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View Full Version : 30 years of not starting engine,should I try it?



JonnyRotten
01-24-2010, 04:13 PM
after 30 years of not starting engine it turns over easy with front crank.should I try to start or will I damage engine.Is there any prep work I should to first(take out plugs and oil cylinders?)I dont want to do anything stupid that will cost me more later.1960 tr3a.

Safari
01-24-2010, 04:26 PM
I have started many old engines. I pull plugs and use Marvel Mystery Oil in Cly. Drain all gas and use fresh fuel. I change oil and filters. I will check compression and always have a fire extinguisher on hand. Seals, hose, wires may be dry rotted or dried out. You will have to perform a detailed inspection. The last engine I started had not run in over 10 yeas and I had it going in 45 min. It took another 6 months to fix the hydraulics, clutch and brakes. I have a MGA engine on my bench which hasn't ran in 20 years, it was ok when I took it out, I don't think I will have any issues when I reinstall it. As in all things your mileage may very and I am sure many others here will have some strong opinions.

Mickey Richaud
01-24-2010, 04:58 PM
Jonny -

STOP!

Before you do anything, check here (https://theautoist.com/awakening_a_sleeping_b.htm)

This is MGB-specific, but Moderator Tony has a great checklist for waking "sleeping" cars that applies to all.

bgbassplyr
01-24-2010, 05:01 PM
LINK NOT WORKING.

TR4nut
01-24-2010, 05:18 PM
fixed link.. (https://www.theautoist.com/awakening_a_sleeping_b.htm)

SkinnedKnuckles
01-24-2010, 05:40 PM
I'd say NO! I know how tempting it is, but not time yet. You'd have to pour gas down the carbs at this point, and If by a miracle you did get it running, then you'd want to go around the block. Then to the store. Then you'd have to push it back to your house. And yes, something could be damaged by trying the engine at this point.

If it were me I'd start on the brakes. That's the most important system on your vehicle. Lots there to replace & rebuild = anything rubbber. Same with the clutch. Then's the time to decide whether to go back with silicone or LMA fluid (another can-o-worms?). While you're waiting on parts you can change the engine & trans oil. Maybe drop the oil pan and clean out the gunk in the bottom beforehand.

You need to drain any "gas" in the tank. Consider pulling the tank. There is likely lead residue (crud) in there that you don't want in the system. I fixed up mine with the POR-15 cleaner/liner kit. All the rubber in that system needs to be replaced, too.

There is alot of cleaning to do before you try and start it. Take the time and get it ready so that when it starts it will keep running. You'll get much more satisfaction that way.

SkinnedKnuckles
01-24-2010, 06:18 PM
A question, Mr. Rotten. Did you get any indication why it was parked in 1980? If not - call back once the check clears and ask again. There may have been time to recollect... That info could really help you out. And what's the mileage?

JonnyRotten
01-24-2010, 06:51 PM
The guy i bought it from Is my fathers friend for 50 years. I trust every word he says.he said he garaged it for money issues(insurance)and planned to restore it over time.He drove it into garage and its sat ever since.He also has new seat covers,tonue cover, exhaust,carpet,and soft top new still in box.

Don_R
01-24-2010, 06:56 PM
Jonny,

This deal just keeps getting better....You have a true survivor car there.

I have my dads 59 TR 3 and it is far from the condition of your car. You got yourself a nice car there at a really good price IMHO.

TRDejaVu
01-24-2010, 06:59 PM
I had already checked the frame for rust and damage. I completely re-did the brake hydraulics. Checked all the suspension mounting points for cracks and other damage as well as general suspension condition. Checked the steering for wear as well as smooth operation. Replaced all the flexible fuel hoses, checked the fuel system and tank for crud. Drained and flushed the cooling system and because it was summer just refilled with water for temporary testing purposes. Replaced the radiator hoses. Dropped the sump to see if any metal chunks were present. Also checked the oil pump inlet screen for sludge. Changed the oil and filter. Positioned a fire extinguisher close by and connected a fully charged batter. Checked each electrical circuit, lights, ignition, wipers, heater fan etc to look for spark sounds or smoke. Disconnected the ignition, turned the engine over on the starter to check for reasonable oil pressure and obvious leaks.

Walked away from it and mentally checked if I had forgotten anything. Then I fired it up.

TR3driver
01-24-2010, 07:24 PM
I'm from a different school than Tony. TS13571L was "put away wet" some 30 years before it came to me; and for it's first firing I just pulled the plugs, squirted each hole with a healthy dose of WD40, and then spun it with the starter until the oil pressure came up (with the plugs still out). Put the plugs back in, and set about making it run.

Dumped a gallon of gas in the tank, discovered fuel shut off valve was clogged and original pump didn't pump. So I temporarily bypassed both of them with a little Facet electric pump (part of my on-board spares kit).

No fire at the plugs, apparently the antique points were dirty, so I threw a new set of points in (again from the on-board spares kit, from TS39781LO). That & some carb cleaner down the carb throats (which also doubles as starting fluid) got it to fire and run for just a few seconds; long enough to indicate to me that the engine was basically healthy (no bad noises, no excess smoke from exhaust, etc.) Only then did I change oil, add coolant, adjust the valves (actually swapped in the recently reconditioned rocker shaft from the TR3A) etc.

My thinking was that I didn't want to put a lot of work into an engine that I might have to tear down anyway. This brief procedure (about an hour total) was enough to give me a list of what I wanted to do, which fortunately did not include pulling the engine.

But it kind of depends on your intentions. My goal (as usual) was a running, functional car as quickly as possible, rather than a complete restoration. As it happened, it worked out great for me. It's covered perhaps 2000 miles since then, and the only engine problems have been the screw for the condenser working loose; and the ignition coil failed during VTR/TRfest. Fortunately, TRF had some for sale at the event, so I was back on the road quickly.

GaryBeu
01-24-2010, 08:22 PM
I'm really glad to find someone who goes to the same school I do! I did basically the same thing with my MGB...couldn't see putting megabucks into everything if the engine and trans were crap. It's worked out well so far.

JonnyRotten
01-24-2010, 08:27 PM
Ive read all your posts and planned on doing those things.my question is will starting engine do internal damage.as in cylinder walls, crank, bearings,things like that if rust has formed inside of engine.

Andrew Mace
01-24-2010, 08:36 PM
Ive read all your posts and planned on doing those things.my question is will starting engine do internal damage.as in cylinder walls, crank, bearings,things like that if rust has formed inside of engine. Probably not, IF....

Suggestions above to lightly oil the cylinders with Marvel Mystery Oil or even regular motor oil are good ones. Key, IMO, is to spin the engine with the ignition disables until you get good oil pressure reading on the gauge (or can verify in some other way). It might even be worth having the valve cover off while you're spinning the engine to build pressure; that way you can see if the valve train is getting any lubrication.

There's always the reasonable chance that rings are stuck in the piston lands, even though the engine is spinning over well, and that there is some minor surface rust on the cylinder walls. More than likely, either or both problems would work themselves out quickly once the engine has run a bit and gotten some fresh oil, etc.

TR3driver
01-24-2010, 09:35 PM
my question is will starting engine do internal damage.as in cylinder walls, crank, bearings,things like that if rust has formed inside of engine. While it is possible, those are the exact things you are going to renew anyway, if it becomes necessary to tear the engine down. IOW, trying to start the engine may turn existing damage into more severe damage; but you were going to replace the damaged components anyway so it really doesn't matter.

And since it turns easily, chances are very good that there is no corrosion anyway.

Safari
01-24-2010, 11:03 PM
In some ways it is a no guts no glory issue. I have never had the least bit of a problem trying to start an old engine but that is my mind set. I would definitely pull the valve cover off and oil the valve train and make sure it is functioning as designed. Some of the attitude to doing this also has a lot to do with your experience and background.

I also don't start an engine and try to drive the car on the road, I evaluate the brakes, clutch, electrical, and every system before I try to go on the road. My TR6 had not ran for 10 years starting the engine was easy, replacing the clutch, rebuilding the brakes and suspension were the hard work. Knowing I had a good engine made the other chores a lot easier.

TOC
01-24-2010, 11:42 PM
Pull the plugs.
Oil the cylinders WELL, MMO is good.
CHANGE the oil and filter (after 30 years of condensation, get it right).
CRANK it with NO PLUGS, and therefore NO COMPRESSION putting any force on rod bearings until you get full cranking oil pressure (filter full, oil passages full, all journals lubed).

I would do it with the rocker cover off, and see if you get oil to the proper places whilst cranking.

