Vintage Mustang Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part August's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the situation I'm looking at...A '68 Mustang which has not been started or driven in 2 years. I know the car ran/drove well when stored and it has the original 289/C-4 drivetrain. The car has been in the Dallas, Texas area the entire 2 years. I'm told it was kept in a barn but can't verify it wasn't out in the elements. What mechanical problems can I expect to encounter? Is it likely the engine and trans would need a rebuild as well as the brakes? Any other likely mechanical issues due to storage? I'm talking strictly mechanical problems, not body or frame rust.

10,832 Posts
2 years is not really that long as long as the car has been out of the elements and dry.

The fuel may be stale. I would prime the engine to circulate the oil before starting. Check the brakes, etc. These are things I would do to any car that has sat for more than a few weeks anyway.

Premium Member
1,221 Posts
I agree with the above post. I would drain & remove the gas tank & either flush it or install a new one. Brakes are also a major concern. If the engine & trans were good when last running you may get lucky. Some of the seals may be leaking as they are dry from lack of use. I purchased a '65 Vert early this summer that had been sitting for several years. Once we replaced the gas tank it fired right up. The entire brake system had to be rebuilt. The 289 & the 4 speed trans work great. Good luck. There will be lots of other little things that pop up as you work the bugs out.

890 Posts
Most likely you won't have to replace the gas tank, however, I would drain the gas as mentioned and add a fresh tank. Also, drain the oil and replace with a fresh filter. Prime the carb and fire it up. If the brakes were fine before storing, that should not be an issue. I regularly store mine for a year at a time, and all I do is add gas stabilizer.

109 Posts
When I bought my mustang, the guy who sold it to me told me that it had been sitting in the garage of the owner before him for 15 years. He then owned the car and it sat in his garage for 3 years, save for maybe two times a year when he would take it out. That's pretty much 18 years. She ran like a beaut. Of course I prolly should have done things to it just to make sure. Hell, I'm surprised that the engine block didn't crack.

201 Posts
Read following posts along with this one :)
Read my post responding to >>Re: Picked up a 67 Fastback that has been in storage since 1975

What I had to do to get my 67 Fastback started and inspected [after 16 years storage]

YOUR MAJOR concerns are SAFETY , and not damaging engine [due to dry cylinders etc] review [READ thoroughly following referenced posts [very in depth description steps I wrote] ;) :: FIRST, and possibly shop manual[only if you still have problems with actual starting ] and do the following checks, preventative maintenance...PRE-startup checks !!!

In quick summary though what I would check for sure and FIRST IS Brakes and Tires [Safety Issues Listed first , Ia Ib - TOP PRIORITY]:
Ia. Brake Operation - assure that Master Cylinder and wheel cylinders are still working [that inner pistons are moving the brake shoes]

You will know for sure[theres a problem] if pedal goes to floor with no resistance most likely do to following:[TO remove ALL doubt definitely do following checks !!!]

FIRST BY >>>Looking in BRAKE Master Cylinder - will tell you a lot
If like mine was...its all dried up and full of a rusty dry looking flakes or ANY rust...thats probably how your wheel cylinders are too ! and means you will PROBABLY will need to replace it.[ It has a piston in it too[ like wheel cylinders do] that probably is frozen in its bore ].

SECOND - just take off wheels and brake drums and have helper apply brakes while you watch to observe shoes expanding [outward] and contracting [ back to normal position, ie not in outward position]!
ALSO - check brake lights !!!! FOR OPERATION once you confirm everything is operational.

In the exitement to "try out" my transmission etc after STARTING FIRST TIME in 16-17 years....I shifted into drive [ car eventually creaked forward and wouldnt STOP :eek: !!!! WHEN I applied brakes !!!
thinking REAL quick :D lmao, I pulled emergency brake just short one foot of hitting a brick wall.
LESSON LEARNED lol >>> make SURE your brakes are in top shape [ not froze up, inoperative, or even "just" out of brake fluid[ thats a problem more complex than that, lack of fluid results in LOTS of rust]

