DIY024Starting an engine thats been sitting for 25 years

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DIY024Starting an engine thats been sitting for 25 years

Post by 59lincolnrag » Thu 10. Jul 2014, 17:58

So, let's see if we can get it running
First, pull the plugs. How do they look? This is a good indication of the engine condition when it was running last.
Tan colored plugs generally are a good sign of good engine . Black or old fouled plugs indicate other reasons the unit was taken out of service.
1959 Lincoln 430 Engine
Squirt some Transmission oil or Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinders. A few tablespoons per cylinder should do it. Turn the engine over by the crankshaft bolt using a breaker bar. If its free you can go ahead and carefully crank it with the starter. If it don't move, let it soak for a few days and try again.This may take several weeks.
Motor oil or Marvel Mystery oil works great
Its a good idea to remove the valve covers at this time and oil up the rockers and valve stems.
Oil the valve train
Looks like a stuck valve. Squirt a little oil on the stem and lightly tap it with a plastic hammer back and fourth. After a few minutes it popped back in place.
OK ..... and this valve needs a slight adjustment?
Golf anyone? Would this be considered a 9 iron?
Houston, we have a problem!
OK so it never goes as smooth as you would like......
This engine has a few problems from sitting so long.
I replaced the push rod with a straight one

Change the oil and filter. When you have the drain plug out, stick a finger or screwdriver in the drain hole and see if there's a big layer of goop in the pan. If there is, you may want to clean the pan out first as you don't want to plug the oil pump and run the engine dry.

Check the carb. If the fuel in the carb smells like varnish, the rest of the fuel system is also gunked up.
If it's been setting a long time, it's usually best just to rebuild it. Especially if all the gaskets are dried out and split.

This is a good time to remind you: Always have a fire extinguisher handy...

Lets see if the motor will turn over. Take the distributor cap off so you can see the rotor. Using a breaker bar and socket on the crank bolt and see if you can turn the motor over by hand.

Watch the rotor. If it turns with the motor, that's good. (If it lags behind a little bit when you turn the motor, the timing chain may be worn out which indicates lots of miles).

You're just seeing if the motor is stuck. just a complete one revolution. Now put some more oil in the cylinders. Turn it again. Did the motor seem to turn over smoothly? You might feel some resistance, but what you are looking for is something stuck or binding. (like a bent push rod....) If the motor is stuck let the oil soak in a few days and try again.

Now the cylinders should be lubed up. Turn the motor one more time pushing the excess oil out. You can also use a shop vac with a long funnel on the end to remove the excess oil and any debris...
At this point turn the motor over with the starter (without the plugs) until the oil pressure comes up. You're not trying to start it yet. You may want to disconnect the coil at this time.

Put the plugs back in. If the old ones couldn't be cleaned, put in new ones. Re connect the coil
check the ignition. Are the spark plug wires OK? Look in the distributor cap. Clean any corrosion from the terminals on the cap and also clean the rotor. If you have points, make sure they open and close, the gap is close and the contact points are clean. Replace the condenser. They are cheap and they are the culprit a lot of the time for engines not starting that have been setting awhile. If the coil is suspect, then replace it with a good one or get a new one.

Quick overview...

-Oil down cylinders and make sure it turns over by hand.

-Change fluids and hoses.

-Make sure carburetor and fuel system is in working condition

-Make sure the ignition is in good shape.

- Dont forget to oil the rocker arms!

Now fire it up!

Listen for any noises that shouldn't be there. If there is, shut it down and find out what it is.
The lifters will pump up and with the excess oil in the cylinders it will run rough for the first few minutes.

The engine may smoke for a while. This is normal.


Some engines will start right up and be perfect after not running for 25 years Some engines may have a catastrophic failure after starting them after having sat for 2 years in nice dry storage. There are so many variables and little things that can go wrong when you start an engine. Hopefully this article will help eliminate some of those and make your engine start up a success.
2002 Lincoln Blackwood
2007 Merc Gran Marquis
1959 Lincoln Continental Coupe blk on blk
430 Tri-Power Super Marauder
1959 Lincoln Continental Convertible wht on wht
1997 Lincoln Town Car

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