View Full Version : Chilling questions

11-21-2013, 10:31 PM
I gotta quit thinking about writing catchy thread titles...

It's been close to 40 years since I drove a car this old year 'round. No problems yet, it was in the 30s when I got off work tonight and the Lark started right up. Of course the shifting was purposeful for a couple of blocks before becoming stiff, then it started to warm up.:whome:

For those of you who drive regularly in cold climes, do you still sit and wait to warm your engine up a certain length of time? I don't have a set routine, but after starting the car up and pretty much rolling it as well as it would right away may not be the best practice for the car and I'm interested in how best to handle 'warm-up' chores in wintertime temps, 30s and colder.

Thank you,

11-21-2013, 11:00 PM
I think it's to each their own :ohmy:.when my Father was driving Studebaker daily or other wise,He'd start it up - and down the road He went. He would drive it nice and easy until it was coming up to temp,and then watch out :eek: I used to do about the same,these days I let the car warm up real good and toasty before venturing down the road - not so much for the car but for these worn ol bones :rolleyes:

11-21-2013, 11:05 PM
Usually at first freeze as it has been the last couple nights in Western Wash. the older Cars like (Studebakers) tend to "overchoke" run rough, spit out some rich black exhaust and are harder to start as my '66 Cruiser was this morning after sitting for 4 or 5 Cold days.

It cranked enough times that I stopped pumping the gas and just floored it, which cleared the flood and it fired up.

So it appears I need to "lean out" the Choke some for Winter. The choke heater in the Intake Manifold and heat riser in the exhaust seem to be problem item on these early small blocks, so I may have to do some carbon removal and or parts replacement there.

As far as warm-up is concerned, there are many methods there, but I usually use 4 or 5 minutes or at least until the steam stops pouring out of the exhaust, before starting slowly and gradually getting up to speed. After 2-3 Miles on the side roads the small block is ready for the Interstate, up to half way on the Temp. Gauge, thermostat open and ready to "Roll".

My Stude. Engined Cars usually take just a little bit longer to warm up.

Dan Timberlake
11-22-2013, 04:53 PM
With modern cars I drive off after 30 seconds or so unless it is real cold.

I think a big part of the " 9X% of engine wear happens on cold starts" statement is related to corrosive vapors condensing into corrosive liquid on cold cylinder walls.
Similar to the moisture that forms on a cold hunk of steel when I first start to heat it up with a propane or map torch.
Plenty of info exists showing cylinder wall wear drops to near zero when the walls warm up a bit.
http://www.robroygregg.com/Number50/Cyl ... ture_z.png

With that in mind a quick warm up would seem to be the best way to reduce cylinder wear, and driving gently with a properly adjusted choke would seem to be the quick way to warm up an engine.

Very Corrosion resistant Chrome face rings knock that down a lot, which is part of why I think they were adopted by the premium US manufacturers pretty early on.

11-22-2013, 05:52 PM
What I used to do is start it up and drive it away, but drive it very easy until warmed up. That way, all parts of the car warm up at the same time, not just the engine.

There is a point where it is warm enough to drive, but not warm enough to get through an intersection without stalling. Stalling in an intersection is scary and does not do ones blood pressure any good. If there is a relatively intersection-free route at the beginning of your travel, so much the better.

11-22-2013, 06:09 PM
I always approached older cars (from the days of carbs, nay, even the 6 volters) the same way I do my diesel cars. Set to start (glowplug, or pump once for carb and make sure manual/automatic choke is set) start, get running somewhere above idle (with the heater control in the OFF position so no coolant is running through the core) say at a good fast idle of 1,100 of so, until 1) the oil pressure stabilizes and 2) it can run on its own. If an automatic, I put it in NEUTRAL, not Park, so that generally in older cars, transmission oil is being pumped around and warming up at the same time. It always seems to work for me on old GM automatics anyway, and B/W types. After about a minute, I drive off very carefully with no hard acceleration at all, but allowing revs to be higher before gear changes. Once the car has reached full operating temperature, I adjust the heater valve for my comfort. The diesels NEVER have the heater controls off dead cold before they reach 90C/(about 195F?). Once the car has warm oil, I usually do some brisk driving/hard acceleration from stops to clear the lungs out and make sure there is no water vapour buildup in the oil.

