Starting Old Engines

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by AJAX, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. AJAX
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Syracuse & Fort Wayne, IN

    AJAX New Member

    I have a 1968 Chris Craft Constellation 30 with twin 327's the boat has been out of the water stored inside since 2000. It was winterized when it was put away, and said that the engines were professionally oiled and rolled in 2006, and haven't been started since then. Obviously need going to start with taking the spark plugs out and spraying some lube into the top of the cylinders, then let it sit for awhile. Both of the tanks are about a quarter full of ten year old gas. How can I get rid of it the easiest? Any other input that will help get my old girls running would be greatly appreciated.

    -Alex Jackson-
     
  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    Call the County government where the boat resides and ask what department handles the
    distruction or collection of old gasoline ?(most likely the Health Dept.) You do not have to tell them it is on a boat. Just say a couple of drums partially filled. They will tell you how to handle the problem and will be thankful you called as most would probably just burn it.
     
  3. Capt Ram
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: lake worth

    Capt Ram Junior Member

    I just got rid of 90 gallons of fuel this week by calling the waste management company - I took it to the county land fill where it was off loaded and somehow it will be recycled cost $8 for diesel , the fellow there said gas costs about $2 a gallon ! so maybe you should burn it??
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    It will spit and sputter, but run on old fuel. Top it up with fresh fuel and use it.
     
  5. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    I agree with Gonzo.

    You could turn them over by hand (with a big wrench) or disconnect the ignition and turn them over with the starter a few turns before firing. You'd probably be okay to simply fire them as they'll likely turn over several times on the starter anyway. You could also pre-warm them.

    If you really want to empty the tanks first, you could try your local fire training center. They may be interested in taking away your old fuel.

    Have fun!

    -Tom
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A lot of damage can be done by lack of oil, especially in the upper portions of the engine. I'd do several things before turning them and starting them. First would be to drain the oil and fill with fresh, including a filled, new filter. Next, I would prime the oil system by spinning the pump up until you have gauge pressure for a few seconds. You have to pull the distributor and use a special tool (you can make one or rent one from an automotive supply store). This will insure you've driven good, clean oil up to the top of the engine, through the bearings and out the valve train. The lifters will probably clack a bit, but only for a second or two as they pump up, but the bearings will be good to go. I'd remove the spark plugs, squirt some penetrating oil into each cylinder then slowly rotate the engine by hand through a full revolution. Maybe repeat this after a second squirting in each cylinder.

    With the distributor and new plugs back in place, fill the fuel bowls with fresh fuel. I'd use a squeeze bottle at the bowl vent tube for this. Then add some fuel stabilizer and at least as much fuel as you have in each tank on top of the old. Now, you're in a better position to not break something if you crank them up. Don't get me wrong, you could just freshen up the fuel and have a go at cranking them up, but I've seen this cause a host of problems. The most common is a broken ring, because it was rusted to a cylinder wall during the layup and when the starter tossed a crap load of torque at it, snap . . . time to rebuild. The next thing I've seen are spun bearings. The oil drained out and left a hard, wax like varnish, semi welding the bearing to the crank journal, you fire her up and the bearing stays attached to the crank for a fraction of a second, rips off the locating tab and, bingo the oil holes no longer align and it starves, gets hot and well the rest of the story is, how fast can you shut her down when the knocking starts . . .
     
  7. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    If you are going to use the gas add hi octane to it and use pure gas. I had a 327 in my chevy and it was a hot engine even stock. here is a link to stations in the US that sell pure gas--no corn. http://pure-gas.org/
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You don't need pure gas, nor high octane fuel, though you might want to consider a lead additive, if your engines haven't been rebuilt since the early 1970's. If they have been rebuilt since the early 70's, they've very likely had valve seats installed to accommodate lead free fuels. Lastly and also something Stan made me think of with his post, is change out to all new fuel lines and a rebuild on the carb with new gaskets and seals.

