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A Learning Hobbist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems as though I am finally getting the '69 Buick electra that I've been wanting. Now, this car hasn't been started for about 20 years. I plan on soaking the cylindars with mystery oil, fresh gas and oil. What else should I do before I attemts to try and start it. After I get it home I am going to do a complete tune up on the car.

Thanks,
Steve

1969 Buick Electra 225 4 door
430ci 4bbl
 

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1st...Make sure the engine will even turn.....take all plugs out, put a wrench on the nut on the front damper and see if it will turn.

If it will, change the oil, filter. gas, coolant..........

New battery........crank it some without plugs to circulate oil......see if it has spark....put plugs in , gas and start it....
 

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A Learning Hobbist
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks...Should I prime the motor at all? Also, does anyone know a site I can get some tech info on this motor. I've been searching but so far I've been SOL.

Thanks again.
 

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I goofed once and primed the carb with good gas, it started and ran, but worst thing it sucked up a bunch of bad gas and crud from the fuel system. had to replace fuel lines, filters, drop and drain,clean tank and then go through carb.... so dont make the same mistake I did...I chalked that one up to the king of beer.... it ran good afterwards but didnt keep it long... it was a 78 ford f250 460 4 speed. so good luck
 

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Plan on checking, cleaning, or replacing the points in the distributor. If there isn't any spark but there's power at the coil with the key on then pull the cap and have a look at the points. If you can get her to turn over it'll probably run. Change your valvesprings when you get it home, some of them valves have been open for 20 years and the springs are probably toast. I'd be very very surprised if the transmission works. Bob
 

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Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
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Here's my take.

1) squirt a little thin spray oil into cylinders to get the engine to turn free by hand, I have actually seen every spark plug hole filled to the top with penetrating oil and let stand for several days. When you crank it, the pistons will blow the stuff out the spark plug holes. :thumbup: BAD MESS

2) Check coolant, remove radiator cap. Don't know how much pressure the old hoses will stand.

3) Run a fuel line from the suck side of the pump to a gallon jug with fresh fuel.
drain the line to the carb, probably dry, prime the float bowl through the vent.

4) Change the oil, use 5w30 for fast lubrication between dry metal parts that won't be lubricated by priming (cam, cyl walls), prime the oil pump LOTS, continously priming while turning the engine 90* at a time while still priming, do this several rotations with about 5 minutes of total priming time. This will get things coated, oil will run out of the bearings onto the crankshaft (to oil cam) and begin to pump up the hydraulic lifters that have gone flat with the springs pushing down on all the partially open valves for 20 years. (99% chance ALL the valves are closed now.)

5) reinstall distributor close to timing. install timing light.

6) optional = run an alligator jumper from the + coil terminal over to the battery, disconnect the coil secondary (spark plug) wire, turn key on run position and run a temporary aligator clip ground wire from coil negative to bypass the points. As you make and break the ground connection, the coil wire should spark from the coil. test complete. Points should be OK if it was running when they parked it.
Reconnect coil wires.

7) starter crank and blow out excess oil in cylinders..MESSY .. install spark plugs

8) Fill float bowl through vent. Prime by squirting fuel into carb barrels with ketchup squirter. Install air filter/can for safety sake. Leave off wing nut. Be prepared to squirt gas into hole around wing nut to assist start and initial run for 1 minute til fuel pump picks up prime. It will take more fuel than you think. Do NOT use a mister type pump spray bottle. fire hazard.

Start engine. HAVE FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY, and person who knows how to use it and won't panic.

With luck it will try to start, and lifters will pump up enough to start engine. Will probably run rough. Run at 1500+ rpm immediately for 3-4 minutes to pump up lifters and sling oil onto the camshaft. Expect to twist distributor by hand when engine starts, have timing light on it already and distributor loose enough to turn by hand.

If it won't self sustain running without squirting gas into air filter hole, then fuel pump might be done for and/or carb needs rebuilding (probably anyway). Expect to change FP anyway later.

Might take 10 minutes to smooth out unless carb is FUBAR.

After a reasonable time, change oil again, do all the other stuff necessary etc.

Done this at least once. ;)
 

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Start engine. HAVE FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY, and person who knows how to use it and won't panic.

