Lotus Elan

Engine Storage

PostPost by: Apx » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:33 am

I have a spare engine that i intend to store potentially for some time and am looking for advice for the best preparation that i can do for storage. Do i strip down now and rebuild/refurbish or wait until the engine is needed before doing it? Either way what is the best preparation that i can do to preserve it?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Neal
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:38 am

Hi Neal

You have 4 options IMHO

1. Strip engine and preserve individual components - this is how I store most of my engines

Pros
- can do best preservation and can inspect while stored and retreat as needed.
- can rebuild or repair or replace components so ready for reassembly when needed
- Individual components easy to move around in storage
- IN this state the engine is at its most valuable if decide to sell in the future

Cons
- work done up front to strip and preserve and rebuild if choose to do that. The time and money may be spent years before you really needed to
- parts can be lost over the time as they are stored individually
- can take time to reassemble especially if no inspect and component repair work done to prepare for rebuild when stored

2. Strip and rebuild the engine but dont run it - this is how I store my spare ready to go race engine

Pros
- can preserve well
- engine ready to install and run at short notice but needs running in
- parts don't go missing

Cons
- money spent upfront to rebuild that may not be used for many years
- cannot inspect and retreat easily if needed.
- Complete engine heavy and hard to move around in storage

3. Strip and rebuild and run in and then preserve - Lots of top racers do this when they swap engines every few races. I cant afford the upfront time and cost and preservation issues to get to this point for a spare engine that may sit for many years for me

Pros
- Engine ready for use at short notice and proved right to install

Cons
- harder to preserve given potential contaminants introduced by run in
- money spent upfront to get to this point that may not be used for many years
- complete engine heavy to move around in storage

4. Store a used engine. I have my Plus 2 engine stored currently while I complete the rebuild.

Pros
- quick and easy to do
- Minimum upfront cost
- You know you had a complete running engine when it was stored

Cons
- hard to preserve well for extended periods as need to get the contaminants that cause corrosion out
- You may discover what you thought was a good running engine when stored was not and then you need to do a complete rebuild
- If planning to rebuild anyway significant time to complete and have ready to use at end of storage


Depending on which option you pick the details of how to do it vary. What ever the option you need a good dry storage location

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:52 am

Rohan, great review of all the variations and the pro's and Con's. I currently have two twin cam engines sitting on engine stands as "spares" and have a couple of additional suggestions.

Storage environment should not go through extreme temperature swings (particularly warm to cold and back to warm) as condensation will form.

If engine is stored assembled, I put a torque wrench on the crank every couple of weeks and turn the pistons over a couple of revolutions (easiest when the plugs are out)

Pour some marvel mystery oil down the spark plug holes to keep the rings and cylinder walls lubricated.

Long term storage will require disassembly and rebuild as noted in Rohan's excellent overview.
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PostPost by: Apx » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:58 am

Wow, thanks Rohan. I favour stripping and doing any required work now, simply because i know the current costs and will know that if stored correctly no major work should be required when it is needed. I have the facility to store either whole or broken down in a cool but relatively constant workshop in my basement. I will chew this over, over xmas as i had not thought to store in parts, which would be easier.

As a by is it worth buying all the gaskets and service kits now and storing unused or will these degrade?

Cheers Neal
IF EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE GOING WELL, YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY OVERLOOKED
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:08 pm

Hi Neal
All the consumable parts such as bearings, gaskets and seals should last OK for many years if stored carefully and protected against contamination and excessive heat, cold or moisture and have a corrosion protection applied if necessary.

The only part i have had problems with in the past is the head gasket where i have had corrosion of the fire ring on composite head gaskets when stored for many years in a not so dry garage. I now wipe the fire ring with a anti corrosion preservative (e.g. CRC soft seal) and clean it off prior to use.

cheers
Rohan
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