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Car has been sitting...what do I need?

Guest frog_dude

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Guest frog_dude

I have a 1954 Chrysler Windsor. It’s been sitting for overthirty years in the garage. I was wondering anyone has a list of what I wouldmost likely need to change to get it running. Where is a good shop to buy these old parts? Like what fluid does thetransmission use or would oil still be ok? Thanks.

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Is it a 6 or V8 engine? Not that it matters...

Drain the oil - you should really drop the oil pan, too, and clean it out. Change the oil filter, if it has one.

Drain the radiator and the engine block - if it comes out rusty-looking you might want to flush the system now - check/replace the thermostat - add fresh anti-freeze

Ckeck all the hoses, etc

What type of trans is in it?

If it is the Fluid Drive you can use 10w (non-detergent) oil. But I wouldn't do anything to the tranny unless it needs more oil

Remove the plugs and squirt some motor oil or any other good lubricant into the cylinders and rotate the motor by hand while the plugs are out.

At the very least clean the plugs, clean the points and re-gap them. Check the cap and rotor, plug wires, etc. But you might as well do a complete tune up while you're at it.

Tune up parts are not that difficult to come by. Try NAPA and other stores.

You can get most of what you need from Bernbaums if necessary. I am sure that others on here will give you more sources for parts. There are several others.

Check the electrical wiring to make sure it is sound. Lots of times critters get to them and chew them up. Plus they are old to begin with. The last thing you want is to fire it up and have a "real" fire on your hands

Those are the "basics" for reviving a car that has been "asleep" for many years.

The other thing is to take your time. Don't be in a hurry. If you neglect to exercise caution because you are in a hurry the damage that may occur can be costly.


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Do not trust the gas tank. Whatever was in there will be turned to varnish by now and could ruin your engine. Disconnect the gas line from the fuel pump and hook up a motorboat gas tank or similar.

Do not change anything you don't have to. The more changes you make the harder it will be to diagnose and fix what's wrong. Start by checking oil, putting oil down the cylinders, turn over engine by hand, if it turns over ok try the starter, if it does not turn over STOP until you know why.

If I had that car here I would have it eating out of my hand in a few hours or know the reason why. A few months ago I bought a 49 Chrysler (same motor and very similar car). I cleaned the points and spark plugs, got the ignition working, oiled the cylinders, poured a little gas down the carb and got it running in half a day. I don't know when it was last on the road but there was an insurance card in the glove compartment dated 1965. I have got similar motors running that I know had been locked away in the garage for 30 years.

Basically make sure there is oil in it, get it turning over, make sure the spark plugs are working (you will likely need to clean the points) give it a little gas and it should run. O ya, it will likely need water in the rad, I don't like to add the water until it starts but I have a pail handy.

You may also need to clean the carb but this not often necessary. It is a little advanced if you have not done it before.

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