Register now to get rid of these ads!

Projects Tips on starting a car that's sat 18 years

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Joe Sloma, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Joe Sloma
    Joined: Jan 9, 2017
    Posts: 24

    Joe Sloma
    Member

    Title is a little off but accurate. I have a 1955 Plymouth Belvidere I just bought that's sat 15+ years in the back woods of western Washington state. I was assured it ran when parked (ha) and so I bought it and dragged it back to my place on a flatbed.

    I've since replaced the plugs and wires, battery, battery cables etc, removed and replaced fluids and filters, and it cranks over beautifully. Downside is that's all it does. Turns over but doesn't fire, any tips?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Dist. cap, rotor, points, condenser and ignition coil.
    P.S. Buy yourself a service manual for that specific Plymouth, if you're planning to keep it.
     
    Torkwrench likes this.
  3. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,228

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And a compression test.
     
    Atwater Mike and stillrunners like this.
  4. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427

    Raiman1959

    I had to start a 1959 car that sat from 1984 to 2013....the biggest issue I had was the gas was solidified solid in the fuel pump, carb, especially the fuel lines, and most ANYTHING else that fuel was associated with....that "old" gasoline is an ugly business....stunk like nothing else, and a gunky mess. Once cleaned out....and everything cleared...started right up...........it's always ''the fuel'' system for me it seems to deal with
     
    czuch, Bruce Fischer and clunker like this.

  5. A couple questions- have you confirmed if you have spark and fuel delivery? Confirming that both are good and still no start
    - If the car has been sitting that long-check for restrictions in the exhaust.



    Drive Em
     
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,902

    squirrel
    Member

    if no spark, you could replace all the parts in the ignition system. Or just file the points, which don't cost nuthin.

    I'd do a compression check after verifying spark...sometimes the rings get stuck when they sit.
     
    czuch and stillrunners like this.
  7. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,200

    anthony myrick
    Member

    check voltage from the switch
    make sure the distributor is getting proper voltage
    clean the points
    check the condenser
    drop a little oil in those cylinders (nothing to do with firing, just a little ring protection)
     
  8. canning
    Joined: Jan 22, 2012
    Posts: 70

    canning
    Member

    Have an OT farm truck that sits a year between harvests. The last two years mice have gnawed holes in the suction side of the rubber supply line...same to hot rod. Got to get a cat.
     
  9. gas and ignition. what it boils down to.
     
    Bruce Fischer likes this.
  10. Joe Sloma
    Joined: Jan 9, 2017
    Posts: 24

    Joe Sloma
    Member

    Is there a way to check for spark? I'm pretty new to this, but I checked and the fuel systems are working, the jets spray fuel from the cleaned tank etc. So that leaves the ignition as the prime suspect. I'm also doing this as a low buck project with no power tools and nothing fancy for tools/parts. Year specific shop manual is in the mail.
     
    stillrunners likes this.
  11. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 712

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    yup spark and fuel, would try to start it off of a 1 gallon gas can and not the fuel tank, make sure the accelerator pump is working, squirts fuel in the carb .
    Oil in the cylinders to free up stuck rings and increase compression.
    Do a compression check as suggested earlier, I have heard of some cars with stuck rings from sitting.
    They were able to pull start the car to get the engine turning fast enough to start, let it run for 10 min and that unstuck the rings and never had a start issue again.
    I prefer to just let the cylinders soak in atf and unstick themselves. The rings could just as easily break instead of unsticking, then you have a forced rebuild.

    The truck in my avatar was never froze up and sitting since 1978. Been soaking the cylinders with atf since August. She will be a smoker when I start her up.
     
    czuch and Bruce Fischer like this.
  12. Joe Sloma
    Joined: Jan 9, 2017
    Posts: 24

    Joe Sloma
    Member

    I'll take a look at how to do a compression check (never done one before). I was thinking of pull starting but it's an automatic so that won't help much. (I should add that the engine turns over easy with no hang ups by hand and with a starter, and I tried the gas can trick so it's definitely an ignition problem, I just have to figure out what type now.
     
