C2CC Care and Preservation of Historic Motorized Vehicles

And good afternoon again This is Susan from LearningTimes, and I’d like to welcome you to our Connecting to Collections webinar today If you have not already, please introduce yourself in the chat area over to the left Go ahead and tell us who you are and maybe what institution you are affiliated with This seminar webinar is being recorded, so you’ll be able to review it later on But right now, I am going to turn it over to Elsa Huxley from Heritage Preservation to walk you through what’s going to happen Thanks, Susan Hello, everyone Welcome I’m Elsa Huxley from Heritage Preservation And we’re so glad you’re joining us today Heritage Preservation is moderating the Connecting to Collections online community in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services The site is designed and produced by LearningTimes The goal of this online community is to help smaller museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies quickly locate reliable preservation resources and network with their colleagues In developing the community, we have drawn on many resources that were developed for the Connecting to Collections initiative, including the Bookshelf, the Reason [INAUDIBLE] workshops, and previous webinars And links to all of those resources are filed under the topics menu on the site We’ll also file a recording of today’s webinar there and include some of the resources that we discuss in these presentations About once a month, the Connecting to Collections online community features a particularly helpful preservation resource, and we host one of these webinars related to it The resources we posted for today’s webinar can be accessed by clicking this photo on our web page That’s www.connectingtocollections.org So today, we want to welcome Mary Fahey, who is the chief conservator at the Henry Ford Museum, and Derek Moore, Crawford curator of transportation at the Western Reserve Historical Society Mary and Derek, thank you so much for joining us today Could you tell us a little bit about [AUDIO OUT]? Mary, do you [AUDIO OUT] go first? Sure I’m a graduate of the State University of Buffalo, where I received my bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a minor in chemistry And then I went on to complete my master’s program at the State University College at Buffalo in the art conservation program that was [INAUDIBLE] known as the Cooperstown Program I spent some time in between undergraduate school and graduate school working at the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in Rochester, New York And after I graduated, I began working here at the Henry Ford And I’ve been here for, I think, over 20 years at this point Here, our collection is– if anybody’s been here– very large and very diverse I’m an object conservator by training And after having worked here for a little while, I spent some time working on at least the sculptural aspects of [AUDIO OUT] So I’ll be [AUDIO OUT] a little bit about that today, whereas Derek will address the mechanical aspects of maintaining vehicles Thanks, Mary Derek Well, I’m Derek Moore I’m the Crawford curator of transportation at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio I studied at [AUDIO OUT] Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University for my bachelor’s degree in history, museum studies, and technology studies And I am currently studying for my master’s degree in technology studies as well at Eastern Michigan University I’ve also done coursework in automotive restoration [AUDIO OUT] at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan And I did an internship at the Alfred P. Sloan Museum in their automotive restoration facility that they have at the museum there, as well as spent the last seven years at the Henry Ford Museum Six of those were in the conservation department working under Mary Fahey and also working for a short time under [AUDIO OUT] objects conservator Malcolm Collum and did most of the– I

was the conservation specialist [AUDIO OUT] transportation collections and maintained the [AUDIO OUT] the automotive collections at the Henry Ford for the last six years Just recently have accepted the position of the curator of transportation here at the Western Reserve And we have about 160 automobiles in the collection, all of which I am familiarizing myself [AUDIO OUT] in these first [AUDIO OUT] being here [? OK, that’s ?] great We have some poll questions that we could maybe pull over now We do You want to start with the types of vehicles that may be in your collection? Sure Does that sound good, Mary and Derek? Certainly OK Sure Polling us or– No, we’re polling the audience, so the audience is telling us That’s what I thought And, in fact, we of course want to know, then, if they’re operational Yes And maybe what decade they’re from That would be helpful So, audience, you’ll see three different polls there on your screen A wide span of time A lot of pre-1900 Yeah Wow That’s an excellent collection Interesting OK And we had a question about how many vehicles they have in their collection That might be awfully useful for– Oh Sorry, I didn’t see that one– Oh, yeah No, no –buried down there All right So tell us your total numbers here How many vehicles do you have? Wow More than 15 Ooh 90% automobiles What other kind of vehicles might there be– this is also– I’m just curious– besides automobiles, trucks, vans, tractors that are common in these kinds of collections? Well, I’m wondering maybe if people o there can type it into the Q&A box or something, based on how you guys want If there might not be some folks out there that have– are checking the other box due to possible boat collections or aircraft collections Oh Wow Yeah, that would be great if our participants could type that in so we knew And for the participants who haven’t said hello yet in that chat window that’s over to the left, please tell us where you’re coming from I see quite a few people from Dearborn, Detroit That doesn’t surprise me, given the topic But we’d love to hear from you Tell us who you are Thank you And anybody that chose “other” on that question about vehicle type Oh, there we go, OK Horse drawn Oh, horse drawn, OK Great OK, I’ll move the polls away And shall we begin with Mary? Sure OK Nah Let me get this in full size for you, Mary My mouse is working slowly today There we go

