round logo
Nat'l POC logo


OffTheHook logo

Vintage Engine Startup From Storage

Check Before Starting


Initial Startup Procedures

Notes and Cautions

Initial startup of an engine using modern gas will not cause a problem.  After the first startups, it is imperative that either the carb and fuel pump gaskets be upgraded to ethanol compatible materials, or 100% pure gas must be used (expensive but available at marinas and selected gas stations).  It makes better sense to upgrade the gaskets for long term insurance.

Following initial startup, you may well have to set the spacing on the points in the distributor, the advance of the distributor, and also the overall timing of the engine.

There are certainly other problems which can affect the startup of an engine.  A bad capacitor in the distributor, worn distributor bushings, hung up linkages, and hidden corrosion in wiring can all cause problems.  If the engine was running when it was last shut down, chances are the problems will be simpler - and generally confined to fuel and spark issues.
After the engine is running, be SURE that the oil pressure reads the proper pressure for specifications at certain RPM values.  Not just "some" minimal pressure, but specified pressure.  I personally burned up all the bearings in an engine I bought which had a worn oil pump that did not put out adequate pressure.

On older engines, there will typically be oil holes or caps of various types for the distributor, starter and generator - and often a grease fitting on the water pump.  Make sure to address these areas before running the engine for extended periods of time.

Wrap Up

BE PATIENT ! ! !  This is really important.  Work slowly and logically.  Take notes as you go along if necessary.  If things don't seem to be going well, slow down and rethink - or bring in others for advice.  Don't panic!  Problems are often simpler than they initially appear.

Thanks to Dennis Mowery, Chuck Willis and Randy Ealy for their input and assistance in starting up Randy's long dormant engine.  PL