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Truck that's been sitting for 5 years

I just obtained a Ford 1982 F-100 Flareside pickup that has been sitting in storage for 5 years. I have an idea on what needs to be done before I try and turn it over but I thought I would open the floor to ideas, options that I might not have considered. The Body is a really good shape so I’m hopeful that I can bring it back to life without rebuilding a motor and transmission right away. I’m prepared to do the entire brake system and the suspension as well as the exhaust possibly, but I would like to be able to run it at least a little while before i need to do anything major to the drive train. Thoughts?

Remove the spark plugs. Pour/spray some kind of lubricant and let it soak before attempting to crank. You’ll probably have to go through the carb and free up the EGR valve.

Remove the gas cap and smell the odor coming out of the gas tank. If it has a rancid odor the gasoline has gone bad. If so, the entire fuel system will require cleaning/rebuilding from the gas tank to the carburator.


I’d verify all the engine fluid levels first. Then I’d drain all the old gasoline out of the tank and all the fuel lines leading to the carb, and refill the tank with some fresh gas. Then I’d do what Marty Davis above said, lube the cylinders a bit… Before replacing the plugs, I’d make sure the engine would turn easily by hand, with a socket wrench on the crankshaft bolt. Then I’d probably prime the carb by pouring a little gasoline into the bowl, and replace the air filter ass’y as a safety precaution against a backfire through the carb before starting. Before the first start attempt, I’d verify the battery was good and connections were clean. I’d have an assistant with a big fire extinguisher as a helper.

You might find this advice helpful.

As the gasoline in the carburetor evaporated and dried up, it almost certainly left a hard deposit in the bottom of the float bowl, plugging up the main and idle jets…After you replace what gasoline is left in the fuel system, you might TRY to start it without rebuilding the carb, but if it just won’t run right, that will be first on the list of things to do…In 1982, the idle jets are probably sealed so you can’t remove or adjust them, so you will have to unseal them unless someone already has…

Another good idea is to prime the oil pump. On most older cars this can be done with a drill and an adaptor. The best way is to spin the pump till you get oil coming out if the push rod tubes. Then rotate the motor 180 degrees and do it again.

I was thinking about removing the carb and having it rebuilt or just swapping it. Do you think that is better or should I just try to clean it really good first?

You’ll have to clean out the jets and bowl so would need to take it apart. Before you start wrenching, I’d look around for a rebuild manual. They are simple devices but a clear manual on where things go is worth the money.

Define “sitting in storage”. If the previous driver just parked it without prepping it for storage then you’ll have a mess dealing with the old fuel.

If the previous driver knew how to properly prep the truck for storage your task is easier. Was the fuel treated? Was the fuel tank emptied? Was the carburater drained? Was it put on “blocks”?

When I put a vehicle in “storage” I do things to prep it. What do you know about how the truck was prepped for storage? If nothing was done, it wasn’t stored it was just parked for 5 years.

Ok, Uncle Turbo, it was parked for 5 years in a “Storage Unit”. Limited care was taken since he always intended to come back for it, but that changed after 5 years. I believe he mostly drained the gas tank and unlplugged the battery, but that’s about it.

If the carb had been drained, or run until the motor died due to all the gas being used in the carb floats you’d be better off. Even Stabil won’t protect gas for 5 years. I’d pull the plugs and shoot oil into the cylinders and crank the engine over (using the starter) before putting the plugs back in. That way you know the motor has some lube on the cylinders.

Pulling the carb would be best, but I’d likely pull the gas line from the fuel tank to the fuel pump off and hook up an auxillary fuel source to the fuel pump with known fresh gas. With the plugs in I’d pour couple of tablespoons of gas in the carb and give it a crank and see if you get any spark, fires, or backfires. It could take a couple of “primed” attempts to pull enough gas from the fuel pump into the carb floats so it will catch and run on its own.

If it won’t run smoothly or idle smoothly the carb is the most likely part to rebuild or replace first. Even a crapped out carb should still allow you to get some firing from the motor if you have spark and compression. You will have to troubleshoot as needed. A bad fuel pump is quite possible after sitting 5 years.

