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

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Duration: 17:59

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Unfortunately, oftentimes when a classic car has been stored it wasn’t properly stored. But rather it just stopped being driven. This commonly 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 adding fresh gas, 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, then as the lighter elements in 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 in 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 detail 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.