  13. Joe good job on the save - like Squirrel said you can file or get some sand paper - 280 grit is good - and run it between the points - most crud up while sitting - pull a plug and lay it against the engine for a good ground and turn it over to see if you have spark - the starter relay is on the fender well or should be maybe on the firewall - put a screw driver in between if you don't have a helper to turn the key....no key ? run a jumper wire - from neg to the pos of the dist - guys help me - mopar was still pos ground in 1955....any way compression might be the issue - put a little Marvell mystery oil done the spark plug holes and bump the starter - need to get those piston rings out a little....
     
    clunker likes this.
  14. I never owned mechanical repair "power tools" in my life.
    I've always done just fine, without them.
    Glad you have a manual coming.
    Study it well !
    If, after studying the manual, you may have questions.
    Ask away, many here will give you realistic replies .... with accuracy.
     
  15. Should oil the cyls. before turning it over. I bought a 427 one time that sat for about 10 years and when the guy fired it up it scuffed the cyl that the valves were open. The piston clacked until it warmed up, but it ran fine. Had to eventually bore it.

    I would have still bought it anyway, but I wished I would have taken the heads off first to assess the condition. It ran when he parked it! :rolleyes::)
     
    bobg1951chevy likes this.
  16. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,200

    anthony myrick
    Member

    this will help explain how the ignition works
    is your car negative or positive ground?
    6 or 12 volts?
     
    Eric Crow and Atwater Mike like this.
  17. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 712

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    verify spark, but the less compression you have, the easier it will turn over.
    Think a rule of thumb, you need at least 65 pounds compression for a engine to start and run, closer to 100 pounds for it to run good. Others will have a better comment about compression, this is just a general idea.
    So if you say your motor turns very freely, it sounds like low on compression to me.

    Good catch on the 1955 being 6 volt positive ground. My 1952 is, not sure when went to 12 volt negative ground, have to look that up.
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  18. Joe Sloma
    Joined: Jan 9, 2017
    Posts: 24

    Joe Sloma
    Member

    It's a six volt positive ground, I made sure of that when I bought new battery and cables.
     
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,902

    squirrel
    Member

    yeah, 65 psi might get it running, 100 would be considered good for an old motor that's been sitting.
     
  20. ay
    Thinking he has already cranked the engine.
     
  21. Joe Sloma
    Joined: Jan 9, 2017
    Posts: 24

    Joe Sloma
    Member

    Yeah I did a squirt of marvel mystery oil when I changed the plugs, and it turned over great, old plugs looked clean
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  22. PoRodder
    Joined: Sep 28, 2014
    Posts: 90

    PoRodder
    Member
    from St. Louis

    We've always had a lot of engines that sit here on the farm for months or years on end without starting. When I do start one that's been sitting for over 10 years I'm usually also worried about dry rod, main, and cam bearings. Also dry rockers and valve train. Ring protection, ignition, and carb/Fuel system rebuild are always expected. Maybe I worry for nothing.
     
    Montana1 likes this.
  23. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 712

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    curious as what motor is in the car?
     
  24. LOS Control. We had to pull start a 1957 chevy my brother had gotten{it was a stick shift} Left it in gear with the key on and pulled it down the road to try and start it.1st it burped and farted then finally started up{and bumped in to my P.U. trucks rear bumper.LOL,} .Let it run a while then tuned it up and changed the oil and he had a running car. Bruce.
     
  25. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 712

    Los_Control
    Member
    from TX

    Bruce, and fun it was! pick these old beaters up for a couple dollars, make em run and stop and drive the wheels off of them. Maybe we new that it might damage the rings , most likely we just did not care. It worked or it did not. When it did work, we went cruisin.

