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Starting a Corvair (or any non-operational car) That Has Been Stored

Updated on December 11, 2009

 Wether you are into restoring a classic car like the Corvair, or simply trying to get a car engine started after it has been in storage for weeks, months or years, there are basic  steps to complete before you crank it over to prevent unnecessary damage.

Most classic cars or cars entering into some sort of term storage are not prepared by their owners correctly. The following can apply to any Corvair or other car.

Do the following BEFORE you attempt to start:

1. Remove spark plugs and  pour one ounce of some automatic tranny fluid down the hole. Do this for each cylinder and let sit for 24 hrs. This will lubricate the cylinders. After waiting, attempt to crank manually with a wrench attached to the pulley. If it engine turns over, do this twice. If resistance is met, lube again and go back and forth with the wrench attached to the crank pulley. Do not force the issue or you will damage the rings or piston. Doing this will remove any cylinder rust and loosens stuck valves.

If the engine remains stuck, take a picture of the position that the distributor is in, then remove it. Drain the crankcase and refill with oil. 10w30. Change the oil filter. Prime the oil pump by using a drill to move it or buy an oil pump priming tool. Allow the pump to run for 30 seconds and then try to crank the engine manually two revolutions. Do this again with the oil pump running.

2. Drain your gas tank to remove the rust and bad gas (brown in color). Simply cut the fuel line. If the car is a Corvair, remove the fuel sender and make sure it works. if the gas tank is rusty, you should remove it or at minimum, attach fuel filters to prevent particles clogging the carbs. If the tank is not rusty, you should clean it to remove the varnish. To do so, add one gallon of acetone and let it sit for four days. Disconnect the fuel pump and blow compressed air into it to clear the lines. Fill the lines with acetone also to remove varnish. You might have to let the fuel lines also expose to acetone and allow to sit.

3. Reinstall the distributor in the same position. Inspect and clean the carbs. Remove any carb that is dirty etc. take it apart and clean or replace worn parts. Spray the cleaner into the small orfices of the carb to remove any clogged holes caused by old varnish and gas.

4. Install new spark plugs, new points, distributor cap, spark plug wires (depending on condition). Check the rear axle and tranny oil. Drain and add fresh oil.

Assuming the battery and starter are still fine, add fresh gas into the tank. Start the engine and allow to run for 30 seconds. Watch for any odd things happening like major gas or oil leaks. knocking sounds etc.


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