at: http://www.theaa.com