Starting / MOT a car which has sat for five years.

Starting / MOT a car which has sat for five years.

Author
Discussion

GretaGray

Original Poster:

5 posts

2 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
Long story short... life being complicated and all that - I've got an MGF, which has sat for five years with never being turned over during that time. I know it's not much but it's mine and means a lot to me and I would like to get it back on the road and enjoy it.

The space which was loaned to me to keep it in, is now no longer mine and I need to move the car pronto.

It's been sorned during the time, handbrake off and was in good form before I stopped using it... It's physically in good condition with no obvious leaks underneath. The tyres have maintained pressure - slightly low but amazingly not flat. The hydragas suspension height looks to be a touch low but probably what it was previously.

I have a brand new battery in a box, ready to fit.

I am aware I will have to remove the petrol and have bought a siphon to do so, before I start it but what else should I be considering to do?

I was wondering if a petrol additive is worth adding the first tank of fresh petrol, alongside a premium jerry can of fuel from shell or the like?

I was thinking oil change too but I've never done this before and worry I might wreck the sump plug in the process and stop me from driving it to the garage for the MOT.

I have seen oil removal pumps with the tube you insert into the dipstick but do not know how effective these are, particularly on a cold engine.

I'm on a budget to do this and can't afford to bring a mechanic out, so will have to attempt this myself. I've not attempted anything major on cars mechanically but I'm reasonably confident.

Genuine help would be greatly received... thanks!

steveo3002

8,644 posts

143 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
confirm it turns over with a spanner , if it does consider pulling the fuel pump fuse and cranking it to built oil pressure

id be worried the cam belt is going to fail due to being stood..so change that if the car has any value(guessing it has one ?)

GreenV8S

28,972 posts

253 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
Eyeball as much of the fuel lines as possible. Modern fuels are far more aggressive than these cars were designed for and it's becoming increasingly common for fuel lines to degrade over a few years and turn into fuel sprinklers. Pay particular attention to bends and clamps where the hose would be under additional strain.

Don't be surprised if you get block carbs/injectors, or oil/coolant leaks due to dried out gaskets. Make sure the coolant and hydraulic levels are OK before trying to start.

Don't be surprised if the clutch or brakes have seized on.

Cornwall1

79 posts

23 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
As above, make sure you can turn over the engine by hand, then drain and put new fuel in and try to start it.
If it starts take it for a MOT.

I have one of these and until you have passed a MOT you might be spending money not needed.

If it passes then a timing belt change would be a good idea, with oil and filter change.

If it doesn't pass then you will have enough information to decide what to do next.

Evoluzione

6,626 posts

212 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
You're overthinking it completely, get in it, turn the key and start it up.
Drive away - if possible.

Dan_The_Man

891 posts

208 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
Evoluzione said:
You're overthinking it completely, get in it, turn the key and start it up.
Drive away - if possible.
+1

Hawkshaw

112 posts

4 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
Dan_The_Man said:
+1
This. It will probably need the new battery, or just jump leads, but it may well be absolutely fine!

spikeyhead

13,132 posts

166 months

Monday 12th July
quotequote all
I'd be all for adding fresh petrol and going for it, but would check the brakes before moving anywhere, and keep checking that they're behaving.


Captain Answer

1,040 posts

156 months

Tuesday 13th July
quotequote all
Hawkshaw said:
Dan_The_Man said:
+1
This. It will probably need the new battery, or just jump leads, but it may well be absolutely fine!
+2, slap in some clean fuel before if you are feeling a bit presious but other than that just get the battery on/jumped after checking her fluids then get her moved slowly out the space and do a few small back and forths with touching the brakes to scrub off any rust from the disks

Om

684 posts

47 months

Tuesday 13th July
quotequote all
As above. Connect up the new battery, turn the key and go for it.

