Engine First startup in 20 years - protocol


New Member
Mar 31, 2017
I will soon try starting up my 82 GT after 20 years of storage and want to make sure I do it right/minimize damage from a dry engine.
I've replaced the complete fuel system, rebuilt the carb and now need to focus on the engine itself.
Some say just fog the cylinders, take off the valve covers and squirt oil on all the rocker arms, etc.
Others say, that is not enough and damage will be done.
They say take out the distributor, use one of those extensions on a drill that reach down to the oil pump and drill counter clockwise until oil is seen pumping up through over all the rocker arms. They also say I'd probably have to move the motor manually with a breaker bar in the middle of this to get oil pumping to each area.
My problem is I don't know how to do engine timing and moving the motor with the distributor off would throw that all off. I've watched some timing vids and they make it seem damn complicated/something best left to the experts.
Is there a way to mark things so i could put the distributor back in just for the engine turn portion? Is the oil pump/extension method overkill?
Appreciate any suggestions/advice!
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Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
Barn car find checklist: first steps to get it back on the road.

First of all, carefully check the underhood area to make sure that rodents haven’t had a feast on the electrical wiring, air ducts and vacuum lines. Replace and repair any visible damage. Replace the battery if you haven’t already done so.

Next, drain ALL the engine fluids, transmission fluid, pump the fuel tank and fuel lines clear.

Get several cans of brake fluid, you will need it to flush the brakes. Loosen all 4 brake bleeders one at a time and flush the brake system by pumping the brake pedal. You will need to bleed the brakes when you finish flushing them. Brake fluid absorbs moisture if it sits for a long time and corrosive compounds start to brew themselves in the brake system.

Pumping out the old gas - do this before replacing the fuel filter if possible;
If the old pump still works, you can use it to pump the tank out.
1.) Separate the pressure line (the one with the Schrader valve on it) using the fuel line tools.
Look in the A/C repair section for the fuel line tools. They look like little plastic top hats. You will need the 1/2" & 5/8" ones. The hat shaped section goes on facing the large part of the coupling. Then you press hard on the brim until it forces the sleeve into the coupling and releases the spring. You may need someone to pull on the line while you press on the coupling.




View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRTjYAxvaCs

Use a piece of garden hose to run from the pressure line to your bucket or gas can. Make sure it is as leak proof as you can make it. Fire and explosion are not part of the repair process...

2.) Jumper the fuel pump’s test point to ground.
Foxbody Diagnostic connector


Foxbody Diagnostic connector close up view[/b]



Turn the ignition switch to the Run position. the fuel pump will pump the tank almost dry unless the battery runs down first.

Some 5 gallon paint pails lined with garbage bags are good to hold the gas. The garbage bags provide a clean liner for the pails and keep the loose trash out of the gas. If you decide to use a siphon, a piece of 1/2" garden hose stuck down the filler neck will siphon all but a gallon or so of the gas.

The fuel filter is on the passenger side of the car on the body just over the rear axle housing. Pull the plastic clips out by grasping the tabs with a pair of needle nose pliers or a screwdriver.

]View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-JU54w7FL4]

At this point you have fresh engine fluids, fresh gasoline, new filters, new battery fresh brake fluid, and have replaced or repaired any rodent damage.
Then change ALL the filters (fuel, air & oil). Then put in new oil, new antifreeze, and 5 gallons or so of new gasoline. Be sure to replace the all the fan belt or belts. Reusing old belts are an invitation to break and leave you stranded or overheated.

Pull the spark plugs out and squirt some oil down inside the cylinders to lube them up. While the spark plugs are out, examine them for signs of damage or fouling. Write down which plug came from which cylinder and write down any negative things that you saw when you examined the spark plugs.

This next step is for those who have successfully removed and reinstalled a 5.0 Mustang distributor. Pre-oil the engine to insure that everything is lubed up good before the engine starts. Turn the engine up to where the distributor rotor points to #1 cylinder. Mark the distributor base with a scratch mark or something else that isn’t going to get rubbed off. Then remove the distributor and stick a ¼” socket on a12” extension on an electric drill. Place this rig on the oil pump shaft in the hole below the distributor. Turn the ignition switch to Run but don’t crank the engine. Run the drill counterclockwise while your assistant watches the oil pressure gauge.

For the less experienced DIY’er, here is a less complicated procedure.
While the spark plugs are out, crank the engine until you see the oil pressure gauge indicate pressure. If you don’t see any indication of oil pressure at the gauge after 30 seconds or so of cranking, you have some other problems. This is the time to stop and investigate them.

Put the old spark plugs back in if they look good; replace the ones that don’t. Have a spare set of new spark plugs handy for installation once you get the engine running. Why? The oil you squirted in the cylinders will lube things up, but it may also foul the spark plugs. Don’t foul the new plugs by putting them in cylinders that may oil foul the plugs.