OK OK All right Well, the care of vehicles can be one of the most complicated types of collection to care for On the first slide are some examples of vehicles from the collections of the Henry Ford from a variety of dates All of the vehicles consist of composite materials What I mean by that is they have paint and fabric and rubber and metal and leather and all sorts of– vinyl, at least on the Mustang And it requires a little bit– their care requires a little bit of an understanding of the variety of types of materials It’s important to know, when you’re caring for vehicles and deciding on an approach certainly for conservation treatment or if one should decide to launch a full restoration, it’s really important to know the provenance of your vehicle and to be aware of any original materials and parts on your vehicle The three vehicles that are featured on this page, the Bugatti Royale, the Mustang, and the Locomobile, are vehicles from our collection that have significant provenance and significant just historically They’re very unique vehicles The Bugatti underwent a restoration some time, I believe– Derek, correct me if I’m wrong– in the 1950s where its color was completely changed and a lot of the mechanical aspects of the vehicle were also changed At this point, we’re debating whether we want to leave it its current color, which is white and green, or take it back to its original color, which was black and sort of a yellowish color The Locomobile on the bottom has a lot of its original paint And it has its original leather, and much of the wood and the metal is original So it was very important for us to maintain those original aspects of that vehicle And so you have to sort of work with– whether you’re a curator or a conservator– you have to work together and decide if you’re going to undertake conservation or restoration Is it important to conserve the original materials? Or do you want to restore it to a particular time period that’s significant for your organization? And this is a little bit more of what I talked about It’s important to look at your vehicles and to actually research, even in your own files or in acquisition files from dating way back, to find out what has happened to the vehicle and what has been modified about it You also need to consider where the vehicle is ultimately going to be displayed and how it’s going to be used in exhibitions Most of– well, actually, almost all of our vehicles are displayed indoors, and we’re very fortunate that our museum has climate control Oftentimes, museums do not have climate control So this will have an impact on the approach that conservators are taking to conserving or caring for vehicles It also should have an impact on what you do to prep your vehicles for storage and for long-term display Because if the conditions are not conducive to long-term preservation, you may have to go a little further in terms of protecting metals and protecting fabrics and pay a little more attention to what’s going on with your collections if you don’t have climate control in your museum The picture that you see here of our own Bugatti Royale is when it was on display, obviously, outdoors Vehicles are often sent to displays off-site And from a conservation aspect, this has an impact on the sort of adhesives we use and in some sense the lacquers we use on vehicles Because if they’re displayed outdoors, there are certain materials that hold up well in that kind of environment and certain materials that do not hold up so well Mary, could I interrupt for just a second? We have a question from Jeremy in Nebraska about if you could give us your definition of provenance Oh, provenance is knowing the history of an artifact as its linked to people or historic events

Like if you know who owned that vehicle And the slide that’s up right now is our Lotus 38 We know that that vehicle was in an Indianapolis race and it was a winning car So provenance is the information you have about the vehicle that links it either to people or to important events or things like that, rather than just a Model T that you know nothing about the history of that particular Model T or something like that OK The context Yes Yes So those of you who have vehicles may have vehicles that are operational and that you drive occasionally or that your institution drives often We at the Henry Ford have a mixture of vehicles We actually have a whole fleet of Model T’s and Model A’s that are driven in Greenfield Village on a daily basis These are vehicles that we purchased with the intent of giving rides to visitors with these vehicles Now all these vehicles do not have a significant provenance The vehicle in itself is not linked to a famous person or a famous event And oftentimes, the ones that we purchase for that have been heavily restored So there’s very little original paint, very little original upholstery or anything like that So for us, that’s an appropriate choice for operational vehicles On the other hand, we have significant vehicles like the Lotus 38 And a few years ago we decided to conserve it to operational condition for a few selected runs And then once it was driven those few times, we would prepare it just to go on permanent display Our intention is that it won’t be driven again anytime in the near future So it was important to us This car had been restored a number of times The exterior, at least, had