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Winter lay up


I have loved the last couple of months since buying the Commando and despite a bit of rain have managed to ride it a fair bit (far more than i thought i would this late in year) but seems to be getting very very wet,and pretty cold at times so soon roads will be covered in salt so think the sad time is coming to lay it up for several months! 

Is there any particular things i should do to in preparation for this long rest?

Should i change all the fluids now? or is it better to leave old oils in and change when i come to use it again in spring? 

What about petrol? is it better to keep the tank full to stop potential rusting? And if this is the done thing should i put some fuel stabiliser of some sort in,and if so should i run it to get through carbs too?

I am thinking of dropping the chain off and leaving in an oil bath(both to keep it oiled but also so i am not tempted to jump on at the hint of a sunray whilst salt still about!)

I am also thinking of giving it a coating of acf50 to protect it a bit as i guess it will get a bit cold and condensated in shed.

Thanks in Advance for any tips



I would definitely change the oil and disconnect the return and run till clean oil emerges. Drain the fuel and refill with Esso Synergy plus and run the new fuel thro the carb. If the bike is cooled off put a bit of draughting tape over the tank breather( don't move the bike or slosh the fuel around ) Wipe all chrome and alloy with a rag soaked in ACF50, NOT WD40. Take weight off tyres,remove battery if it makes it easier to charge.Check regularly for tap /tank leaks.Cover bike with dust sheet.


... with any special preparation of bikes that have been stored over winter (in a dry garage) and have never had any problems come Spring. Maybe I'm just lucky.


But I just leave them in the shed with full tanks (plus some 2 stroke oil in the petrol) and give them a wash down with paraffin and a brush. If the particular bike is prone to wet sumping, I'll drain the oil. When tempted to venture out in the ice and salt, I just take the Indian Enfield Bullet, poor thing. 


I think a lot depends on the conditions that exist in your shed/garage.Weatherwise I seem to live in a version of the Bermuda Triangle, Baking hot to condensation dripping off the roof, Rivers decide to run thro sometimes and fog blots all out. Icicles 3foot long hang on the bay window. And this is the garden of England . How folk can survive north of Watford is a mystery.


Only comment is - agree with Robert - always keep a cover over anything in an unheated garage/shed.  That will pretty much prevent condensation collecting all over it (i.e. dew or even ground frost).  If there might be drips, the waterproof goes over the cover.



Batteries prefer to be kept in unheated places to keep discharge rate low. At least once they have to be recharged during winter. Fully charged, minus 30 centigrade I've had no problem.

Any scratches in the bikes paint showing bare steel, will be where it can start to rust. Less problem on an old oily British bike.

Noticed on uncleaned farming machinery that soil and dirt left, will be soaking water from the air. Giving more rust under the dirt.

Make shure that the vent hole in the AMC gearbox is free from dirt next spring.


Thanks all.

I decided not to take her out today as i was busy and roads really mucky. 

Fuel is Esso supreme so will leave in it tank,have ran bike and turned off taps till it ran out ,then drained last drops from float bowls.Bike is now in shed with enough space cleared to get round it to start going through it from front to back removing simple bits like mudguard, wheel etc to get the bits you cant quite clean 100% whilst assembled and will coat it all with ACF50.Will probably remove all cables and hang em up to oil. I could do with taking the opportunity to find my way round the bike and get to know it better anyway.

I think i will prob leave fork oil,and swing arm oil as its all been done recently but change the rest. Got some castrol ep90 in a nice green classic looking can for gearbox,manual says Castrol gtx for both Engine and primary chaincase,is that normal car type Gtx available anywhere or is there special old school oil for these? (surely gtx is not the same as in 1973 when manual recommended it?)


I agree to change the gearbox oil, it can get very rusty in there. A recent very extensive comparison of  oils was done on the Access Norton forum . Much of it does not relate to the bikes you and I are running  ,but I did note that Castrol XL 20/50 came out surprisingly well for a cheapish oil.No idea where to get it of course!. Most of the oils tested are just not readily availiable here and some  not suited to our colder climate.EP 90 is ok and the colour and smell helps with leak identification.When my gallon of EP oil runs out I will switch to a std 40 I think.Got gallons of that!.


Drain the oil and put a new filter on, but do not refill because it will all drain down to the sump. I refill a few days before I intend to use the bike again and so the oil can work its way down through the oil pump etc. before starting.

Castrol GTX has altered its viscosity and, no doubt, other ratings over the years.


Wouldn't it be good, if the oil tank has emptied into the sump, to just leave it there?

The oil will keep the bearings from rusting???!!!

You just have to remember to drain the sump and re-fill before the first ride in the spring.



The  issue you want to avoid is the bearings sitting in old acidic  oil  , Any rust on the balls or track will soon render them scrap. Has the oil been changed recently? was the oil properly heated up last time it was ridden and the condensation driven off? Takes about 80 miles on my bike ,more in the cold months. I would do as I suggested in my earlier post . Or just trust in luck. I dipped the oil in a big Ducati I bought, Looked clear and golden, Pulled the sump plug and jet black came out.


Bike seems to have survived winter in shed pretty well with a nice coating of acf50 and tyres off the ground.

As well as gearbox oil,i also dropped engine oil and put in fresh Castrol XL20-50 in the end a few months ago. Also found locating pin missing on primary chain cover so fitted new one when changing oil and hoping this might stop the very slight drip i was getting from here?

Started getting it ready to use again last week but ordered wrong throttle cable(too short free length!) and wondered why i was having such trouble fitting.Whilst i was struggling and being to dumb to work out problem the needles came out the clips,so i have put em in middle groove for now. I also notice the needle in the LH carb seems worn flater on end or is different to other so will just buy a new pair and change soon.

Yesterday had a day off so cut outer cable down to fit this,put battery back on and fitted plug for optimate at same time,refitted tank and side panels,drained fresh oil and got just under 600ml out of sump, which i just poured back into oil tank.Wheeled her outside tickled carbs and without any real expectations she started up 2nd kick and ticked over pretty well.To say i was amazed would be a real understatement. Then as i was about to get changed and go for a ride a mate turned up for a cuppa!

I couldn't remember what tyre pressures i was running (TT100) so just put em to 28 F and R for now and went for a short ride.Had a little slide from rear on throttle which may have been down to pressures? possibly 28 a bit high? or may be a little oil picked up from shed floor on way out! 

Great to be back on her after nearly 3 months,


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