barn find bus engine restart

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webwalker
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barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:50 pm

greets to all. I'm restarting a 1977 Bus (all stock) after it has sat for 12 years in a barn. Yup: a real barn find.

As far as I can tell, the vehicle was literally pulled into the barn with a partial tank of fuel....and simply left. It is being delivered to my place by flatbed this weekend.

So that's the backstory. I'm looking for a cross-check on the procedure I intend to use to restart the beast.

Here's the planned procedure:

1. Drain the fuel tank (If that sludge in there will even drain) and then clamp off the output.
2. disconnect Fuel pump from primary harness, give it a drink from a jerry can, and then give it power to see if it will even turn and if so, will it put out the correct amount of fuel per minute.
3. If the fuel pump will run, reconnect to main harness, do a check of the plugs, HT leads, and inspect points, cap and rotor.
4. Perform FI harness tests per Bentley between FI plug and sensors. Any that come back out of spec, check it at the sensor.
5. Connect a new battery and pull #15 on the coil.
6. Dump the oil in the case, and put in a new filter and new oil. (What weight? Brand? Extenders?)
7. Turn the engine over with the new battery until I lose the oil light. This should prime the oil pump with newer lube, as well as re-priming the fuel ring.
8. Set the fire extinguisher within reach of my assistant.
9. Say my "Hail Mary"s reconnect the coil, and turn the key.
10. Rejoice or diagnose, as required.

I'm especially concerned with whatever goop has been sitting in the bottom of the case for more than a decade. Is it worth it to, after draining the oil remove the strainer plate, and *very carefully* rinse out bottom of the oil sump with a solvent before refilling the case with new oil?

I'm trying to be as conscientious as possible because I want to avoid accidently damaging this engine while restarting it. Since I won't be able to get accurate leakdown or compression data without the engine having warmed up, I'm planning to wait until 15 minutes after "Rejoice" (See #10, above) to try to feel out the leakiness of the engine.

Any comments would be much appreciated. Don't be surprised if you see this same, or similar post on other sites: I'm casting the net very wide on purpose. Thanks for any wisdom you might be able to add.


Marshall

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ajdenette
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by ajdenette » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:07 pm

I would not attempt to see if the engine will run on the old fuel lines I would replace them now to prevent fire on first run of the engine. you might consider something like Seafoam and turning the engine over by hand and maybe crank without the coil or plugs installed first to clean things up then dump the oil and start over with fresh. likely with the old fuel in the tank there is old fuel in the fuel ring as well so changing the fuel lines will help clear that as well DO NOT forget the short pieces of fuel line from the rails to the physical injector either.
Alex

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by fusername » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:31 pm

i would pull the fuel tank now, while its easy, cause now is the best time to replace all taht intake rubber. pull the plugs, pour a bit of marvel mystery oil in there and cranke her over w/ the new oil and filter. then hook it up to small fuel supply mixed w/ marvel mystery oil and run that thru the engine, no spark or plugs. manually the first few turns to see how things are, then w/ the key.
give a man a watch and he'll allways know what time it is. give him two and he can never be sure again.

Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously.

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Marc
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Marc » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:14 pm

Don't crank it at all until you've drained the oil. Any acidic sludge/moisture is now sitting at the bottom of the sump, the last thing you want to do is suck any of that crud up and push it into the bearings/cooler.

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Piledriver
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Piledriver » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:15 pm

Welcome to the asylum.

Once you change the oil/filter/strainer with a high zddp oil of your choice* I'd do a valve adjustment, looking in particular for uneven valve retainer height (in case it swallowed a valve or has loose seats, common on OG heads)
This also forces you to turn it over by hand which can be informative.

Pull and replace the plugs, first. (actually, leave them out for the next step.)

...and if all is well, do a compression test.

Don't panic if it's not in spec, it will almost certainly read low initially due to even slight rust etc on the walls.
You are looking for dead cylinders and oil pressure/funny noises at this point, as from a dropped valve or rod bearing headed south.


If you have some compression, and adjusted valves, and oil pressure you have the groundwork laid for getting it to start.
There's actually an argument to be made for pulling the heads off NOW and just sending them off for rework if they look OK.
I have seen ex valves heads ~fall off on a few engines that have sat for a LONG time on startup.
(They were already cracked and about to go when parked, rustworm and time finished the job)

Check your plug wires, mice like them, and they do go bad with age.

*search google there are many long threads on what few oils are suitable for flat tappet engines these days.

The most effective way to search THIS site is via google site search
example:
zddp oil site:shoptalkforums.com
the board software's search is horribly borked.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Stray Catalyst » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:08 pm

It sounds like you've already done the research and may have already bypassed this info, but here's a handful of things to look for in a barn find:
http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic ... 1&t=138546

Do you know WHY they pushed it into the barn 12 years ago? I strongly doubt that they just got tired of a good running vehicle, so whatever problem they couldn't solve, is still going to be staring you in the face shortly.

