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What steps should I take in starting an old 78 lincoln town car that has been sitting in the garage?

The car was garage kept since 2006. I know it still has the old gas in the tank. It ran great before we put it in the garage.
What steps should I take before starting it?

That is tougher than it sounds. I would recommend do a shot of fogging oil in each cylinder let it sit at least a day, drain the gas from tank and carb, new oil, gas and oil and gas filter, sea foam, trans flud filter and change, air filter, plugs, points, distributor cap and rotor if applicable and spark plug wires, and battery, probably will need a starting fluid kick to start.

6 year old gas is bad by now, drain the gas tank. There is likely carb damage from varnish due to the old gas. If it won’t run the carb is most likely reason.

I’d pull all 8 spark plugs and put a shot of oil in each cylinder, then with a fresh charged battery hit the starter and see if the motor cranks. Assuming you have fresh gas in the gas tank by now, install the spark plugs and hit the starter and see what happens. If the motor does not start but does fire a bit, then try some starter fluid down the carb. If you get nowhere don’t burn out the starter. Then it is time for a tow to a shop.

If you get it running, shut it down and change the oil and make sure you have coolant in the radiator. Then start it again and let it run up to operating temp. Keep an eye on the temp gauge to be sure it reaches operating temp but isn’t overheating. At that point you could be ready for a slow “brake test” drive. If the brakes work take it to a shop for new trans fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and differential fluid. Check the drive belts for dry rot, and the tires for dry rot. Good to go.

Good comments up^ there.
You may want to pull the carb and clean it out.

The car doesn’t have points. get the tool for prelubing the engine, pull the dist and spin the oil pump and get the oil circulated in the engine,then re-install the dist. then use a 1/2" drive socket and ratchet on the front crank bolt and try to spin the engine over by hand. If it turns freely then try to start the car. before I forget double check the under hood area for evidence of a mouse family. then go head try turning the key, but don’t crank her for more than say 10 seconds if she fails to fire up try some starting fluid (KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEAR BY)if it starts and runs on the starting fluid then I would go a head as everyone has said change all the fluids fresh gas watch the Etheal content it will eat up the rubber lines i=on your Lincoln. best of luck and enjoy her.

Don’t even TRY to start it on the 5 year old gasoline…It can really gum things up…What engine is in this car? a 460? In any case, the carburetor will most certainly have to be removed and cleaned out, check for varnish in the bottom of the float bowl plugging the main jets and idle mixture passages…

How old are the tires? If they are over 10-15 years old, they should be replaced too…It’s going to take some time and effort to bring a 35 year car back to life and make it safe to drive…

The original owner said that the carb was “acting up”, before he parked it, but that it was still driving ok, I was thinking about pulling it and either rebuilding it or swapping it before I try to start the engine. Is this a good idea or should I just try to clean it really good first?

Cleaning a carburetor externally with a spray can is just a “feel good” exercise…But if it has internal problems, there are no spray-can solutions…

Miracles happen…It doesn’t hurt to TRY and start it with the carb as is…A can of starting fluid can be helpful in getting it running without over-working the starter…

If it were mine, I would disconnect the fuel line from the carb and then start the engine momentarily on starting fluid until clean, fresh gasoline comes out of the open fuel line. You can direct the fuel flow into a plastic bottle with a short length of plastic tubing or fuel line…Then reconnect the fuel line and try for a normal start…

And don’t forget to thoroughly inspect and test the brake system. Expect to have to replace the calipers/cylinders and the master cylinder, as well as perhaps some corroded brake line and rusty drums and/or discs. And when you test it, remember that you’re pushing the piston i the master cylinder into a portion of the cylinder that it hasn’t been to in years and that’s probably dry. The pedal may just go straight to the floor,.

Remember; if it doen;t start it can ruin your day, but if it does’;t stop it can ruin the rest of your life. A properly operating brake system is 1000x more important than a properly operating engine.

I assume you have a financial/emotional investment in this car. As you can tell, it will take quite a bit of money and time to get it running. Just don’t expect to make money on it.

One thing you might want to do is push it out of the garage before you try to start it. It can be quite messy if it backfires through the carb and starts an engine fire. Good luck to ya. I had a 72 or 73 can’t remember for the wife to commute to school. Our neighbor called it the pimpmobile but it was a comfortable car and you could stack about four dead bodies in the trunk.

Nix the starting fluid,if you do the rest of what the Guys recommended,she’ll probaly suprise you(However modern gas doesnt have much shelf life)-Kevin