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Old 02-09-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

I bought a 91 RS last night for 500 bucks that has a 305 TBI, perfect body, one owner (older couple), always garaged with 99,000 miles.

The problem is it has been sitting in their garage for 9 years. I am almost certain no fuel additives were added before it was parked and there is a little over a quarte tank of gas in it.

I know of some of the things I need to do before attempting to start it but am unsure of what else I should do. Don't want to ruin anything :-)

I know to:
- drain gas
- replace fuel filter
- change oil and filter
- drain radiator
- check hoses and belts
- replace battery (done)

The previous owner tried to get it started 7 years ago by pouring gas down the tbi but was unable to get it started.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:04 PM   #2
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

prime the endine by turning the crank after you change the oil to get it oil'd a bit before u start it//besides that, you pretty much got it..check the tires for flat spots as well..or dry wrot.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

Pretty much what you and itsMikey said. I'd most likely pull each spark plug and give each cylinder a squirt or two of oil too. Tires will most likely be shot unless it was moved around over that time.

I'd just make sure the rad was full and the hoses were there. I wouldn't bother draining, replacing belts and hoses until I ran the thing and let it circulate and warm up a bit....woulda been better if it was parked with a full or empty tank....might have a lot of garbage in it.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

I'd also pour a tad of oil in each spark plug hole, wait a few days, and make sure it turns over by hand first.

New dist, plugs, wires, rotor definitely. Check the condition of the ignition module inside the dist - even though it's been garaged, moisture can still rust the plate - may need replaced or cleaned and regreased with dielectric grease.

After that many years of not running at all, I think I'd drop the tank, empty it, clean it well, get any gunk and funk out, replace the fuel pump and sock - that gas had plenty of time to turn into tar resin by now, and the fuel pump is going to be gummed up bad I'd imagine. Even if it's not, the pump is 18+ years old - better to replace now rather than be stuck on the highway next month. Then I'd add Sea Foam for the next 4 fill-ups.

Also might add a pint of Marvin's Mystery Oil in with the oil change.

I'd check condition of the rubber brake hoses before I went screaming down the highway - would suck for one to break and you end up hitting something.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

If it has been sitting that long, imo don't even check them, replace all the belts, hoses and vacuum lines, if you do want to check them the vac lines can be checked by seeing if black comes off on your hands, or better still, if they crumble the moment you touch them(my car which sat for 11 years) from what I have heard modern gas does not gunk up like the old unleaded stuff, but still, I would drain it if its that old, the easy way, just unplug the fuel line and jump a wire to run the pump(can do that at the aldl or at the oil pressure sending unit I think) obviously drain it into a gas can or bucket.
Change all the fluids, brake fluid, oil, oil filter, crank engine without firing to lube it up good, replace differential fluid, replace coolant, AC will probably need recharged if you want it to work,(just don't do it yourself if you don't know what you are doing, the stuff can flash freeze skin) I would replace all the suspension bushings, weatherstripping, tires, rubber tends to get brittle as it gets old, plastic depending on the type also does, I would change the spark plugs and wires, new cap and rotor, new ignition coil, transmission fluid and filter, I think thats about everything, but you will probably find other things that might need some work.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

I'm hoping upon hope I don't have to pull the tank. I had to do that in my '01 Firebird and that required taking the whole rear end out etc....major PITA just to replace a fuel pump.

I'm siphoning the gas out here in about an hour and am hoping that it comes out fairly clean. The car has always been in the dry Tucson, arizona weather so I'm hoping that helped things.

I've never turned an engine over by hand, how would one go about doing this?

Thanks for your help guys
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:46 PM   #7
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

with a breaker bar on the center crank bolt, but thats not how you want to prime it with oil, unless its absolutely dried up, which it wouldn't be unless it was just assembled, and even then I believe you are supposed to oil up the cylinders, what you do is disconnect crank it with the fuel or spark disable, I would opt to do it without fuel so you don't flood it, I believe you could just pull the fuel pump fuse and it should still crank but the pump won't kick on so it won't be able to start or flood the cylinders with fuel.
As far as the tank, unless you need to actually replace the tank, you don't have to actually drop it to replace the fuel pump, you could do it the way I and several others have done it, which is to cut a hole on the hump above it, and remove it from the top, and put in an access panel/hatch over it, just don't do a hackjob at it like some people do, if you want more info on it, just search "fuel tank access hatch" in the v6 section, also you can PM me if you need more details on it.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:59 AM   #8
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

I am in the exact same situation right now with a 91 GTA that has sat for 9 years.

