Starting a dead car

Hi. Someone just gave me (rather, I took it) a 1986 Jaguar XJS. Spell that trouble. Anyway, it’s been dead in a garage for 5 years but is said to have been in good shape before that and looks good from all superficial examination. What are the guidelines for getting this re-started without damaging it? Replace oil and coolant? Brake fluid? Etc.? Is there a way to get lubrication into the cylinders etc. before cranking it? And the final and best question - do you want to buy this car? The hood is at least a mile long.

My biggest concern is the old fuel in the tank. If you can drain it rather than run it through the motor that will help. Has the old fuel left varnish deposits? If this is a carburated car the carbs have to come off for a cleaning, the jets and floats could be clogged or sticking.

Pull the plugs and squirt a bit of oil in each cylinder. You may want to crank it over without the plugs in it to spread around the oil on the cylinder walls. Fresh oil in the pan would help and make it a 5W weight to make sure it circulates freely once the motor starts running. You can change to a heavier weigh oil later.

If the coolant is brown and looks old, drain as much as you can and fill with clean 50/50 mix of coolant.

Before putting the car on the road again flushing out the old brake fluid and getting fresh fluid in the braking system may preserve the master cylinder and calipers.

Parts for this car are expensive. So I’ll pass on buying it. Good luck in getting it running again.

Thank you! I’ll send you an email picture from my first breakdown.

Oh, the tires - Michelins, almost new - have been sitting there for 5 years. The fronts lost all their air years ago. Are these dangerous? Can I use them for a while to see if the flat spots will come out?

For now, just blow up the tires. If you get the car running plan to replace the tires about the same time you get it registered and insured. The old tires are likely dry rotted and should not be considered safe for driving at interstate highway speeds.

Thank you again.