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Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook
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slimwhitman
Posted 2020-01-30 1:19 PM (#593611)
Subject: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Elite Veteran

Posts: 986
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Location: Kansas City, Kansas
I have a DeSoto that has been sleeping in my garage for over 20 years. It "ran when parked" but didn't stop very well. Life and other projects got in the way (excuses, excuses). This year, I plan to revive it. I will take my time. I have not tried to bring a long-sleeping car back to life. I know that many of you have. I (and probably many others) would like to learn what items need attention before trying to fire it up. I would hate to destroy the engine because I missed a couple important steps.

What would you do if you were reviving a long slumbered Forwardlook?
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NicksGarage
Posted 2020-01-30 1:44 PM (#593616 - in reply to #593611)
Subject: Re: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Elite Veteran

Posts: 811
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Location: Ramona, CA
I'm going through the same thing with a 1960 Chrysler that was parked in a garage in Indiana in 1978. A previous owner tried get it going again and then sold it to the guy I got it from. It had been started in the last 4 years running off a gas can but I haven't tried it yet myself as I'm waiting for some parts. I know for sure that I'm going to have to replace the brake hoses and probably the wheel cylinders and master cylinder as I have no brakes. All the rubber fuel lines will need to be replaced as the new fuel will destroy them. I have no fuel pump at the moment but that's another area of concern with the new gas. If you have 20 year old gas in the tank, you probably want to pull the tank and clean it out. It will smell really bad if it went rotten. My car was missing the tank but I got another one for it.

You may want to pull all the plugs and squirt some Marvel's Mystery Oil in each cylinder and crank it around by hand. Of course you want to change the oil and filter. You can also pull the distributor and drive and prime the engine oil pump.

Once you start driving it, things may start leaking such as the transmission seals, rear axle seals.
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Fireflite56
Posted 2020-01-30 2:10 PM (#593618 - in reply to #593616)
Subject: Re: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Veteran

Posts: 223
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Location: Wisconsin
I have done this a few times. Of course the storage situation, knowns or unknowns of how it last ran, etc. always play into this as well. Fortunately it sounds like yours should be in pretty good shape. Since we're assuming your engine shouldn't be stuck and should run, here are my personal recommendations (and everyone will have differing opinions):

1. Try turning the fan by hand. Sometimes the belt has enough tension to turn the crank. If the crank moves, it's not seized. Do not turn more. If it doesn't turn, that doesn't necessarily mean it's seized, but now you'll need to go grab the socket and wrench to put on the crank pulley bolt instead. Do the same check, turning clockwise and not putting too much force on it if it doesn't move. Regardless of whether or not it turns, stop right away and move onto the next step.

2. Pull all the spark plugs and get some oil or trans fluid into the cylinders. Don't flood the cylinders, but make sure it's more than a few squirts. If the engine is tight or seized, use some trans fluid and give it time (like several days) to soak, otherwise regular oil should be fine. I found a straw and a squirt can helps get into the spark plug holes. After you're finished for the day, lightly screw the spark plugs back in to keep moisture and debris out of the holes.

3. While the spark plugs are out, it's a good time to check them for wear, gap, cleanliness, etc. If they are fine, just clean them and put them back in. I found you want to mess with as few things as possible related to ignition if it ran good before.

4. Pop the distributor and check points for wear, gap, etc. I would recommend doing a light cleaning (emery cloth, fine sand paper, etc.) to ensure you will get spark.

5. Drain you oil and replace. I'd recommend also doing a filter change and then priming the engine. If this is too involved for you, then DON'T remove the filter. Old oil in the filter is better for start-up than no oil and the old stuff can't be all too bad if the car ran before. After you get the car running, I'd then do another full oil change with filter.

6. Ensure you have a good battery.

7. Drain, flush, and refill coolant. This is a good time to change out all your hoses and belts, but if they look to be in decent condition, they don't have to be changed just to run it.

8. Somewhere in here, depending on what you found in step 2, you'll want to rotate the engine by hand several times to ensure nothing is binding. Usually you use a wrench on the crank pulley bolt for this. Turn clockwise and don't crank on it too hard if it doesn't want to turn. This is easiest when the spark plugs are removed so you don't fight compression.

9. Reinstall spark plugs, but leave the wires disconnected. Connect your battery, make sure the car is getting power, and hit the key. The engine should turn over and this helps get oil up to the top of the motor before it tries firing.

10. Reconnect spark plug wires.

11. Disconnect the fuel line and connect the fuel pump directly to a can. This ensures that if the car has trouble starting and running, you are eliminating any bad gas or contamination from sitting.

12. Check that it's in neutral, set the brake, and hit the key! Be sure to check for any weird sounds, smells, leaks, smoke, etc.

I also recommend a fire extinguisher be handy and a camera to capture the first start-up. You can find some first start videos I did on YouTube (search "1956 DeSoto first start"). A second person is handy too so one can crank and one can be by the engine. Obviously to actually drive it, there are other things like brakes, tires, fuel, belts, hoses, carb rebuild, etc. that need to be done. Usually fuel pumps and carbs are good enough to get the car running, but may not be okay for driving.
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mobileparts
Posted 2020-01-30 5:35 PM (#593627 - in reply to #593611)
Subject: Re: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook


Veteran

Posts: 210
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If you are in Kansas City -- don't start that project this weekend.... You may want to see what Patrick Mahomes says about the state of Kansas City......
When you are ready to bring another Great DeSoto back to life --- I have mountains of parts for him / her....
All the brakes --- Master Cylinder, all six (6) Wheel cylinders, Brake Hoses, Wheel Bearings & Seals, the Forward Brake Cable, the Rear Emergency Brake Shoes, and the BRAKE SHOES in ++ Asbestos ++ and BRAKE DRUMS !!!!!
All the front end --- Ball Joints & Bushings, Tie Rods & Sleeves, Idler Arm Bushing & CENTER LINK, Strut Rod Bushings, & more....
The tranny mount, Ignition & Electrical & a whooooole lot more.....

Always best to simply call me -- Craig -- 516 - 485 - 1935... West Hempstead, New York.....
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slimwhitman
Posted 2020-01-30 6:13 PM (#593630 - in reply to #593611)
Subject: Re: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Elite Veteran

Posts: 986
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Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Fantastic advice so far! Thanks NicksGarage & Fireflite56. I will keep you in mind, mobileparts, when I get this thing going.

Edited by slimwhitman 2020-01-30 6:15 PM
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BrianD
Posted 2020-02-01 5:55 PM (#593717 - in reply to #593611)
Subject: RE: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Regular

Posts: 69
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Location: Orland Ca
Had to laugh when I saw this post...doing the exact thing on my Windsor that has not been on the road since 2000. I took her
for her first drive on Thursday...and broke down about a mile from home. I had installed one of those glass fuel filters right out of the pick up from
the tank to monitor any crud coming out of the tank. It was clean when I left but started starving for fuel. Pulled over and it was completely plugged.
cleaned it out got her back home, pulled the tank to find this...



(windsor tank.jpg)



(windsor tank2.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments windsor tank.jpg (301KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments windsor tank2.jpg (152KB - 15 downloads)
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BrianD
Posted 2020-02-01 6:00 PM (#593718 - in reply to #593611)
Subject: Re: Checklist for Reviving that Long-Slumbered Forwardlook



Regular

Posts: 69
2525
Location: Orland Ca
Now to buy a new tank....SOOO much rust inside!
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