ABCS Insignia

The January 2002 Newsletter

December 13 Meeting Highlights

Jane Ogle

President Carl Floyd led the December meeting. Sixteen members attended. The membership elected the following officers for 2002:

President: Robert Hall

Vice-President: Gael Bright

Secretary: Clarence (CC) Goodson

Treasurer: Al Bradley

Newsletter: Jane G. Ogle

Drive Chairman: Randall Thomas

The traditional gift exchange created excitement as each person decided whether to steal someone's already opened gift or pick one from under the tree. There were many nice items and most everyone smiled as they left the meeting with their treasures.


Membership renewal dues are $15 per year and are due in January each year. Make your check payable to Appalachian British Car Society (ABCS) and bring it to the next meeting or mail it to:

Al Bradley, 143 Stonewall Heights, Abingdon, VA 24210.

Christmas Social at the Hall's

Jane Ogle

Apryl and Robert Hall opened their home to club members for a Christmas open house. They furnished delicious beverages to accompany the treats brought by those attending.

The guys enjoyed visiting "Robert's World" and seeing the classic Jaguars that occupied every inch of available space in the Hall's garage!

Apryl is making plans to someday have a house and a garage that will accommodate her car as well. Meanwhile, it sits outside just hoping an opening will magically appear!

Thanks to the Halls for their gracious hospitality.

Winter Storage

John H. Twist

Service Manager, University Motors Ltd.
6490 Fulton Street East, Ada, Michigan 49301-9006
Phone: 616-682-0800

Ask a dozen MG owners how each of them stored his MG last year and you will receive a dozen different answers. Methods range from abandoning the MG under a tree in the front yard, to complex routines involving raising the MG off the ground and removing the seats. There is not a " proper " method, as each owner has slightly different considerations and requirements ?? yet there are basic rules to follow in any storage procedure that will reduce the probability of damage during storage. In addition to the normal precautions for freezing temperatures, some thought must be given to location, access, traffic around the stored MG, humidity, rodents, etc. It is important to develop a plan that you can easily follow and that you implement before winter shows its icy Arctic fury.

Damage We Have Witnessed

Damage during storage results from neglect or abuse ? and we've " seen it all ! " Cars stored without antifreeze resulting in cracked blocks, burst radiators and heaters; old gasoline evaporated until all that's left are giant, hardened blocks of varnish knocking around inside the tank; gasoline lines, fuel pumps, and carburetors plugged with gooey aged petrol. Dented fenders, cracked glass, perforated soft tops caused by carelessness or accidents from adults and children; corroded chrome, frozen brakes, scaly undercarriages, and mildewed interiors from damp storage. But the damage from rodents is most pervasive - those nasty creatures burrow into the seats, the bonnet insulation, and the interior, even the exhaust pipe. We have found nests in the boot, fender wells, pedal boxes, inside the heater boxes and air cleaners, in the folded tonneau ...nearly everywhere. We disassembled an engine once to find a mouse next INSIDE a cylinder. This past spring a baby mouse fell from the heater onto the mechanic's foot during a test drive!!

Basic Rules

Store the MG with the hood (top) up, windows and vents closed. The folding hood (or soft top) can develop nasty creases when left folded throughout the winter. Closed vents and windows make it more difficult for small furry creatures to foul or devour parts of the MG. It's always nice to clean the MG's interior prior to storage - discarded bottles and cigarette butts do not enhance the interior bouquet. Ensure that the boot (trunk) is dry. The boot seal is not always positive and some moisture can collect on the floor. Left to nature throughout the winter, this can rust the floor or inner fenders about the boot area. Discharging an entire can of WD-40 (or similar product) on all the engine components, especially the bright metal or aluminum parts (carbs, coil, anti run-on valve, etc.) easily protects the underbonnet (engine bay). A large piece of plastic on the floor protects the underside of the MG from moisture rising up through the concrete. Finally, take the MG on the last run of the season, allowing it to heat up fully. A half hour run is wonderful. This will evaporate all the moisture in the exhaust and engine. Park the car in its winter home and leave the handbrake OFF. If you will not see the MG until Spring, it is necessary to remove the battery to prevent freezing. Should the battery freeze and burst, sulfuric acid will cover everything around the battery area. If you cover the MG, use cloth, never plastic.

