How To Start A Classic Car That’s Been Sitting (Part Two)

After verifying that the fluids are in decent shape, we’ve got the green light to continue. Our next step is to check if the motor actually turns over. Instead of simply bumping the starter, we’re going with a more gentle approach to avoid damaging anything.

Grab a large breaker bar and a socket to fit over the crank pulley bolt, we’re going to try and turn the engine over by hand. In our case, we could actually grab the pulley and crank the engine over partially (compression is clearly not that great). Engine not turning over? Pull the valve covers and spark plugs, then pour in your favorite penetrating oil (we like using Marvel Mystery Oil). Let the oil soak in for a few days and try turning the engine over with the breaker bar again. If all goes well, you’ve freed up your seized engine.

In the case of our falcon, the gas tank was never drained. We don’t want this 18 year old gas getting pumped into the engine, so we’re going to disconnect the fuel line right at the pump. From here, we’ll run a temporary new line to a fresh tank of gas. I opted to replace the fuel pump with a fresh unit to eliminate any potential fuel delivery issues. While you’re there, be sure to replace the oil filter and pour in some fresh oil.

I decided to install a mechanical oil pressure gauge to check the condition of the bearings. After popping in a fresh battery and filling the carburetor float bowl through the vent tube, have someone crank the engine over with the starter while you monitor the engine. We noticed that the starter solenoid would stick so we ended up replacing it with a new unit.

The falcon fired right up and idled on her own! I was also pleased to see satisfactory oil pressure readings, this engine has some life in her! We opted not to run the engine very long as we don’t know the condition of the cooling system quite yet. However, during the short period she was running, we didn’t hear any knocks or notice any serious problems. This is great news, meaning we don’t have to perform a heart transplant on this falcon.