I also like to have a large wet towel (go get your wifes guest towels she'll love you for it) so if I have a small fire flare up you can toss it over the fire and it will usually smother immediately and much less mess than fire extinguisher powder. One quick squirt of that fine powder and it's everywhere. But have that puppy handy and like Xntrik said have someone that knows how to use it and won't panic!!!! Use that marvel mystery oil down through the carb and thru the spark plug holes. Make sure you have a fully charged battery and a charger/booster handy since it might take a little bit of cranking and tinkering to get it to bust off. good luck and be safe.Brian :thumbup:
 

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Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy.
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brian0605 said:
Start engine. HAVE FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY, and person who knows how to use it and won't panic.

I also like to have a large wet towel (go get your wifes guest towels she'll love you for it) so if I have a small fire flare up you can toss it over the fire and it will usually smother immediately and much less mess than fire extinguisher powder. One quick squirt of that fine powder and it's everywhere. But have that puppy handy and like Xntrik said have someone that knows how to use it and won't panic!!!! Use that marvel mystery oil down through the carb and thru the spark plug holes. Make sure you have a fully charged battery and a charger/booster handy since it might take a little bit of cranking and tinkering to get it to bust off. good luck and be safe.Brian :thumbup:

Right. thanks

CO2 type preferred for flash gas fires.

dry chemical powder for open liquid fires..... you should NOT have open liquid spilled all over. :nono: use the recommended squeeze bottle type.
 

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I wouldn't even try to start it, if it was mine and I planned on keeping the original block with the car. I did two tours overseas while in the Air Force where my car sat without being run. The first time for 18 months, I came back and squirted oil in the cylinders and worked the crank thru by hand, put in a new battery, fresh gas, oil, antifreeze and was on my way. Six weeks later, I was changing a blown head gasket. The 2nd time, it sat for 5 years, and with 174,000 miles on the engine, when I got back I just went ahead and did an overhaul, new rings, gaskets, etc. If this thing hasn't been run in 20 years and if it has any kind of milage on it, I would go through it myself instead of taking a chance at blowing a head gasket, overheating it and possibly ruining the engine. Just my 2 sense, I mean cents!
 

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Every engine I've tore down that had been sitting 20ish years I have found the springs on the cyclinders that had opened valves were much shorter now than the others, springs do lose their energy after long periods of time in compression-seen it many times.
 

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73oldsman I'll say this about your misfortune, it may have had underlying problems that would have shown up even if you had never parked it. If the car was running when it was parked and it had antifreeze in it chance are it'll be fine. It may have weak valve springs and the piston ring tension may not be exactly what it was new.....but I have been lucky several times. And when I was a kid My Dad (ASE master mechanic 35yrs exp) would go buy these old 50's and 60's cars and trucks that had been sitting untouched 15yrs plus. He'd see if it would spin over 1 revolution by hand, install a fresh battery check it for fire (replace point and cond. as necessary) check the oil level, hook the fuel pump to a remote fuel source(2gal riding lawn mower tank ). Then he would have me spin it over while he would pour in a 50/50 mix of ATF and Gas into the carb(smokes like crazy). I haven't seen one yet that didn't fire up and run. Once home with it drain and clean fuel tank a needed, change all fluids, rearend included, tune it up,check the brakes and repack the wheel bearings, install new or good used tires and then start driving it.And as an adult I have done the same thing myself many times. The Other mechanic I work with has 6 70 model chevelles 1 of which is a 454BB full on drag-strip car and the other is a restored convertible (both garaged) the other 4 are in the country at his uncles house in a field, He goes over once a year hot battery shot of gas and an air tank and fires them up and moves them around to circulate the fluids then parks them for another year. He's fixing to start on one of them for his 15yr old son lucky duck. Anyway all that said it doesn't always mean just because one has set up for a long time that it's terminal. And yes you will probably eventually have to go thru the engine but it may be a while before you do, in the mean time you can be driving it and doing other stuff,interior body work, etc etc.....Brian :thumbup:
 

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A Learning Hobbist
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks...when I get to the car in the next few weeks I'll let ya k now how I make out.