    I have been laughing at myself over a dilemma I ran up against.
    The truck in my avatar has a flat tire. I grab a wheel with correct bolt pattern, then remember the mopar locating pins.
    Back in the day, would not even hesitate and reach for the hammer.
    I just stepped away from the truck, it did not need to roll anywhere at this time, will rethink the locating pins.
    After a couple weeks, I was at peace with myself, was satisfied that I was building a driver, I did not want 60 year old wheels, the pins would always come back and haunt me ... I am ok with removing them.
    Then someone posted about drilling a hole in the wheel to accommodate the pin. :mad:
    Now I will make a simple plywood jig and drill the hole, set the jig aside for next time.
    Kinda miss the old days :D
     
    Bruce Fischer likes this.
  26. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,264

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My #1 son bought a '54 Ford Coupe for me for Fathers Day. (back in 1991) It was an Aptos, CA car, (I used to see an old man driving it daily around Seacliff Park...)
    Anyway, son Rich saw an ad in a San Jose paper. We went to look at it, I recognized it immediately.
    It was the one from Aptos! Hadn't seen it for 14 years, it was on a car trailer...guy said he picked it up for a parts car for his tudor wagon, same year.
    I looked underneath...Man, NO RUST! Car had spent its life on the Pacific coast, and the green paint under the floor was still nice.
    Rich made the deal, and we went off looking for a car trailer...switched the Ford to our rented trailer, then brought it over the hills to Atwater.
    Car was pushed into the barn, sat for 3 months more...
    Rich came over, and we decided to look it over, start it?
    A 12 volt battery was set in place of the 6 volt, plugs removed, oil squirted into all 8. Stick tranny in neutral, we cranked it a few revolutions, replaced plugs. Pumped some air into the gas tank to prime the gas line, discovered a leak at the flexible inlet...replaced line, turned ignition on, and cranked...3 seconds, fired right up.

    This was a car I had drooled over, ('54 Coupes are rare! I had owned 10 of them, since '61)
    Thought I'd never see another one. Asked the old man in Aptos if he'd sell it, "Nothin' doin'!"
    Guess when he passed away, the San Jose guy snapped it up at an estate sale...
    Rich gave him $600 for it, I was amazed.
    I pinched myself to see if it was true. LOL
    Now I'm ready to assemble its new 406 FE, an easy fit... but just think! A V8/stick '54 Mainline Coupe with no rust...I'm so lucky.
     
    warbird1, Bruce Fischer and czuch like this.
  27. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    czuch
    Member
    from vail az

    Oil in the cylinders. File the points.
    Blow out the fuel line, unhook the inlet to the fuel pump.Hook a cheap electric fuel pump to a gallon of fresh gas going directly to the carb. Give it a kiss, turn the key.
    To check spark, have a friend hold the spark plug.
    If he jumps and wants to beat you up, you have spark. Get him a beer and a chair.
     
  28. hotrod37
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 112

    hotrod37
    Member
    from Indiana

    Check for spark - file/clean the points. Make sure you have your 6 volts to coil, leave off the dist. cap, clamp/ground a spark to engine/car so you can see the tip. Put a spark plug wire in top of coil and attach to the grounded plug. Make sure points are closed, open points with screw driver. Should see the spark plug fire or even a spark at points.
    Hopefully, you have a good cap and plug wires, so then you should have spark at the plugs to run.
     
  29. cruch, I have been zapped many a times by holding a spark plug wire or coil wire. Always made my teeth clenth. LOL. Bruce.
     
    Montana1 likes this.
  30. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I have put several old motors back in commission that sat for up to 30 years. First rule is not to change anything without diagnosing first. As you have already broken this rule we will have to start from scratch.

    Any engine needs 3 things to run and your job is to be sure it has them

    1) Compression

    2) Spark, happening at the right time in all cylinders

    3) Fuel, mixed with the right amount of air

    If it has those things it has to run, it has no choice.

    First thing compression. You can feel the compression as the motor turns over or in your case, perhaps you should do a compression test

    Spark. Are you getting a good spark at all the plugs? Is the timing set correctly and are all plug wires connected to the correct plugs? (firing order)

    Fuel do not trust the gas in the tank, it is probably bad. Connect a motorboat gas tank or gas can to the fuel pump. Is gas getting to the carb? You can leave this question to last. If gas is not getting to carb you can dump a small amount of fuel down the carb and the engine should at least fire. If it fires for a few seconds you know the compression and spark are ok and can turn your attention to the carb.

    That is just the bare outline. I am not going to sit here and type out a million words of every goddamn thing that can be wrong with a car. Check your motor according to the above advice and if you still can't get it going come back with a specific question. Good luck.
     
    squirrel likes this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.