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Old 08-23-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default Engine restart concerns

My '88 RoadTrek's been sitting without a battery for about 15 months, and the time is near to get it running again. I'm just a day or so away from buying a new vehicle battery and lighting the fuel injected Dodge 318 off after its long nap. Two concerns have occurred to me, and maybe there are others I haven't thought of. I'm planning on pulling the engine cover (a MAJOR p.i.t.a. in the RT) and turning the engine over with the coil wire off the distributor 'til I see some oil pressure, just to prevent any problems from oil settling out and leaving bearings without lubrication. I'm also wondering about the half tank (if I remember correctly) of gas that's been sitting for so long. I'm concerned that the gas may have gotten gummy or lost octane or some other change that could cause more problems on startup.

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, cautions, warnings or other experiences you may have had with old fuel and anything else about bringing engines back to life after being idle for some time.

Thanks!

BC
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebob
My '88 RoadTrek's been sitting without a battery for about 15 months, and the time is near to get it running again. I'm just a day or so away from buying a new vehicle battery and lighting the fuel injected Dodge 318 off after its long nap. Two concerns have occurred to me, and maybe there are others I haven't thought of. I'm planning on pulling the engine cover (a MAJOR p.i.t.a. in the RT) and turning the engine over with the coil wire off the distributor 'til I see some oil pressure, just to prevent any problems from oil settling out and leaving bearings without lubrication. I'm also wondering about the half tank (if I remember correctly) of gas that's been sitting for so long. I'm concerned that the gas may have gotten gummy or lost octane or some other change that could cause more problems on startup.

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, cautions, warnings or other experiences you may have had with old fuel and anything else about bringing engines back to life after being idle for some time.

Thanks!

BC

I think I would check the dipstick for oil quality, and if it looks like it has any water or gas in it, I would change it cold, including filter that can trap water.

For the gas, I would fill it with new gas from cans, and with Seafoam added in a concentration high enough to cover the gas in the tank also at 1-2 oz per gallon.

Unless you want to check the air cleaner and cover for rodents and nests, you probably don't need to pull it right away. You should be able to just pull the fuel pump fuse to kill the injectors while you turn the engine over to get oil pressure. This is actually better than disabling the ignition which can put fuel in and flood it.

Once you have seen oil pressure, you can put the fuse back in and turn the key on and off a few times, but not to start. Like 5 seconds on, 10 off, and listen for the fuel pump running for a few seconds each time you turn it on. That should prime the fuel system.

Then see if it fires. If it doesn't in 3-4 short burst of starter, you can give it a shot of starting fluid in the air intake.

15 months is terribly long, so it should be fine. If it has ethanol fuel in it, it will have a tougher time than if it is straight gas.
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

Thanks, booster!

Did you mean that 15 months is NOT terribly long? From your context it seemed so. Sure it does have ethanol fuel - thanks Washington! I'd never thought of listening for the fuel pump! It's my first non-mechanical pump (first fuel injection, too) which contributes greatly to my uncertainty. That also explains why I hadn't thought of flooding the engine, which could be bad!

I'll have to move the van to change the oil and filter, but plan to do that before driving any distance. Seafoam users sing its praises to the heavens, but I've been leery of "magic" additives. What, exactly does it do and why is it appropriate for my restart issue, please? If I just pour it into the gas filler (and how else could I add it?) how will it mix with the stuff that's already in the tank "til I drive the van enough to stir it up?

BC
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

What Booster said, especially about the gas. Do not use it. I really recommend to syphon it out as much as possible and refill with fresh gas. Seafoam is good; I think there is a formulation for fuel injection and another for carbeurator. And for next long park, consider adding the right proportion of fuel stabilizer to a FULL tank of gas, drive it for 15 minutes to slosh it around and get it up there in the system.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebob
Thanks, booster!

Did you mean that 15 months is NOT terribly long? From your context it seemed so. Sure it does have ethanol fuel - thanks Washington! I'd never thought of listening for the fuel pump! It's my first non-mechanical pump (first fuel injection, too) which contributes greatly to my uncertainty. That also explains why I hadn't thought of flooding the engine, which could be bad!

I'll have to move the van to change the oil and filter, but plan to do that before driving any distance. Seafoam users sing its praises to the heavens, but I've been leery of "magic" additives. What, exactly does it do and why is it appropriate for my restart issue, please? If I just pour it into the gas filler (and how else could I add it?) how will it mix with the stuff that's already in the tank "til I drive the van enough to stir it up?

BC
I don't consider 15 months to be all that long, under most conditions. I have often started hotrods that have sat for two years or more (although they had preserved fuel), just by priming the oil and giving them a shot of starting fluid. I would also do pretty much all the same stuff i mentioned earlier if it was less than that, if it had been stored without gas preservative especially. I really do like Johnny's suggestion of siphoning out the gas that is in there, also, if it is possible. You probably won't get enough of it out to help the initial firing of the engine, but it would get clean fuel much quicker once it did fire. I don't think Seafoam had any magic ingredients in it , but it really does do a good job on gasoline gunk and shellacing, so it can be very useful in a case like this. If you are going into a tank that has gas in it like you do, and in this case you would be adding fresh gas anyway if there is room for it. Just mix the Seafoam into the gas you are adding before you pour it in. Use as much as you would for the entire tank. Do it as far ahead of time as you can so it can mix itself to a degree.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

Mix the Seafoam by adding it first, then adding the fresh gas on top of it. Seafoam cleaned out a clogged up carb I had on a 2 cycle weed eater this spring. Would just barely run, added the Seafoam to the 2 cycle mix per the can instructions + a couple ounces more, ran the s**t out of it at full throttle for about 3 minutes and it finally cleared out. Runs perfect now 6 months later.
Seafoam can also be used as a fuel stabilizer
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Engine restart concerns

Thanks for the replies, y'all. It makes sense to siphon out as much of the stuff that's in the tank before doing anything else. Proper (safe & legal) disposal may be an issue. That aside, I now have a pretty clear idea how to proceed, once the RV has a battery in place. The wiring cleanup's in another thread, but suffice it to say that it's taking longer than I expected.

BC
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