Last updated: March 28, 2000
Storing an RX-7
From: Ken Walanski (KAWalanski@aol.com)
WINTER STORAGE of RX-7
I've used the approach described here to store 1st, 2nd and
3rd Gen RX-7's during ten Chicago winters. None of these cars
has ever had a winter storage related problem after five to six
months in hibernation. They have all started and run well in
Immediately Before Storage
- Change the oil and replace or top-off all fluids.
- Fill the gas tank completely so as not to leave an air headspace
which can promote corrosion at the upper portion of the gas tank. Note,
I've never used a gas-stabilization product.
- Wash and wax the car, and clean the interior well (dirty cars are
horrid in the Spring). I also remove the floor mats and scrub them well
- Remove the battery from the car and put it on an auto-shutoff automatic
trickle charger throughout the entire storage period. Otherwise, the
battery will not survive deep-discharging during winter. I put the battery
cover and hold-down nuts in the trunk, so I can find them.
- Remove the EGI fuse as a security measure, and put it in a safe place.
The car will crank but not start with the EGI fuse removed.
- Do not engage the parking brake because the pads can corrosively fuse to
the rear rotors during storage leaving pad-shaped corroded patches on the rotors.
Use wheel chocks or leave the car in gear.
- Cover the car even if it is being stored indoors.
Note: Some recommend putting the car on jack stands to avoid "flat spots" on
tires. Others have recommended reducing the air pressure in the tires or putting
wood planks under them for the same reason. While these can't hurt, I've never
done either, and have never had a "flat spot" problem with a tire.
Removing the Car From Storage
- Remove the car cover and replace the battery.
- Check tire pressures and all fluid levels. Look for fluid spots under the
car. Fluid loss during storage usually indicates a problem unrelated to storage.
For example, my water pump once spontaneously failed while in winter storage and
left the obvious indicator on the garage floor. A healty car should have no
fluid loss during storage.
- Check for animal damage, especially if your car is stored outdoors. One
owner had a critter eat through an oil line during the winter (this damage was
coverd by his insurance carrier). I once had a mouse nest on top of the throttle
- With the EGI fuse removed so that the car will not start, crank the engine
five to ten times to lube it well and wet all the internal engine parts with oil.
I believe this is of critical importance.
- Replace the EGI fuse and start the car. Although I've had RX-7's start on
the first try, it usually takes several attempts before the engine become
self-sustaining. I don't think any have gone more than 3-4 trys before
starting. Don't push it. Once started, the engine will initially lumber at
a low rpm, and perhaps even stall. Let it. Don't race the engine; let it come
up to speed all by itself.
- Bring the engine up to operating temperature, and check for fluid levels
again. Now you're ready to drive.
- The brake rotors will corrode over winter but this is not a problem. The
brakes will initially make a terrible noise even when not engaged. The rotors
will be smooth after just a few miles, just take it easy initially. Also, the
suspension system will creek and groan for a few days until it settles in.
Editor's note: I can only think of one thing to add to Ken's excellent
The problem with putting it up on jackstands is that the shocks will be
extended as the wheels "droop". This may allow a rust ridge to build up on
the rod where it goes into the shock. This may not be an issue on a car that
is only stored for a winter, but for longer term storage could become a problem.
When the car is dropped down, the rust ridge could be forced into the shock and
ruin the seal around the rod.
If the car is to be left long enough to where it could develop this problem,
it is also likely to flat spot the tires. Maybe buy a set of el cheapo tires?
Or buy 4 donut spares from the junkyard.
Eastwood makes these nifty dessicate tubes that screw in in place of the
spark plugs. A dessicate is a drying agent (e.g.- those little packets that come
in boxes of electronics). These are supposed to draw the moisture out of the air
inside the combustion chamber / cylinder bore. They turn color when they are used
up so you know when to change them (if sitting for really long periods).