If you put new fuel in it, blew out the lines, you should also now have fresh fuel at the carbs.

Check for spark now, making certain the points ain't corroded.

Install new plugs (no telling what condition the old ones are in) and try to start it.

You have oiled it well, no dry spots, full pressure, and it's the best you can do.

Done a whole lot of old motors that way, and was always surprised at how well they ran when done.

Dave

tdskip
01-24-2010, 11:52 PM
Guys - just gotta say this is a great thread.

poolboy
01-24-2010, 11:58 PM
And you don't have to put gas in the tank. If there is anything swimming around in it, it may cause you to go on a wild goose chase looking for a reason that the engine won't run.
I have an engine, as Safari knows, that runs off a 1 gallon gas can and an outboard motor priming bulb to get gas to the fuel pump.

tdskip
01-25-2010, 12:06 AM
I have an engine, as Safari knows, that runs off a 1 gallon gas can and an outboard motor priming bulb to get gas to the fuel pump.

Two questions Ken;

1) does the person running next to the car get tired easily?

2) how fast can you drive before your lose your runner?

:whistle:

TOC
01-25-2010, 01:21 AM
Depends on how serious you are about getting it running.
Drain and clean tank, fresh gas, pump out the lines......it's worked for me, quite well.

I recall one that sat for well over 30 years (4-cylinder, US made) that took me 20 minutes to have running.

Safari
01-25-2010, 07:50 AM
I have an engine, as Safari knows, that runs off a 1 gallon gas can and an outboard motor priming bulb to get gas to the fuel pump.

Two questions Ken;

1) does the person running next to the car get tired easily?

2) how fast can you drive before your lose your runner?

:whistle:


It is not bad until he decides it is time to go to Road Atlanta.

TR6oldtimer
01-25-2010, 11:17 AM
Keep in mind that the clutch disk is more then like frozen to the pressure plate and fly wheel. So take care when you start the beast...

Also, check the transmission fluid, as even in neutral, the transmission internals will be rotating once you get the engine running.

SkinnedKnuckles
01-25-2010, 11:17 AM
I don't think it's a question of whether it can be made to run - as everyone's pointing out that's not too hard. The question is will it cause damage. The answer is "possibly" unless there's new oil in a clean crankcase and it's been circulated around before firing (adding load). Also, who knows what's gone to ground after 30 years. Smell something burning? If you go too quick with a "do or die" attitude you're more likely to have a problem.

TOC
01-26-2010, 04:54 PM
I don't think it's a question of whether it can be made to run - as everyone's pointing out that's not too hard. The question is will it cause damage. The answer is "possibly" unless there's new oil in a clean crankcase and it's been circulated around before firing (adding load). Also, who knows what's gone to ground after 30 years. Smell something burning? If you go too quick with a "do or die" attitude you're more likely to have a problem.

I think that's what I said.
BTAIM, personal experience is it should run as good or close to it as it did last time it ran.
Water in the cooling system, several full heat and cool cycles to loosen any rings stuck in piston grooves, any valve stem seals may be toast, but that shouldn't affect running.

Last one I did this to, a couple of years ago, was a 1941 Lincoln V-12, this guy had it 20 years, had sat for Lord Only knows how many decades prior to that.

And that has several more moving parts than your 4-bangers do.
Or six-bangers.
Or maybe 8-bangers, but close, as a V-12 is a flathead, so no pushrods or rockers.

sp53
01-27-2010, 02:23 PM
One thing you can do is take the spark plugs out and fill the engine with oil right( a couple of gallons) up to the spark plugs or basically the top of the pistons and just let it sit for a couple of weeks. This will oil everything in the engine, cam, crank, chain, rings ect. You should turn it over by hand to move things after awhile. Then when you feel comfortable that it is oiled well, drain that oil out and put the normal 5 quarts in. I would probably still prime the pump. Then try and start it.
Steve

jsfbond
01-27-2010, 03:57 PM
I have 24 years of not runniing, I changed the oil & filter. (picked that up from Dave @ Sports car services in Westminster, do you guys know him?) Anyway... I have kept the cylinders lubed and have hand spun the engine faithfully to keep it "Freed up".
The real test is this spring when the temps are more better. There is a mechanic at the local Rover garage who has a GT, and will look it over befor I try to start it.