How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul - First Generation Forum

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How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Sunday, January 08, 2017 9:47 AM
Been awhile since I did a posting , since it is bitterly cold outside I thought I'd share a few photos with a little "how to".

It is far easier obtaining any kind of project car to tinker with and enjoy, than it is figuring out how to actually keep the darn thing from rotting away from you over the years. Engines and drive trains you can replace, but a rotted body will do you in no matter what the budget. Even those with a nice garage can appreciate this because inevitably one will somehow wind up with a donor machine that sometimes might become a second project car during the future - and that 2nd machine just cannot spend the time sheltered in the garage too.

This has been my dilemma over the years and Tammy laughingly comments I want to shelter every car I manage to acquire. So as is the case with situations like this, one self teaches themselves how to cope with protecting their pride and joy from the elements. This is a little how to - that I have figured during my journey.

I have learned to use multiple layers. Period.... The more the better. Nothing is worse than buying a cheap tarp and covering your car up with it. That simple piece of plastic just traps moisture and keeps the body damp if not wet all the time. It'll ruin your clear coat in a hurry! Next, a car cover by itself is no better. Moisture accumulated underneath will get absorbed by the soft layers inside and keep the body surface wet until you take the cover off to "air out" and discover wet spots on the vehicle.

Combining the 2 creates a proper weather barrier that allows for an air pocket that keeps the moisture away, still, that tarp on top will go bad on you, and once worn out will put you back to square one , and the weather never takes a vacation. So I have learned to use 2 tarps , when the outside one gets worn out there is still good protection to get you by till another one can be picked up. I have even went as far as to keep the old car cover and toss a 2nd one over it instead of tossing the old one in the trash - and the added benefit you get from those tarps - those more expensive car covers last a whole lot longer!! Keep in mind too that the more layer you add , keeps the whole car cooler during those hot -dog days of summer.

Now underneath the same holds true. Thanks to some very helpful advice here on J-Body I began to use a tarp on the ground also. I have been very pleased and amazed how well one of these protects the bottom of my ride. 1st there is no more mud! 2nd I have not had to deal with the car sinking into the ground. It is surprising ow many days of the year I can feel the softness of the ground underneath those tarps - that is the constant evaporation from the ground-up that eats away at your car from underneath. These tarps on the ground last a long time too - typically 6 months or longer. This includes the ones I use underneath my daily drivers too.

From trapped moisture in all those hard to see places to moisture underneath, any car is constantly attacked by the elements. For those without a garage or car port these tarps really do the trick. So how many and how much? My choice is a "7 layer" car cover from Auto Armour on Ebay. Now they claim 7 layers, but I be darned how they come up with that number....LoL. Product embellishment I suppose. One of these cost about $60-$70 if memory serves, and if used with a tarp will last several years - don't expect a lifetime of use like they claim. Next the tarps. My choice is the heavy duty Silver/Brown from Ozark Trail. These cost $30 and you'll want a 12 x 24 size. I typically trim off about 3 feet off the back to make the useable size at 12' x 21'. Underneath you can save 5 bucks by using a 10 x 20 , but I would recommend the larger one if you have the space. So with one car cover , 2 top tarps and one underneath you are looking at $160. The top tarp will typically give you 6 months of protection, but plan on a little less to be on the safe side. Also pick up a container of bungee cords and a couple of strap downs to hold everything in place, also you gonna need something to anchor down the tarp on the ground. - the wild does blow! Speaking of wind - it is not a good idea to decide to either uncover or cover up your pride and joy on a windy day. I have gotten caught quite a few times in my adventures trying to cover up my ride later in the day when the wind has kicked up - but do what I gotta do. I have found using an old tire on the top and trunk really helps keep me from chasing everything ' ( and loosing my religion in the process )!

If you have stayed around long enough to read all this I assume you are truly interested in keeping you car for a long time and hoping to save yourself for the rust gremlins. The real question is are you willing to spend $160 to protect it or not. I am not going to kid you it is is a lot of hassle, but for me it is a labor of love. I hardly ever need to wash the Pontiac nor clean the inside, so I get a kickback on that part of the workload. In the end it is your decision. Everyone has their own journey and I hope this post might give them some ideas what works and save them from a lot of trial and error as I have been through. As these 1st gens get nothing but more rare each year - trying to keep one protected over the long haul it gonna be a concern.

So here is a few photos of mine for review.....

I also use those 16 patio blocks under the wheels - about 3 bucks apiece ( I pick up a few each payday during the summer at WalMart)

This is where I park the ranger when it isn't in the garage.

Here are the dailys. Not cutting the grass here, no mud to track in the house and helps keep the cars cleaner too. Really lets ya know when you develop an oil/coolant/fuel leak too - the fluid doesn't seep into the ground.

No problems with the wind blowing them away!!! I use bolts and washers from the local Tractor supply for anchors - these cost $2.19 / pound and work Great!! I have them at every eyelet!


Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Monday, January 09, 2017 6:47 PM
Great how to Orlen,

Nice info for the guys who just want to save and preserve any project!

I will say that I have been covering my blue 1st gen every day in the summer for over thirty years now.
And a few winters in was stored outside under a cover and tarp on hot top.

The winter outside car cover storage destroyed the horizontal paint surfaces and I had to repaint the hood and trunk a few years ago. that was even with the "High Quality Lifetime Cover".

Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:36 PM
Shoot, Orlin! You're preserving yours and I'm selling mine. Wish I had those huge tarps.
Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:37 PM
I never found a wagon either. I gave up the search because everyone was a rusty bucket.
Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:17 PM
Mr Orlen Brown aka the ''King of JBody Preservation ''

Doug in P.R.

92 Pontiac Sunbird LE, 2.0, AT, Red / Black with Grey 147K miles. Hurricane Maria Surviver! ( It takes a licking and keeps on ticking ! ) Salinas, Puerto Rico!

Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Sunday, January 15, 2017 1:05 PM
Good job Orlen !
Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 8:52 AM
Wet concrete, crushed limestone and grass are the worst surfaces you can store your car on. The dampness underneath does far more damage than the dampness that comes from above.
I'd throw one more suggestion at you Orlen, get the tires off of the ground and raise the center of the tarp directly under the center of your car to make a cone of sorts to funnel away any water that could possible end up under your car.

I have a different challenge as I drive my 1st Gen 12 months a year in a northern climate.
I had my car rustproofed when it was completely rust free. I had wax sprayed in the lower door halves, rocker panels, inner quarter panels and lower half of the tail gate.
I cleaned the lower inside door jamb side of my doors, scuffed them with 00 steel wool and used rubbing alcohol, then sprayed Flex seal on the lower halves of the inside of the doors and brushed Fluid film on them. Have to clean and repeat the fluid film application every 3 to 4 months or so. I also power wash the underside every fall and spray fluid film on the inner rockers, over the fuel and brake lines, around the fuel tank and on most external suspension pieces.
I also brushed a heavy coat of Fluid Film over the wax in the lower door halves a couple of years ago.
I take care not to go to car washes that spray the undercarriage over the winter, because that will remove the coating of fluid film ~ i just spray the top side and wheel wells every week or so.
After five winters, my '85 Wagon has yet to pop a single rust bubble ANYWHERE.

Still looks pretty good for a 32 year old car !

~ Mike ~

Re: How I keep my 1st gen for the long haul
Saturday, January 21, 2017 4:37 PM
great tips...

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