Storage Considerations

Consider the following questions and make your own storage plan from these concerns:

a.. Location - Will the MG be stored close to home or in a barn forty miles distant? Will the MG be stored inside or outside?

b.. Access - Will the MG be locked in a building to which you will have little or no access, or will it be available every day ? Will it be possible to drive your MG during the winter or will it be positioned in the corner of the garage ?

c.. Traffic - Will the MG be isolated from movement, or will the family Vista Cruiser discharge four energetic, careless children who will open doors against it ?

d.. Humidity - Will the storage area be very dry, or will there be a puddle of melting snow forever swilling under the MG ?

e.. Temperature - Will the storage temperatures be room temperature, just above freezing, or dead cold

f.. Animals - Will the family cat use the soft top as a springboard? Will Fido jump against it, and are there furry rodents that may use the MG as a hotel or find the leather seats tasty at mealtime ?

g.. Owner Maintenance - Will you really have the opportunity, inclination, time, and resolve to visit your MG every week or month ? Freezing temperatures require a 50/50 solution of antifreeze and water to prevent the coolant from freezing in the engine block, radiator, or heater. A full tank of gasoline reduces the amount of water that can be absorbed by the petrol and slows the rate at which the gasoline turns to varnish. Fresh oil in the sump reduces bearing etching, caused by dirty, acidic, contaminated oil. Topped off master cylinders reduces water contamination in the hydraulic lines.


Insurance is a MUST - even on your stored MG! Always keep a theft/damage/vandalism/fire policy in effect. MG's are still stolen; garages collapse under the weight of snow; nasty neighborhood children may wish to redecorate your MG, or worse; and fire is always a possibility. This comprehensive insurance is very inexpensive, and you simply cannot afford to be without it. Be certain to establish the value of your MG with the insurance agent before the loss !

Systems Protection

ENGINE: Fresh oil will adequately protect the engine for several months of relatively dry storage. If you are going to store the MG longer than the winter, or if the humidity is high, then start the engine at regular intervals and allow it to warm up (with the garage door open, please). If this is not possible, introduce oil into the cylinders (perhaps six squirts from a normal oil can). Turn the engine over slowly, before replacing the plugs, by the crank in the earlier models, or pushing while in fourth gear, as this moves the oil throughout the head, pistons, and valves. Cover the tailpipe outlet with duct tape to prevent moisture from entering the exhaust system. Cover the air inlets at the air cleaner(s) with tape to keep moisture from the carb internals and cylinder head.

IGNITION: Normally there are no preventive measures, but if you are going to store the MG for several years, oil the distributor cam.

COOLING: Ensure the cooling system is filled with a clean 50/50 solution of glycol antifreeze and water. Some owners suggest that Armorall or a similar product can extend the life of the radiator hoses.

FUEL: If you plan just a winter's storage, then a full tank of gasoline with the addition of a can of "dry gas" or " Stabil " is satisfactory. If you plan to store the MG for a year or more, then drain the float bowls to prevent a buildup of varnish and oxidation of the metering needle. Gasoline purchased years ago seems to last forever; gasoline purchased today goes bad after a year or so. Starting the MG with "old gas" or "bad gas" requires fresh gasoline in the carburetor just to get the engine to start running. Sometimes starting fluid (carburetor cleaner or ether) is necessary. Once warm, the engine will run on old gasoline.

CLUTCH: Two problems can occur in long-term storage: the clutch hydraulics can leak, and the clutch disc can rust to the flywheel or pressure plate. Exercising the pedal on a regular basis can avoid these trouble spots. Damp storage is a real problem with the clutch and aggravates this rusting. Start the MG and drive it fore and aft, even a couple of feet every so often !

