Is it possible to restore a car that's been sitting for 10 years?

Yea would just be to get it running. What maintenance you would suggest?

No maintenance required just to get it running which is going to be alot of work itself. You still have not said if you have talked to the owner . I also wonder if he gives it to you and it will not run he might have some attachment to it and might not like it just setting on your property or being hauled off to the salvage. Some people have attachments to things that someone else might not understand .

If I were in your shoes, I would treat this car as an educational experience…and education is not free. Get the car, and set out a repair plan that has the most bang for the buck. You might get lucky, and you might not. And, even when you are ready to give up, just strip the car down just to see what you learn in that process, maybe sell a few parts, etc. If you make good diagnoses, you will protect yourself from huge losses. What you learn will last a lifetime.

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Maintenance required in mhop. Trans flush, Oil and filter, air cleaner, gas filter, gas dump, coolant flush, new coolant hoses, tires, inspect brake and PS lines also, flush brake fluid, tires, at the minimum.

plus battery, air filter and fuel filter if there is a external one.

I would suggest a subscription to Hemmings or their Classic Car publication. Always articles on restorations as a way to see the process. Usually takes years, a lot of garage space and equipment, and some friends.

Get it running, air up the tires, and see if it’ll do a burnout. That’s what I’d do, anyway.

If all I wanted to do is get it running, I’d change the oil, turn it over without starting it, then spray starting fluid in the carb and try to start it. See what happens, then go from there.

Sounds like a fun “just for the heck of it” project.

Pull the plugs, put a couple ounces of oil in each cylinder and let it sit for a couple days. Then try to turn the crank with a breaker bar. If it works, then the cylinders aren’t frozen. If that works, then get some starter fluid and a good battery, install new plugs and try to start it. If it starts, you are done. Come back if you want more information on future work or to discuss what didn’t work and why.

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gas sitting for ten years is not going to be good going through the fuel system. I would at least drain it first and put in fresh gas.


That weird 1980 Cadillac fuel injection…might make this complicated too.

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Could inject the starter fluid through the air intake maybe. I was thinking carburetor, but I’m not familiar with that era Cadillac.

Don’t try to start the engine before cleaning out the fuel tank, replacing the fuel pump and filter. Add gasoline to the tank, disconnect the fuel line from the throttle body and purge the fuel line.

Add water to the radiator if needed, install a new battery, then start the engine. With fuel injection there is no need to use starting fluid, there will be fuel delivery within 5 seconds.

Don’t perform transmission maintenance before you start the engine. Don’t strip parts off of the car, if you do then this car can’t be enjoyed by the next owner.

You are asking for an opinion about what it will cost for someone with no real knowledge, an unknown set of tools to restore a car we cannot examine so condition is unknown.

Way too many variables.

It is also a fairly low production car with pricey parts. 80s cars were not all that great when new. The primitive smog controls drained power and drive-ability.
That was the era of 150 hp corvettes.

Sometimes a free gift is worth less than you pay for it,

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It probably can be done, but you have to ask is it worth it?

Hobbies are a waste of time, buy a Lazy Boy recliner.


A lot depends on the engine in this car- For '80-'82 the standard engine was the Oldsmobile diesel V8. Probably the worst diesel engine ever built. Starting sometime later in the 80’s, the v8-6-4 engine became standard, probably the worst gasoline engine ever built. Plus all years of the bustleback Seville were horribly ugly, and the electronics in them were crapola.

There is a high probability that this Cadillac has the HT4100, none of these engines were any good but if it runs, enjoy it.

Three years ago one of the lot boys at work drove a late 1980’s Fleetwood Brougham in excellent condition, didn’t seem like he appreciated the car.

I’ll modify my derision a little. It’s possible it has some fiberglass body panels that don’t rust. My boss had one in those years before he went blind and kept hitting things. I remember the fender being splintered instead of bent. Maybe the doors were fiberglass too, I dunno. Something to check anyway.

Restore it to nice condition or restore it back to being able to run like when it was parked 10 years ago?

Take the spark plugs out, then spray some oil in there and put them back in. Then put a battery on it the next day and see if it cranks. Do you have the keys? If the gas tank is still sealed then the old gasoline might even be still usable. But the injectors may need to be removed and restored. Was there ethanol blended fuel in there? It could have absorbed water. It may be a good idea to remove the old gas if it’s bad. Take some gas out and put a little on the ground and throw a match on it. If it doesn’t burst in to flames rapidly like new gasoline does then the gasoline is too old to use. Check the oil and see if it starts. Use some starting fluid to see if it fires. If it does then start restoring the fuel system. Then change the oil unless it was changed just before it was taken off the road. Used engine oil deteriorates over time. I think the older fuel injection systems tended to have a fuel loop where gasoline was returned to the tank, so if you had bad gas you could just add some fresh gas to the tank and it would flush out the old gas in the lines.

After ten years the fuel is no good. It may be possible to operate the engine on this fuel but it will leave sticky deposits on the valve stems and cause the valves to stick open.

Why? The injectors have not been exposed to fuel that has been exposed to moisture.


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