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311s Start-up After Sitting A Long Time

So you finally picked up a roadster and it has not run in who knows how long. Or you had your car in storage for an extended period of time. What should I do to get the car back on the road?

First off, check all of the fluid levels.

  • Oil-change the oil and filter.
  • Fuel-If there is fuel in the tank, drain it. It has probably gunked the tank up. This may require removal and a thorough cleaning. Check all fuel lines, replacing the rubber fuel lines and filter. You might want to pull the fuel pump and have a look at the diaphram. They tend to rot out especially after sitting with rotten fuel in them. Pull the carbs and disassemble for a thorough cleaning. Check the floats to make sure they do not have fuel in them. Reassemble and install-topping dampers off with ATF fluid(works well in most cases).
  • Cooling system-Hopefully you pull the cap and see anti-freeze. If not, pull the radiator and get it rodded out if you cannot afford a recore. Pull the thermostat housing and replace the thermostat. Now is a good time to flush the entire system. Check the upper and lower radiator hoses. Replace if necessary. Reinstall radiator and top off cooling system with recommended mixture for your area.
  • Braking system-Unfortunately the brakes are probably toast. Brake fluid naturally asorbs water which we all know leads to rust. The front calipers are probably seized. Do a visual inspection of the rubber brake lines. Replace if they look cracked. Flush the braking system and give the brakes a try. If they work-you got lucky. If not, plan on replacing the front caliper pistons and the rear wheel cylinders at a minimum.
  • Ignition system-Replace cap, rotor, points, plugs and wires.
  • Electrical-Check to make sure the ground strap from the stater to the frame is still in place. This tends to get left off and can cause smoking choke and throttle cables.Charge up battery and secure in place.

Once all the above is checked and fixed it is highly recommended that you prime the oiling system prior to cranking the engine over. This holds true whether it was a non-runner, in storage or a newly rebuilt motor. The easiest method is to remove the distributor(See note below*) and using an electric drill and driver spin the oil pump for several minutes. I made an extension/driver out of an old 3/8" spade bit. I ground off the point and used an extension made for the spade bits to make it long enough. Works fine.

After spinning the oil pump with a drill counter clockwise, reinstall the distributor. Try firing up that baby and hopefully she will start right up. If you are having problems getting it started, make sure you are getting fuel and spark before you get too excited.

And your journey has just begun!

Note: Remove the distributor and make a note as to which way #1 is oriented so you can get it put back in the same way.