been repainted But we did find evidence of original materials The engine itself turned out to be original from the 1965 race, which is very amazing for race cars because usually the engines are swapped out and replaced And we also found evidence of original paint in the cockpit where the driver was sitting The seats were also original So when we discussed our approach to conserving this vehicle, all the factors including its condition, the cost of the conservation project, the historical significance, the risks of driving it, the need for [AUDIO OUT] insurance to cover any catastrophes,m and the choice of a driver for this particular car was very important to us Race cars have a tendency to want to be driven quickly And it’s very hard to drive them slowly So we wanted to choose a driver that would be conservative and respect the fact that this was a one-of-a-kind car We didn’t want anybody who was going to get in the car and try to go as fast as possible So there were two drivers who we chose for this particular car But it required a lot of discussion before we actually decided who was going to drive it During conservation and restoration, it’s important to keep detailed records of all the work and to keep all of the parts that come off the vehicle, whether you’re using them or not Because that’s all a part of the original history of vehicles Some examples of conservation treatment have to do with cleaning All of our approaches to cleaning tend to be very conservative We tend to use traditional conservation [? materials. ?] On the Henry Ford’s website, you can find [? a ?] [? link to ?] some of our Caring for Artifacts sheets We use simple soap materials, especially on painted surfaces The soap that we use most often is called Orvus We try whenever possible to consolidate original paint,

much in the same way that painting conservators take original paint They wick adhesive underneath it and adhere the paint back down in place rather than strip it off Some of the pictures you see here One is of our White Steamer car, 1907 vehicle, which has much of its original paint on it The photograph that you see at the center shows the poor condition that the paint was in when we started working on it It was actually just leaking off the surface We actually went through and set down all the paint and retained that original material And then we went in and touched [AUDIO OUT] areas where paint was missing with [? other ?] green paint The cockpit that you see from our Lotus is another area in the vehicle where there was a large amount of original paint So we decided that, even though some areas had been overpainted over the years, we decided not to strip the paint because we knew that there was original paint underneath If we wanted to at a later date, we could go back and remove the overpaint and reveal the original surfaces on that [? particular ?] car Another approach that I just basically touched on is restoration Sometimes museums will decide to approach the care of a vehicle or the display of a vehicle and restore [AUDIO OUT] These decisions must involve a lot of conversations between [? curatorial ?] staffs, museum leadership, and conservation staff The vehicle that you see here is what we call the Rosa Parks bus It’s the vehicle that Rosa Parks was on when she took a stand [? against ?] discrimination We obtained this vehicle, and it was in the condition that you see in the upper right image And we made a choice to return the vehicle to the way that it looked on [AUDIO OUT] that Rosa Parks would have been riding in that vehicle We did meticulously document the layers of paint, and we were able to see evidence that this actually was the original Rosa Parks bus during our thorough examination of the paint surfaces on the vehicle Another thing that’s important to consider when conserving vehicles is how the metal on different vehicles should look This is true for carriages as well as for older cars and modern cars Many finishes were originally lacquered and [AUDIO OUT] meant to be bright at all times, like chrome finishes [AUDIO OUT] some brass finishes like you see here What we are careful about, though, is to make sure that, if there’s an original lacquer that has an overall old-timey look that actually matches the look of the paint on a vehicle, we try not to polish it to a bright finish because it isn’t in keeping There isn’t a cohesive look to a vehicle if parts are polished and the other parts look old-time patinated An example of this is the fire engine you see in the upper right corner The brass on that has a nice, stable, brownish color There’s no active corrosion on it, so we decided not to pursue polishing it since it was stable The vehicle you see in the lower right, we decided that we were going to polish it to a real high polish, which is how it would have looked when someone was actually using the vehicle The paint was in very good condition And I believe that it had been repainted And Derek, you can correct me if I’m wrong on that So we decided to polish that brass And then we always apply a clear lacquer coating We do this because, if you lacquer it, then, first of all, you don’t have to polish it again for a long time And it also protects it from fingerprints and from [AUDIO OUT] and just allows it to be in good condition for a longer period of time Repeated polishing tends to wear on the metal,

