View Full Version : How to reanimate a Mummy?

05-07-2012, 09:43 PM
I have been given a 1967 TR4a irs that has been sitting in a garage for 21 years. I would appreciate ideas and pointers in how to safely awake this car. It was running well when entombed in 1991 and at the time had 47,000 miles in the odo.
I have all the books imaginable but none address this situation.
Thanks a lot in advance!!!

05-07-2012, 09:45 PM
Pull out the credit card and tell the family you will be busy nights...!


05-07-2012, 09:58 PM
Check out mossmotors.com

Firstly you will likely need them (or one of their competitors) when you discover all the aged/failed parts.

Secondly, they have some good technical resources including a useful article on how to bring a car out of long-term storage.

By the way I have no affiliation.

Congrats on the acquisition and good luck. Post photos as soon as possible

05-07-2012, 10:01 PM
Was it put away "wet"? If so, you've likely got some clean-up work to do. Here's some of what I found in my "barn find":



At the least, I would plan on rebuilding all of the hydraulic cylinders (both slave and master, brake and clutch).

Take the radiator to a shop to be rodded out (tell them you want it rodded, even if they don't think it needs it).

Do a complete lube job, including all the points that need a drop of oil and changing all the fluids. If any zerk won't take grease, most likely you should replace whatever it feeds, but at least replace the zerk. I don't recall offhand when the drain plug on the diff got deleted, but if you don't have one, you'll have to remove the rear cover to drain it. (Consider adding a drain plug while you're at it.)

New tires, of course. Don't drive over 30 mph on those old ones, no matter how good they look!


05-07-2012, 10:02 PM
First the engine...

Mark the plug wires for position, then remove them from the plugs and remove the plugs.
Pour a small amount of diesel or Marvel Mystery Oil in each spark plug hole and let the engine sit for a few days.
Make sure the gearbox is in neutral then attempt to turn the engine over by hand. Gently... do not use the starter. Once the engine can be turned over by hand, adjust the valves and re-fit the spark plugs and wires.
Change all the fluids and filters.
Drain the fuel tank.
Replace all the old fuel hoses to the carbs.

Expect that the float valves in the carbs are gummed up and that the main carb jets/needles are also gummed up. Use spray carb cleaner to flush out the jets and clean the needle. Refer to your manual for how to access these parts of the carbs.

If the car really did run when parked, avoid making carb adjustments affecting the mixture. Focus only on cleaning the jets/needles and the float valves.

Of course... you'll need a new battery and a bit of patience to actually start the engine.

05-07-2012, 10:12 PM
Great checklist here, some may be overkill, but this will get you on the right track.


05-07-2012, 10:33 PM
This is one of the many contributions left to us by the late Col. Tony Barnhill.

Back in 1995, I took my Vermillion Red 1979 MGB roadster off the road so its 79vermillred001.jpg (39754 bytes)speedometer wouldn't 'roll over'; it had just passed the 96,000 mile mark. She was my daily driver during good weather for as long as I can remember, and she had never disappointed me or left me stranded. Before I retired her, however, I redid her body with a beautiful new paint job. And, I properly prepped her for her hibernation. Now, almost 10 years on and even though I went through all the proper steps to store her, I'm not sure that it was such a good idea to just park her in a corner of my garage.

Why? Because, as Jerri & I look forward to my retirement and the "15,000 Mile Circle" trip through the western part of the US, Canada, and Alaska that we've planned to celebrate that event, I want Vermillian Red to be part of it. She'll be the dinghy towed behind our RV on a purpose-built trailer. However, she's an old girl who will need some serious prepping to make the trip and perform as she did every day of her life. I've got to overcome 10 years of sleep to ensure Jerri & I enjoy her like we did "back in the day".

At the same time I'm going through all her systems to ensure we will have fun with her, lots of my fellow MG-dom citizens are also wrestling with the same situation - bringing an old car back to life. I have standard things I do to all the old cars I acquire to see if they're gonna be restorable or are gonna rest in peace in my MG Graveyard. I also kept a listing of everything I did to Vermillion Red when I put her up so those have to be reversed.

With all that in mind, I decided to develop a comprehensive checklist for "awakening a sleeping MGB". Every car and every situation is different but if you follow my checklist, you'll have no trouble reviving a well sorted out car.

