Cleaning Fuel System: Bringing a Car Out of Long-Term Storage

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Duration: 17:59

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Oftentimes when a classic car is put into storage, it isn’t done so properly. Rather than prepare the car to sit unused, it simply stopped being driven by the owner. This usually means the battery is still in place, the fluids are dirty and the fuel tank is partially full. To bring any car out of long-term storage requires more effort than simply filling the gas tank, throwing in a new battery, and turning the key. This is especially true for the fuel system.

As gasoline ages, it loses its volatility and becomes unstable. As lighter elements in the fuel begin to evaporate and dissipate, this leaves behind a thick, foul smelling ooze that more closely resembles tar than gas. In time, even that thick ooze will harden and become more rock-like. If the fuel has been stabilized with an additive, it will last much longer than gasoline alone, but given enough time, the fuel will still go bad. Most fuel stabilizers list them as only effective for one year before they need to be freshened up, but a far better solution is to drain the tank and the rest of the fuel system.

Even when the fuel has been stabilized, cleaning the fuel system can be the most labor-intensive aspect of bringing a car out of long-term storage. We join Mark Simpson as he takes on the challenge of bringing our project car back to life after being stored for over 30 years. He’ll go over how to clean and inspect the fuel tank, clean the fuel lines, remove/clean the fuel pump sediment bowl, and remove/clean the carburetor float bowl. It is always a good idea to disassemble various components to inspect, clean, and re-gasket if needed. Our focus in this video will be squarely focused on getting the car started, but often to get a car running with top performance, the carburetor will need to be rebuilt as the many small passages in the carb are prone to clogging with old fuel.