Ib. TIRES - CHECK thoroughly between threads for cracking[ dry rot]etc

II. Engine :
I would hand crank it FIRST before EVER trying to start it. You want to insure its not froze, to make sure the pistons still move freely in the bores [ sitting long time, the oil ALL drains top pan and cylinder walls may have developed a little flash rust or a lot ?] See my post for HOW TO [2nd link above] on this.
HOW TO hand crank ? Just disconnect battery fora safety first, then get a socket on large nut inside bottom pulley[ its on front below water pump...the lowest pulley on engine...that pulley attachs to crankshaft. I would squirt some WD-40,Marvel Mystery Oil, and or transmission fluid in ALL cylinders [ remove plugs of course to do this]...that will lubricate the bores.

III. Transmission probably ok ? [Change fluid and filter IF it won't move - Mine works but I still need to let engine warm up a lil first [ may be because I let it sit all week and drive it only not every day]

IV. RADIATOR,Power steering Fluids - CHECK for proper level
Observe below water pump for leaks from weep hole[ if you see have a leak here you WILL see it ]
P/S steering is a convenience, if it works... fine, if not you STILL can run car for testing etc, but steering will be like manual or worse[ your fighting against the P/S cylinder] I doubt it will be a problem, since it ran ok before.

V. FUEL SYSTEM [ is carb getting fuel, was tank drained before storage ? fuel turning to tar][ see first link above about that]...probably NOT as much a problem for your car...but could be. Read to at least be aware of THAT potential problem so it will in your mind if you run into problems.

You at some point will want to change fuel filter on front of carb [ most likely reason for lack of power - could full of rust, dirt, tar/residue from old gas OR literally itself gummed up and thus clogged from dried up gas ]

Important NOTE: REMOVE AIR CLEANER - once fuel tank is known to be ok, you can remove the top screws of carb to fill fuel bowl with gas manually] THEN pump the carb linkage and look in throat of carb should see gas vigourously squirting on two sides - IF NOT you could try some carb cleaner in various pinholes[fuel/air inlets etc]
If still no squirting - carb needs rebuilding [ rubber diaphragms probably cracked or bad power valve ] OR at least a good cleaning with a can of carb cleaner sprayed through accessible micro holes ...look for them with top of carb off...attach lil plastic red tube to carb cleaner nozzle and spray through them - GREAT TIME to do this anyway the way ::

BUT THEN you still could put in about 2 gallons of fuel in tank and turn over engine [ ONLY after having hand cranked it to assure its not locked up !! ]

If fuel is also NOT squirting at this point...then fuel pump [another rubber diaphragm in here too to deteriorate/dry out]<<< is bad OR fuels lines are clogged [ very unlikely fuel lines]. EVEN after 16/17 years my car had ok fuel lines - BUT the pump was gone [carb I rebuilt automatically just to be sure, but rem mine was NOT only 2 years in storage like yours, MUCH longer. Contact me for carb HOW TO REBUILD links if you need.]

- take battery to Autozone and check for dead cells , charge it[ preventative measure] or just check with voltmeter [ but that wont tell you its condition as to dead cells etc ]-- Check for proper water level
BUT if you can start car with it after you jump it, AND you can continuosly start it WITHOUT jumping it to another car battery your ok....if you need jumps >>> take to get it checked. :)
-CHECK turn signals, horn for operation

To answer about:

Engine - probably OK, just thoroughly check above as mentioned [ oil appearance will tell you ALOT as well, if it looks new thats even better, if its black, more likely rust will have formed on cylinder walls POSSIBLY [ old oil loses protective qualities and becomes more acidic]therefore change oil and filter too ! [10w-30]

Transmission - probably ok
CHECK FLUID LEVEL and color [ should be cherry reddish NOT brown]Smell it, shouldnt smell burnt [if its brown it will]
USE "Type F" ATF[Automatic Transmission Fluid] Fluid will know when you engage [ remember it may need to warm up...sift through all gears but NOT UNTIL brakes are inspected AND you know without a doubt they ARE WORKING !!!

Rear End - never hurts to check its fluid level[ most neglected, forgotten area of cars lol]

With those links above you should be pretty well covered and have enough to keep you busy for a while ;) :D

1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.