QUESTION: I own a '92 Asuna Sunrunner that I love, the most awesome little 4x4 ever. Last winter, I had problems getting it started in cold weather and we thought the fuel pump was toast so I had it towed and the mechanic told me I blew my valves and need a new engine.
The thing I don't understand is that the last time I drove it, it ran fine so how would I have blown valves just having it sit for three cold days. My question is: Do I have a timing belt or chain and, if I blow them, does it ruin the engine? - Stephanie
ANSWER: First things first - yes, you do have a timing belt or chain, which turns the camshaft(s), which in turn pushes the valves open. Valve springs force them closed again.
Normally the term "blown" is not applied to valves, but to an entire engine when something breaks and forces its way through the cast metal block.
Valves can be burned, bent or broken. A valve is burned when hot gases sneak past when it does not close and seat properly. A valve can be bent or broken when it comes into contact with a piston. This happens when the timing is off, commonly caused by a broken timing chain or belt. This would appear to be your problem. Depending on the degree of damage caused, the engine would not start.
Normally this would be a one-time deal, not something that happens over time - i.e., the belt breaks, the valves are damaged and the engine stops or won't start. So if the engine was indeed running when you shut it off, and then did not start, the problem is unlikely to be a broken belt and major damage, unless the belt broke while you were trying to start the engine.
If a valve or valves have been damaged, there is a strong likelihood the engine will need major work. You did not mention the mileage but belts and chains normally require replacement in the range of 100,000 to 150,000 kilometres.
If your engine is gone you might look around for a lower-mileage used one at a salvage yard.
QUESTION: I recently purchased a 2010 Mustang GT convertible that I wish to winter store in our detached, unheated garage. The garage has a concrete floor as well as electrical service.
The Mustang has been a 45-year dream. I've gone on the Internet and now am totally confused as to the best method of storage. This car has numerous electrical components, which over time would weaken or kill the battery. I'd prefer leaving the battery in the car and hooked up to a battery tender - the reason being loss of memory, etc., from removing the battery. - Paul
ANSWER: I'm with you. I, too, have a convertible that has never seen winter, and only rain and wet roads on a few occasions.
It rests in my heated garage over the winter months secure under its custom cover with a battery tender plugged in.
I try to take it for a short run each month, weather and road conditions permitting, principally to keep the various moving parts lubricated and prevent the brakes from seizing. During the depths of winter, when that is not possible, I place it on jack stands so the tires are not on the floor.
The big trick, as you mentioned, is a high-quality trickle charger that monitors and maintains the proper battery voltage, which in turn prevents all the resetting and other procedures necessary when the battery fails.
On a nice winter day, you can open the garage door, fire the car up and let it run long enough to generate enough heat to allow moisture in the crankcase and exhaust system to evaporate.
This also gives you time to sit in there and look ahead to warmer times.