Thanks again.
Steve
 

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If you get it running and before you drive it anywhere - BRAKES, BRAKES, BRAKES, AND WIRING. If it starts and drives and the brakes are NG you are in big trouble. It's almost a guarantee that after sitting 20 years the brake cylinders are frozen up and the lines full of goo. Likewise, if wiring is shot (or mice got to it) don't drive it. The first thing I do on any old car before driving is to completely re-do the brake system and check the wiring. Even if the wires appear ok, anything over 20 years that has been sitting should be replaced as soon as you get the chance
 

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brian0605 said:
73oldsman I'll say this about your misfortune :thumbup:
It wasn't a misfortune...I know what I'm talking about. I've still got the car I'm referencing. Bought it in 1975 and I'm still driving it. The engine and drivetrain in it came with the car, although modified. I just can't see risking a collectable car original engine these days, especially with the value of cars the way they are. Sure, an engine may be run that's been sitting for 20 years, if one wants to do it, but if it was a car I was going to restore for myself I wouldn't chance putting a rod through the block. I also agree with GCD1962, brakes and wiring. The paint and interior were last on my to-do list. As a matter of fact I am redoing my interior for the 2nd time right now. Just my opinion. :cool:
 

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I was just relating personal experiences, and if you don't call blown head gasket a misfortune that's ok too. I wasn't throwing rocks at what you said. I was just saying what I have experienced through the years. There are so many variables with a car that has been sitting for that long. Unless we were there with the car to make an accurate evaluation as to exactly what to do we are all guessing and just giving our personal OPINION based on our own experiences. That's all any of us has to draw on. And you know what they say about opinions.........and again I wasn't trying to throw rocks or poopoo on what anyone had said. Just trying to give another view. If anyone was offended I apologize that was definitely not my intent. :D Brian
 

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Thanks!! 12yrs to this point and still ain't done(are they ever?).It's my father-in-laws, he lives in south alabama. I'm a transplant here to mississippi. My folks live in pensacola area ( saw that you live in NWflorida). Anyway my father-in-law drives this car every day,and 200miles one way when he comes to visit us, sometimes twice a month. By the way you got a pretty spiffy ride yourself!!Seeya Brian
 

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Marcel
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At rest for 20 yrs

I don't understand how you can turn the engine over my hand with a wrench and the moving parts and bearing that are with out oil do not scratch the surface its touching my turning it my hand instead of using the starter. the faster it turns over with the starter, the quicker it'll get oil to the bearings an other surfaces. it'll get oil with the same drag either way, just slower. I'd put on a mech oil pressure gage to insure its getting oil pressure.
I have a friend who won't change oil with out priming the oil filter. Ever watched a gage upon crank up to see how long it takes for the pressure to star rising, you can't count it in seconds. and besides there's going to be as much oil on the surface of bearing after a oil change as there are after it sits over nite. this has been debated for years, but sure are a lot of engines out there with over 200,000 miles that still run good , which have been well maintained with out priming the filter. Food for thought, if we done everything exactly as it should be done, we'd be about 300 hrs a day short of time to get everything done right.
 

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lanierledford. I can only say why I turn an engine over by hand. The reason is to insure that you don't have a stuck valve or to make sure the rings aren't stuck to the cylinder walls,but mainly to check for a stuck valve. If you turn the engine through by hand and encounter resistance i.e. piston and valve touching then you can stop and find out the problem and most of the time correct it with a good soak of trans fluid or marvel mystery oil. If you drop a hot battery in it and start spinning on it and the valve is stuck open you will rest assured have a bent valve. And of course we all know what that means :pain: :sweat: . I'm not concerned about there not being much oil on the bearings. That's what they are for. What a lot of people don't know or realize is that once an engine is running the crank and rods are supported by a thin layer of oil and the bearings are not actually touching the crank. This is one of the reasons a high output engine requires more oil volume and pressure so as to maintain that thin film of oil at high RPM's. And a final note on the whole prefill or not to prefill the oil filter, I was instructed several years ago to NOT pre fill. Prefilling runs the risk of contamination that will be sent directly to the bearings. I work on a fleet of 74 trucks. We have 4 or 5 2000 gmc vortec 4.3l with 350000 miles plus, I have always dropped the old filter off and lubricated the o-ring on the new filter and spin that baby on dry, fill the pan with oil and fire it up. It usually take about 3 to 5sec to get oil pressure. They don't use or leak much oil 1qt generally in 5000miles and we generally change the oil in them once a month. So the argument to prefill is dead for me. The only time I will prefill is when I have just built an engine and I am going to fire it for the first time, and then I'll use my priming tool and spin it by hand till I see oil on the rockers on both sides of the engine. After that I just change oil as I normally would. I will say this if it makes you feel better to pre fill the filter with oil by all means go for it. Just make sure that you are using a quality brand and use caution to prevent anything from entering the filter. :D Ya'll have a Great Day. ;)
 
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