Engine 89 - First start up after sitting for 12 years


Active Member
May 26, 2020
Hello Everyone,

I'm trying to bring back to life an 89 5.0 that's been sitting for 12 years. I've owned it since 94 and always kept up with maintenance. Besides bolt-ons, the engine is stock.
Never burned oil or any issues like that. Before it sat, I changed the oil. Forwarding through time to today, the oil looks clean just as if I changed it yesterday. Of course I'm going to change it agian though. I pretty much cleaned everything. New fuel tank, cleaned lines, rail, tested and ran pump, cleaned-tested-oiled-rebuilt injectors. All new gaskets, hoses, coolant flush, etc...

My question is, what do I do before the initial start up attempt? Since the cylinder walls are dry, is it really necessary or not to pull all sparkplugs to put a few drops of oil or quick spray of WD40 into each hole then hand crank the engine a 1/4 way every 24 hours? I've read mixed reviews.. I dont want to do more damage here.
OR, is it best to NOT do any cylinder soak and just change the oil, pull the valve covers to lightly coat the valve springs / rockers, then pull the distributor to manually prime the oil pump and help lubricate everything..

I'm torn what to do and what not to do.



wrap a little cheese around it and its a done
Oct 4, 2020
Personally I would pull the coil wire and crank it for 20 seconds or so, then plug the coil wire back in and start it... After the engine warms up , I would change the oil and filter.....


Active Member
May 5, 2004
Waldorf MD
Pulling the coil wire and cranking or using the drill will basically accomplish the same thing. However, if you are worried about the cylinder walls being dry wd 40 or some other oil spayed in the plug holes will lube the walls a bit. If you crank it with the plugs out and coil wire off it should crank plenty fast and help with making sure you have not sprayed too much lube in the cylinder to hydro lock it. If your nervous bump it over then respray before going all in. Let’s face it pulling the plug is not that much more work than you have already done, and the peace of mind should be worth it. The WD 40 or whatever oil you spray will burn off in few minutes of running, no worries there. When you rebuild an engine, you usually coat the cylinder walls and piston rings with some oil, after twelve years that lube is gone, priming the oil pump while a good idea will probably not get a lot of oil up around the cylinders hence my recommendation.

Let us know how it goes.