If you want to clean the sludge out of the bottom of the case, there are some oil change kits that have a solvent (generally a mix of clean kerosene and oil) for the purpose. I haven't used them on air cooled VWs, but they clean all sorts of nastiness out of older liquid-cooled engines.

If you don't hate mice yet, you will. They eat wires, they eat hoses, they eat upholstery, they eat headliners, they make nests over your cylinders... and they leak about twelve times their own volume in urine every five minutes or so. I saw one engine that was so full of mouse turds that the air filter, carburetor, and intake manifold had to be removed for cleaning - only the carb didn't just get pressure washed, it got rebuilt.

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:13 pm

^^^^ and you have a bunch of other stuff you have not addressed yet that needs to be done before you fire the engine and drive it.

webwalker
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:35 pm

Stray Catalyst wrote:It sounds like you've already done the research and may have already bypassed this info, but here's a handful of things to look for in a barn find:
http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic ... 1&t=138546

Do you know WHY they pushed it into the barn 12 years ago? I strongly doubt that they just got tired of a good running vehicle, so whatever problem they couldn't solve, is still going to be staring you in the face shortly.

If you want to clean the sludge out of the bottom of the case, there are some oil change kits that have a solvent (generally a mix of clean kerosene and oil) for the purpose. I haven't used them on air cooled VWs, but they clean all sorts of nastiness out of older liquid-cooled engines.

If you don't hate mice yet, you will. They eat wires, they eat hoses, they eat upholstery, they eat headliners, they make nests over your cylinders... and they leak about twelve times their own volume in urine every five minutes or so. I saw one engine that was so full of mouse turds that the air filter, carburetor, and intake manifold had to be removed for cleaning - only the carb didn't just get pressure washed, it got rebuilt.
I saw that article, and its a good one. I was looking for specifics on the engine that went deeper than the write-up you mentioned.

Well, the PO bought it from a family and pimped it with red paint for #1 son who was into surfing. #1 son drove it for about 20k miles until he met a girl who was NOT into surfing. He kept the girl and now drives (I couldn't make this up if I tried) a Hummer. Bus was parked when it fell out of favor with the girl.

But I have a good relationship with the mechanic who worked on it back then (I even have screen caps of a few of the invoices.) According to him, the last time he worked on it, the exhaust wasn't too tight and he replaced the clutch but the #1 son wouldn't spring for the shifter bushings, so they're slop. But it was in good tune at that time.

Do you have a brand or product name on that solvent based oil change kit?

M

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:36 pm

Ol'fogasaurus wrote:^^^^ and you have a bunch of other stuff you have not addressed yet that needs to be done before you fire the engine and drive it.
Well don't TEASE me.... :mrgreen: Tell me! :lol:

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:45 pm

This is based off the advice was given to me back in the late 50's and early 60's when garage finds from the war years were more common than now.

Bleed the brakes, replace the soft lines and check the condition of the shoes. Check the drums for out of round and verify that there is the ability to be turned at least one more time. Replace soft lines just in case; it’s cheaper than replacing the vehicle and anything or anyone hurt if the brakes fail. Not uncommon for rear brakes to be applied when the car was stored and they usually did not put them on blocks as they intended to get back them in a short time. Check tires for cracks, gloss on the rubber (old rubber) and expiration dates (they didn't have them back then but they sure do now days).

Drain and refill the tranny. Acids form here too so you want to inspect all seals both rubber and paper.

If you have CVs, repack them and replace the boots. Swing axles, replace the boots clocking the seam at 45° to horizontal/vertical.

Check and tighten all nuts and bolts throughout the car including lug nuts.

Check the condition of the steering box and donut plus the tie rod-ends and dampener if you have one.

Inspect, repack and replace grease seals on the front bearings. If a car has been sitting on its tires for long periods of time you want to check the wheel bearings (front and rear, inside and out) for flat spotting. Clean the bearings and races then insert the bearing one the race. With your two fingers in the hole in the bearing turn the bearing 180° back and forth on the race and feel for any high or low spots. You have to have a fairly light touch on this and you don't want to score anything. Re-torque the axle nuts and front wheel bearing nut.

Drain, cleanout, and seal the fuel tank of old fuel and crud. Blow the hard lines and replace the soft lines.


To add to your ideas and to those others have given on dealing with the engine; it was thought best to pop the head(s) and inspect the head(s) and gaskets (VWs do have a want to crack heads and some of the older replacement heads were, how you say it, cheap at best). Do a visual inspection on the heads for cracks. Pull the springs and check them for proper strength as sitting for a long time compressed the springs could potentially take a set and not be as strong as they were. Pop the valves and hand lap them a few turns then pull the valve and check both the valve and seat for a shiny areas all the way around indicating that there is even contact; any gaps means a valve job. Checking the seals I am not sure on how to do that easily.

Go though the carb and other lines and it is probably safe to say that the diaphragm in the fuel pump would/could be dried out and not work well or split. Replace all soft lines.

