Vehicle in storage for 8 years

I just purchased my uncles 1966 Impala with a 327. It has been sitting for 8 years with about a 1/2tank of gas. I am concerned about starting it with the old gas. Can I just siphon the old gas out and add new gas to start it up. I am not looking forward to dropping the tank in the winter time

What kind of condition was it when it was parked? Is it a more recently restored garage queen or is it an old surviving relic? Was in indoors or under a cover or anything?

Just siphoning the old gas out and putting fresh gas in should be fine, but I’d be very suprised if it’s just a matter of adding some fresh gas and turning the key. You’ll need to give it a good going over, especially focusing on the brakes and tires before you even think about taking it on the road. You might need to futz with the points (if still so equipped) to get it to start, and taking out the plugs and putting a little bit of oil each cylinder would probably be a good idea too.

I highly doubt the engine will start.

First, the gas in the gas tank has turned to varnish. So siphoning out the bad gas will be next to impossible. Second, if the gas in the tank is bad, the gas that was sitting the carburator bowl has also turned to varnish, so the carburator will need to be rebuilt.


Does the liquid in the tank still smell like gasoline? If not, get rid of it.

Personally, I wouldn’t gamble with gas this old. I’d siphon out as much as possible and fill it with fresh gas before attempting to start the engine. Even that may not be enough.

What about the tires, brakes, etc? Depending on how this car was “stored” you may have some issues to deal with before it’s roadworthy.

Thank you for the response. My uncle had driven the car the day he passed away. My aunt would start it occasionally but stop 8 years ago. It has been inside a garage protected for all these years. I have gone over the body, brakes and tires including removing the drums. Everything looks good visually. Yes it has points which i was going to replace. what type of oil should I should put a little bit in each cylinder?

Squirt a bit of motor oil into each cylinder (you don’t need a lot) and crank the engine over a few times to coat the cylinder walls. Then put the spark plugs back in and start it.

The exhaust may smoke for a minute or two as the oil burns off, but it will clear up quickly.

My guess is the vehicle was parked for 8 years. In my opinion a “stored” car would have been prepared properly with stabilizer in the fuel, draining the carb, oil injected into the cylinders, or fogging the motor with fog oil prior to shutting it down. Then the car would be jacked up to save the springs and the tires covered. If these things were done it would be obvious the car was prepped for storage.

If it was just parked; you’ll have a dead battery, and bad gas in the tank. How bad the gas is anyone’s guess but it has to come out. You can siphon it pretty effectively on a '66 car. Newer cars are much harder to get a decent size tube into the bottom of the tank. As the gas comes out you’ll get an idea of its condition. When you have all the gas you can siphon out, then put about 5 gallons of fresh gas in the tank.

Next, pull the gas line at the carb and find a way to pull the old gas out of the gas line. If you get a half gallon of gas through the line you should have fresh gas getting to the carb.

Next, I’d drain the oil still in the oil pan and refill with fresh 5W-30 oil. Then pull the plugs and shoot some oil in each plug hole and crank over the motor with the plugs out. This is just to get some oil and lube on the cylinder walls. Cranking the motor without compression should allow the starting motor to spin the motor pretty fast. This might help get some of the fresh 5W oil up to the valves and into the bearings. This is a good time to determine if you are getting a spark from the spark plugs.

If all looks good, but the plugs back in. Pour about 1/4 of a cup for gas down the primaries (the smaller two of the 4 holes in the carb if it is a 4 barrel). Put the air cleaner back on (in case of backfire) and try to start the car. If it fires and runs for 1 or 2 seconds and dies then the fuel pump may not have had time to fill the carb with gas. Do the 1/4 cup process again. Now if it fires it may stumble but perhaps it will keep running. If you can’t get it running at this point or running well, then the 1st suspect is a varnished up carb that will need to come off for a clean out and rebuild. The other option is to replace the carb with a rebuilt one.

As soon as you have the car running be sure to check the oil pressure. Likely this car just has an idiot light. Make sure the idiot light is off. If the light stays on or if the oil pressure guage doesn’t move up at least 1/4 of the way shut her down and investigate why no oil pressure is showing up. Don’t leave the 5W oil in too long. Once you are running go back to 10W or whatever the owners manual recommends.

You should drain and refill all the fluids, coolant, brakes, transmission, differential, power steering, etc. before you start putting road miles on the car.

Uncle Turbo’s thoughts are excellent. The gasoline that was in the carburetor will have dried into a hard deposit and probably plugged up the main-jets and siphon tubes. You will probably have to rebuild the carb, but it’s worth a try to start it first. You can remover the two idle mixture screws and spray carb-cleaner in those ports to help things along. When replacing the screws, gently bottom them, then back out 1.5-2.0 turns as an initial setting…Good Luck and have fun with that VERY nice car!