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Does sitting for many many years in a warehouse hurt an engine?

I bought a 1992 Nissan 300zx with a bad engine. (spun rod bearing)

I’m looking for a new engine for it. (vg30de) I’ve narrowed it down to 2 choices:

a) Buy an engine from a local parts supplier that only has 80k miles on it, BUT it has been sitting in a heated ware-house for 14 years!

b) Pull one from a salvage yard.

My question is: If I buy the engine from the warehouse, obviously I would replace the timing belt and some other things, but would sitting for so long damage the crank seals?

Am I better off pulling an engine from a salvage yard myself, even if its higher mileage, because that way its been “run semi-regularly” since new?

If you buy an engine that has been sitting for 14 years, I would change ALL the seals. Also, depending on how it was stored, it could be seized. If there is a way to obtain oil pressure before starting, perhaps by spinning the oil pump with a drill or similar, I would do that as well. If you can hear the salvage yard engine run before you pull it, that might be a better idea. Either of these options will be a crap shoot though.

If the 80k mile engine was good when stored, it should be good now if the humidity in the warehouse was low so that bare steel parts did not rust that might come too close to rotary seals. Rust can abrade the seals to make them leak. The seals should not have aged much if at all. I would be more concerned with seals frequently exposed to hot oil as when running the engine for 14 years than seals that were kept at room temperature or lower.

I have bought motors that set for years. I just go ahead and change the seals. Its cheap and easy when its on a stand. I will pull the valve covers right were I buy it also. I once bought a 4CLY Jeep motor that had been rebuilt but never run. It had set on pallet on the floor for over ten years. I drained about 3/4 of gallon of clear water out of it. It had oil in too. It ran fine with no problems.

If the warehouse motor had it’s oil changed and then sealed up in plastic, It’s probably fine just the way it is…If it’s been left unwrapped, exposed to the dust and moisture in the warehouse, I would not pay too much for it…Put a breaker-bar on the nose of the crank and see if it turns over easily…


Before you try to turn it over with a wrench on the crank, take the plugs out and squirt some mystery oil in the plug’s holes. If there isn’t a problem, it won’t hurt. If the heads are stuck, it will help free it up nicely.