and it actually wears it away So you can overdo polishing if it’s too often We also are careful to make sure that, when we polish something, we remove all of the polish residue You can see the image on the lower left The whitish material that you see is polish residue that actually spilled onto the wooden areas, which can cause damage and staining to the wood Also, if the polish is left on the surface, it can just corrode the metal, and you can end up seeing green corrosion on brass products So we try to make sure that we clean off any kind of polish that we use The polishes that we tend to use tend to be very conservative polishes We don’t use Brasso We don’t use things with a lot of ammonia in them, because the ammonia in some of those polishes can actually damage the metal We will often mix up our own polish formulations just with alcohol and water and abrasives mixed together with a little bit of soap Or the one commercial polish that we do use is called Autosol It has a little bit of ammonia in it but not enough to actually damage copper metal that is used Tires and rubber Most vehicles have rubber tires And rubber itself is a pretty unstable material It becomes brittle with time Ozone in the air causes it to degrade Sunlight and ultraviolet light causes it to degrade So it’s one of those things that you really can’t preserve forever At the Henry Ford, we actually have a cold-storage room that we use to store materials like rubber and plastic, which slows down the degradation process, but it doesn’t actually prevent it from happening It just slows it down a bit There are a number of companies– and I think some of the references are listed in our materials– that will produce custom tires Coker Tire is one of the companies But if you’re looking for a tire that’s not already in production, setup costs for having a custom tire made are very, very high, in the $20,000 range So at times we’ve ended up making fake tires These images are an example of a tire that we made for one of our vehicles out of pool noodle that your children use as floaty devices in the pool We actually applied a number of different coatings on them and a rubber paint material to make them look like old-fashioned white tires You can also foam fill tires if they don’t hold air anymore That’s another approach to take And we also [? tried ?] jack stands on many of our vehicles [AUDIO OUT] actually allows the [? vehicle ?] to look like it’s sitting on the ground, but the wheels and tires aren’t actually touching This prevents them from developing flat spots on the tire where it’s actually sitting on the ground And if you have tires that aren’t holding air very well, if they’re up on jack stands, it actually helps them to hold air a little bit longer Upholstery Whether you’re dealing with carriages or cars, you’re going to be faced with dealing with a number of different [? upholstery ?] problems The older upholstery is often made out of wool These are for cars around the turn of the century, and the same with carriages They’re often made out of wool, and many times they’re stuffed with horsehair stuffing The problem with these kind of materials is that both the wool and the horsehair stuffing attract a whole variety of insects, including carpet beetles, webbing clothes moths, and casemaking clothes moths The important thing to do with these types of vehicles is at least once a year and possibly twice a year, someone

has to go inside and use a vacuum attachment to vacuum out the interior This allows you to keep it clean, and it also deters insects from settling into the upholstery because they can demolish a vehicle in terms of its upholstery if it’s not inspected and cleaned on any kind of regular basis Other materials like leather become brittle with time Leather, like rubber, is one of those materials that self-destructs with time And it’s very difficult to preserve it long term What we do with our leather is basic cleaning, like dusting or cleaning with a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment Or we’ll wipe it down with a damp cloth, not too porous We do not use saddle soaps or [? leather ?] [AUDIO OUT] dressing or any of those kind of materials What I have found through the years is these materials attract dust Some of them become moldy with time And also, the buildup of all sorts of polishes and coatings with time makes it difficult to actually repair the leather if you need to use adhesives because they actually become kind of slimy with time And the photo that you see here in the lower right is an example of what we call spewing, which is a leather dressing sort of coming back out onto the surface of a leather seat We do, if we want to use some sort of polish, use Renaissance wax, which is a micro-crystalline wax that’s available from conservation suppliers This can be tainted with dried pigments or things like that, if you really want to even out the sheen of leather And it can also easily be removed with mineral spirits The other type of upholstery that can be challenging to maintain is vinyl Vinyl, as a plastic, tends to become brittle with time And this is because the plasticizers within the vinyl actually leach out onto the surface of the vinyl, making them almost sticky When this occurs, there are two approaches to dealing with the vinyl Sometimes you can just wipe it off the surface with a dry rag Or other times, if it’s really sticky, you can take a little bit of mineral spirits on a rag and wipe off the plasticizer You do have to bear in mind, though, that, with time, vinyl just becomes more and more brittle And long-term preservation is truly a challenge And I think– is that the end of mine? [INAUDIBLE] I think it might be I think it is So what I’m hearing is that overpolishing or overcleaning can be critical errors to make Is that correct to say? Yeah OK Are there other common mistakes that you think we should mention today to the participants in terms of taking care of the body of the car? Mary Mary One thing you might want to talk about is some of the problems with– maybe more in depth on leather treatments, like neatsfoot and things like that Yes And neatsfoot oil and lanolin and saddle soap are definitely things that we don’t use here at the Henry Ford Because, as I mentioned, [AUDIO OUT] they sort of interfere [AUDIO OUT] conservation work down the road So they might [AUDIO OUT] make them look good for the moment Down the road, it could be detrimental, especially if the leather seams start to fall apart or if you [AUDIO OUT] rips or things like that It doesn’t hold it together Other common mistakes Basically just not– to me– not monitoring and not cleaning the insides of vehicles is a big mistake Because we learned ourselves years ago We had some old carriages that were not– nobody cleaned the inside because you assume that it’s sealed tightly And we went into this one carriage, and insects had basically trashed the upholstery And we ended up getting an IMLS grant to help us conserve it