Remove the distributor cap, and examine it and the rotor for signs of moisture and tracks. Lightly spray the inside of the distributor cap with WD40 to displace any moisture, and then wipe it up with a clean paper towel. Replace any cap or rotor that shows signs of damage, excessive corrosion or tracking that won’t wipe up with a shot of WD40.

Put the distributor cap back on, secure any loose wiring, vacuum lines, check the fluid levels, check belt tension and tighten any fasteners that you may have loosened. You are now ready to see if the engine will run.

Putting the distributor back in and setting the timing.

Revised 28-Apr-2018 to add photo & description of the SPOUT connector and SPOUT jumper .

You can forget about anything beyond this point if you don't have access to a timing light. You will never get the timing set right without one.

Note: If you don't have access to a timing light, most of the larger auto parts stores will rent or loan one if you have a credit card or leave a cash deposit.

Putting the distributor back in is fairly simple. Pull #1 sparkplug, put your finger in the sparkplug hole, crank the engine until you feel compression. Then line up the TDC mark on the balancer with the pointer on the engine block.

The distributor starts out with the #1 plug wire lined up at about 12:00 with you facing it. Align the rotor to about 11:00, since it will turn clockwise as it slides into place.

Align the distributor rotor up with the #1 position marked on the cap, slide the distributor down into the block, (you may have to wiggle the rotor slightly to get the gear to engage) and then note where the rotor is pointing.
If it still lines up with #1 position on the cap, install the clamp and bolt. If not, pull it out and turn 1 tooth forwards or backwards and try again. Put the #1 spark plug back in and tighten it down, put the clamp on the distributor, but don't tighten it too much, as you will have to move the distributor to set the timing. Note that there is no such thing as one tooth off on a 5.0 Mustang if you follow the spark plug wire order on the distributor cap. If it doesn't align perfectly with #1 position, you can turn the distributor until it does. The only problem is that if you are too far one way or the other, you can't turn the distributor enough to get the 10-14 degree optimum timing range. If the TFI prevents the distributor from being turned enough to get 14°, there is a simple fix. Pull the distributor out and turn the rotor 1 tooth counterclockwise Don't move the wires from the positions shown on the cap on fuel injected engines!!!! The #1 position cast into the cap MUST have the spark plug wire for #1 cylinder in it. Do it differently and the timing for the fuel injectors will be off. The computer uses the PIP sensor to time injector operation by sensing the wide slot in the PIP sensor shutter wheel. If the injector timing of #1 and the firing of #1 do not occur at the right time, the injector timing for all other cylinders will be affected.

Setting the timing:
Paint the mark on the harmonic balancer with paint -choose 10 degrees BTC or 14 degrees BTC or something else if you have NO2 or other power adder. I try to paint TDC red, 10 degrees BTC white and 14 degrees BTC blue.

10 degrees BTC is towards the drivers side marks.

Note: setting the timing beyond the 10 degree mark will give you a little more low speed acceleration. BUT you will need to run 93 octane to avoid pinging and engine damage. Pinging is very hard to hear at full throttle, so it could be present and you would not hear it.

Simplified diagram of what it looks like. Not all the marks are shown for ease of viewing.

ATC ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '!' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' BTC
---------------- > Direction of Rotation as viewed standing in front of the engine.

The ' is 2 degrees.
The ! is TDC
The ' is 10 degrees BTC
Set the timing 5 marks BTC. Or if you prefer, 5 marks towards the driver's side to get 10 degrees.

To get 14 degrees, set it 7 marks BTC. Or if you prefer, 7 marks towards the driver's side to get 14 degrees.

The paint marks you make are your friends if you do it correctly. They are much easier to see than the marks machined into the harmonic balancer hub.

At this point hook up all the wires, get out the timing light. Connect timing light up to battery & #1 spark plug. Then start the engine.

Remove the SPOUT jumper


It is the 2 pin rectangular plug on the distributor wiring harness. Only the EFI Mustang engines have a SPOUT. If yours is not EFI, check for a SPOUT: if you don’t find one, skip any instructions regarding the SPOUT. The SPOUT (Spark Out) enables the computer to control the spark advance. When the SPOUT is removed, the ignition timing reverts to the base ignition timing set by either the spark rod inside the distributor or the physical position of the distributor.

Warning: there are only two places the SPOUT should be when you time the engine. The first place is in your pocket while you are setting the timing and the second is back in the harness when you finish. The little bugger is too easy to lose and too hard to find a replacement.
Start engine, loosen distributor hold down with a 1/2" universal socket. Shine the timing light on the marks and turn the distributor until the mark lines up with the edge of the timing pointer. Tighten down the distributor hold down bolt, Replace the SPOUT connector and you are done.

The HO firing order is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
Non HO firing order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8

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