Sitting car

I just acquired a 1977 volvo. the owner said it was running when he parked it. all I had to do was put a new starter in it. I pulled the old starter and is was broken so I replaced it. I can’t get it to run, are there things that may need cleaned or replaced after it sitting for about 5 or 6 years?

First determine if you’re getting spark. Does this car have a carburetor? If getting spark then try pouring a little gas down the throat of the carb. If it runs then this tells you it’s not getting gas.

There are several things that may need to be replaced in a car that’s been sitting for a long time. All filters (including fuel). Replace the gas too…I’m sure it’s not good. Pull the plugs and replace them. Wires may have dry-rotted…so check for cracks. I’d also change the oil before you start this.

Remove the gas cap and smell down the filler tube. If what you smell is a rancid odor from the gas tank, the gas has turned to varnish and the entire fuel system needs to be replaced, along with the carb.


I hope you didn’t pay very much for this car.

The gasoline has likely turned to varnish after this many years. I’d drain ALL gas out of the system, replace the fuel filter, refill with fresh gas, and pray.

Check the spark plugs to see if you’re getting spark. I’d install new plugs, change the oil and coolant, and squirt a bit of oil in each cylinder before attempting to start the engine.

Be prepared to spend money on the brakes, too.

This engine does not have a carburetor!

It is a fuel-injected design, and in fact, it might be the same trouble-plagued Constant Injection system that I suffered with on my '74 Volvo. If you do have that system, be prepared for a lot of repair work, but the problem may be finding a mechanic who is familiar with that outdated system. Your best bet will undoubtedly be a garage that specialized in Volvos, since some Volvo owners do tend to keep their cars for a long time.

I also found the fuel pump on these cars to be EXTREMELY problematic, so it would probably be a good idea to make sure that the pump is briefly running when you first turn the ignition key. Enlist someone’s help to turn the key while you listen near the left rear wheel well in order to be able to hear whether the pump is running at all. The good news is that this fuel pump is really easy to replace, if necessary.

If the fuel pump is good, then your best bet–as has already been said–is to replace the plugs and plug wires. If that doesn’t help, then you should concentrate on that fuel injection system, where the problem likely exists.

While the former owner claimed that the car was running when he parked it, he didn’t say that it was running well, did he?

First it is injected, I know the owner and he said it was running quite well, he parked it because he got a new project car. thank you for all your advice, the fuel system was empty when I got it, I have put new oil in it.

A dry fuel system is the best news yet. Still, cars don’t fare well when left to sit for prolonged periods. Have fun with your new project, and good luck!

what should it take to (for the lack of a better term) prime the fuel system and get the gas flowing again?

You’re over your head, aren’t you? It’s OK. Many of us have been there, and done that. Be honest; how much automotive knowledge do you have?

Do you have a service manual (or two) for this car, or are you trying to “wing it?”

Why did you decide you wanted a 1977 Volvo in the first place? Do you plan to use this car as a daily driver? Is it your idea of a “Classic?” Do you intend to autocross, or compete in some other form of motorsport with this car?

The more we know, the more we can help. Maybe.

Okay, I have engine knowledge. I have worked on lawn mower engines allot but this is my first real venture into the automotive realm. I want to commute to work/restore it. I am winging it at the moment, merely because I live 50 miles form a place where I can grab a haynes or chiltons book. Also, I have figured out that my fuel pump in not working, this car had mice so it maybe electrical or mechanical failure.

“Also, I have figured out that my fuel pump in not working”

I’m not surprised, simply because this used to happen on my lemon '74 Volvo every 12 months or so. The good news, as I noted in my earlier post, is that this fuel pump is really easy to access.
I replaced the fuel pump on that car so many times that I could almost do it with my eyes closed.

Although I can’t prove it, I have always suspected that the design of that really crappy fuel injection system had something to do with the fuel pumps burning out every year or so.

UM, because it had mice I want to chech the wiring and relay, do you know where the relay is located?

Sorry, but I don’t recall where the relay is. While I did do a lot of work on that car, all of this dates back to 1975-1981, and I only recall the location of the pump.


I found a bad wire and fixed it, then I turned the ignition on and a relay started buzzing I located the buzzing relay, then it stopped buzzing. I took the outer case off the relay and see that it no longer engages at all. My question is why was it buzzing in the first place? any ideas?