And that was something that occurred when it was on display And it was before there was a conservation presence And it’s just something that you don’t think about because you think the doors are closed, it’s fine So you can’t always assume that that is true Other than that, just having a sense of, for exteriors of your vehicles, it’s very important to know whether you have original paint or not and make a decision about whether you want to keep that or not Because once it’s stripped and repainted, historical information could be gone So it’s important to do your research, take a good look at your artifacts Oftentimes we find out there’s an old layer of paint underneath newer layers And sometimes we’ll go so far as to remove the upper layers, and we’ll be surprised sometimes it reveals beautiful detail and painting But it’s important to know what you have before you jump in and strip paint off and repaint something So I think that’s a critical thing to avoid as well OK I just wanted to mention, also, the list you gave me of vehicle references I have it I’ll pull it over later But I’ll also be posting it online on the page that provides access to the recording of this webinar so everybody will be able to pull those things out and print them later if they like OK OK, thank you Yeah So Derek, should we go through your presentation? Does anybody have any other questions for Mary? I mean, you’re welcome to ask them later as well, but [INAUDIBLE] that you’re thinking about OK, I think [AUDIO OUT] ahead then, Derek, if you want to start going through yours Not a problem As you just talked about, kind of the exterior surfaces of the vehicles I’m going to look at more of the mechanical end of having motorized vehicles in your collection, be it automobiles, engines These techniques and methods can be used in aircraft engines, boat engines, anything of that sort So we’re just going to go over some of the key systems within those motorized vehicles and discuss some of the issues that occur within them And basically, I like to start at the front of the vehicle whenever I work on one and just work my way through it So that’s kind of how I set up this PowerPoint presentation So the first thing to look at and always concern yourself with is the cooling systems within vehicles And in cooling systems, typically, [AUDIO OUT] water-cooled engines Air cooled doesn’t have too many problems But I also want to look at this in two different aspects, the display and storage techniques and operational techniques So you’ll see, as we go through the slides, display and storage is usually always at the top Then the operational discussion is on the bottom For displaying and storing vehicles when they’re in your collection and especially the engines that have a water-cooled system, you always want to make sure that, whenever the vehicle either comes into your collection or if you’ve never worked on it and it’s in your collection and you pull it out of storage, [AUDIO OUT] you make sure that the cooling system is completely dried out And a full flush of the system is always good to do Pouring water through it again I usually use [AUDIO OUT] the warm [AUDIO OUT] try to help break up any loose corrosion product or anything like that and get a good flush And [AUDIO OUT] just like a garden hose run through the system, gives a good flow of water through it to help push anything out that might be stuck in it And then once you get kind of a clear water coming out, the technique that has been developed is to fill the system, close the system all back up, fill it with a mixture of water and water pump lube in a corrosion product of the emulsified oil type The one that I prefer to use is produced by Solder Seal Gunk

company– and it’s basically called water pump lube and anti-corrosion– to drain the system completely after this What this does is it allows the emulsified oil to flow, mixed with the water, flow through the system And then when you drain it, a thin layer of the emulsified oil will stay [? behind ?] [AUDIO OUT] on the walls of the cooling system, therefore creating a barrier from oxidation within the system and protecting it from any corrosion that might occur in the long term And then you always want to leave the drain petcocks and the [AUDIO OUT] hose disconnected so that, as the engine is sitting either in storage or on display, and you get [? rid ?] of evaporation of any moisture that is left behind in the system It’s actually allowed to escape from the system rather than being trapped in the system and doing a [AUDIO OUT] kind of circulation of evaporating and condensing and evaporating, which will lead to corrosion issues From an operational standpoint, if you are going to operate any of your vehicles in your collection, it’s highly recommended to not use any glycol-based anti-freeze type products, mainly because these vehicles aren’t being used, number one, in a manner that would necessarily need any type of anti-freeze type situation, but also because glycol does have effects in the long term once the additive packages break down and can actually lead to corrosion within the system Typically, what is used is just a mixture of the water and water pump lube that I just discussed of the emulsified oil type If you’re running the car very infrequently, say, once, twice a