I inherited my FIL's Skoda Fabia that had sat in a garage for a similar length of time. The tyres were low but not flat. It had been left with the handbrake on but thankfully not stuck on. All I needed to do was inflate the tyres, connect a jump pack (as the battery was dead) and it started up with the first turn on old petrol.

I just needed to clean the dust off so I could see out of the windows then drove it to the local garage for a service and MOT. Even they weren't convinced it really needed servicing (and a brake fluid change) as it had only done a couple of thousand miles since they did it last, but as I was about to drive it 300 miles home it seemed the sensible option...

Modern, but not too modern cars are much more resilient than the cars of old (I would hope the TF would be in the modern bracket).

Old Merc

2,939 posts

136 months

Tuesday 13th July
quotequote all
Hawkshaw said:
Dan_The_Man said:
+1
This. It will probably need the new battery, or just jump leads, but it may well be absolutely fine!
We had an old Subaru that had stood in the barn for over 5 years.
All we did was clear the mouse’s nest off the engine, fit a battery and it fired up and ran OK.
Cleaned all the moss off the windows, fit two wiper blades and drove it to the MOT bay, where it passed.


Arnold Cunningham

1,591 posts

222 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
I'm not convinced by the whole pulling of the fuel pump fuse thing some people do and then cranking it on the starter. I'd back this up by saying, when I've tried it, it's a real struggle to get the oil light off. Whereas firing the motor up properly, oil light is usually gone in less than a second.

I always figure get the motor running and up to fast idle speed as promptly as you reasonably can. This builds good oil pressure, good oil flow, gives you "splashing" of oil off the crank (some motors use this to lube the cam), get's nice cyclic loads going on the cam followers (especially critical on flat tappet motors), puts enough rpm into the oil pump that it's pumping a "proper" amount of oil and so forth.

(I know not all the things I listed are applicable to all engines)

donkmeister

4,084 posts

69 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
Captain Answer said:
Hawkshaw said:
Dan_The_Man said:
+1
This. It will probably need the new battery, or just jump leads, but it may well be absolutely fine!
+2, slap in some clean fuel before if you are feeling a bit presious but other than that just get the battery on/jumped after checking her fluids then get her moved slowly out the space and do a few small back and forths with touching the brakes to scrub off any rust from the disks
-1000

K-series cambelts are made of chocolate and advice is to replace them every 3 years regardless of mileage. It will probably start, but you are risking the engine if the belt lets go.

Seized alternators are also a frequent issue with stored F/TFs... Whilst you don't need it to charge for a short journey you don't want it to drag against the belt either. So make sure it spins.

donkmeister

4,084 posts

69 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
GretaGray said:
snip


I am aware I will have to remove the petrol and have bought a siphon to do so, before I start it but what else should I be considering to do?

(Snip)


I have seen oil removal pumps with the tube you insert into the dipstick but do not know how effective these are, particularly on a cold engine.
I know you don't want to get a mechanic out, but there are some mobile MG mechanics who will do a full service Inc belt for under £300.

The petrol is probably fine. I have drained the tank in a TF and TBH I wouldn't recommend it as a first home mechanic job.
Oil, something to be aware of is the oil filler next to the dipstick is only intended for topping up. It's a tiny little tube. To get to the engine for servicing the rear of the soft top swings forwards and an inspection panel comes out. There's a "proper" oil filler hidden away there.

wormus

12,628 posts

172 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
As above, just charge/jump the battery and start it. 5 years is not a long time.

ARHarh

1,480 posts

76 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
Evoluzione said:
You're overthinking it completely, get in it, turn the key and start it up.
Drive away - if possible.
Just what I was thinking, i would check the levels first just to make sure it has oil and water.

bmwmike

3,776 posts

77 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
I started a car which had been sat for 3 years. It was a megane 1.6. The engine started on the nail (with fresh battery) even with the old fuel. The rear brakes were seized solid though, needed replacing. Left black marks up the driveway as I drove it, dragging its sorry seized ass into the garage and thence onto an MOT which it passed (then straight to gumtree).


boombang

66 posts

143 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
5 years since being parked up doesn't necessarily mean 5 years since something was replaced nor that it was in GWO when it was parked up.