Did all the above stuff, and much more. PM me if interested.
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:40 AM   #9
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

Well, I bought a siphon kit at autozone that had a hand pump and a couple hoses but was unable to get any gas to siphon out, even after putting the hose in all the way. Not sure if the hose was hitting something in the tank or what (fuel pump maybe).

Turned on ignition and listened for the fuel pump but heard nothing, going to check the fuel pump relay tomorrow morning but went ahead and ordered a new fuel pump too. Since I'm going to replace it I figured I can just get the gas out when I take the tank out. Decided I'm going to forego the hatch so I can inspect the tank better anyway. Don't want any problems down the road on debris being in the tank. 9 years is a long time and don't want to take any chances.

Also found that there is a lot of redish colored residue in the radiator hose and the white plastic container for the coolant fluid. I'm assuming that is rust.

Is there a way to flush the coolant system without turning the car on?
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #10
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

Just finished doing the same thing with an 87 5.7 TPI IROC that sat for 8 years. Pull the wheels off, clean up the rotors, pads and lube the slide pins. Drop the tank and wait til you see whats left of the hoses and vibration damping material inside...as well as the rust and crap. The pump is junk...replace it, as well as check ALL the steel lines for rust/rot, replace fuel filter and any lines that even look punky. Pull all the plugs, spray Mystery Oil in the cylinders, get under the car and rotate the motor by the flywheel with a pry bar at least one full rotation ( I dont like to use the crank bolt as the motor is likely seaized a bit and the bolt could actually snap off in the crank snout ...then let it sit for a few days. Pull the dist. and prime the engine with NEW OIL after drainin old stuff and changing filter. Plan on changing the ICM, dist. cap and rotor, wires. Let the belts and hoses ride until you workout the bigger bugs you will get with running issues. Put a quarter tank of SUPER and a pint of Mystery oil into the tank, and prime the system a bunch of times BEFORE you attempt to run it. Let it all sit for a few days, then put new plugs in, and give her a shot. If she runs rough, tap the injectors in the TB GENTLY a few times and see if the spray pattern gets better...then let it run for a good 20 -30 minutes and see if it gets better as it goes, and also check for oil pressure and water temp issues right away. Once this is done and she runs, get ready to chase and fix a whole bunch of silly issues I personally do NOT prime motors by cranking them only because its still turning a motor over thats dry as a bone...if its sat that long anyway. Just mark the cap and #1 location, the base to the manifold, and then get yourself a cheap enigine priming tool, pul the dist and drive that oil pump with new oil with the key on and another set of eyes watching the pressure, and prime the SNOT out of it for a good while to get the oil all the way to the top(hint: look in the fill cap area with a light and after a few, you should see oil moving towards the rear of the car along the base rail of the head)

Last edited by Superkop; 02-12-2011 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:29 AM   #11
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Car: 1991 RS Camaro and 1999 Z28
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

Well started tearing things apart to get the gas tank out so I could replace the pump and ran into a snag...ugh...I have two bolts on the control arms that are so stuck I can't budge em.....gotta hit up autozone in the morning and get some pb blaster....couldn't find my breaker bar either so gotta buy one of those too. *sigh*
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:38 AM   #12
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

Unless you have a lift breaker bars are next to useless on suspension anyways....been there tried that, pretty much need a lift or air ratchet if they are super stuck...
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:49 AM   #13
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

a torch and hammer are your friends

as for the block. I would not try to fire up an engine that had been sitting dormant for 9 years with the same coolant in it.

My assumptions would be

radiator is shot
heater core is shot
water pump is shot
lots of rust sitting within the water jacket

and the list goes on


But, you bought a $500 car that wasn't running. If you view it as a roller then you will have the correct mindset and all the things you find won't be get you angry, you would have expected them.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:20 AM   #14
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

It's Alive!!

Here's what all I did to get the beast running after it's 9 year slumber:

Replaced stock rotor with MSD rotor
Replaced stock cap with MSD cap
Replaced stock coil with MSD Blaster coil
Replaced spark plugs
Replaced Stock fuel pump with OEM pump
Replaced Fuel Filter with Fram fuel filter
Replaced Oil
Replaced Oil Filter
Replaced upper Radiator hose
Replaced battery

It is running rather rough, so I still have some issues to work out but it felt good to get it started. And am now confident that the engine isn't a lost cause, other than the fact it is a 305...heh.

Now I have to flush the cooling system and find all the little things that are gonna need replaced that aren't so visible.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Re: car sitting for 9 years in garage, what to do?

My 91 RS sat for two years and the coolant temp sensor went bad and made it run very rich when we finally got her started. I'd look at replacing that plus check all of your brake lines/bleed the system before driving. Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:59 PM
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