year at maybe a show or here or there, it’s always a good idea to use a fresh bottle of the fluid every time or fresh couple of bottles, depending on the size of the system and to fully drain it after every operation Now if you’re running them more frequently, once, twice a month, something like that, you would just want to come up with a policy where you would change the fluid on certain [? occasions. ?] Or in the case of at the Henry Ford, when we were dealing with the vehicles that ran in the village almost year-round, basically the [? entire ?] time the village is open and through the holiday nights, those type of vehicles do use a water/anti-freeze mixture But that is due to the situation that they are put in, where they need to have extra cooling capacity as well as extra anti-freeze capacity So it really oftentimes depends on how your operation of your vehicles is going to be handled And that’s true for every slide that we will go [AUDIO OUT] Power steering [AUDIO OUT] obviously, if equipped I noticed we had a good chunk of vehicles that were prior to the power-steering era But in a power-steering system for display and storage, you typically want to leave the fluid in the vehicle Power-steering systems are hydraulic [? systems. ?] And the seals and everything that are [AUDIO OUT] hydraulic systems are very dependent [? upon ?] fluid being in there so they don’t dry out and start leaking or at least dry out and shrink And then, if you ever wanted to use the system again, you would have problems with fluids leaking by as you were trying to use the system If the system has already been drained by the time it comes into the collection or by the time you actually have the opportunity to work on the vehicle and actually go through it, that tends to be more challenging As I said, you may have seals that are bad If you try to refill it, you may [AUDIO OUT] problems with fluid leaking out of the system And really, if you find a vehicle that has the power-steering fluid dried out, that’s the time to sit back and make a decision on the future use of that vehicle and whether or not it should become an operational vehicle and, really, how much work it’s going to take and if there are going to be too many alterations to an original power-steering system that maybe needs to be preserved If you move into the thought of operating a vehicle, typically, if your current fluid seems to be good and is full or you top it off and test it, hydraulic systems

are usually pretty good You don’t wind up with a lot of moisture in them, and the fluid is a good fluid that doesn’t tend to break down or degrade quickly It takes a very long time If the current fluid is bad or it’s dry and you need to replace it, you’d want to do a system flush and refill And then, as you’re filling it, you would check for any problems One of the big things to keep in mind would be that there are power-steering systems that have been made over the years that, once they’ve gone dry, it is very difficult to refill them and make them operate again properly Some power-steering fluid systems– I believe it was Ford Motor Company for a while and maybe even Chrysler– had systems where they would actually have to be filled with high-pressure systems to actually blow all of the air out and occasionally, if needed to be serviced, they would actually be filled in a vat of hydraulic fluid, power-steering fluid, because that would allow no air to get into the system So there are some systems that can be very tricky, and you always want to make sure you fully understand the system that you’re getting into before doing too much to it In the lubrication system, and lubrication system being the oiling system of a vehicle, this is one of the major areas where you can have significant problems occur in your collections The lubrication systems, believe it or not, should always be kept dry, drained, flushed, and dried out while on display or in storage You can flush the system with mineral spirits to get rid of any residual oil that was left over Oftentimes, removing the oil pan, if that is easily done Some cars it’s not You can wipe the pan out, wipe the inside of the crank case out of the engine block, and make sure everything, all the old oils are out One of the problems of leaving any type of used oil in a lubrication system is that, if the oil was in there and the vehicle had operated with that oil in the system, you have blow-by of the fuel past the cylinders that is being compressed in the top end of the engine And the hydrocarbons in fuel are actually hydroscopic and will attract moisture So once you infuse those with the oil, you have created, basically, an irreversible attraction of moisture into the engine And there’s been a number of times in [? collections ?] where I’ve pulled oil out that hadn’t been drained, and it had a quarter inch of water sitting on top of it because you have a constant condensation and evaporation cycle occurring And it just sits on top of the oil And then there’s also oil degradation Oil, over time, will begin to thicken and eventually will actually turn into almost a dirt-like product It somewhat reverses into a dirt And there’s a number of vehicles that I have seen that maybe the engine pan was drained properly but someone forgot to drain another transmission case or something like that And it just had to be pulled down and actually broken– the thick matter be broken out of it and cleaned out to get that out and stop any corrosion that had started occurring If you’re going to make a vehicle operational, a lot of thought has to go into it As Mary was talking about, y always want to think about the vehicle that you are getting ready to operate from originality standpoint, finishes on the vehicle, but then also mechanical issues with the vehicle Typically, it is highly recommended that modern synthetic oils are used in the vehicles, in an engine that is being run Synthetic oils carry their viscosity rating better, overheat range So on cold startup to full temperature, a synthetic oil does not thin out as much as a mineral oil will And they also have a good additive package Mineral oils have good additive packages as well But the added benefit is the viscosity rating staying better over the heat range of operation You also want to make sure that you choose your proper viscosity Typically, in a splash system, which Model T’s, many early cars– I know there was a good chunk of people listening today