    The ethanol fuels we now have will eat up your old school fuel lines fairly quickly. If you've got limited experience with this, diagnosing the problem can drive you nuts. You'll tinker with mixture setting, clean out debris in the bowl/needle/seat area, etc., all looking to clear the junk, when it's actually the hoses breaking down and leaving little bits in the passages of the carb. So, Stan's recommendation of pure gas is sound to avoid this problem, but you'll be using these fuels anyway so, you might as well get the upgrade now. Hi octane will not do crap to an engine without the compression ratio, to take advantage of the additional flame travel it provides.

    A last note, you'll see two type of needles in the rebuild kit, one has a black or very dark gray tip, the other all brass or aluminum. Use the all metal needle. The "tipped" needle is a rubber tip and will suffer the same problem as you hoses. You'll probably have to readjust the float setting fairly dramatically (bend the needle tang) as the two different needles are different lengths.
     
  9. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Well... what happened, what happened???

    -Tom
     
  10. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    He probably already had a bunch of broken rings from when it sat for 6 years and some joker sent a kid in there to roll it over and flush it out. I've worked on a lot of engines and brought more than a couple old cars back to life. Change the oil filter and FILL the engine with oil and let it sit for a week or two, plug up the exhaust ports or it will all just leak out and make a mess. Take the water pump off of it as its probably dried out and no good anyway. After what seems like an inordinate amount of time drain the oil back down to where its supposed to be Then take a wrench and slowly and carefully try to crack it loose. Do this with the plugs or injectors out of it. If you can move it with a wrench then move on to try the starter, if that works you just might have a runner. If it sticks a lot when you roll it over with the wrench you probably have at least one disintegrating ring. Its a re-builder at that point.

    oil the holly pejebers out of it and go slow is the only way to bring an engine that has sat for years back to life successfully

    I recently passed on a old Mercedes 300 series diesel in great shape for $600 and low mileage that had sat for 5 years cause when I got there some kid was spinning it over and over and over, then I noticed the can of either. End of looking at that one.

    its pretty easy to spin a bearing or burn a cam so thats why you want to flood the engine with oil and leave it for a while.

    best of luck
    B

    ps
    then do what Paul said
     
  11. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Lots of good advice in the previous post except for the old gas myth.

    Gas is chemically stable until ignited; in storage it lasts a lifetime.
    I start a 1980 Porsche 928S once a year, drive it for a few miles and park it in my garage again. The tank was filled 13 years ago with 98 octane gas, there is still enough left for another 5 years.

    But do clean the carbs because the gas has evaporated and whatever contamination collected there is now solid and may clog a few orifices.
     
  12. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Nothing worse than clogged orifices...

    Smile

    -Tom
     
  13. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    In the USA a lot of the fuel has ethanol in it . There is no good way of telling what percentage. After three weeks or so, it will separate and the ethanol will go to the bottom
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's not the bad gas that's an issue, it's the stuff left behind when the gas evaporates. Everyone that's rebuilt a carb that's sat for a long time knows precisely what this means. The "varnish" left by the oxidizers, cleaners and other non-gas elements in modern fuels, turn into a rubbery goo at first and given enough time a hard plastic like coating on everything. If you don't think a fuel stabilizer before a long layup is necessary that's great, but it not a recommendation any single manufacture of cars, trucks, boats, planes, garden equipment or any engine manufacture would recommend. Not a single one, so there just might be so merit to the old gas myth. With our ethanol laced fuels, the problem is even worse now. Maybe your fuel is still fairly unmolested over in the eastern Med.
     

  15. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Actually the fuel here is of poor quality, especially in summer when demand exceeds the capacity of the local refinery. Modern high performance engines notice the lower octane number and display a warning.

    We are in agreement about the residue after evaporation, the problem occurs with both old and new fuel and is worse for small engines like outboards because the jets are tiny.

    Mixing alcohol with gasoline is not done here. Although ethanol alone is an excellent fuel, the combination with gasoline seems to be a bad choice because the fuel becomes water tolerant. When did they start doing that?

    For me the old gas myth also has a benefit. I receive substantial amounts of gas from (mainly German) tourists at the end of their stay because they are convinced it cannot be stored until the next season.
     
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