Car has sat idle for three years...

davidthetitandavidthetitan Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Ford
I have a '87 Ford Escort with 100,000 miles on it. It has been sitting idle for the last two or three years. I would like to get it going again. Does anyone know a good website to visit or can offer me a list of what problems I can expect and what steps I should take to get this vehicle going? Your help is greatly appreciated, thank-you ahead of time!!!!


  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021

    It will prolly have a website that has info on what you need to do.

    Also check out local bookstores for books on restoration and preservation of old cars. Sometimes they have chapters that describe the process of getting an old car running. Even if the book is targeted towards some other brand, the info will still help.

    If I find something specific, I'll post it here.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Okay, I can get you started.

    First problem is FUEL. It has probably gone sour so you will need to drain the tank as best you can and then flush it out. You will also have to arrange to safely catch this fuel and safely transport it to a recycler that will take it. So figure this out first before you drop the gas tank drain plug.

    Okay, you got fresh gas. Now change the fuel filter and buy and extra one if they aren't too expensive. What I'm thinking is that you need to change the filter again after the engine has run for 1/2 a tank or so, or maybe less.

    Next, the battery. It may be no good at this point. You could take it somewhere and have it tested, or you could refill it with water and SLOW CHARGE it (NOT...NOT...a fast charge). I don't want you putting jumper cables on a dead, dead battery. So either charge it up (you might get lucky) or replace it.

    These things should get you RUNNING.

    If the car runs okay, then you can spend money on:

    Oil change and filter
    Change fuel filter (use the second one you bought)
    Check all belts and hoses for leaks, cracks, noise, etc.
    Check if your tires have flat-spotted and THUMP along the road or if they will come back to life.

    CHECK YOUR BRAKE FLUID before you go anywhere, and have it flushed when you get a chance....preferably right away if you are satisified that the car is going to run.

    So by now you have a car with fresh fuel, clean oil, pumped up tires, all belts and hoses check, new filters and at least a full master cylinder.

    After this, you need to drive it carefully and see what else, if anything, it asks for. It may want a transmission service (again, keep checking the car for oil leaks and water leaks).

    If you do this right it shouldn't cost more than $100-200 dollars to be safe and reliable (presuming it ran fine when you left it 3 years ago).

    I hope this helps and if anyone can think of anything I missed that isn't too radical (we aren't going to take the cylinder head off, no...), please add your wisdom to the pot.

    Mr. Shiftright
    Repair and Maintenance, Sportscars and Classics Boards
  • davidthetitandavidthetitan Member Posts: 2
    Thank-you for your help. I will attempt to bring my Escort back to life. Give me a month to let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
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