Remember, however, Vermillion Red was in excellent condition when I put her up. I had - from day 1- always done all maintenance as outlined by British Leyland in my owners handbook, had made any repairs necessary with quality, OE parts, and had kept her 100% original. She never had anything except 93-octane pumped into her gas tank, I always used either 10W-40 or 20W-50 Castrol in her engine and tranny, and she was never wrecked or abused.

And, I'm gonna lavish the same amount of time and energy bringing her back to life. This won't be a quick Saturday afternoon of sticking a battery in her, squirting some starter fluid up her carb & firing her up. This will be a methodical refurbishment of all her operating systems.

As always, I keep a Bentley manual open to the section on which I'm working to ensure I don't miss a step. And, my checklist is not designed as a step-by-step guide for how to accomplish each item. Its only a tool to remind me of what to do, not how to do it.

So, let's wake her up:

____ Put the car on 4 jack stands & remove wheels.
____ If there was an old battery in her, remove it to use as a core for a new battery.


____ Disconnect fuel lines at carbs.
____ Remove spark plugs & turn engine over by hand checking for compression at
each spark plug hole (I'm not interested in the amount of compression, just that
I still have it!).
____ Install new battery (DO NOT ATTEMPT TO START ENGINE!).
____ Turn ignition key on & allow fuel pump to drain any gas remaining in the tank
(&, in the event you didn't drain it before laying car up, you'll probably have
'dead' gas in there.)
____ If fuel pump doesn't operate, stop & rebuild fuel pump and repeat process of
draining gas tank. While you're under there, replace all flexible gas lines to fuel
____ Adjust valves.
____ Change engine oil and filter. (In cold months, I use 10W-40 Castrol; in warm
months, I use 20W-50 Castrol.)
____ Install new, properly gapped spark plugs.
____ Rebuild distributor (if electronic, check manual closely).
____ Install new spark plug wires.
____ Check the ignition circuit for proper operation (AGAIN: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO
START ENGINE! At this point, all I want to know is if I have 'fire' at the plugs.)
____ Drain all fluids (radiator, engine, transmission, rear end, brakes/clutch)
____ Inspect radiator for signs of leakage (the proper way to store a radiator is with
anti-freeze inside; you can tell if there's been any leakage by the tell-tale wierd,
green patina on the core or along the edges of the tanks.). If there are signs of
leakage, remove radiator for cleaning, pressurizing, and repair.
____ Back flush the engine cooling system to remove any built-up crud.
____ Replace engine thermostat.
____ Remove the plug in the water pump & add a bit of grease.
____ Remove all belts from front of engine.
____ Bench check alternator/generator for proper operation.
____ With proper spray cleaner & one of GEM Enterprises' special purpose brushes,
clean all Lucas wiring harness connectors. Once cleaned, coat them with a
LIGHT film of conductive grease (I mean every one you can see with the hood
up! Take 'em apart & clean both ends of the bullet connectors). Pay especially
close attention to the fuse block.
____ Replace all belts with new ones and reinstall alternator/generator.
____ Reinstall the radiator along with all new hoses.
____ Fill windshield washer tank.
____ Refill the cooling system with the proper mixture of water and anti-freeze.
____ Remove carbs & rebuild/clean them as necessary. Replace air filters.
____ Inspect engine mounts & replace as necessary.
____ Replace all fuel/vacuum lines in engine compartment.
____ Replace fuel filter.
____ If so equipped, renew all emissions items to include recharging charcoal
canisters. If equipped, remove the hoses from the air pump & spray lithium grease up inside the pump.
____ Turn engine over with ignition switch to check compression (AGAIN, DO NOT


____ Remove front rotors & check for warpege.
____ Turn/replace rotors as necessary.
____ Check calipers for proper operation.
____ Replace all flexible brake lines.
____ Install new brake pads.

____ Replace fluid in transmission with the same oil you put in engine.
____ Grease universal joints/check for looseness.
____ Inspect transmission mounts & replace as necessary.
____ Visually inspect exhaust for rust/holes, proper installation, etc.
____ Visually inspect underside of car for rust.
____ Lubricate hand brake.
____ Clean all Lucas wiring harness connections & coat with a LIGHT film of
conductive grease.

