Starting engine after 3 years of sleep.

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Rex71, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Rex71

    Rex71 Formula Junior

    Mar 24, 2007
    Jeddah,Saudi Arabia
    Full Name:
    Majd B.
    Hi all,
    I bought a '99 Maranello that was left neglected in a shop. The engine haven’t been started for three years & I was wondering what are the steps that I should follow before starting it.
    I know I must change the oil and filters, but are there any other things that I should do?
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  3. NicolasRubio

    NicolasRubio Karting

    Nov 25, 2007
    Buenos Aires, Argent
    Full Name:
    Nicolas Rubio
    I would check the exhaust pipes for any living beings/non living objects, change ALL the fluids in the car (including fuel), check the tires for any flat spots (change them if possible), check/change all the belts (rubber may get old), and I think I am forgetting nothing. Oh, yes... PRAY FOR IT TO START! LOL

    Cheers and good luck,
    Nicolas Rubio
  4. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jan 11, 2001
    Full Name:
    Steve Magnusson
    I would fog the cylinder walls with the appropriate oil and give the engine a few spins by hand before using the electric starter. I'd also drain the old fuel (if any), put in a little new fuel, run the fuel pumps manually, and pump it out at the last common connection on each bank, refill, etc..

    But maybe more importantly -- why did it sit for three years? I'd find it really unlikely that it was neglected if there wasn't a (serious) reason.
  5. mgv1

    mgv1 Formula Junior

    Feb 6, 2006
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    Mark V
    Change all fluids and filters as the gas will be bad and so will the coolant if there is any of these fluids left after this time. I know the 550 had a problem with the rubber in the fuel pump deteriorating and plugging up the system in normal use, so look out for this.

    On a regular car I would do the following but I'm sure some of the expert guys will offer more detailed suggestions:

    Remove all the spark plugs and pour a shot (about 1 ounce) of Marvel mystery oil into each cylinder (If marvel is not available you can use Rislone Oil treatment or Slick 50). Now use a large socket wrench on the front pulley and turn the motor over by hand at least 30 times to get the oil distributed. The motor should turn easily enough with the plugs out, and any type of strange noises would need further investigation before proceeding. The hand cranking allows a gentle re-awakening of the engine without just putting power to it.

    Now connect a fresh battery and turn the engine over with the key. Do this for 20 seconds or so and then stop. Wait a minute and then repeat this, keeping an eye on the oil pressure guage, by attempt number 3 it should show signs of moving off zero. If this is the case, check the dipstick to see that the oil is still clean and check all fluid levels. Replace the spark plugs and give her a whirl to see if she runs. If the motor fires then let it idle (no revving) and have someone keep an eye on the engine for leaks/smoke etc whilst you look at the guages.

    Good luck and don't forget the fuel pump rubber issue as maybe thats why it got abandoned in the first place.

    Let us know how it turns out.

  6. vlamgat

    vlamgat Formula Junior

    Jan 9, 2004
    Mark's recommendations are spot on (as are the other less detailed recommendations) and I would add the following:
    1. Make sure the a/c compressor is not engaged when you spin the starter. Getting the a/c working is another separate challenge and you dont want to cook the compressor working it without any oil or gas;
    2. When you are spinning the engine using the crank bolt, take a look at the belts as they pass points that each is visible. They deteriorate sitting in the same position for a long period and you may have to replace one. BTW once you get it going you should schedule a cam belt replacement very soon. It is much worse for these belts not to drive the car than it would be to have exceeded the usual Ferrari limitation of 30,000 miles althought his will also depend on how it was stored while it was "neglected". I would argue that a non driver neglected car stored inside at 68 deg F in a humidity controlled environment would see almost no rubber deterioration.
    3. You can also use Bardahl oil instead of the products suggested by Mark which available at NAPA for the pre run engine spins.
    4. Put the car on stand or a lift for this exercise. Its much easier to see leaks this way once the engine is running. Trying to peer under the car on its wheels is almost worthless.
    5. If you get it started and you can drive the car, overinflate the tire by 10 psi to help remove the flat spots.
    6. Take a careful look at the engine mounts as these are prone to collapse. You will need a good work light and mirror to do this and even then you may not see the failure. Another reason for getting the belts done soonas these can be checked on a lift using a transmission stand to support the engine.
    7. While you are letting it idle to build engine temperature, go though all the electrical accessories. Any that do not work should first be checked at the large fuse box in the passenger footwell. The headlight opening relays are prone to lose connccetivity with their sockets for example. All can be fixed with appropriate contact cleaners.
    8. If the car is a GTA you should also clean out the tranny filters which contrary to the BS that circulates about this model can be performed in a couple of hours.
    Thats my BTDT experience
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  8. rizzo308

    rizzo308 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 12, 2004
    Perth, Australia
    Full Name:
    all of the above..... if it were me i would not want to start that thing till i've checked every inch of t belts by hand cranking.... good luck
  9. Rex71

    Rex71 Formula Junior

    Mar 24, 2007
    Jeddah,Saudi Arabia
    Full Name:
    Majd B.
    NicolasRubio, 91tr, mgv1, vlamgat, & rizzo308.
    Thank you all for your helpful & informative tips.
    One more question regarding rotating the engine by hand. Will it be clockwise or counter clockwise?
    Thanks again.
  10. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
    Professional Ferrari Technician BANNED

    Apr 26, 2006
    New England
    Full Name:
    David Feinberg you're looking at the crankshaft damper.
  11. 68rcodemustang

    68rcodemustang Formula Junior

    Aug 12, 2006
    Houston Texas
    Full Name:
    expect it to leak oil and maybe other fluids after using it a bit. Gaskets dry up from not being used. If there was fuel in it expect to replace the fuel pump (or gaskets in the fuel pump). I am sure there will be other smaller fluid related issues.
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  13. DM18

    DM18 F1 Rookie

    Apr 29, 2005
    Hong Kong
    Lots of good advice

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