ZCar Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks. Just after new years I'm scheduled to make a run to Ohio, and possibly to New York.. both of which are seriously cold in comparison to the 75-80 degree days we've been having here in Florida. I do believe my 82 turbo will be able to handle the trip without any major problems.. but I just had a couple of questions.

Just a thought.. its never snowed enough in Florida to make any real difference, in fact, the past 3 weeks have been tops off days. :) Anywho, I've read little things here and there about how snow driving in a turbo can get interesting. Anybody from up north somewhere wanna give me a primer on what and what not to do with a turbo Z in the snow? Anything that I would need to change or adjust to "convert" my Z from warm weather to extreme cold..coolant or otherwise? Any other equipment changes that would be to my advantage?

Next up: My 82T has the dreaded auto temp control.. I managed to get it to work about two weeks ago when the last wannabe cold front came through. Now it cuts off on its own and wont come back for around 30 minutes or so. I was wondering if someone is feeling exceptionally nice today and would be willing to share the auto temp troubleshooting section of their 82 FSM with me. Thats the only thing that would get to me.. not having heat. :) Hopefully it would be something simple and quick to fix. This broke college student cant handle too much. :)

Thanks!
.Skip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,298 Posts
Cold weather preparations

I would suggest you address the following:

Coolant: Make sure that you have the radiator system drained / flushed / refilled with a new mixture of anti-freeze. Since you've been in Florida you've probably not needed the protection and it is just possible that over time you've topped off the radiator. This will have diluted the original mixture to where it may not protect your car down to -10F or so. New coolant will assure you of that protection. Only drawback that I can think of in getting the cooling system flushed, is that if you have any hoses or possible problems, the flush may cause those problems to surface. I would recommend reverse flushing with at least water if you don't want to chance the caustic solution flushing.

Check your car thoroughly for debris inside the cowl vent area. While you're at it, get the wheel wells cleaned up so that you get rid of any mud or other gunk which will cause snow and ice to cling easier and make it hard to remove.

Check your weatherstripping. You may not be able (because of $ or availability or time) to do something right away, but at least check and repair those items you can. It will make it much more enjoyable to drive a car that doesn't have a nasty air leak or water leak.

Get the undercarriage sprayed clean and see if you can have an oil-spray put on. Don't know who does this, but someone else posted that on this forum and apparently it works for them. Some of the states that you'll be driving through and probably in may use SALT to eliminate / reduce ice on the roads and this is the worst stuff for metal. By washing off anything that may absorb the brine solution, and applying a light coat of oil you may preclude some major rust down the road.

While you're at it, check the undercarriage for exposed metal due to rock chips, scrapes etc. Give those areas a shot of Rust-Oleum or something to at least help prevent the onset of rust.

Check your wipers and the washer solution. Get new wipers with the rubber boot on the arms if you're going to be in snow areas. These help eliminate the problem of the snow that gets in between the "scissor" arms from freezing and rendering your wiper generally useless. Get the washer solution with anti-freeze. They also sell some stuff that's mixed to clear the road-salt brine that gets on the windshield, as well as having anti-freeze in the solution. Make sure you run the washer till the old stuff is out of it, that way the lines don't freeze.

Get a bottle of "HEET". This is the trademark name for an alcohol they sell which helps eliminate water in the gas tank. Again, being from FL, you have a lot of moisture in the air, and you may have some condensation inside the gas tank. Unless you've been keeping your tank full ALL the time, you probably have SOME water in there. Heet will mix with the water and therefore reduce it's density, making it easier to pump through the engine, as well as render it somewhat flammable. (Not that the water is flammable, but the alcohol/water mixture will be.)

Well that's my 2¢ worth for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,175 Posts
Snow tires!

Escanlon's list is great. I'd add studded snow tires to the list. Get a set of cheap rims and have studded tires mounted on them. Thinner is better for snow tires.

They will be noisier (bring earplugs) on normal pavement but will make a world of difference if you do hit snow or ice. Get them on all 4 tires, not just the back. Since they're on a seperate set of rims, you can stash them in your garage the rest of the time and not have to pay someone to switch the regular tires back.

I can't offer much advice specific to turbos or even rear-wheel drive cars in the snow since I didn't get my Z until I moved to California. In general, you want to avoid sudden braking/accel. If you do get snowed on, try to find a big parking lot to practice in at night. Practice emergency stopping, turning, etc. Get it into a skid and try to recover. Tons of fun! When I lived in Montana, the only year I ran off the road was the one year I skipped my traditional parking lot tear. My rear wheels started creeping around on me and I forgot how to recover.

Another weatherizing tip would be to check the water level in your battery. If it's running low and your battery is already stressed, the cold weather could put it over the edge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Good enough

Allthough I live in Alaska and its minus 35 right now i dont drive my z under minus 20 but anyway all those points and lists up above is all you'll pretty much need unless you decide to come up here then I personally can tell you 'extra' stuff you'll need that the guys didnt mention.. On another note if you do start sliding and slipping everywhere weight in the back tires always helps.. kinda tough when you get into an accident but if you think its worth it then do it. I personally dont somthing about a sandbag hitting me in the head in a collision i dont want to look forward to. I just put studded tires in the back of the car and it goes around fine. I also put a cover guard in front of the radiator when my car's temp will not be at a normal temp for a long time but i imagine since your in the warm wet snow you'll be ok with what they all said. Take it e z and dont get impatient with the car either on the wet snow slow and steady wins in any weather.
Sharkky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,298 Posts
Re: Good enough

Brian and Sharky make good points, one thing though, if you do look into studs, definitely get them on all 4 tires. Just cause you have traction on the rear doesn't mean you'll be able to steer on ice. If you'll be driving across several states make sure that they allow studs, otherwise you could be in for a nasty surprise when the state patrol forces you to remove them and you have the whole state to go through yet.