that had early vehicles in their collection– typically have splash systems You want to use a thinner oil, 5W-30, 10W-30, somewhere in that rating It allows the oil to move around easier, be splashed around the engine easier, and actually, in a way, wick into the areas that it needs to flow into much easier In a full pressure system, something like a 20W-50 works well If you have a good pressurized system, it will build pressure quickly And when you shut down and do things like that, it will also stay behind and stick a little better than some of the thinner viscosities So it’s a better oil to use in a full pressure system The next thing to worry about is the actual cylinders of the engine when you are displaying and storing Again, due to the fact that this is one of the areas that, along with the oil pan and the crankcase area, you can have a lot of corrosion occurring You have metal touching metal And engines tend to seize if they aren’t properly taken care of and lubricated and maintained So one of the tricks is that, when you’re getting ready to display or store your vehicle, you should always remove spark plugs and add approximately a tablespoon of a synthetic gear oil into the cylinders 75W-90, -140 are good viscosities The reason for that is they tend to stick to the cylinder walls and not run down as quickly as a motor oil, a 10W-30 or a 20W-50, so that the oil will actually last a little longer on the cylinder Once you’ve done that and you let that sit in there for a minute and flow out, if you turn the engine over for about 30 seconds, it will coat the cylinder walls and it will also coat any of the piston rings, which is an area where you can get a lot of corrosion buildup And that is one of the main reasons engines tend to seize, is that the piston rings will actually seize to the cylinder wall due to corrosion So you want to get a good oxidation barrier between those two surfaces Now turning the engine over for 30 seconds, if you’re fortunate and you have a very early collection of vehicles, you can easily put the hand crank in and turn the engine over by hand If you have a vehicle that can only be turned over, say, by the starter, that gets a little trickier Sometimes on the crank pulley on the front of the engine, they’re usually locked on by a large nut and you can occasionally get a socket and a breaker bar down in there and be able to turn the engine over But if that’s not possible, you would want to hook a battery up Obviously, check your electrical system all over well from the battery to the starter and make sure you weren’t going to have any problems, and remove the coil wire from the coil to the distributor for the spark plugs That way you don’t actually have any spark plugs firing and you’re not also putting any electricity through the distributor and all the electrical components that are there that could have a chance of shorting out And then turn the engine over just on the starter for about 30 seconds, rolling it over and allowing it to coat the cylinder walls If you’re going to make a vehicle operational, the main thing you want to focus on with the engine cylinders is to test the compression and leakdown of the cylinders to make sure you don’t have any major problems inside the engine And if you’ve already done a display or storage treatment like what we just discussed, you’ll have a little bit of oil still in the cylinder, and it will be expected that that will burn off on the first test run So don’t be alarmed if you get a little bit of exhaust smoke from oil burning That is typical, and you’ve done a proper technique to preserve the engine while it was sitting Transmissions Transmissions tend to be a difficult area in the idea of conservation of vehicles For display and storage on manual transmissions, it’s always a good idea to drain the fluid that is extant and flush the transmission with mineral spirits to remove any of the old oil And then refill it with a fresh synthetic gear oil, again, 75W-90, -140, something of that grade And actually turn the transmission through all of its gears That will allow all the gears to be coated with a fresh coat of oil

Again, an oxidation barrier And then drain the case completely, just allowing the oil that is stuck to the gears to remain And then in automatic transmissions, again, you’re in a hydraulic system You want to leave the fluid in if it’s still there and is fresh If it seems to be degraded, if there is moisture in the transmission fluid, or it smells burned, you would want to drain and refill the system so you have good, fresh automatic transmission fluid in the transmission And one of the keys with that, as well as in the operational step, which we’ll talk about next, is to make sure that you always use the proper transmission fluid in that space Operationally, manual is very simple Gear oil, proper gear oil in there Early cars, for the people with early cars, a thicker oil may be needed, such as Lubriplate number 8 And synthetic gear oils are always good Automatic transmission Drain the fluid of any unknown condition and refill it with the proper transmission fluid for production The rear differential Very much like a manual transmission You would want to drain it, flush it, and refill it with a synthetic gear oil, rotate, and then drain the system Operationally, you just want to