Car sat for about 2 years, needing to bring back to life

Jul 19, 2015
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First thing first it's a 2002 Mustang GT with 5 speed manual and everything is stock. Car had around 180,000 miles when parked about 2 years ago. No stabilization or long term storage precautions were taken due to budget and the thought of selling it then it kind of got back burnered after a baby was born. So yeah not great but I'm hoping I can at least make it a point a to b car for a short term till I can sell or get another vehicle. Here is my plan and I'm looking for advice on it and any additional things you would consider doing prior to trying to start it.

1st getting a new battery
2nd changing oil
3rd removing all spark plugs
4th spraying into spark plug well some fogger oil.
5th letting it sit for a while like an hour
6th removing serpentine belt
7th trying to use a breaker bar to manually turn the motor with the crank pulley (could use advice on best way to do this?)
8th if it does turn doing a couple revolutions to get that fogger oil to spread around the piston rings
9th based on how much fuel in tank either filling it up with good gas or trying to figure out how to drain the tank (would probably have to siphon if possible as the car is in grass and I have no concrete pad to jack up the rear end)
10th turn on car to run position and listen for fuel pump
11th try to start car, if it cranks but doesn't start spray some starting fluid into MAF
12th if no crank then set on fire

Thoughts or suggestions?

I have general automotive knowledge and can read schematics for electrical problems so I'm hopeful I can at least get her running. If I do get her running then I'm going to change all the fluids to include, brake, rear diff, etc. Not sure on manuals though if there is an oil I need to change out after sitting or if it is likely still OK? Thanks for reading this far and any advice or even encouragement is greatly appreciated!
 
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stormsedge

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Jun 17, 2018
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Delete step 12...if it was running when you parked it, it likely won't be that bad. I might just spin it with the starter instead of steps 6, 7, 8...potentially requiring step 9 to be done earlier. Change the fuel filter as soon as you can. Consider putting a fuel additive specifically aimed at mixing with any water in the tank, when you put in the fresh gas...it probably had some ethanol in it which can break down and gather water. (An ideal scenario would be to drop the tank and flush it, but you know that).

Change all the fluids when you get it where you can work on it...including the transmission (it will shift better). Check the undercarriage for rust, it may need a preemptive strike since it has been sitting in the grass.
 
Jul 19, 2015
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Delete step 12...if it was running when you parked it, it likely won't be that bad. I might just spin it with the starter instead of steps 6, 7, 8...potentially requiring step 9 to be done earlier. Change the fuel filter as soon as you can. Consider putting a fuel additive specifically aimed at mixing with any water in the tank, when you put in the fresh gas...it probably had some ethanol in it which can break down and gather water. (An ideal scenario would be to drop the tank and flush it, but you know that).

Change all the fluids when you get it where you can work on it...including the transmission (it will shift better). Check the undercarriage for rust, it may need a preemptive strike since it has been sitting in the grass.
Ok great thanks for the response, getting some fuel additive is a great idea didn't think of that, I have access to a level concrete pad but of course I'd have to drive it to the car there, I'm hoping there isn't much gas in the tank and putting some fresh gas (now with additive) will at least let me limp the car there so I can do further maintenance, good idea on checking undercarriage didn't think of that either. I know I definitely will flush and replace brake fluid, power steering fluid, any other fluid or wear item I should consider at least double checking if not just outright replacing? Thanks for answering!
 
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MustangIIMatt

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Do step 9 first.

There is no point in trying to start the car on the old gas, if it does start, it won't run well, and you'll just be putting varnished, broken-down fuel through your whole fuel system and into the engine.
 
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Jul 19, 2015
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Do step 9 first.

There is no point in trying to start the car on the old gas, if it does start, it won't run well, and you'll just be putting varnished, broken-down fuel through your whole fuel system and into the engine.
Good point, I'll be getting a battery in a couple hours and I'll keep this thread updated as I progress.
 
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Jul 19, 2015
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Battery installed and Yay I heard the fuel pump prime, lights work, windows go up and down, radio came on and all other noticeable electronics seem to be functioning, unfortunately it seems I have half a tank of old gas. Now I've decided to try to use the fuel pump to get it out by disconnecting the line post filter and run a line to a container. Now my question is how do I jump the fuel pump to make it run and not just prime? I know there is a relay switch I think behind the kickpanel on the passenger side. Also I believe the ccrm has a jump point for the fuel pump but I can't seem to find where exactly to jump it. Any advice?
 
Jul 19, 2015
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Do step 9 first.

There is no point in trying to start the car on the old gas, if it does start, it won't run well, and you'll just be putting varnished, broken-down fuel through your whole fuel system and into the engine.
Ok so I'm trying to drain the fuel using the pump, have it disconnected from filter with a line running from tank to container, trying to figure out where to jumper the pump to make it run instead of prime... Any ideas anyone?
 
