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Starting a car that hasn't run in 2+ years


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#1

Dodgefan

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 12:55 PM

So I want to see if the `86 Caravan will start up. It's been sitting in the driveway for at least 3 year and 2 years since it was started. Here's what I know: It has no coolant...bone dry in the reservoir and the radiator. Checked the oil and the oil on the dipstick seemed very thick...like molasses. No idea about the condition of the gas in the tank.

Does anyone have advice on the procedures for prepping it for startup?
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#2

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 01:38 PM

Step 1. Remove Chrysler engine/transmission
Step 2. Install Chevy 350/TH425
Step 4. Profit
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#3

PurdueGuy

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 01:41 PM

change the oil before you start it. The old oil may have water condensation in it, which is bad. Plus you said it's really thick, so that's bad. Also, filling it back up will run oil down through the engine, so you don't have a dry start-up. Charge the battery. Fill the coolant (and watch for any leak points) Pray. lol
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#4

Sixty8panther

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:15 PM

DF:

With all due respect, why not just take a few spare parts off of it for your mom's new beater
and call a junkyard...? Take the $150 they will give YOU after THEY pick it up and ship it off
on the back of a rollback truck, and use the money to fix one of those many quirks that need
to be addressed on one of your RUNNING vehicles.

Like Chicken-Saturn said, new oil is a good idea, (amongst other things) but then again is the
Caravan worth the $12 that it will cost you? I don;t know, honestly asking...?

My personal opinion is that you signed that cars' death certificate when you (or your parents)
decided to park it and let it sit outside for the last two years. For all you know mice got in
there and chewed up the entire wiring harness.
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#5

balthazar

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:57 PM

I will add that once things seemingly are up to spec (esp after the oil change), instead of just starting it, 'bump' the key 4 or 5 times to pressurize the oil gallery, so when it does turn over, the oil is 'right there'. I don't suppose for one millisec that it has an oil press gauge...


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#6

daves87rs

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 08:26 PM

I kinda agree with 68 ( a little), but if you want to get that bad boy running, it can't hurt to at least give it a shot....


It does have a chance though, I've seen a Caravan come back from the dead after sitting for over a year.

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#7

Dodgefan

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 10:12 PM

QUOTE(wildmanjoe @ Mar 17 2008, 08:11 PM) View Post
1a. The first thing to do is get a fresh battery, make sure there is nothing in the air intake like seeds or rat nests and at least see if it turns over. If it does start, don't run it too long with the thick oil and no coolant. Do an oil change and fill the radiator, checking for leaks in the hoses, around the block, in the radiator, etc. You also want to pull the spark plugs and see if they are still in good shape or not. Check the spark plug wires for holes and cracks as long as you are under the hood. Check your brake fluid and transmission fluid to make sure they aren't low, discolored or smell funky.

1b. If it doesn't turn over, check your battery cables and connections to the battery, starter and ground. If it still doesn't turn over, grab a screwdriver you don't care about and short the starter. If this gets it started, the problem lies within the ignition wiring or the ignition switch. If this doesn't work, give the starter solenoid a few whacks with a hammer and try again. If all you get is clicking, your solenoid may be shot, your battery may be weak or your battery cables may have too much resistance. If it doesn't at least turn over, evaluate the condition of the rest of the vehicle and if worse comes to worse, pillaging for parts isn't the worst thing in the world. If it turns over but doesn't start check your spark plugs one by one to see if they have spark and are still in decent shape. If you have spark and the van still won't start, have someone near the back of the van and while you have the key turned to the on position, ask them if they can hear the fuel pump running. If they can't, you may have a dead fuel pump. You could probably change it yourself in you driveway, but it's a pain in the neck and they and really expensive if you pay someone else to do it. If you can hear the pump running but you have spark and air, you may have a plugged fuel filter, line or injectors.

2. Jack up the van and check the undercarriage to see what gas tank, brake lines, fuel lines, unibody and floors look like. Depending on their condition, you'll have to decide if it's worth replacing the stuff or not. Also look for any leaks. If the undercarriage checks out, proceed to step three.

3. Jack up the van and put it in neutral. Try to turn each tire. If a tire doesn't turn, a brake may be frozen and it's time to bust out a sledge hammer and beat on the brakes until they move. Have lots of WD-40 or JB-80 handy for this step. Make sure the tires have full air pressure and no leaks as well.

4. Go through the interior and make sure all the wiring is still in decent shape and look for rat nests. Take apart as much as you can and examine everything. Make sure all the lights and gauges work. You don't some chewed wiring making your headlights go out in the middle of the night or your van starting on fire, so this step is important.

5. When you've confirmed the van is road worthy, take it down to a mechanic and ask him to give everything a once-over. He should be able to tell you anything else that may be wrong.

Finally,

xscuseless9lh.gif


Very helpful, thanks!

Here's an older photo...it hasn't changed much since then...besides Sixty8 pushing it up teh driveway with Fly's LeSabre. tongue.gif



QUOTE(balthazar @ Mar 17 2008, 08:57 PM) View Post
I will add that once things seemingly are up to spec (esp after the oil change), instead of just starting it, 'bump' the key 4 or 5 times to pressurize the oil gallery, so when it does turn over, the oil is 'right there'. I don't suppose for one millisec that it has an oil press gauge...


Thanks for the tip, and believe it or not it doesin fact have an Oil Pressure gauge. tongue.gif

Edited by Dodgefan, 17 March 2008 - 10:16 PM.

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#8

daves87rs

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 12:17 AM

So, have you tried to start it yet?
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#9

Dodgefan

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:10 PM

QUOTE(daves87rs @ Mar 20 2008, 02:17 AM) View Post
So, have you tried to start it yet?


Not yet, it's been raining like crazy until this morning, knocked out the internet (OH NOES!11). Windy now, cold tomorrow...it'll wait a few days more I think. tongue.gif
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#10

!!!TED!!!

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:23 PM

Watch this video of Dave (from Davids Farm, a Canadian legend, and inventor of the Redneck Rollercoaster) start a 1989 Dodge Caravan that sat for 5 years (and has no radiator!)



PS
All his vids are great, worth a subscription!
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