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Starting car after 40 years, & other questions...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hyfire, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232


    Hey Guys,

    I am getting ready to fire up my old car which has sat in a clean and dry garage/shed for nearly 40 years. I have searched and read a bunch of old posts but still have some unanswered questions.

    Please pardon if any of my questions are dumb :D. I have fired up old motors, but none that are as important to me as this one, so I want to get every detail right.

    Just for a little background: The car had an air cleaner installed the whole time. It is a 392 Hemi motor with a B&M Hydro-Stick (GM based).

    ENGINE Questions:

    E-1.) All say I should put some oil into the plug holes. I am planning on a good week of spraying with PB Blaster/WD40 and then using some motor oil for another week or two. How much oil is too much?

    E-2.) I plan on taking off the valve covers and inspecting everything. Then lube up everything. Do I just use straight motor oil or do I use assembly grease and pour some oil in as well? I have no idea if the grease is needed and I don't want to clog any oil passage ways.

    E-3.) Do 392 Hemi motors prime the oil system through the distributor gears like SBCs do?

    I plan on getting everything in order then trying to turn it over by hand a bunch of times.

    TRANS Questions:

    T-1.) The trans is an aftermarket (circa 1962) B&M Hyro-Stick. How do I prep this? Other than maybe flushing it out and cleaning out the pan.

    T-2.) Anyone know any good trans guys in SoCal who rebuild these (Just in case it needs it)???

    GENERAL Questions:

    G-1.) I'm going to remove my gas tank, flush it and the lines. Obviously new fuel filters too. You think the fuel pump will work or should I rebuild it before hand?

    G-2.) I know it ran just fine when parked. I am thinking I won't monkey with electrical/ignition unless I have a problem. Just lube up the Generator and get the fire extinguishers ready. Sound right?

    If you guys see any flaws here or have any suggestions please let me know!

    I appreciate all the suggestions I can get!

  2. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,262

    from Michigan

    A 392

    I think I can answer one question for you, Hyfire. I'll leave the rest for more experienced fellas here.

    Rebuild the fuel-pump first...pretty sure the diaphram is dry and brittle, and will crack, possibly allowing fuel to enter the crankcase.

    One other bit of advice. Have fun. I know you're gonna.

    Maybe tell us a little more about the car?
  3. Cub8556
    Joined: May 22, 2011
    Posts: 146


    I would atleast try turning it over by hand just to make sure nothings stuck. If it is stuck keep up with the pb blaster soaks until its free. Can't help you with the trans. Fuel pump could work just make sure you got a new filter between the carb and pump. I'm sure others can give you a more precise approach, but usually a new battery, gas, oil, and filters get me somewhat running especially if the motor ran when parked.
  4. Check the belts and hoses . Replace the fuel hoses . Might think about the coolant too.


  5. Set up a video camera and film the action, I have got to see this Hemi run after sleeping 40 years.
  6. Forty years sitting ... after fire up plan on probably every seal and gasket going south ... but what the heck, tear down is fun! Just a thought, dont know what you have for timing gears but if fiber, they might be alittle brittle. ... good luck and take pictures!
  7. hot_rod_bones
    Joined: Sep 25, 2011
    Posts: 195

    from topeka, ks

    i would love to see video of this as well.

    did you put any kind of storage fluids anywhere before you stored the vehicle?
  8. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621


    It has sat completely dry? No oil in it at all?
  9. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,262

    from Michigan

    Thought of couple more things. You said maybe you wouldn't mess with any of the electrical. I assume you're gonna replace the spark plugs, but maybe replace the spark-plug wires too, if they're brittle. Clean and gap the points. Also check the carb...see if there's powder and other crap in the bowl. While you're in there, maybe pull the float if it's not made of metal, and immerse it in fuel overnight to see if it soaks any up.

    And be careful with the gas and fumes. Eliminate any sources of ignition. Use a fluorescent trouble-light. Turn off the furnace. I don't want you tellin' us, "My car blew up!" like milo1957 did the other day.
  10. Hyfire
    pour the new engine oil down through the heads.Make sure to get all rockers and pushrods wet.A marine supply place,or ATV place will have storage oil.This will foam in the cylinders.It's in a spray can.Leave in a day or two.Turn the motor 90 degrees and spray again.
    Transmission:As you suggest.If the convertor has a drain,do it too.If not.Change to oil in the pan.After you've fired the motor and run for a while,drain the trans again.That will get all the old oil out.
  11. fts55
    Joined: Dec 24, 2009
    Posts: 580

    from guthrie ok

    I had a '55 Chevy that had sat for atleast 20 years, the engine was stuck, but the powerglide primed right up and worked! I say pull the distributor, prime the oil pum and give it a shot!
  12. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621


    a couple things, and take it for what its worth. You will have to go through some serious oil to do this. It sucks, but I have done it before and I firmly believe it kept it alive.

    From what I understand the motor has run before. I know the cam has already been broken in but modern oil is low in zinc, so you might want to run an additive on first start up.

    I drove mine for one day with the break in additive then pulled the car into my shop and dumped a quart of trans fluid in the oil and let it idle for 10 minutes. It turned the oil black.

    ATF has a higher detergent content than motor oil. Just dont drive around with the ATF, you'll kill the motor.