make sure you have the proper gear oil rating in there, viscosity rating Again, synthetics are recommended And early vehicles, again, you may require a thicker gear oil, something like a Lubriplate number 8 Fuel systems should always be kept dry On display or in storage, you would want to drain the tank completely You can use air to blow it out and try to evaporate the fuel Fuel lines can be blown dry with compressed air or sucked dry by a vacuum, somewhat like a vacuum pump for brakes Carburetor should be blown dry with compressed air, and a water-displacing oil like WD-40 could be sprayed through the carburetor to coat the surfaces of it If you’re going to make a vehicle operational, you want to make sure the tank is flushed and checked for any debris Use an inline fuel filter on your first runs to make sure you don’t get any debris from the tank to the carburetor Carburetors should usually be rebuilt. That way you’re sure that you’re not going to have any fuel leaks that eventually could cause an engine fire And fuel lines should be inspected and replaced if necessary, especially any rubber lines Brakes It’s always a good idea, with mechanical brakes on early vehicles, to lubricate all of the mechanical joints within it with a synthetic gear oil and work the brakes to make sure they’re fully lubricated for display or storage Hydraulic systems should be completely drained of any non-synthetic fluid A DOT 5 synthetic should be put in Non-synthetic brake fluids are hydroscopic and will attract moisture DOT 5 synthetics will not So you should fully drain your system Flush it with ethanol, let the ethanol fully evaporate, and refill it with DOT 5 You may need to replace seals if possible, if they are bad or if there seems to be a problem with the synthetic in the seals In one of the vehicles at the Henry Ford, I was unable to replace the seals and had to use the originals and just cleaned them very well with mineral spirits Operationally, mechanical You want to have proper adjustment and lubricate the entire system so that you know that you’re not going to have any binding or hanging up of the system On a hydraulic, you should, again, have the DOT 5 being used Ensure that the brakes are bled properly so you have even braking And adjust your brakes properly And the chassis You would want to do a full chassis lubrication whether you’re displaying, storing, or operating, and use a synthetic grease I typically use a grease known as AliSyn It is produced by a company in Indianapolis, Indiana And it does not break down as quickly as some of the other greases that are on the market And then we have a list of some of the products that I mentioned in the presentation That’s great I can post this list of products or the whole presentation possibly later on the same page that the recording is posted We should have that up in about a day or two Is that the end of the presentation, Derek? Yeah Oh, I’m sorry And that’s the end of that OK OK That was really interesting, very informative Does anybody have any questions about the mechanical preservation of the automobiles

in your collection? Also, if you think of something later, those questions can be posted in the group discussion section on connectingtocollections.org I might mention for the audience, too, if they’d click on those links like gunk.ca, it will open in a browser in the background So you may not be seeing it immediately, but you could go ahead and click on each of those three links and have them open and then save it however you want to later Susan, if I pull over this list from Mary as well, will they be able to click on that? It’s a PDF Yeah Yeah They should be able to Well, let’s try it All right, let’s try I don’t want to cover up Derek’s at the same time so let me see what I can do here And I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention the evaluation that we ask participants to fill out It just takes a couple minutes It’s about six questions But it helps us in guiding us to build future presentations So I’ll post that link up there You know what? I don’t know that the vehicle references are working But I can share that PDF and people can download it right now if you’d like me to The first URL there is something I built that has this document So if they just even copy that down And again, I’ll just post it next to the recording later If it just saves you copying and pasting it in Now will a link work that’s been posted in the Q&A box? No OK If it were open chat, it could Well, I’ll make it all available afterwards OK But it is, I’m afraid, time for us to wrap up If anybody has any last questions, now is the perfect opportunity to type them into that Q&A box But I don’t see any, so I think that maybe we’ll sign off OK Evaluation link Let’s put that up there Oh, great I don’t know if that’s clickable It’s in the Q&A box No, but they could copy and paste You know what? Let’s do this There’s the link for the evaluation Just click on that, and it will open in a separate browser window Oh, thank you, Susan And now, Kristen, if you– let’s do this Or Elsa, I’m sorry OK So there are two links in that chat window Are they the same thing? They’re both the evaluation, I see Um-hm OK If you want to copy and paste the link for the page for the vehicles references, you could put it there OK Hold on Put that up I just want to mention now On November 9 is going to be our next live chat And that’s going to be about flag rolling and storage with Anne Ennis, who’s a textile conservator at the Harpers Ferry Center at the National Park Service So I hope that maybe some of these topics will overlap and we’ll have some of you online for that one as well Great OK Thank you, audience, for joining us Thank you, Mary and Derek You’re welcome Thank you and– And we’ll hang out for a minute, so if you want to still ask Mary or Derek a question, feel free to do that in the chat area