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Old 03-13-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
Johnnyj
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Default Start engine after 20 years sitting

I'm am hoping to start engine in a 47 1/2 ton that I purchased a few month back.
With help of the forum I thing I have a water leak solve where I found a leak from header just above the starter.
I was told bottom of engine was overhauled years ago, but not run since.
They put MMO in engine at that time since owner knew it would be sitting a while.
My plan was to leave the MMO in , remove plugs and see if engine cranks and if I get oil pressure reading. Would it be better to change the MMO to 20/40 and then try to crank? I will also prime the carb.......is there anything else I need to look at first?
I'm new at this, so I'd appreciated any advice.
Many thanks
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:58 PM   #2
NealinCA
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

I just fired up a flathead that had been sitting about 15 years, so I will share my experience.

I first had to drop the starter, as the bendix was stuck. Once that was freed, I pulled the plugs, put MMO in the cylinders. I used a wrench on the crankshaft bolt to turn the enging over . After spinning it over a few times, I did so with the starter and did a compression check. The two front cylinders were dead, so I pulled the intake and freed up two stuck intake valves. Next was to check for spark. It ended up that there was a short in the distributor (wire from points to coil had a bare spot). We swapped out distributors and got fire at the plugs. We dumped some fuel down the carb and got it to fire, but the accelerator pump had dried up, so it would not keep running. I pulled the carb top and replaced the acc pump. After that, it fired up and ran OK. After messing with a few loose plug wires, we got it to run very well. After it had run a while, we checked compression again and had 110-130 in all eight holes. It was a good feeling to end up with a good running engine after a long days work.

Neal
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Can you turn the engine over by hand (is it free), if so, I'd drain the crank case and change the oil filter (if so equipped), put fresh oil (I use 20/50). Pull all the plugs, cover the heads with old towels, etc., crank the engine (without the ignition on) and let the pistons push any MMO, etc, out of the plug holes. Install new spark plugs (I use Autolite 216's). I'd also disconnect the fuel line from the fuel tank, run a gas hose into a gas can and connect it to the fuel line at the tank or at the fuel pump, to be able to prime the fuel pump and carburetor. I'd crank the engine (without the ignition on) just to make sure the carburetor is getting fuel. You'll also have the check for spark, chances are the distributor points, condenser, etc. may be corroded from age. Once you have cleared the cylinders, primed the fuel system and established spark, and put water in the cooling system, you should be ready to fire it up. Good luck and enjoy it.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Might get a few clues from this video of me starting mine after 31 years (just hit a half million views): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY389S_KUjs

All other ideas are good too although I did very few of them.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

That is a great video. I have one of my panel after sitting since 1959 but I would not have a clue on how to get it up here.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

I'd do what Vic Piano said but also pop the distributor cap off to see if the point springs are broken. And expect stuck valves.

Lonnie
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Hey Johnnyj,
Lot of good advice already given here, but first question that I'd ask is....was the engine kept inside or outside in weather conditions. It makes a lot of difference whether an engine is cared for when put away..inside. Or was it left outside and not fully preped/covered? For example I just fired up a '36 engine that was kept inside a dry bldy environment and with fresh oil ,etc. With very little fanfare..I had that engine running like a song! BTW, luckily for me, it had few miles on a rebuild back when! Conversely, a guy I know found a '40 ford coupe with engine, sitting out in the desert for decades. The car had this incredible 'patina', but the engine looked like it was a solid hunk of rust. He disassembled the entire engine..cleaned/adjusted and reassembled it. You would get a smile listening to how well that engine ran. Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Henry View Post
Might get a few clues from this video of me starting mine after 31 years (just hit a half million views): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY389S_KUjs

All other ideas are good too although I did very few of them.
'Apologies to the Pope" How timely
Did you ever give any thought as to what would happen if the engine back-fired as you were pouring gas in to the carb.?
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

I've seen that happen. Carburetor flame up on initial start up of rebuilt engine. That is way too hazardous to be pouring into the carb. Just run a rubber fuel line from the pump to a canister on the ground. Much safer.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

I also recommend removing the intake manifold and checking the valley for sludge.

I am at work and can't post a lot, but search my name for the post about cleaning the valley.

After seeing how easy it is to do and how clogged it can be - it is worth a gasket and a couple of hours to do - before you start to put oil in and it starts puking out after only half a quart!
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:53 AM   #11
Old Henry
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
Did you ever give any thought as to what would happen if the engine back-fired as you were pouring gas in to the carb.?
Never did at the time. Had been doing it this way all my life without problems. Of course, out of the 1,000 responses to the video I've certainly taken a lot of "gas" for it. That's why I put the notation at that spot - to get people to shut up about it. I would probably do it differently if I had to do it again. Most likely would use a small propane bottle hooked to a burner torch that wasn't lit to keep it going until the gas pumped up from the tank. I've seen that done quite successfully since.

I have been quite struck by the number of people who watched this video that I thought was quite entertaining that seemed to see nothing but the faults in it and criticize them. Human nature, I guess. At least for some humans.
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Last edited by Old Henry; 03-14-2013 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by CC33 View Post
I've seen that happen. Carburetor flame up on initial start up of rebuilt engine. That is way too hazardous to be pouring into the carb. Just run a rubber fuel line from the pump to a canister on the ground. Much safer.
I'm assuming that you mean in place of the gas tank. I don't see how that would get the gas pumped up from the gas tank.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:41 PM   #13
R.W.JOHNSON
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Many thanks again for the great video, something the kids will always remember, i am about to start a 40 convert, a barn find that sat for many years, this will be a great help, best regards, ronny
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Getting ready to start the 34 that has sat sense 84, redoing the top in first, waiting on water pumps and coil, then give it a try, will advise, Bruce
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Henry View Post
Never did at the time. Had been doing it this way all my life without problems. Of course, out of the 1,000 responses to the video I've certainly taken a lot of "gas" for it. That's why I put the notation at that spot - to get people to shut up about it. I would probably do it differently if I had to do it again. Most likely would use a small propane bottle hooked to a burner torch that wasn't lit to keep it going until the gas pumped up from the tank. I've seen that done quite successfully since.

I have been quite struck by the number of people who watched this video that I thought was quite entertaining that seemed to see nothing but the faults in it and criticize them. Human nature, I guess. At least for some humans.
Well I think it`s fantastic to hear that old ford start up and run so nice. I also thoroughly enjoy reading your road trips on hear . Hope you keep us entertained. Thanks Brad
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

As Vic said, make sure you put oil in the cylinders first! I started one years ago and forgot to. When I pulled the heads later, you could see where it had really scraped up the cylinder walls bad.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Henry View Post
Might get a few clues from this video of me starting mine after 31 years (just hit a half million views): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY389S_KUjs

All other ideas are good too although I did very few of them.
Great video Reminds me of when I was a kid starting countless engines by dumping gas down the carb throat.

There are better ways today but that method was tried and true in the 60's for me!

Thanks for the memory Henry...

I recently started up my 51 F-3 after a Rip Van Winkle of about 8 years in restoration. She started like a champ. Smoked a bit for a while but after she woke up, the carbon burned off and she came back to her life. That old familiar "swish swish..swish swish....came back as music to my ears.

btw, I just use 1040 Castrol and added a Zinc additive to loosen a bit of the old sludge up. Mix it up a bit...Not too much and not for alot. Better to gradually remove the sludge so it doesn't all collect down in the oil pan. This way it will flow out with each oil change and I won't have to drop the pan to scrape out the sludge deposits.

Last edited by brien; 03-15-2013 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

I had a 53 F-100 that had been sitting for years, and had no compression at all, all valves were stuck. Pored deisel and atf in carb till ran out of spark plug holes, then put plugs back in, and filled up carb with same till full, let sit for a few days. Then removed plugs, and pulled around the block with a tractor (about 2 miles, as we live in the country!). When my buddy let aout the clutch at 20 MPH, it looke like a major exlosion as atomized deisel and oil engulfed the truck! When back at the farm put plugs back in and within 30 seconds of cranking, it ran smooth and quiet!
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #19
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Default Re: Start engine after 20 years sitting

Reading with great interest as I may try to start the 37 21 stud engine this spring. It has been sitting since the early 60's. It was stuck but with some MMO and a tire iron to pry on the flywheel teeth I managed to free it up after about an hour of soaking. Debating about trying to try it or open it up for inspecion first. I know very little about its history other than the transmission was put in a 37 tudor. Thinking it was used as a parts car for the tudor. I do know the rearend out of the car is shot and likely the reason it was parked. Car was laying on its right side for many years with the rearend close by. Rod
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