I hate to admit it, but I have a 1980 Corvette 350 Automatic, that has not
left the driveway (yeah i know not even garaged) for 4 years. What should
I do prior to trying to start it? Last time I started it was a little over
a year ago. I also know the brakes have issues since the peddle goes right
to the floor, so I expect to replace the calipers and hoses. Besides the
brakes, to get it started and running I assume I should do the following:
- Drain the gas tank, and put new in it.
- replace the fuel filter
- Oil/filter change
- Trans fluid change?
Two years before being parked, the engine was replaced with a rebuilt one
(mechanic screwed me over pretty bad) so it only has about 4k miles on it.
Once the car failed Ohio's emissions for a bad catalytic converter it got
parked, and hasn't been moved.
I am looking to get it back on the road again to either drive it or sell
it, and need some advice.
Thanks in advance.
First of all, fifty lashes with a wet noodle for letting her sit so long!
You SHOULD be ashamed.
First things First!!
Repair the brakes.
Next thing to do is to:
Repair the brakes.
FIX the damn brakes!!!
If they don't work there's no reason to start the engine.
Drain and change all fluids: gas, oil, tranny fluid, coolant. Change the
fuel filter. Change the filter on the tranny. Clean or change the PVC
valve. Replace the air filter. Remove spark plugs and squirt in small
amount of oil into each cylinder. Buy a oil pump priming tool, here's a
link to one at Summit:
Summit Part #: SUM-901010
Remove the distributor and using the priming tool and your hand drill
(counter clockwise direction), get the oil pressure up to 20-40psi for
at least a couple of minutes.
Without putting the spark plugs or the distributor back in, dry crank
the engine for a minute or two to lubricate the cylinder walls and give
the fuel pump time to fill the carb. Do NOT push on the gas pedal during
this cranking, you don't need fuel in the engine yet!
Put the engine back to timing mark "TDC" firing on cylinder 1 and
reinstall the distributor. Now is a good time to change the rotor and
cap and the spark plug wires. Reinstall the old spark plugs (they're
going to foul quickly with the oil in the cylinders, no reason to foul
your new plugs).
Cross your fingers, say your prayers to whatever god or gods that you
favor, and fire 'er up.
You'll probably need starting fluid to get her lit the first time, and
it'll smoke like crazy.
Your timing will be off so it probably won't run for shit until you get
it closer to correct, and by then the plugs will be fouled really good.
Just get it to idle and let it warm up for a few minutes. Once the smoke
quits coming out of the exhaust pipes shut 'er down and let her cool,
then put the new spark plugs in.
From here, fine tune the timing and the carb (if necessary) and you're
good to go.
You'll want to change out the engine oil and filter fairly quickly, say
100-200 miles or so. Having sat for so long there's bound to be
condensation inside the engine and probably a little grit, rust and
grime that will find it's way into the oil.
You'd also be wise to put a spare fuel filter in the car along with the
necessary tools to change it. Never know how much garbage was in the
bottom of your fuel tank that you didn't get out by draining the tank
earlier. Fuel filters never clog up while the car is in your driveway.
More than likely you'll be driving some country road, 50 miles from
anywhere, and the engine will cough and quit. Rather than wait for the
inevitable tow truck (and the "I Told You So" from your significant
other in the passenger seat), replace the fuel filter and viola! You're
on the road again.
'90 ZR1 #792
Thanks for all the advice.
Once I get all of that done, and she is purring again, do you have a few
recommended web sites that sell interior items.
Not only did I leave it out in the driveway, I was a mean bastard and
didn't put a cover on, so the sun bleached the carpet something fierce.
On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Crabs wrote:
I've had great luck with Corvette Central:
Zip Corvettes Parts & Accessories:
There's lots more online sites, but these I've used.
You might find that some parts have been discontinued and are no longer
offered new. There are quite a few Corvette Junkyards operating around
the country, do a web search for Used Corvette Parts.
Since my post on the 6th, I basically replaced the entire brake system,
master cylinder, 4 calipers, hoses, and rotors (was a real bitch getting
the hubs separated from the rotors)
Completed the fluid swaps etc and after all the other stuff, including
charging the battery it fired right up and sounds great.
I put new tires on, and also replaced the oil sending unit clearing up a
small oil leak.
Now I have a small electrical problem that I need some help with.
I seem to have a grounding issue that is impacting the wipers, blower
motor, and I think the AC comp. If I hold a wire from the block to the
metal casing of the wiper motor the circuit is complete, and it works
along with the blower. Where in the engine compartment do all of those
grounds come together? I assume it is a corroded/dirty connection.
Thanks for any input.
On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Crabs wrote:
You should have mentioned you planned to replace the rotors. That is
frequently a big mistake. The original rotors are machined as a unit with
the hubs/spindles and so replacements frequently do not line up true. This
creates excessive run-out and causes pumping of the caliper pistons which
pull air into the brake fluid.
Then you have no brakes.
You need a dial indicator and bolt the rotors tight to the hubs with proper
torque. Then check the run-out of each rotor. You will need the pads out of
each caliper to do this, the suspension at ride height (jack stands under
each suspension member) and turning the axles/rotors by hand for several
If run-out is excessive, you can shim the rotor to hub/spindle surface with
shim stock to bring them back true. If you can't with the shim, then you
might want to simply put the old rotors back on it each one's original spot.
Could be a central ground for the items that seem to not work unless you
ground them in the manner you described. The ground is most likely at the
fuse panel. The panel has a habit of getting corroded where it mounts to the
firewall. You could start by looking there first. Of course you could buy a
ground strap and make a permanent connection in the same manner as you did
with the wire from the engine to the wiper motor. All depends on how picky
you are. However, if it is the fuse panel it will only get worse and start
to affect other things.
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