SUSPENSION: Winter storage causes no problems with the suspension. Very few MG owners place their MG's on jacks for the winter, but if this is done, place the stands under the outer portion of the front A-arms and under the leaf springs where the U-bolts surround the axle and spring. This keeps the suspension from dropping away from the body and straining the shocks and the rebound rubbers/straps. If you place the MG on stands, then reduce tire pressure to 10-15 lbs. Whether on stands or on the ground, be certain to move the wheels a couple of times during storage. Several rotations work well to prevent the bearings from rusting.

BRAKES: Rolling the MG back and forth prevents the brake pads from rusting to the rotors (just as the clutch disc can rust to the flywheel). Operate the brakes on a regular basis to prevent the cylinders from freezing. Some owners back off the adjustment on the brake drums so that there is no chance of the shoes rusting to the drums. This also allows the cylinders to move farther while exercising the pedal. Exercise the handbrake, too! Rapidly work the handle up and down to keep the cable and linkages free. Store the MG with the handbrake OFF!

BATTERIES: No battery will hold its charge forever. If the battery charge is reduced far enough, the electrolyte freezes, the case cracks, and the battery is ruined. If you store the MG in freezing temperatures, then you must charge the batteries several times throughout the winter. Use a "trickle charger" or run the engine to recharge the battery (ies). Sometimes it is easier to remove the battery! On the 1977 and newer MGBs with the electric clock, remove the bottom fuse in the fuse box. This stops the drain (albeit tiny) caused by the clock. Next to the coolant in the radiator, the batteries are one of the two most important considerations in winter storage.

BODY: To prevent oxidation or scratching, cover the MG with a cloth mitten. Plastic is NOT suitable. Plastic does not allow the MG to breathe, and can exacerbate oxidation and rusting. If you plan to store the MG in a heavy traffic zone (the family garage, for example), then additional protection is in order. Thick cardboard, a suitably supported piece of wood, or even an old mattress suspended from the ceiling prevents damage from winter tools and car doors. If the bonnet or boot lid will be used for a shelf (even if just to place groceries in transit), then more protection (such as a thick blanket) is in order. Humidity is the body's enemy. Make every effort to keep the floor dry!! If you plan to store the MG outside, then keep the car well ventilated, and do not allow snow to pile up, under, and around the car. Park the MG on a large sheet of plastic to keep the MG dry. You can park your MG in a large, specially prepared bag; a hermetically closed environment. This "bagging" is a wonderful solution for some enthusiasts.

INTERIOR: Low winter humidity dries leather seats, allowing them to contract and crack. Prepare the leather with LEXOL to keep the hide supple. Mice cause the greatest damage to interiors! They eat the seats, the foam, the carpeting, the wiring insulation - they eat EVERYTHING!! Close off access to the interior. Keep the vents tightly closed. Erect the hood (soft top). Close the windows. Some owners remove their seats prior to storage. Several dishes, filled with mothballs, in the foot wells, on the battery compartment, in the boot, and in the bonnet will repel most mice. Use the "Old Fashioned" mothballs - naphthalene

Develop your plan and store your MG carefully! We'll see YOU and YOUR MG next spring!

ABCS Officers & Committee Chairs for 2002

President: Robert Hall, 423-262-0402,

Vice-President: Gael Bright, 423-239-4247,

Secretary: Clarence (CC) Goodson, 423-928-2023

Treasurer: Al Bradley, 540-628-4763,

Newsletter: Jane Ogle, 423-282-5687,

Driving Events: Randall Thomas, 606-432-5153

Webpage: Herren Floyd, 423-239-5455,

Past Newsletters

December 2001

November 2001

September 2001

August 2001

July 2001

Jun 2001

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

December 2000

November 2000

October 2000

September 2000

August 2000

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000

Past Meetings

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000

December '99

November '99

October '99

September '99

August '99

July '99

June '99

May '99

April '99

March '99

February '99

January '99

December '98

November '98

October '98

September '98

August '98

July '98

June '98

May '98