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Subject: Storing motorcycle

Storing motorcycle

From: Clint Fountain <cfountain>
Date: Monday, April 24, 2006
Marie-Chantale Poisson <misspoisson [at] yahoo__ca> writes

>We have a 1995 Aprilia motorcycle designed by Philippe Starck in our
>collection (look online for a similar model of the Moto 6.5), which
>needs servicing in view of long-term storage. ...
>Besides taking the battery and spark plugs out, does anybody have
>recommendations for its storage? Which fluids should be flushed,
>topped or replaced? ...

In 2004, the Museum of Florida History acquired a 1925 Model T
Runabout.  I could find very little literature concerning preventive
conservation of motor vehicles, so I was forced to rely on common
sense, original Ford service manuals and the advice of several
mechanics, one of them a former race driver and old enough to have
owned one of these. To prepare the car for long-term exhibit, I did
the following:

    *   Removed the spark plugs from the head, directed a cup of
        Marvel Mystery Oil (R) to the top of each piston head; this
        was done a week before I attempted to rotate the engine, in
        case the rings were seized in any of the cylinders.

    *   The transmission and engine on this car shared a common oil
        supply. The oil was drained, the crankcase was filled with
        kerosene (The factory manual actually recommended *running*
        the car for five minutes while filled with kerosene!), the
        engine was rotated by hand crank, with the spark plugs
        removed, for several minutes.  The kerosene was drained
        overnight, and the engine was refilled with 100% synthetic
        oil, for its superior aging characteristics.  The threads of
        the spark plugs were wiped with oil and reinserted

    *   The rear differential was drained, flushed three times with
        mineral spirits, and refilled with synthetic 90W gear oil.

    *   All of the gasoline had evaporated, cementing the gas cap
        onto the tank, leaving a layer of gummy varnish in the tank,
        clogging the drain valve, fuel lines and the carburetor.
        Repeated soaking with a proprietary carburetor cleaner
        allowed the cap to be removed.  I was able to clear the
        drain valve, and took the carburetor off, disassembled it,
        cleaned each part and reassembled it, dry.  I was not able
        to do anything with the varnish in the gas tank or lines.
        *Please be aware, carburetor cleaner is very hazardous; I
        used it only in front of our running spray booth.*

    *   The battery, dating to the 1980's, was simply removed and
        stored.  Had it been original, it would have been drained,
        flushed, and reinstalled dry.

    *   The radiator was filled with a proprietary solution (Gunk
        [R] Super Radiator Flush)and allowed to soak overnight.  It
        was drained the next day, flushed twice with deionized
        water, and allowed to stand open until completely dry.

    *   All wheel bearings were removed, cleaned, and were repacked
        with synthetic grease.

    *   Paint (very little of it original) and nickle-plated
        brightwork were cleaned and waxed.  Wooden parts, such as
        the wheel spokes and steering wheel were cleaned and given a
        brush coat of B-67 in naphtha to compensate for varnish

The car is being exhibited on black-painted jackstands under the
axle frames, to take the weight off the tires.  This vehicle did not
have hydraulic brakes, or I would have drained and flushed the brake
fluid, it being corrosive.  Neither does it have shock absorbers.
I'm not sure if you could drain a modern shock--the ones for autos,
at least, are sealed.

Clint Fountain
The Museum of Florida History
Tallahassee, Florida

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:52
                  Distributed: Friday, April 28, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-52-007
Received on Monday, 24 April, 2006

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