One of the most exciting discoveries for a classic car enthusiast is a “Barn Find”. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a barn find is a classic automobile that has been stored someplace for a long time, sometimes for decades, and left untouched. In some cases these cars are actually in old barns but more likely in a garage or some storage facility.
If you are lucky enough to be the new owner of a barn find, you may elect to get it towed back to your home or try and drive it there. In either case, you are going to attempt starting a car that hasn’t run in a long time and this is different from starting a car that has been recently running. With assistance from the service techs at Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer, we have put together a list of the things you should do to get your barn find up and running.
Drain the Fuel: Gas that has been sitting in a fuel tank for years should not be pumped into your engine. It will be gummy and may have a lot of condensation (water) in it. The best way to drain an old gas tank is to use a ball siphon hose. Spend some time and siphon out as much of the old gas as you can. When you are satisfied that you have virtually all the old gas out, pour in several gallons of fresh gas.
Replace the Battery: Batteries don’t last long in storage. Replace it with a fresh one.
Marvel Mystery Oil: Pull each of the plugs and squirt a little oil into each cylinder. Old timers like to use a product called “Marvel Mystery Oil” when doing this (you can get it at any auto parts store). The reason for the squirt of oil is to give just a little lubrication to the cylinder walls before you start the car.
Check the Air Filter: If the car has been stored for a long time, check the air filter. There is a high probably that mice have gotten into the filter enclose and have built a nest or two.
Replace the Tires: It’s likely the tires on an old vehicle will need to be inflated. The question is will they hold air? If the tires are really old, and you are driving the car home, it would be smartest to get new tires on the car.
Getting a barn find car or truck up and running takes some special techniques but there’s nothing like hearing an old car start up after sitting for a decade or so. In most cases, its best to have the car towed to its final destination but if its running and idling, and you don’t have to go far, take it easy but head home!