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Car has been sitting in my garage for the last 20 years and has not been started.

I‘m replacing the fuel system and would appreciate some advice and tips on prepping the engine before firing it back to life.

My Best To All
 

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Flush the cooling system
Replace all your hoses
Change oil
Prime the engine with oil by spinning the oil pump shaft with a drill (backwards)
Remove spark plugs, put a bit of oil in each cylinder
See if the crank will turn by hand
Might consider rebuilding the carb
Replace rubber fuel lines
Crank engine with starter with dizzy wire disconnected to circulate oil and get fuel to the carb.
Check for fuel leaks
Replace spark plugs
Cross fingers
 

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Oh, insure the battery is new and fully charged, check/inspect the point setting, cap and rotor.
 

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Be sure the exhaust is unobstructed. Critters have a way of getting in there.
Have a fire extinguisher handy just in case.
 
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I would also change your fuel filter and keep an eye on the new one you replace it with; your fuel tank may very well be full of 20 years of rust/debris that will clog it up pretty quickly.
 
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You can always run a line from the fuel pump into a gas can if you don't fully trust the hard lines in the car. It'd probably be a good idea to blast air and brake clean or similar through it if you plan to run it.

You can also check resistance in the spark plug wires to see if there are any internal breaks. Obviously you should replace them before putting a ton of miles on it but if your goal is to see if the engine is decent then that might be a move.
 
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I would add, whip the rocker covers off to get visual confirmation of oiling to all rockers, whilst spinning oil pump or cranking with dizzy unplugged..

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If it ran when it was parked, I would put a shot of gas down the carb and give it a crank.
 

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I've been thinking about this for my car, it's been sitting for 10 years. A previous post mentioned squirting oil into the cylinders. I've read where it's a good idea to use Marvel Mystery Oil for this purpose as it will (hopefully) loosen up stuck rings. I've purchased a '65 fuel pump for it's integral and very large fuel filter for my car. Also new gas tank, rubber fuel lines and a rebuild kit for the carb.

Hopefully it starts for you, but once it does don't drive it until you've thoroughly inspected the brake system and replaced all rubber parts.

Hope this helps!

Harry Z
 

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The OP said he was replacing the fuel system. I'm assuming that means new tank, lines and filter.

I think daves67ss is spot-on. The only thing I would add is to replace the thermostat. I wouldn't trust a 20 year old 'stat. Or, just remove the thermostat to get it running. Drain the cooling system and replace it with tap water. Once you have it running smoothly and you're sure the cooling system is good and flushed, be sure to pour in antifreeze and install a good quality 190 'stat.
 

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Whats 20 years have to do with it? Been sitting inside.
Fuel gum up and oil perhaps not everywhere. That said mine was nearly 12 years stored. It was inside a barn type carport with four sides and technically a roof. It was sort of a wooden car cover. I put a new battery in, fed the carb from a gas can and was able to fire it up without too much trouble. No oil prime and I don’t think I even manually turned it over. It didn’t run well and had fuel issues even without the tank and lines but it started.
 

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1965 Mustang Fastback GT350-Tribute Restomod. 2019 Shelby GT350.
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My 289 was rebuilt in 1993. At that time, the seating surfaces had assembly lube applied. Life intervened and the engine was never started. It sat patiently in the corner of my attached garage.

In 2016, the project was finally restarted, but I decided to update the engine by using some newer top-end components (aluminum heads, better intake, etc). While we had it apart, my mechanic suggested we partially disassemble and inspect the bottom end. After 23 years, the assembly lube had hardened into a dry solid/powdery material. My mechanic told me that if we had started the engine as it was, it would likely have survived for only a few minutes. We pulled it apart, cleaned it, re-checked tolerances and put it back together. The cost was minimal - a couple hundred bucks. It started and ran fine. We did a break-in on the engine dyno and then did some full-power runs. 349 HP, 338 Tq.
 
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