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Reviving & Restarting Your Old Engine

Four Wheeler logoFour Wheeler 1/11/2017 Jay Kopycinski

Old Engine Startup Lead

Old Engine Startup Lead
© Jay Kopycinski

You got an old engine that hasn’t been started in who knows how long. Maybe it’s an old relic you hauled home, some aging vehicle you haven’t touched for years, or Grandpa’s old farm truck you found stored in a dilapidated barn. You want to see if you can get it running again to determine the state of the engine and whether it’s salvageable. Before you go wire up a battery, slosh some fuel down the intake, and turn the key, it is good practice to do a few other actions. These things may just save you from ruining what may have been a good engine. 

Research

First, parked vehicles that sit too long tend to harbor insects and possibly rodents that have taken up residency. Know that these squatting critters could be in the intake, the exhaust, or in the bellhousing.

Once you’ve successfully got an old engine to crank over and run for a bit, you will want to consider the needs to make it an engine that can reliably run for sustained periods. Watch for any signs of overheating too. You can determine which parts might need to be replaced for the long term, along with changing whatever oil and coolant is needed. You may experience rough running, which could be caused by simply a worn engine, stuck valve issues, or fuel delivery problem. A compression test is often a good spot-check for stuck valves and lower-end condition.

Amazingly, many old engines can sit for long periods of time yet be brought back to life with a careful approach and a few precautions. Be warned though that seals can age and may start to leak from sitting idle too long. You probably won’t know for sure until the engine is up and running. Good luck bringing that old engine back to life.

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