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Able to drain fuel by disconnecting fuel line from engine side of fuel filter, ran a 5 foot length of fuel hose off it to a 5 gallon jug I had laying around, then using the priming function of the pump by turning the key off and on over and over was able to draw out vast majority of the fuel. Had to put a small hose clamp on the filter to stop seepage but it worked decently, never could find out how to properly jump the pump to make it run but this method worked if anyone else is trying to figure it out. Drained oil, removed spark plugs, topped off coolant with 50/50 and the power steering pump with some atf I had laying around. Sprayed stabil oil fogger into each cylinder and let it sit while I drained fuel. Buttoned it all back up with a fresh 5 quarts of oil. Went to start and it cranked but had difficulty starting but then it caught and ran! No excessive ticking noises, and it settled down to idle after about 2 minutes. Did eventually throw a code for a bad cop but that's no big deal especially after almost 3 years of sitting! Next all fluids will be flushed and replaced and I'll see why the power steering pump drained, lots of fluid around the lines so I'm thinking and hoping its just a bad gasket. Was able to move the car slowly in a circle, power steering whined about it, brakes seemed a bit squishy, and at first it wouldn't go either way but slowly rocking it back and forth got it to reverse and then go forward. Pretty stoked she's alive again! Thanks for all the advice everyone and I'm sure I'll be back as it progresses with more questions and updates. I did take pics I'll try to upload soon.
 
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Jul 19, 2015
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Ok got driver side valve cover off and out of car, what a pain in the butt! The gasket broke apart in my hands so pretty sure it was bad lol, now that I have it off anyone got some suggestions for what to visually inspect while it's off? This is past my general knowledge area, I know the workings but I couldn't tell by looking if something was wrong lol. Going to clean them up real good put a new gasket on with some rtv and drink some beer. Thanks for reading!
 
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Some pictures, I was able to get both off by just moving the wiring harness, didn't mess with either the MC or fuel rail.
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180k...do you know if the timing chains/rubs have been replaced and at what point?
As far as I know they have not... Could that be the ticking sound I hear now from the driver side valve cover? At first I thought it might just be a stuck or sluggish valve but now you got me wondering if it's something else... Lol is that a difficult job? Does it involve pulling the motor? Here is a short video of the noise, only when I give it throttle otherwise hardly any noise except normal drive train taps.

Edit
Nevermind I'll have to host the video somewhere else it's too big
 
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Those videos were taken prior to replacing the valve cover gaskets, I don't have post ones yet but the hard tapping isn't as bad after the replacement but still noticeable I'll get another video when I can get a chance.
 

stormsedge

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Jun 17, 2018
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Take a long screwdriver (or a mechanic's stethoscope) place it against your ear, and hold it against the valve covers (up and down the length), alternator, ps pump, idler pulley mount, water pump...etc. You'll hear the tap distinctly when you you are on or near it. Your first video sounds like belt noise and a rough idle room pulley to me...try pulling the belt off to check for roughness in the pulley.

Replacing the timing chains and followers can be a chore, but is within the realm of a diy'r. I recommend you look at some of the write ups and videos about it.
 
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Take a long screwdriver (or a mechanic's stethoscope) place it against your ear, and hold it against the valve covers (up and down the length), alternator, ps pump, idler pulley mount, water pump...etc. You'll hear the tap distinctly when you you are on or near it. Your first video sounds like belt noise and a rough idle room pulley to me...try pulling the belt off to check for roughness in the pulley.

Replacing the timing chains and followers can be a chore, but is within the realm of a diy'r. I recommend you look at some of the write ups and videos about it.

I did as you suggested, first you were correct the pulley on the idler arm was gritty feeling when I spin it so adding that to the shopping list. I used a 12 inch 3/4 drive extention (longest piece of solid metal I could find) and listened all over. The tap is definitely coming from under driver side valve cover and it seems to be about mid way down it where it's the loudest. I was given the suggestion it could be lash adjuster which im about to research because I don't even know what that is lol I'm hopeful it's not the crankshaft and I don't have a main bearing going out, pretty sure it's somewhere in the driver side head.
 
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Ok so update time! Here are some pics of the oil after replacing the old oil that sat for almost 3 years with fresh oil and adding motor medic engine flush. I stupidly didn't read closely the directions and instead of just letting it idle for 5 minutes I let it run about 10 and did drive it about 1/4 mile total just to turn the car around. Anyway first pic is what the oil looked like and 2nd pic will be what was at the bottom of a clean pan. Refilled with 5 quarts of STP 5/20 and a new STP filter, going to run that till next weekend then do another oil change then put in some Mobil 1 with a better filter. Thoughts on any of this appreciated or if you just want to say hi!
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