Starting engine after sitting 15 years


Old 06-21-10, 05:48 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Starting engine after sitting 15 years

I will be helping my neighbor get his '61 Corvair back on the road. When he parked it some 15 years ago everything worked. I need a game plan to run through before trying to turn over the engine. My thoughts are:
  • replace all rediator hoses and fuel lines, flush and inspect fuel tank, rebuild fuel pump, replace fuel filter, clean air filters
    change oil and coolant
    pull the distributor and lube cam gear
    replace points, condenser, set static timing
    spray wd-40 in cylinders through plug holes
    turn crank a few times by hand with ratchet
    replace plugs and give it a try
I could go further and drop the oil pan and prime the oil pump with petroleum jelly as well as rebuild the carburetur and pull the valve covers to prelube the valve train. It would be great to hear from others who have actually done this a few times. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-21-10, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Canada (near The Motor City)
Posts: 616
I don't think your Corvair has a radiator so you can skip that one.
See if it rolls over by hand. Remove the spark plugs and let the starter turn it over with fresh oil in the crankcase.

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Old 06-21-10, 07:35 PM
rebel63's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 69
I don't think WD-40 is the right thing to use in the cylinders. 10w30 is more like it. Pull the plugs and put a couple of squirts from a pump oiler into each cylinder and fresh oil in the sump and use the starter to crank her over. It will self prime the oil pump and prime the whole oiling system, including the valve train as long as the starter and battery are in good condition and turn it over nicely.
The rest of the job would be to get the varnish out of the fuel system and get fresh gas to the fuel pump and carb. Then clean and reset the points and see if it will fire up. If not, the fuel system will probably need the most work. Coils and condensers don't usually give up just sitting there, but if you don't have spark, I'd replace the condenser first.
Remember, if it turns over, it WILL eventually start!!! Have fun! Oh yeah, and it is air-cooled, so you gotta have that belt turning the fan or it will overheat when it starts.
Old 06-21-10, 10:11 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Thank you gentlemen for the advice. Of course the Corvair does not have a radiator (I guess I had a brain fart there).
Old 06-22-10, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 759
Un-seized a high performance 65' ,6cyl chevy II that had been sitting for 3 years by pouring diesel fuel in cylinders, and rocking car back and forth a little every day, while in second gear (standard shift) . One day I gave it a good hip check on way by, and the car and engine rolled over. Hooked up battery, cranked starter over to spit out the diesel fuel, changed oil and filter, installed plugs etc, and it fired up, smoked a little for first few minutes, then ran like a charm from then on. The diesel fuel loosens, lubes and cleans the rings and cylinders up good.
If automatic, use crank pulley and good bar to rock engine.

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