I am looking at a pretty rust free '73 with a 1.7 engine. Car has been sitting for about 4-5 years without starting it. I don't suppose the engine is seized up from all that time sitting, but any suggestions on how to turn it over by hand to see if it still moves?
Read somewhere to put the car in 5th gear and attempt to push it forward. Would that work or is there a better way?
Thanks for the help.
You could also pull the spark plugs, squirt some oil down the cylinders, put it in neutral and then using the fan belt bolt and a long breaker bar turn the motor over. With no plugs it should spin pretty easily.
Best way to do it.
You could also just try gently rolling it in gear in a flat surface. Sitting for that time period should be OK unless water got in or it was super humid, just make sure you get oil pressure on fresh oil before actually firing it (assuming the engine spins freely).
Thanks for the advice. I get removing the plugs and the oil squirt. When you say fan belt bolt, do you mean the one in the center of the alternator pulley? That's what the socket and breaker bar go on? Just wanted to be sure I understood you correctly.
Yes, that is the right spot but personally I find it easier to just roll the car.
That has the advantage of making sure you don’t turn it backwards as well, but that may only be useful if you’re a bit of a moron like I am.
Let us know what you find.
5th gear and roll it. Definitely the simplest way.
Either way will get it done. The wrench on the alternator bolt works when the car will not or can not roll. Jackstands, tight space in garage, locked up brakes, etc.
Many thanks for the replies.
Assuming engine rolls over by hand. Now to start it.
I am reluctant to just pour new gas in the tank and turn the key.
Given the car has the original FI system on it, how can I get gas to the injectors under pressure from the fuel pump OR can I just attach a can of gas to the fuel line past the fuel pump?
Also, what is best way to get some oil into the cylinders. I assume you need or want a uniform coating around the cyl walls before you crank it over? Could I spray WD40 or similar in there.
Getting the engine started may the make or break on buying the car. Otherwise it looks pretty rust free.
Oh, and I forgot the best part. When it finally fires up, get ready to fog the neighborhood.
Make sure you have garage door open and that the neighbors will not call the fire department.
There will be a ton of white/blue oil smoke when it all finally lights off and it will take time to burn it out of the heat exhangers, muffler, etc.
Thanks for the heads up on the smoke, etc. Car is outside so fogging up a garage wont be a problem. Car was stored inside for the 4 years that it sat. I know that's not a guarantee there wont be problems on start up or that issues have not already developed
Still don't know how to handle the gas. Just put fresh gas in the tank and try to start? I suspect there is sediment and junk in the tank. Didn't want to run all that crud thru the fuel system. Ideas on fueling?
Take a look in tank with flashlight.
In my case (carbs) car sat for about 16 years and I started mine without any crazy pre-preparation.
Decent gas doesn't really have much if any "sediment" per se. It's not like you'll find a 1/4" of crap in the tank on the bottom (or at least you shouldn't). Yes, there is some minor particulate which is caught 1st by the gas tank screen (big stuff) and then later by a fuel filter (usually down to about 10 microns). Yes there may be some light varnish in the tank and/or even a very light surface rust. Neither will prevent you from starting it to see if it runs.
Now I'm not saying that the tank shouldn't be cleaned properly, and fuel filter shouldn't be replaced (again) before you put it on the road. It most certainly should. If you can easily put in a new fuel filter 1st before starting - do it. The fuel filter will prevent clogging of carbs and/or fuel injectors. Some filters are easy to get to, and, some aren't depending on what model year and/or whether previous owner has relocated things.
Since this car has FI you can "flush" the fuel system by removing the plug from the pressure port on the fuel injector rail and connecting that to a catch container. Cycle the fuel pump a few times and make sure you have clean gas at the FI rails before trying to fire it.
The other thing would to be to 1st disconnect the spark plug wire from the coil to the distributor. Build oil pressure by cranking (without ignition) before attempting to fire it.
No need to get crazy since it sounds like you haven't even bought the car. I wouldn't get too involved in "fixing" someone else's car prior to purchase. I'd set the price before you get it started assuming it won't. The minute a seller hears the car run the price will likely increase magically!
Many thanks for the advice and responses.
I looked at the car this past weekend and it looks to be solid. Good longs, jack spurs, interior floors, trunk floor. A little rust on the shelf behind the FI control unit and bottom corners of the windshield. Seats, backpad, and dash have no cracks or split seams. Just dusty and dirty from sitting.
Car has original paint and only 12,000 miles on the odometer. Given its condition, I don't think the odometer has rolled over. Have come to find out it has not been started in almost 15 years!
The reason for all of the start up questions is the guy that owns it got it as part of a package of old Corvettes and motorcycles from a lady whose husband just passed away. He is a muscle car guy and has admitted he knows nothing about the car. That's why I am a bit reluctant to let him start it up for the first time. Although, engines are engines - gas, air, and spark.
We'll see where it goes. Thanks again for the help.
While it is possible it seems highly unlikely that it only has 12,000 miles on it. The interior, if only 12,000 miles on the car, should look almost brand new. If not it’s been poorly stored and we’re has rolled over, both of those suggest caution on having realistic expectations about all the mechanical bits.
I would not let him try to start it personally.
Given these cars are 50 years of age.....12K miles is highly doubtful. But you would be able to tell by looking at the car. It should look like new inside if that is the case.
I am feeling like 112K or 212K or even 312K is likely. Heck, 112K would still be a low mileage car. Regardless, Superhawk996 is right on. The chassis condition is the most critical part of this equation. If that is solid with minimal rust you already hit the lottery. Rebuilding a 4 cylinder is a piece of cake after that. Post some pictures so we can see this baby.
First of all, thanks for bringing my head back to earth. Its easy for me to get excited about the good and ignoring the not so good. Looked at the car again.
I have to agree with you all. Mileage is probably 112k or more and not just 12k. Interior and engine bay bear that out.
Attached some pix. There's some good and some bad. All of the wheel wells are uniform black and well covered with rust proofing. Was this done by PO as preventive measure or hiding something???
There are places where it is near perfect and other spots you have to ask how does that happen??? Could be someone started to clean it up, got part way and gave up.
Tried to roll the car in gear with plugs out. Someone put on the E brake recently. Rear brakes are locked up. No surprise. Its been rainy and cool here for weeks and the car is outside.
Engine is still unknown but I have made some contacts that will sell a rebuilt 1.7 for about a $1000.
Offered the guy $4k. He is considering. Thanks for all of the input from everyone.
The picture of the door jamb looks good; very good. Almost too good. The fender seam ends about and inch before the bottom of the fender. Might be bondo?
Need to look at the hell hole under the battery and the jack points. If you look at the car again, ask to jack it up using the jack points; see if they are solid.
About the 1.7L engine, I would advise against it. If you're going to look for an engine, look for a 2L or larger. I bought a 2.056L with dual carbs from Brad Mayeur for less than that. Having owned a 1.7L, 1.8L, 2L, and 2.056L, go for the 2L or larger engine. The power difference will transform the car. With the 1.7/1.8L, I could out drag a fully loaded semi-truck from a red light. With the 2/2.065L, I could keep up with some of the lower powered cars of today.
Hi Ed - I think your offer was good. Just sit and see what he does/says.
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