The Alfa Goes To Sleep For The Winter

The 1967 Alfa before the slumber
The 1967 Alfa before the slumber

 

An annual ritual was completed today, when I put my 1967 Alfa Romeo away for the winter. I’ve followed the same basic checklist for a number of years, on this car as well as on my previously owned collectibles. The success rate has been very good, with all the cars eagerly starting up on first try once the spring weather returns. I’ve been spared any issues with dead batteries, flat-spotted tires, or gummy fuel systems, by completing a few steps which are quite simple to do.

Friday, November 6, 2015, was unusually warm in New Jersey, so it was a good day to take the Alfa for one more brief maintenance run before beginning the winterization process. The car ran superbly, as it has since I bought it in the spring of 2013. Once back home, I added about 4 ounces of Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer, then headed to my local Shell station to top off the tank.

Sta-Bil is my friend. Have used it for years
Sta-Bil is my friend. Have used it for years

The Sta-Bil was added first in order to better blend it with the fuel. Purchasing the 6 gallons I need to fill the tank ensured that the stabilizer would be more thoroughly blended. If I had added the Sta-Bil after the fill-up, it would be less likely to completely mix with the fuel in the tank. I always store the car with a completely full fuel tank, as this minimizes the chance of condensation on the inside of the tank walls. I let the car idle for 5 minutes or so, in order for the gasoline/Sta-Bil combination to circulate through the carburetors.

Pouring the Sta-Bil left-handed
Pouring the Sta-Bil left-handed

The Sta-Bil label recommends that the product be used within two years of opening it, and since I use it in the Mazda Miata, the lawn mower, weed trimmer, and snow thrower, I don’t have too much of an issue consuming a 32 oz. bottle within that time frame.

My German side makes me do these things
My German side makes me do these things

Next on the list were the tires, specifically, resetting the pressures. Because I let my cars sit on the garage floor during the winter, the car’s weight continues to bear down on the tires. It would be better to get the car up on 4 jack stands, remove the tires, and store them horizontally, but I have found this method avoids all that. I overinflate the tires, being careful to stay within the maximum pressure on the tire’s sidewall. The 155-15 Vredesteins on the Alfa indicate a maximum pressure of 51 psi, significantly above my driving pressure of around 26-28 psi. I decided on 40 psi, and all tires were pumped up to that.

Part of the winter ritual is a fresh oil and filter change. However, given that the Alfa got that done just several hundred miles ago, I didn’t do that today. Instead, the car was backed into its garage bay, all windows were rolled up, and the battery kill switch was turned to “off”. The car was once again cocooned under its cover, and except for attaching a Battery Tender, which will be done later in the weekend, the task was finished.

Done. Hoping for an early spring!
Done. Hoping for an early spring!

Last year, the car was up on four jack stands, as I spent much of the winter, and a good part of early spring, rebuilding the front suspension. There are no winter projects for the Alfa this year. Come spring, I will tune it up and change some filters, as I haven’t done that since first acquiring the car, when it had 54,000 miles. Hard to believe I’ve driven it 7,000 miles over three driving seasons. The car’s reliability all that time has been remarkable. Yes, there have been some hiccups, but it has never failed to get me where I was going, or get me back home. The plan is to continue that for 2016!

 

Only 2,333 miles per year
Only 2,333 miles per year

 

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

3 thoughts on “The Alfa Goes To Sleep For The Winter

  1. Hej, H.T.,

    Nice summary! Is that also the same Sta-Bil which was NOT our friend during the first portion of this year’s NE 1000, or a different formula?

    Mvh, Steve

    Like

    • Hi Steve,
      Great comment, and I hope that the recollection of the use of “Sta-Bil” didn’t bring back bad memories for you. As you’ve alluded to, and as regular blog readers may recall (referenced here), during this year’s New England 1000 rally, I began using a DIFFERENT Sta-Bil product, “Sta-Bil for Ethanol”. The Alfa started to have an engine miss under heavy load. Once we ceased using that product, the car ran very well. I have not used the “Ethanol” product in any of my cars since. The regular Sta-Bil shown in this blog post is the original formula, which I’ve used without incident for close to 10 years.
      Richard

      Like

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