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Waking a Sleeping Cat

Waking a Sleeping Cat

Steve Chatman

I recently asked about starting an XJ6 that had been stored for a long period. I was going to evaluate a car for sale and wanted advice on the proper way to start the car. After the experience, here is my summary.

How to wake a sleeping cat? Normally I just push the Siamese off the couch and test the feet hit first theory. But, back to the other cat.

The bad news is that the car was misrepresented and wasn't worth the drive to see. The good news is that I got great advice from Hunt Dabney, Jim Downes, Gunnar Forsgren, Mack Kamna, Don Richards, and Jim Warren. Thanks guys.

Before starting: Do remove the spark plugs, spray something on the order of Liquid Wrench, but follow-up with a cap of regular motor oil. Remove the coil wire and crank a bit. Replace plugs. Check the air cleaner for wildlife. If you can, drain the old gas and replace with fresh. Check vital fluids before starting. Also change oil if possible -- probably not essential. Bring jumpers or a fresh battery.

When starting. Have someone (with steady nerves) stand near the fuel rail with a fire extinguisher. No telling what those hoses will do. Let it run for five minutes before driving. During this time, exercise the transmissin by shifting to each position and letting it run there for about 30 seconds. Repeat for the 5 minutes. Watch hoses.

When driving. If it will move, test brakes immediately. At best the brakes will probably shudder from the uneven rust dusting they've acquired (less under the pads, probably...you'll feel it every rev. under braking). (Rust on the rotors).

On any car, but especially if it has sat, I would perform a leak down check.

Also note the following anecdote. "I am very opinionated on this subject but if it where me, I would stay away from stored cars, and buy the best most expensive car you can afford. I payed 2k for my very clean looking S1, it has wire wheels, and Eagle GT/Dunlop tires, solid chrome, etc. I now know that this car would have been a good deal if the owner had payed me about $1500 to take it. ... I will say if the car has been kept in a very dry storage, you may have some hope, but humidity of any kind wrecks havoc on the electrics, fuel system, engine bores, etc, etc."

Thanks to everyone.


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