Should I pre-lube my lemon?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am a doctor who has always had a great desire to completely overhaul an automobile from stem to stern. Finally, since I have no background, I bought some books and then went looking for a car. I figured a small, four cylinder, eight valve, small car would be easiest. So I picked up a 1974 Alfa Spider for 700 dollars. I figured that if I failed, my investment was not too large. I have completed the engine and most of the body. I am ready to install the engine, but a friend tells me I should have pre-lubed it first. None of the books mentioned this. Should I tell my friend to suck lemons, or is he right?

TOM: Sorry, Doc. Your friend's right. You don't want to start that engine without any lubrication in there. If you did, the moving parts would get scratched and scored, and that could significantly shorten the life expectancy of this car--which is already living on borrowed time.

RAY: Think of the Alfa as a patient, Doc. Imagine that you were finishing surgery, and realized after half the stitches were done that you had left your wristwatch-calculator in the patient's abdomen. Wouldn't you take out the stitches and remove the watch? I mean, sure, it's a little extra work, but those watches cost 15 bucks!

TOM: Actually, since the engine is still out, pre-lubing is a job you can do in a few hours. Just take off the oil pan and remove all the main and connecting rod bearings. Smear them liberally with oil or STP, and put it all back together again. After that, squirt some oil into each of the cylinders, and DON'T forget to fill the crankcase.

RAY: And then, rather than telling your friend to suck lemons, you'll be able to give him a ride in one!

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