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Old 08-03-2015, 02:33 PM   #1
ktgarcia
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Question Starting my rebuilt flathead

My flathead was rebuilt and put on a dyno 3 years ago and run. I am very close to trying to start it for the first time while it is in my 1939 pickup. I haven't turned it over at all since it was run and it has been sitting on an engine stand and then in the vehicle until now.

I assume I need to put some oil in the cylinders and turn over the motor by hand a few times. Should I also take off the carburator bowl and look for any varnish?

What do individuals recommend for starting this motor after it has sat for a period of time?

I would appreciate any advice for the initial startup and thanks for the input.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

You have it down it looks like. If you haven't yet, I would drain the old oil and add new. How about posting a video? These "restarts" are sort of like witnessing a child being born. Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

After three years it should not need oil down the pots ,it will fowl the plugs and make it hard to start .If it was in a boat with salt I would say yes ,you could put in running in oil then just add gas and hit the starter, if there is any chance that rust scale can move around I would add stockings on the radiator for the first few days of running . Ted
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Remove stockings from girlfriend before doing that. Grin.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I would disconnect the ignition and crank it over with the starter to get oil circulation prior to start. I do this when I re-start after winter storage. Maybe over kill.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

The engine was stored without oil after the dyno run. I put in new oil, about two weeks ago. I also added water to the radiator, and fixed the water leaks (temperature gage, hose, and heater connection). Thanks again for the input.
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Old 08-03-2015, 09:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

An engine stored without oil is a whole different deal. A little oil down the spark plug holes is a must. You may or may not foul a plug but better than a broken ring or a
scored cylinder wall. I would then, as suggested above, rotate the engine by hand to make sure everything moves, then, as suggested above, turn it over with the ignition off and listen for any "ugly" sounds. If no issues present, give'r hell.
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I used to have an old cleveland oil pump with the usual hexagon drive from top.

Fabbed a flexible hose fitting off outlet.

I dunked the pump in a can of oil and screwed it into the engine gallery and spun the pump anti-clockwise which is its correct direction with a cordless drill.

Could feel when it had pressure up and the gauge quickly showed pressure too.

Unhooked the external pump and then spun on starter.

At least no need to spin a dry engine then.
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

What if any kind of coolant was in it during storage ? I hope it had a rust inhibitor in it.

How about draining and refilling the gas tank and system ? If it have ethanol gas stored in it I'd be concerned about membranes and gaskets in the fuel pump and carb.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Engines that have run retain oil in and around the rings, as soon as you start to turn them the oil will squash out and lube the bore , if you add some oil down the pots you may need to tow to start ,you could also give it a shot of Kerosene that will help set the rings ,Ted
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:47 AM   #11
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I always put some marvel mystery oil in the gas and oil for initial startup. Might be snake oil but it makes me feel good.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Make sure you have an oil pressure gauge and something to check the water temperature.

I just fired up my rebuilt engine and I did not have any oil pressure. I was very nervous, but realized that the pump needs to be primed. If it's bone dry, it can not suck the oil up. Its recommended by rebuilders to pack the oil pump with vasoline for an easy pump prime when you do start the engine. Vasoline melts at around 100 degrees. Some say bearing grease, but bearing grease melts at 350-400 so chunks of that junk will float around in your oil.

Anyways, before hooking up the distributor and "firing" it, you may want to get a very good battery or car charger and crank the engine until you see oil pressure.

Then start it.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

For those of us that sometimes forget to back the oil pump with Vasoline, a good method to prime the pump is: Pore some axle/trans oil into the top plug at the rear. Works every time.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Thanks so much for all the advice. There are several mentioned methods that sound good to me. The oil pump was not packed with vasoline so that method is out for me but wished I had asked the question before as I had to take my pan off once.. However, Ol' Ron's suggestion might be something to consider along with others. Ron, did you mean to put some trans oil dow the oil filler tube which is in the back of the motor?

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Alright aready! The suspension is killing me, You gonna start that engine or what?!!!
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktgarcia View Post
Thanks so much for all the advice. There are several mentioned methods that sound good to me. The oil pump was not packed with vasoline so that method is out for me but wished I had asked the question before as I had to take my pan off once.. However, Ol' Ron's suggestion might be something to consider along with others. Ron, did you mean to put some trans oil dow the oil filler tube which is in the back of the motor?

Thanks again for all the advice.
The oil filter tube has a restrictor in it, one end or the other depending on the model. there should be two fitting where the oil filter line connects to the bellhousing area of the block. Removing one of these fittings would allow you to get oil into the oil passages.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I am still working part time and don't have a lot of time mid-week. Hot August Nights is in Reno this week and I am going to the swap meet and the see the cars and trucks. Hopefully, I will get to trying to start my motor on Sunday.

Thanks again for all your input.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:13 AM   #18
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I have seen a new engine lock up after running for 30 seconds. It was dry at the gudgeons from having been stored a long time.
The only option here is to roll the engine over on the floor with the oil in it, other wise you take the chance of running it up, as it is.
DO prime it through the oil gallery at the back where the oil pressure sender is, and DON'T let it idle after it starts. You need to get some oil thrown around those bores and gudgeons and this requires revs a bit higher than a fast idle (1500 to 1800rpm??)straight away.
I would put a few drops of oil in all cylinders prior to firing her up
All the above is just my pinion.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

I'm with Bluebell on this. I would have rolled the engine completely 360* on the engine stand, letting the oil flow into upper engine cavities. Also, put a squirt of oil into cylinders first, to coat the cylinder walls when rolling the engine.

Last edited by L head fan; 08-05-2015 at 09:16 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Starting my rebuilt flathead

Just started this on the starter after sitting 4 years ,did the distributor new plugs ,as soon as fuel got up she fired into life ,Used to re ring some Japanese cars and the one thing you don't do is oil the bores or pistons otherwise you will have a smoker .
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...=160575&page=2
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