What follows is a two part story on how to store your vehicles (conclusion tomorrow). This article has been extracted from Military Maintenance for MB/GPW 1941-1945. The original version appeared in the WW2 Army Motors magazine produced by the US Army.
First came the ugly rumors – then, when a fearful little band of inspectors deployed throughout the field and returned with confirmation of the rumors, the authorities knew that the time for action had arrived.
The first stories merely reported the field as ‘utterly confused over what to do with vehicles in ‘limited storage’ -and this of course, was no cause for alarm.
But when reports came in of certain outfits running their stored trucks for about fifteen minutes daily to ‘charge the batteries, distribute lube throughout the engine, etc.: followed by a story of three separate and distinct organizations using mothballs to put their vehicles in storage*, the revision of 850-18 began, Running trucks for a few minutes or a few miles daily to keep ‘em in shape is strictly no good, You all know that for every gallon of gasoline burned, a gallon of water is produced. Well, a good part of this water makes it’s way into the crankcase – and while normally, it’s evaporated by the engine heat, running the trucks for only fifteen or so minutes never works up enough heat to evaporate the water. Consequently, it stays in the crankcase and forms sludge, acid and headaches.
Anyway, that’s the sort of thing that brought about the revision of AR 850-18 which will start to hit the field sometime in the near future. But in the meantime the first part of it dealing with Limited Storage of Vehicles has been okay-ed so we can’t think of any reason why we shouldn’t pass it on to you.
The following is a liberal translation of the sections with the title ‘General’ and ‘Limited Storage’. We’ll shoot you the rest of the revision on ‘Dead Storage’, as soon as we get aholt of it.
Before sticking your vehicles into live or dead storage there are a couple of things you’ve got to prepare and provide for:
1. Storage site. Store your unused vehicles in closed or covered buildings. If no buildings are handy, the great outdoors will do –but in selecting a site, try to pick a smooth, and well-drained spot. Except when the tactical situation calls for concealment, parking under low hanging limbs of trees should be avoided. (Low-flying Tarzans, sharp twigs and birds, you know).
2. Preparation for Storage. Before being tucked away, vehicles, their parts and equipment have to be thoroughly cleaned, lubricated and inspected. Do this according to W.D. Q.M.C. Form 260, dealing with technical inspection. And unless you have a good reason why not, the vehicle should be thoroughly repaired and put in good mechanical condition. If you can’t make repairs before storing, attach a tag to the steering wheel specifying the repairs needed, and send a written report of these items to the officer in charge of the vehicles. Finally, when your vehicles have been either repaired or tagged, your next step is to prepare them for either limited or dead storage. As we mentioned above, we’ve got the dope on ‘Limited Storage’ – ‘Dead Storage’ will come later.
3. Spacing vehicles in park. Don’t throw your vehicles on the lot just any old way. Put them close enough together to conserve space and provide plenty of shade for the tires – but space them with enough room between vehicles to allow for servicing and inspections. Maybe it’s fun to see how close together they’ll go, but it doesn’t make the job, say, of checking the batteries, any easier.
4. Severe conditions. Remember, these regulations are for normal and average conditions. Extreme temperatures, quick temperature changes, very wet or very dry climates, dust, salty spray, corrosive vapors from nearby industrial plants, or any other condition that might annoy a truck that’s sitting quietly minding its own business, calls for special protective measures, figure them out to meet your own circumstances.
*A barefaced lie.