____ Remove brake drums. Visually inspect & replace/turn as necessary.
____ Replace wheel cylinders (NO! Don't even try to repair - just replace them!)
____ Install new brake shoes.
____ Replace flexible brake line on passenger side of car.
____ Drop gas tank & visually inspect for rust.
____ Remove gas sending unit & check for free operation of arm.
____ Have gas tank boiled/cleaned as necessary (I take mine to my local radiator
repair shop).
____ Install cleaned & newly painted gas tank.
____ Replace all flexible fuel lines to fuel pump/gas tank.
____ Fill rear end with SAE 90 Gear Oil.
____ In trunk, if so equipped, replace flexible lines to vapor separator & gas tank.
____ Put 93-octane gas in tank & pressurize fuel system to carbs.
____ Clean all Lucas wiring harness connections & coat with a LIGHT film of
conductive grease.

____ Top off brake & clutch master cylinders
____ Bleed clutch slave cylinder & check for proper operation of clutch.
____ Bleed brake system starting with driver rear wheel.
____ Reinstall wheels & adjust rear brakes


____ FIRE 'ER UP!
____ Allow oil pressure to come up & note where it stops at idle.
____ Allow car to idle until temperature has come up to normal operation range.
____ Make any adjustments to carbs or timing.
____ Depress clutch & verify its proper operation.
____ Check operation of transmission through all gears.
____ Check operation of hand brake.
____ Check operation of wheel brakes.
____ Visually inspect for any leakage along gas, clutch & brake lines, at wheel
cylinders & calipers, in cooling system.

____ Install & balance new 185x70R14 tires (tubes also if wire wheels) - HEY!
They're probably dry rotted!
____ Install wheels, adjust rear brakes & take car off jack stands.

____ Check operation of all exterior lights.
____ Replace windshield wiper blades & check operation of wiper/washer system.
____ Spray lithium grease door, hood, & trunk hinges and latching mechanisms.
____ Install one of GEM Enterprises' emergency hood latches.
____ Lubricate top bows, seat rails & adjusters.
____ Check operation of all dash, interior, & trunk lights and switches.
____ Clean all Lucas wiring harness connections & coat with a LIGHT film of
conductive grease.

____ After engine has cooled down, readjust valves.
____ Check/refill cooling system as necessary.
____ Check engine oil level.

NOW, its time for a short test drive. Once around the block only. While driving, pay particular attention to status of gauges, check for proper operation of brakes, watch for tell-tale signs of smoke from exhaust. Back in garage...

____ Recheck all engine fluid levels.
____ Check belt tension.
____ Check clutch & brake master cylinder levels (look for signs of leakage in
engine compartment, under dash, and on garage floor under car).
____ Put car on jack stands.
____ Recheck rear brake adjustment.
____ Tighten lug nuts (or wire wheel center cap).
____ Put her on the ground.

At this point, feel free to drive down to the nearest filling station and fill up with 93-octane gas. I know, I know! Some of you are going to tell me that's not necessary. But, hey, that's all I ever put in my cars. I personally feel its needed all the time but should be used at least once every few tanks full.

Then, after a good wash, wax, and interior detailing, she's ready for daily use. From this point on, follow the maintenance guidelines in your owner's manual.


05-07-2012, 11:02 PM
Thanks a lot to all!
The car will be shipped from California next week. I'll post photos and report on what I find!

05-08-2012, 10:48 AM
Great list, One other thing to keep in mind, due to the length of the layout and not knowing how it was prepared, you may find that some seals and gaskets in the drivetrain have dried out and will start leaking fairly soon after the car is back in use. Keep an eye on fluid levels and for spots where you park.

05-08-2012, 02:18 PM
"you may find that some seals and gaskets in the drivetrain have dried out and will start leaking fairly soon after the car is back in use. Keep an eye on fluid levels and for spots where you park."
Like an old wooden boat!!!
As far as restoration, I don't want to go overboard with this car. As far as I can tell there is very little if any rust on it, so it's going to be "the least I can do to make it run safely and presentable". I had my share of nut and bolts restorations in the past!
This reminds me of a story that my father used to tell: He was a mechanic for the National Cash Register for many years. One day a business owner presented himself at the shop carrying a completely disasembled cash register in several boxes. I mean, he had dismantled the thing down to it's atoms. Puzzled, my father asked him why he had done such a thing, he just looked at him and said <span style="font-weight: bold">"because it's mine".</span>