As far as practicing on a parking lot to get your winter emergency driving procedures down, excellent idea. However, I recall an incident in Iowa many years ago. A bunch of us had decided to go to the back mall parking lot to do donuts in the snow. We had a lot of fun and had gone from simple 180's to trying to get a full 360 with a rooster tail. Unfortunately we were unaware of certain modifications to the parking lot. My buddy in his 76 Camaro, all low on the front, with air shocks in the rear (which due to the temp were riding a bit lower than usual), came racing down, threw the wheel to the left and proceeded to do 360's, he did one full one, then another one and just as he's straightening out, KA BLAMMMMM WHAM.

The mall people had installed those concrete wheel stops, which due to the amount of snow (probably 6-10" on the ground) were effectively COMPLETELY HIDDEN!! He blew out his left front tire, mangled the rim and ended up with the car straddling one of the concrete stops right in the middle of his rocker panel. I don't recall just how much other damage he did, but let's just say that the moral of this story is to make sure you KNOW what's underneath the snow before you go thinking it's just a big piece of obstacle free asphalt. In other words, check the lot BEFORE the big snowfall.

Sharkky makes a couple other good points. I lived in Michigan for about 7 years. We would get some serious snow, as well as black ice on the roads and other joyful stuff when you're trying to get to work. I always packed two 20 lb bags of Kitty Litter in the trunk of each car. The weight helps and if you do get stuck in ice, you can always go get some of the Kitty Litter and sprinkle it in front of your rear tires if you get stuck in a slippery stop light and can't get started again. In the back of your Z, I would make sure they are securely held down. As Sharkky put it, "something about a sandbag hitting me in the head in a collision" or a panic stop would definitely ruin your day.

The trick of putting a piece of cardboard in front of your radiator will help your car heat up quicker once it's moving and will help it maintain temperature once you're on the road. Be careful, you don't want to block it entirely, you are looking to limit the amount of cold air going through the radiator. This will take some amount of playing, and I don't have any idea on how to compute the size of hole required to keep temp up while not overheating.

And repeating what's already been said, remember how they always tell you to anticipate your stops in wet weather, and to roughly DOUBLE the distance required just to be on the safe side? Well in snow, try to TRIPLE the distance. Try to look 2 or 3 cars AHEAD of you to see what they're doing, that way you won't get surprised with a panic stop on icy roads.

One last thing, just cause you see a semi-truck barreling past you at 60+ mph in the middle of a snowstorm with snow on the ground and the wind blowing, don't think you can follow suit. Remember he may have close to 80,000 lbs on that rig, and yes he'll have fun trying to stop, but he's got a lot more weight allowing him to crush through the snow pak, whereas you don't. Trust me, the first time you feel your car suddenly get up and plane on the bottom panel as you go through a snowdrift you'll know the meaning of helpless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Sweet! Now for something completely different..

I appreciate all the responses! My original list of "mods" for this trip included the backflush and refill of the coolant system, new set of all season tires, that have a good snow/wet traction rating (didnt wanna spend the $$ on pure snow tires since i'd only be there for about a month before returning to FL), and possibly a new battery since I'm not 100% sure as to how the old one will fare in the cold temps. The kitty litter in the rear is a good idea that I probably wouldn't have thought of..I lack a spare tire, so that space is open and could easily accomodate a 20pound bag..or maybe two. I've done a little bit of snow driving in a mall parking lot in a rented Olds Bravada 4x4.. and it wasnt all that big of a deal... and I've hydroplaned my Z on many occasions and know how to recover correctly. The autocrossing helps too. :) I was just curious if the turbo Z had any bad snow characteristics like I've read about several other vehicles with losing traction easily and other random things that I wouldnt expect. Again, thanks for all the useful info!

Now, how bout the second thing I mentioned in the initial post? Anybody have any info on how to "force" my heater fan to come on when I tell it to? Or have the auto temp troubleshooting section of their 82 FSM that they'd be willing to pass along? After all the info from above, my heater appears to be the only thing that would bug the crap out of me during the trip.. and more than likely bug the crap out of my girlfriend too. :)

Thanks again peeps!
.Skip
[email protected]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,175 Posts
Re: Sweet! Now for something completely different

Can't help you on the heater. I would seriously look into getting actual studded tires, though. Check around for prices, you might find that they aren't all that expensive. Maybe you won't need them again this year, but what will you be doing the next?

The studs really do make a huge difference when you hit some snow. Plus, as you say, you're missing a spare. You can use one of the regular tires as a spare on your trip, then the studded tire as a spare afterwards. Worst case, you can resell the tires down the road for a good percentage of what you bought them for. The only downside is that you have to store the things.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top