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Starting an Engine after Extended Storage

September 27, 2010 | Safety & Driving

By Alan Klingen

How to handle an engine that has been sitting for years

First see if you can turn over the motor easily, if not then you need to dismantle the motor to play it safe.

If you can turn it over then remove all the oil, sump screen and oil filter, then refill with new oil of your choice. Do a regular tune with points, valve adjust and plugs but leave the plugs out for the time being. You can squirt a small amount of oil into the cylinders if it make you feel better but only a very small amount! Just a couple of drops only! Note on the dip stick where the oil level is exactly.

Crank the motor with the ignition off by grounding the point wire to the coil, this is marked #1 on the coil. You don't want to just leave the cap off because it will be sparking inside and if you have a fuel leak and you are not there to see it, well you know what could happen. Crank for a few seconds and then recheck the dipstick and see if oil is being drawn, if it is crank some more till the oil light goes out.

If the level is not dropping follow this procedure. Order a large pizza either home delivery or take out. Consume what you and your pals can eat and then go try the oil pressure thing again. BTW have a good fire bottle near preferably a Halon or a CO2 one but have one. When you get oil pressure check for fuel leaks. Pump the throttle at least 10 times and see if the carbs are squirting, if not continue till the carb bowls are full and they squirt.

If this all passes muster then crank and get oil pressure one more time, pump the throttle 10 full strokes, reactivate the ignition and crank the beast. If it trys to fire use only very gentle movement of the gas pedal, short strokes and if you can just hold it at 1/4 throttle till it runs on all 4 cylinders. If it ever dies on its own, crank right away you might have a carb fire at this point and cranking will put it out.

Good to have a pal to see what is going on and knows what to do if a fire starts. Also you might want to do this outside to minimize fire damage