EDIT: first thing would be checking all fluid levels above minimum.

Personally plugs out, few drops of oil in each cylinder, turn over on crank pulley with spanner/socket to make sure engine, water pump and alternator move freely.
Once happy check condition of cambelt and tension, if in doubt then is time to change belt, tensioner and water pump.
Then go around fuel system making sure no leaks, I'd refresh fuel before first start assuming you not trying to move it and flush out carbs.
Quick check on electrics checking ignition and switches (parked cars are great mouse houses and they love a chew).
Then give it a go cranking over on a nice fresh battery.

Before moving under power I'd be checking brakes haven't bound on, that there are no leaks under pressure and that the fluid hasn't totally gone. Also check the handbrake will hold the car and preferably stop it if it starts rolling.

Unfortunately all of above are from experience. Last thing you want is a cambelt jumping (less of an issue on a non-interference engine) or to get it moving and find you cannot stop.

Edited by boombang on Wednesday 14th July 11:39

Evoluzione

6,626 posts

212 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
boombang said:
5 years since being parked up doesn't necessarily mean 5 years since something was replaced nor that it was in GWO when it was parked up.

EDIT: first thing would be checking all fluid levels above minimum.

Personally plugs out, few drops of oil in each cylinder, turn over on crank pulley with spanner/socket to make sure engine, water pump and alternator move freely.
Once happy check condition of cambelt and tension, if in doubt then is time to change belt, tensioner and water pump.
Then go around fuel system making sure no leaks, I'd refresh fuel before first start assuming you not trying to move it and flush out carbs.
Quick check on electrics checking ignition and switches (parked cars are great mouse houses and they love a chew).
Then give it a go cranking over on a nice fresh battery.

Before moving under power I'd be checking brakes haven't bound on, that there are no leaks under pressure and that the fluid hasn't totally gone. Also check the handbrake will hold the car and preferably stop it if it starts rolling.

Unfortunately all of above are from experience. Last thing you want is a cambelt jumping (less of an issue on a non-interference engine) or to get it moving and find you cannot stop.

Edited by boombang on Wednesday 14th July 11:39
Don't forget to change the brake discs, pads and fluids, fit new tyres, give it a full bodywork restoration, vac it out and polish the headlights, fit a new condenser, set the points and replace the coolant.
You can never be too sure you know nono

Captain Answer

1,040 posts

156 months

Wednesday 14th July
quotequote all
Evoluzione said:
boombang said:
5 years since being parked up doesn't necessarily mean 5 years since something was replaced nor that it was in GWO when it was parked up.

EDIT: first thing would be checking all fluid levels above minimum.

Personally plugs out, few drops of oil in each cylinder, turn over on crank pulley with spanner/socket to make sure engine, water pump and alternator move freely.
Once happy check condition of cambelt and tension, if in doubt then is time to change belt, tensioner and water pump.
Then go around fuel system making sure no leaks, I'd refresh fuel before first start assuming you not trying to move it and flush out carbs.
Quick check on electrics checking ignition and switches (parked cars are great mouse houses and they love a chew).
Then give it a go cranking over on a nice fresh battery.

Before moving under power I'd be checking brakes haven't bound on, that there are no leaks under pressure and that the fluid hasn't totally gone. Also check the handbrake will hold the car and preferably stop it if it starts rolling.

Unfortunately all of above are from experience. Last thing you want is a cambelt jumping (less of an issue on a non-interference engine) or to get it moving and find you cannot stop.

Edited by boombang on Wednesday 14th July 11:39
Don't forget to change the brake discs, pads and fluids, fit new tyres, give it a full bodywork restoration, vac it out and polish the headlights, fit a new condenser, set the points and replace the coolant.
You can never be too sure you know nono
You forgot to grease the trunnions dear boy