Squirt some light oil in each cylinder then and only then rotate the engine some to make sure that there are no metal to metal wear problems. Replace the head(s) and check the electronics.

Do a complete lube job and maybe even spring for a alignment as you don’t know much on the overall condition of the vehicle.

As has been said, do a visual for critters in the wiring as they do like these places and critter poop on places that get warm is not a comforting thing. I am sure I am missing something’s as it has been a long time since I did much of it.

Overkill… yes but sound advice too. We did a fair amount of this where I worked.

Lee

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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Stray Catalyst » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:53 pm

I've looked over some of the engine flush info out there, and it looks like a bad idea for normal engines, but if your engine has gummed lube that won't come out otherwise you can add kerosene, turn it over by hand a few times, and drain it, then give it an oil change. A small amount of kerosene in your oil won't do any harm - but keep in mind that the gummy stuff that breaks loose at that point is going to go somewhere - if it doesn't come out with the oil change then the next stop is your oil pump, and if it makes it past there, your oil galleries. If you have gummy lube, you're probably better off rebuilding the engine entirely and not resorting to half measures... But kerosene (or any commercial engine flush from the car parts store, such as Gumout Engine Flush) might give you a chance to get it running if you need to decide if it's time to fix the engine, or replacement time.

webwalker
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:37 pm

Thanks so much for all of the advice guys. During introductory inspection this weekend (while cleaning out the interior which now smells 7/8 less like mouse piss than it did a week ago) I was also able to verify some items:

There is fuel in the tank and it stinketh. So that will be a high priority.

The wheels DO turn, and the ebrake works. (Found this out the hard way when the tow truck operator set the parking brake, as a matter of habit and I was able to release it later.)

I'm happy also glad to report that the engine appears to be buttoned up tight, nothing missing and all hoses (no matter what condition) are clamped with crimp style clamps. Me thinks this has been pretty well maintained. I can sure hope!

Stray Catalyst
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by Stray Catalyst » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:42 pm

That'll make your life a lot easier! Having all the wheels turn is rare, after that much time sitting.

Start a build thread - we'll be glad to give encouragement and advice (some of it good) when we can.

webwalker
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:30 pm

Ol'fogasaurus wrote:Bleed the brakes, replace the soft lines and check the condition of the shoes. Check the drums for out of round and verify that there is the ability to be turned at least one more time. Replace soft lines just in case; it’s cheaper than replacing the vehicle and anything or anyone hurt if the brakes fail.
All soft lines will be replaced. I'll also be inspecting all of the hardlines as well.
Ol'fogasaurus wrote: Not uncommon for rear brakes to be applied when the car was stored and they usually did not put them on blocks as they intended to get back them in a short time. Check tires for cracks, gloss on the rubber (old rubber) and expiration dates (they didn't have them back then but they sure do now days)..
All tires will be replaced with correct C rated 'kooks. The passenger tires currently on it will be kept as rollers until I have engine, brakes, steering sorted. Certainly nothing more than 'round the block' on these old things.
Ol'fogasaurus wrote:


Drain and refill the tranny. Acids form here too so you want to inspect all seals both rubber and paper.

If you have CVs, repack them and replace the boots. Swing axles, replace the boots clocking the seam at 45° to horizontal/vertical.

Check and tighten all nuts and bolts throughout the car including lug nuts.

Check the condition of the steering box and donut plus the tie rod-ends and dampener if you have one.
Donut is in good shape: tie rod ends are shot. Dampner will be replaced as a matter of course.
Ol'fogasaurus wrote:
As has been said, do a visual for critters in the wiring as they do like these places and critter poop on places that get warm is not a comforting thing. I am sure I am missing something’s as it has been a long time since I did much of it.

Overkill… yes but sound advice too. We did a fair amount of this where I worked.

Lee
The engine and trans will have to come out to do the shifter bushings (all of them) and I can SMELL that I have ex-critters in the engine's ducts. I'll bet a Ford doesn't have these problems. :)

webwalker
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Re: barn find bus engine restart

Post by webwalker » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:52 am

Well, I drained the oil. The top of the plug had a 1/4" of sludge on it. Mirror and lamp inspection shows a nice layer of much at the bottom of the sump. The oil filter had been put on by an ape, so I had to drill into it then lever it off.

Oil doesn't look too bad. Of course, it has had a dozen years for the particulates to fall out of suspension.

The current plan is going to be (since I have plenty of time to wait until I can get started on this because of other blocking projects) to reinstall the oil plug and then add a nice quart of kerosene and let that cook in the bottom of the sump for a month. Then dump that contents, removing the oil plug, the filter screen plate and the taco plate. Scrub the sump bottom liberally from these access points, then button up again and flush with another quart of kerosene, and drain out the junk now in suspension.

So the first time it gets filled with new oil for its start up, it will be at least a pound lighter sans sludge on the bottom.

That the current plan, depending on the responses I get here and elsewhere.

M

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