61 tbird startup

Hi Gang, ist time for me but here goes …

1961 tbird has set outside for over 20 years during some very bad times

only 560 miles on rebuilt engine

what steps do i take to restart this car?

should i begin by pulling plugs and filling cyls with oil or something

then after a wait period put a wrench on crank and try to turn ?

or is their a better way?

thanks in advance for any help … BargainMon

please help me cause theirs no response to my problem

Your first hurdle is getting all the bad gas (it’s probably all varnish by now) out of the fuel system. So the gas tank will probably require replacing along with the fuel pump, fuel lines, and carburator. Still want to get this thing running?


Forget about ever making it run again. Just ship it to me. I’ve always liked the “round birds”.

I have an MGA undergoing a resurrection in my shop right now. According to its owner, it’s been down for about 10 years. I have the engine turning with the MG company’s provided hand crank, but I’m not quite ready to try and start it.

Was it running when it was parked, or was it parked due to a mechanical issue?

Seriously, like Tester said, old fuel is your worst problem. In all probability what’s in the tank is about all you’ll have to deal with. The rest will have evaporated. Drain it, or drop the tank and pour it out. SOME old cars had drain plugs in the tank. I don’t know about your T’bird, but if it has one it will be easy to find. On one that old siphoning may be an easy option too. Many newer cars have baffles in the filler neck to prevent a hose from going into the tank. If you take the top off of the carb, which you can do without taking it off of the car, geting the gas residue out of the float bowls will be easy. I use carb cleaner, but lacquer thinner is essentially the same thing and much cheaper. Wipe the re-wetted remains out with a rag. Squirt some thru the jets that you can get to with the top off. Put some fuel into the float bowls to prevent having to grind on the starter for a long time to pump it full. The fuel pump will either work, or it won’t. In my experience, they usually work on old cars. I think I’ve only had to replace two. One Hudson had sat for 21 years, and the '31 Chevy had been idle for just 15. If the pump doesn’t work, then you can replace it. Definitely put some oil or spray something like PB Blaster into each cyinder. FILLLING them is a BAD idea. If it’s not stuck, you should be able to turn it with a wrench as you said. If it is stuck, you have a whole different set of problems.

If the car is intact, and not rusted away, it is well worth fixing.

I would add a little oil or whatever to the cylinders, get on the harmonic balancer with a long breakover, and pray that the engine rotates.

If the engine rotates then you have a decision to make because as mentioned, the fuel system is probably gone from tank to carburetor.

Just how solid is this “560 miles on a rebuilt engine” business? I always take those claims with a large grain of salt.

Many years ago I used to have a '58 T-Bird. I hated that car. A 352 4-Barrel and it was an absolute garden slug.