is it dead...?

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hey there!
we have a 1991 dodge caravan sitting in our garage and its been there for almost 2 years now without starting it. That was dumb eh? (well its my dads car so dont look at me haha) Befor we stoped using it the car drove fine and there wernt any problems that i could c with it but we didnt do anything special to prepare it for its long rest so theres probly still a half a tank in there along with some 2 year old oil and fluids. Now heres the question...will it ever drive properly again? if so what should i do to make that happen? thanks guys!

posted by  baddriver

What kind of information is this? You basically say, "I have a van that hasn't been run in two years, how can I get it running?"

There is probably no gas in the tank. Gasoline evaporates over time and there probably is none. If you do decide to start the van, use a higher octane at first. Maybe 91 or 93 octane.

Other than that, you haven't given enough information.

Another thing, introduce yourself in the Intro forum or no one else will help you. :cussing:

posted by  Vassar

Actually...sounds like plenty of information. A car that has sat in a garage unattended for 2 years. No fluids were drained or any other car storage precautions made.

Having no experience...I'd say that pretty well sums up the situation.

If you don't know what you are doing, call your local mechanic and have him do the necessary fluid changes and proper lubrication...what ever he says it needs.

Have it towed on a flat bed wrecker...

That's the advice I give. Whether good or not. That's what I would do.

posted by  BavarianWheels

Why should he do that?

posted by  snoopewite

Personally, two years is not that long. I would change all fluids, make sure everything was leveled off and in place, install a new battery and hit the key. There is no info, like Vassar indicated, that would tell me there were any pre-existing conditions so why not fire it up. i doubt because it sat for two years that anything beyond the realm of repair of service could have happened. Start the durn thing and see what it does after tune-up and fluids service. :driving:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Oh, and in case badriver is a little :screwy: , makes sure that there is GOOD fuel in the tank! :laughing:

posted by  cmeseadoin

What's that got to do with why a higher octane fuel would be needed?

posted by  snoopewite

Snoop, you need to address that question to the individual that recommended it, not me. I say nothing in my posting about recommending a higher octane fuel, rather, just to check the fuel quality and level. Gasoline does gel up and could very possibly have done so in two years of non-use. That is the biggest potential problem I see with this scenario. Personally, I think this posting is much ado about nothing. Start the car after doing common sense work to it and see what happens....LOL....pretty simple. Let's not make it rocket science with this one! :2cents:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Ok, all Vassar is saying is to basically run a tank of premium through it which would be a very GOOD idea seeing as it has sat for so long. Premium, as we all know, is a high octane rating, IE) 93 over 87(regular) and is a LESS volatile gasoline per instance of time. Most people think that 93 octane is a "better" gasoline because it is more explosive than 87. NOT TRUE. Ever had a vehicle with a little piston pinging or valves tapping and run premium through it to clear that up? The reason the problem cleared is because if the combustion is happening at time X with 87, it now occurs at time Y with 93 and time Y is further in the future than time X. The valve/piston noise was coming from the fact that the piston was being forced down (with 87oct) on the combustion stroke PRIOR to the piston being all the way at TDC(top dead center), hence the term, predetonation. With the addition of 93oct, you are now slightly manipulating the timing indirectly to retard it so that the combustion occurs right when it should, at TDC so that there is no engine noise. All that, just for an FYI! :-) :hi:

93oct would be a good way to help rid any stale gas in the tank of this van that's sat around for 2 years.

posted by  cmeseadoin

If you read the thread then you'll see that you quoted me on the question that I asked Vassar.

Still, thanks for answering my question. So put simply, 93 octane would be a bad idea normally but good in this case because it's making up for the lower than average quality fuel that it's being mixed with?

posted by  snoopewite

No, actually YOU need to read your postings more carefully,LOL. You originally quoted ME in the same posting you asked your question, apparently to Vassar, and there is NO mention of Vassar's name in there to indicate that the question you posed was for him and not myself. If it was for him then it should start out "Vassar, ......" and it should also paraphrase HIS posting and NOT mine. Furthermore, your posting came in sequential order right after I had posted what I did. So by all obvious indications pertaining thereunto....the questions was seemingly posed to me. When posing a question to someone specifically, make sure to use the REPLY button on the bottom right of the person's posting you are ASKING, not the "REPLY" on the last post of the series. Now that this situation is either straight or FUBAR, lets continue......

As for your question posed to me regarding gasoline, you are half way correct. No, 93 octane is not a bad thing typically. Some cars with performance based engines require it while others....well, it is pretty much overkill. That is a high level answer and is a multifactorial collaboration of variables such as engine design and engineering, etc. Outside of performance requirements, you tend to want to use higher octane in older engines at high mileage to compensate for engine wear. All I am saying here is that with a vehicle that has sat for 2 years, if you are not going to drain the tank and clean everything, then fill it all the way up with premium gasoline and run that through it and see if any problems present themselves. Then go from there. So, with that part you are correct. :thumbs:

posted by  cmeseadoin

I agree with most of the replies to your plight, with an exception of, "firing it up and see what happens". This engine has been sitting for two years without even being cranked over? So, every internal part of this engine is completely void of any lubricant (rings,bearings, crank, cam, lifters,so on) nothing but metal to metal.
I would change the oil and filter,and I would pull the plugs and pour about an ounce of a very high grade machine oilinto each cylinder, or WD40, LPS lub#1 or something like that.With the plugs out crank the engine in intervals, twenty or so seconds at a time until the oil light goes out or the oil pressure gauge starts going up. Then crank it a few more times after the oil light goes off.
Put new plugs back in , it should start. If you are able to, you should try to get as much of that old gas out of the tank as possible, before adding new gas and running the engine. After you have ran a few gallons of gas through, replace fuel filters. I don't know what the higer octane would do, but it won't hurt, to run a tank full. :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

That is a good suggestion as well....I can't think of everything. :hi: On the flip side of that, I have a 76 Electra 225 with a 455 4v/4bbl that I fired up when I purchased it and it had not been fired in two years. All things were checked first then I hooked up a good battery and brought it right to life. A quick spray of wd-40 into the carb and I hit the key and it immediatly fired up with solid oil pressure. So, it really is just all in how you chose to do it. If you think about it, when you start the engine in a car in close to zero degree or even temps. in the teens after they have been sitting for a day or two in that cold, it is probably about the same level of wear as in a garaged vehicle that has not been fired in a couple years. As long as oil pressure builds up and everything else is fine, you should not have a problem, but oil or lube down the plug holes can be done as well.

posted by  cmeseadoin


I meant to add to my posting earlier that you asked the same thing twice in two separate postings...I guess for Vassar. First it was:

"Why should he do that?" and then I was the only person that replied beween your posting of the previous and the next post in which you said:
"What's that got to do with why a higher octane fuel would be needed?" Vassar never answered you.

Just for clarification so you understand where I am coming from in thinking you were talking to me. :hi: Ain't it fun to debate these things? Gotta love the online arena! :laughing:

[QUOTE=snoopewite]If you read the thread then you'll see that you quoted me on the question that I asked Vassar.

posted by  cmeseadoin

just change your battery and all you fluids. And you might need to change you sparkplugs

posted by  archangle

u guys think its ok to charge up the battery, put in some gas, and drive it over to the shop with no oil change?

posted by  baddriver

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