I also like the advice on oil in the cylinders. I’m sure others are right about the carb rebuild, but FWIW, here’s my recent experience with a 1969 Chevy that had not been cranked for about 10 years, and had not run in 15. I did a compression test and got decent numbers. With the help of knowledgable members of this community, I solved a no-spark problem, (see a previous thread titled “Vintage technology…” last week), then sprayed a bit of starting fluid into the carb and it fired briefly. Kind of amazing. Then I tried a bit of gas in the carb and it ran for a few seconds. That works every time now, but the rest of the fuel system is non functional, so it’s not actually “running”, but that’s after 15 years. So based on that, and the better “storage” your truck got, you may be able to get it to run, albeit not so well perhaps, with less trouble than you expect. I hope that’s what you find.

Also, I recently bought a Dodge Caravan which had had been sitting without a roof above it, for 5 years, and with a jump it ran on the five year old gasoline. I didn’t expect that, but was sure thrilled by it.

Just change the air freshener and you’ll be good to go! Please report back on what happens!

The truck will be in my driveway on Friday, I’ll keep yall posted on my voyage. I found a yocal that “loves” to rebuild carbs, and he comes with references I trust. He wants $50 to rebuild i so I think I’ll just pull it while I’m waiting for the Marvel mystery oil to do it’s thing and drop the tank and look at the brakes first.

Truck showed up late because they lost the keys, oh well. I found I can buy a new carburetor for $140 so instead of giving it to the local guy I decided to tear it apart and rebuild it myself, it wasn’t that bad, the worst part was not being able to find a diagram of the exact model Carter YFA I have, it’s not the original carburetor, and it’s modified. Holes have been plugged and and the dashpot assembly was removed, so I figured I would do it and if that didn’t work, I’d get a proper Carburetor. Does anyone have a good source Book/Web for diagrams and explanations of where and why hoses are the way they are. I guess many people modified these things to get away from all the California emissions crap.

I would be very nervous about someone who can rebuild a carb for 50 bucks. Some consider a rebuild to consist of yanking the air horn off the top, swapping the needle/seat, and hosing it all down with aerosol carb cleaner. If the carb is not being completely disassembled, soaked in carburetor solvent for an hour or so before being washed and blown out thoroughly with compressed air, then it’s not being done properly.

Sounds way cheap to me for a proper rebuild.

Well I did just that, all on my own even. I thought the gas tank would be empty but there was some still in there so I dropped the tank and pumped. Found almost 10 gallons of 5 year old gas. Getting those 30 year old rubber lines off is a bear. I ended up cutting a couple and will replace. The tank looked pretty good on the outside with only a little surface rust and no visible interior rust. I cleaned it up real good did a rust reform/paint job with an aluminum topcoat.

I learned that the Carburetor I had isn’t actually the stock model so that’s why I had such a hard time with the diagram. I actually have a YF, not a YFA. Before and after.

Here’s an update. I learned that the above carburetor was a turd (I think that’s a professional term) and would not feed gas properly. I found another junk yard carb via ebay and rebuilt it, and it runs great. I was finally able to get the engine to run smoothly. I had to replace the expected, Plugs, wires, cap, rotor, Coil, and coil adapter.

I’ve been running the engine to operating temp for a couple weeks and have no leaks.

When removing the old brakes a caliper bolt broke on me so I had to remove the spindles and gave it an electro-bath which worked, I was able to turn it out. I decided to cleanup both spindles and give them a fresh oven baked coating.

I dropped replaced the transmission fluid and filter.

Next, I replace the ball joints and cleanup the rear brake plates before I begin reinstalling the brakes.

All the brakes, shocks and fluids are done. I also dropped the oil pan to install a new gasket. The truck has been running pretty good but I have really loose steering. As luck would have it the Ford Truck Forum had a Red-Head Steering box group buy so I’m going to take care of that really soon.