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Starting a 352 that has been sitting for 2.5 years

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  • Starting a 352 that has been sitting for 2.5 years

    Curious what other members think.

    Bought a '58 hdtp that has been in storage for two and a half years. Protected from weather, looks good. 352 should be fine, fingers crossed. It was running well when put away.

    Unknown what PO did to prepare car for storage, and he probably didn't intend for it to be there that long.

    So, here is my plan to fire it up. Comments, observations, directions welcome.

    Will drain gas and put in fresh stuff. Pull spark plugs, check condition, and put a little Marvel Mystery Oil or WD 40 in each cylinder. Turn engine over with plugs out to get oil to main bearings and rockers and other critical areas. Reinstall plugs, and fire it up. Will avoid revving engine and will just let it idle until it heats up, and check auto transmission for fluid level.

    Your input welcomed.

  • #2
    Be aware thereís a chance one or more valves MAY have become stuck in its guide.

    To be 100% sure there isnít I would suggest removing the valve covers and rocker shaft and give each valve a good rap with a plastic faced hammer. Obviously if the valve is stuck in the open position you will see it straight away, a large screwdriver or similar may be needed to lever it shut!

    A stuck valve can lead to a bent pushrod if the valve is badly stuck.
    A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

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    • #3
      Be aware thereís a chance one or more valves MAY have become stuck in its guide.

      To be 100% sure there isnít I would suggest removing the valve covers and rocker shaft and give each valve a good rap with a plastic faced hammer. Obviously if the valve is stuck in the open position you will see it straight away, a large screwdriver or similar may be needed to lever it shut!

      A stuck valve can lead to a bent pushrod if the valve is badly stuck.
      While doing the above I would also drizzle Marvel Mystery Oil over everything before using the mallet on the rockers just to lube things a bit with light oil. Sounds like it should be an easy one to bring back to life!

      A complete brake flush should also be done before much driving too!

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      • #4
        I would not put gas in the tank and run the car. Run the car using a clean gas can instead. Gas that's been sitting for 2 1/2 years can turn to varnish and clog your fuel system and carburetor. Most likely your carb will have to be cleaned out anyway. If the tank looks new it can probably be taken out and cleaned. If it's an original tank buy a new one.

        John
        John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

        Thunderbird Registry #36223
        jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

        http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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        • #5
          let us know how it goes.
          1959 Thunderbird 397ci
          Cruise-O-Matic
          Flamingo Pink.
          Thunderbird Registry #8442
          Daily driver

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          • #6
            Thanks for the recommendations.

            The one-two step of Marvel Mystery Oil and a set of new plugs made for an easy start, and it is running very well. Was actually very little gas in the tank, but it smelled fine, so I dumped in five gallons of fresh stuff, no problems, fired right up. Potential for rusting in gas tank since it was nearly empty for those years, will keep an eye on it, and the filter.

            Couple of problems to fix, rad was leaking so pulled that to send out for repair, and there is an exhaust leak at the rear part of the right manifold at the head.

            Master cylinder was nearly empty, so put in some fresh fluid and the brakes are OK, at least good enough to get it to a mechanic friend of mine who has a lift.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jopizz View Post
              I would not put gas in the tank and run the car. Run the car using a clean gas can instead. Gas that's been sitting for 2 1/2 years can turn to varnish and clog your fuel system and carburetor. Most likely your carb will have to be cleaned out anyway. If the tank looks new it can probably be taken out and cleaned. If it's an original tank buy a new one.

              John
              What I want to know is how the armed forces store fuel for years without going bad.

              Dean

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              • #8
                If you want to store it for a period of time mix a bit of Avgas in with it.

                Jon
                Jon
                Deepest Hertfordshire
                Old enough to know I'm right...
                1960 Hardtop T'bird
                1961 Hotchkiss M201

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deanj View Post
                  What I want to know is how the armed forces store fuel for years without going bad.

                  Dean
                  The fuel suppliers are required to "mix" (additive package) the fuels so as to remain stable for an extended period, particularly in sealed drums. One supplier we used in the past, Howell Hydrocarbons, informed me that the fuels were required to be serviceable for seven years, but they felt confident that it would be usable past approx. eleven years!

                  Scott.

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                  • #10
                    Now that makes sense. Iím a fan of Stable, and I use it in the Thunderbird for Winter because sheís driven sparingly.

                    Dean

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