11-22-2013, 06:09 PM
with a cooler day or so coming up here (a possible under 32 monday am):eek:;), i adjusted the auto-choke in the '51 to "barely closed" for warm up in the winter. last winter i usually started her, drove out of the cave and onto the driveway - went back in the house and poured a cup of coffee. then hopped in, popped the pedal to remove the choke and took off. since she's an automatic, i sometimes had to start off in low for maybe a 100 feet before going to drive. i took it easy (under 35) for the 3/4 mile getting out of the neighborhood to the 4 lane 55mph highway. by that time she was usually warmed and ready for it.:)

i'm hoping that will work this year until i'm able to rebuild the carb among other engine repairs...

11-22-2013, 07:48 PM
I remember when I was a young buck, along about 1958 or so, my brother in law bought a '57 Chevy that he had purchased new, but it just wouldn't run for beans any longer. He like to go out and start the car, then go back to the house and drink a cup of coffee, then head to work, about 3 miles, shut it down until time to head home, where upon he did the same thing. Long story short, I finally pulled the heads and found almost no room for any air/fuel mix to pass by the intake valves, they were so full of carbon deposits. I did a valve job on it, and from then on, every month or so he let me "blow the carbon out of it for him". Great fun!

Now days, I always just start the engine, wait about 2 seconds, then drive off slowly for a couple miles, then give her hec. (Unless the Mrs is along, then we have to wait a while for her to get done "primping", and come get in the car... Don't tell her I said so though... But what really tics me is when we park somewhere, I am out and ready to lock the car, when she is still just sitting there thinking about unbuckling. GRRR!))

11-22-2013, 09:05 PM
Thank you for all the suggestions. Last night, I started it, pretty much kept the car running with enough throttle to keep it smooth for a minute then took off, and maybe after the first 50 yards and I had to stop out of the parking lot, I kept my foot on the throttle to keep the engine above 1000. After driving it for a block, it pretty much settled in and I didn't have to keep on the throttle at the following stoplight, which is maybe 1000 yards from the start.
When I took off from the parking lot onto the street, it was a little chuggy and the shifter was DEFINITELY not happy yet, but after a couple of minutes, it was slow and cold, but moving under its own accord.
Tonight, it was possibly a little warmer, upper 30s instead of low 30s, and I started it, again it turned over with no qualms and caught, but I left it sit for a minute in neutral with enough throttle for about 1000rpmish. It ran a little rough, but after a minute or two, I just took off from there. As far as driving it fast or slow, I tend to drive the car as it wants. Waiting the little extra time tonight definitely made a difference in the ease of shifting. For those who don't keep track, I've got a 170 with the 3spdOD.
I usually use the side roads to and from work, but I probably should at least drive the long way around at night and take the freeway home to give it at least 5 minutes of actual engine work. I have to go a little out of my way to use the freeway onramp home not closest to work, because it isn't safe or easy with a modern car to negotiate the closest onramp to the freeway from my work!
A six mile commute is not the ideal distance for car operation.

11-22-2013, 09:08 PM
one thing I always make sure of in manual trans cars it to let them idle in neutral and foot off the clutch for about 30 seconds...makes a huge difference in ease of upshifts and really eases the job of the synchro`s on down shifts... all the cars that I have owned with carbs have been converted to manual chokes as I like having full control over the choke. Once the car is running I just jump out and scrape the frost of the windows or sweep off the snow then drive off slowly. nothing like modern fuel injected cars though, gotta love them when the weather turns cold. cheer, junior.