    Everyone else has had good suggestions, these are just mine...
  13. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,621


    and change the oil and filter after the ATF cleans it out! I forgot to add the obvious.
  14. kevin mac
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 106

    kevin mac
    from toledo,oh

    hey just a quick note...nobody said to ,but im sure after 40 years of hot and cold the condenser will not work... no consenser /no fire.... all else aside ... man i would like to see it fire up....let us know how it went....kev
  15. Graham M
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 406

    Graham M
    from Calgary AB

    I'd recommend against WD-40. When that shit mixes with the actual engine oil it wont help anything. Its handy for small engines, as it helps fire the plugs initially, and helps lube, but for a decent engine worth keeping I'd be pretty leary about it. I'd pull the plugs, pour some oil down there, then along with a bit in each valve. Lubricate the entire engine valve train since it'll be bone dry until that pump starts sending oil.
  16. wristpin
    Joined: Aug 31, 2009
    Posts: 48


    fuel tank might need to be seen about, as far as breakfree lube, atf/acitone 50/50,
    let sit a couple days
  17. echale3
    Joined: May 13, 2011
    Posts: 26


    Be careful with the gas tank!!! If it's had leaded fuel sitting in it for the past 40 years then there'll likely be a lot of sludge in the tank that won't come out easily during the flush, but once you have some ethanol gas sit in there for a while, it'll loosen up, a bid slug of it will go through the filter, hit the carb, gum everything up, then your carb will overflow, and your engine will catch fire..... Don't ask me how I know, but let's just say that I now keep a fire extinguisher in my car.....
  18. themoonshiner
    Joined: Dec 30, 2011
    Posts: 47


    heres my 2 cents dont use wd40 use marvil mystery oil sfter you get the plugs out dump it in the cyl and wait a few days then repeat that stuff is a god send for stuck motors
  19. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Just curious why it sat for 40 years? Anyway, Marvel in the cylinders, new oil and filter, new trans fluid and filter/screen clean, rebuild/new fuel pump, rebuild carb, replace fuel hoses, clean fuel tank, rebuild wheel cylinders and master cylinder, and new brake fluid, repack front wheel bearings, replace rear end gear oil, tires will probably have "some" dry rot, rear axle bearings possibly at some point. BUT, you might get lucky; me, I'd probably have to replace everything. The big thing is, acids leach out of the oil, and that's what causes the damage. Butch/56sedandelivery
  20. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,778


    mine sat for 30,this is what i did. used the atf/acetone,but not at 50/50. 75 atf,25 acetone. let it set for 2-3 days or a week. see if you can turn it over by hand.just the way i was told to do it. if you can, look down in fuel tank and see what you can see. i found a 3 ft piece of garden hose in mine lol, but lucky me no varnish. i put a fuel filter between tank/pump for start up,AND one between pump/ carb. you can try first,putting some gas down the vent tube on carb. so it wont have to struggle to get fuel. new plugs/wires. sand points. i also used rottela T oil for start up and i guess you could call it re- break in. if you can do prime the oil before trying to start. just a note keep a fire extingisher close by. also mine had dirt dobber nest all over thought i had them cleaned all off,use goggles lol. after all that mine runs fine and rear main does leak a little. good luck and let us know how it works out.
  21. AeroMonte
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 156


    I'm about to test fire a 59 Ford wagon that's been parked since 1974. I pulled the valve cover and plugs. Poured ATF in the cylinders and all over the rocker assy. I waited a week then used a screwdriver on the flywheel to free up the motor. I'm going to install a mechanical oil pressure guage on the motor and pre prime the oiling system a couple of times. Once the oiling system is pumping fresh oil and showing pressure on the guage, then I'll start rotaing the motor by hand several times, with the plugs out. This should lube everything up and be ready for a test run.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  22. dorf
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,087

    from ohio

    wd 40 will actualy wash the oil out of the cylinder walls. ask me how i know.
  23. Video? Hell I say road trip to Cucamonga!!
  24. 39ChevyBob
    Joined: Jul 14, 2011
    Posts: 604

    from Pomona CA

    X2 - great stuff...
  25. I'm pretty sure the car he wants to start is his time capsul bonneville Chrysler 300 that he saved from it's 40 year slumber
  26. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,410


    I want to see the car... Do you have any hepcat friends that are good with digital media? I'd love to see a youtube video of the first fire-off in almost 40 years!
  27. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232


    Thanks for all the suggestions and tips guys. Keep them coming if anyone has any more. I will start feeding in the Mystery Oil and go down the list.

    I'll get some video when I'm ready to fire her up. Thanks again!

    Should be fun... (And smokey) :D

  28. fatkoop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2009
    Posts: 712


    Just a couple notes:

    1. you can't just spin the distributor on a early hemi to get oil pressure, the engine needs to be turned over to build pressure and get oil to all the vitals.

    2. Second the motion to flush out the tank and refill w/ good gas.

    3. make sure it spins over freely first, before trying to light it's fire, no point in doing any damage trying to start it.

    4. see if it holds water and no freeze plugs have corroded thru or fallen out, and the water pump is still good.

    5. just do all the routine timing and spark and fuel tests so you don't have to crank on it for a long time before it fires.

    I love them ol Fire Powers!!
  29. Blades
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,188

    from Chicago

    I just think the car in your avatar is sic!

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