How should I prepare to start my Mustang for the first time in 5 years?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1965 Mustang GT with a 289-cubic-inch engine. It has been "cold iron" for the past five years. I would like to relight the old girl, but I'm unsure of what steps I should take before turning the key. I bought her in 1965 for my wife. The original spare is still in the trunk, and I still have the window sticker. I'd appreciate any wisdom. -- Ralph

RAY: Hey, didn't you write to us about five years ago asking how to store a '65 Mustang? Sorry we never got around to that one, Ralph.

TOM: Here are the steps to take now, Ralphie boy. First, take out each of the spark plugs and squirt a little bit of fresh oil into each cylinder. Then try to turn the crankshaft by hand (or with a socket wrench). If it turns, that'll tell you that the internal, moving parts of the engine still move. That would be good. If the crankshaft turns, put the plugs back in and go on to steps 3, 4 and 5.

RAY: If you CAN'T turn the crankshaft, skip right to Step 8.

TOM: Steps 3, 4 and 5: If the crankshaft moves, then I'd change the oil, siphon out as much of the old gas as you can and replace it with new gas, and throw a new battery in the car.

RAY: Step 6 would be to crank the engine without actually starting it. You do that by removing the coil wire and turning the key for a few seconds. Do it several times. That'll get the oil pump pumping (assuming it still works) and send oil to the moving parts all over the engine. And it'll pump the oil while the engine is turning at 100 rpm, instead of 1,000 rpm. That means you'll do less damage in those first few seconds before the oil is properly distributed.

TOM: If that goes well, then you're ready to go for the gold. Step 7 is to put the coil wire back on and start 'er up. If it starts, congratulations!

RAY: And if it doesn't, proceed to Step 8: Look in the yellow pages under "engine rebuilders" or "junkyards." Good luck, Ralph.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter