How-To Tuesday: Starting Your Engine After Sitting For Years

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If your Corvette has been stored for the winter, the first start-up is not really a daunting task. Wintertime storage can usually be passed with just some gasoline stabilizer and a trickle charger for your battery. For half-year storage, there’s really no need to over-think the procedure. In this instance though, we’re looking at a car that has sat for three years.

Over a three-year period, the gas will have broken down and will no longer be of good quality. It can gum up injectors or carb jets, and really should be flushed out with new fuel. It would be wise to flush out all of the fuel system as well. Fuel in the lines can go sour too. Another critical part is making sure everything has proper oil pressure. The engine in this case had just been re-built, so presuming the tolerances are a bit tight, it is cheap insurance to spend some time giving it a little TLC.

In the video below, you’ll see how to remove the distributor to access the oil pump gear. Spinning that with a drill — as opposed to spinning it with the starter — will build oil pressure in all of the passage ways. It may seem like overkill, but spending an hour or so with an engine that’s been sitting for three years is time well spent. Other system checks are worthwhile too, such as brake components that may have developed leaks, and coolant that might not be fresh anymore.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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