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TomW

My 1990 Reatta has sat for 5 years

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<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> I have a 1990 Reatta with 80,000 miles that I want to get back on the road. It has been sitting in my unheated garage in Michigan for the last 5 years. It was not prepared for storage in any way. I stopped driving it due to having a bad back and its seating position not being comfortable for me.

In the six years prior to that I had put 4,000 miles on it. I had the following work done during the six years I had it on the road:

3 LOF

2 New batteries

Exhaust flange gasket replaced and converter welded

Freon added

Water pump replaced

Crank sensor replaced

Power steering line replaced from rack to cooler

Prior to that it was owned by my mother since new. She kept it in their unheated garage in Michigan and kept it maintained by the Buick dealer. It set for a couple years after her passing. Unfortunately I don’t have her maintenance records but I am not aware of her having any major issues with it.

I want to get it running and back on the road where I expect to drive it regularly but less than 5,000 miles a year.

I know I have these issues to resolve:

1. Gas - It has about three quarters of a tank of gas that has been sitting for five years and I don’t know what to do with it. I tried to siphon but can’t get a hose down there. I do have two cans of Seafoam on hand. I also have a 1996 Suburban that I would probably rather run old gas through than the Reatta if I can. What would you do?

2. Maintenance - The first place the car will go is to a local garage for maintenance work. I think it needs a LOF and cooling flush and possibly transmission flush, brake flush and tune up. Advice regarding maintenance that should be performed on the Reatta in this situation is appreciated.

3. Tires – These are more than ten years old and haven’t moved an inch in five years. The left front has a very slow leak that I have filled a few times during the five years but it has sat flat for quite a while too. So a new set is required. Suggestions on tires appreciated, I am most interested in ride quality and will probably buy from TireRack.

I appreciate any advice regarding the above and any other things that you would suggest in this situation.

Thank you,

Tom

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Guest my3buicks

The unleaded gas is probably fine, it may not run the best on it though I would suggest getting the car started and running that tank of gas empty, fill with fresh run it for a while and then have your tune up done. Wouldn't hurt to dump a can of Seafoam in that old tank to help clean the system as you run the tank through. The fluid changes are all an excellent step as well. I have had multiple cars sit for long periods of time with unleaded gas in them and it was fine, the newer gas doesn't go bad near as quickly as the old. If you are just running around town the tires may be fine but may be more of an issue if you get it out on the interstates at speed, 10 year old tires are not that uncommon on a vehicle, you can inspect them for any cracking, look especially in the tread area, but I would replace them once you get everything else in order.

How dry was the unheated storage, while heated or climate controlled is preferred, just because the garage was unheated doesn't mean the storage was necessarily bad.

Edited by my3buicks (see edit history)

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The 2 biggest issues after getting the 88 I have that sat for a long time was Rusted Brake and Fuel lines near tank. Ethanol gas mixed with old gas causing fuel pump failure, Clogged fuel injectors. I would check the brake lines really good before driving it. Then my list gets long on all the other things that I have had to repair to get mine on the road.

I had a post about 6 months ago about tire rack having good deal on closeout tires. Not sure if that is still available. A good going over will be needed. Test Everything !!! Check the Reatta Owners Journal for good repair information and the Reatta Store for good part deals.

Best of Luck!!! and Welcome to the forum.

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Hi.

#1: i'd be wary of starting/driving her with 5 year old gas. the water in the ethanol (alcohol) tends to separate, not to mention old gas will cause "gumming" problems. i don't know if you are a DIY person, but if you can get her up on jack stands, there are a couple places underneath where the gas line can be loosened and drained. but that goes to another problem - the battery. the fuel pump will have to be used to empty most of the gas. the battery no doubt, will be dead. if you have a battery charger that may bring it up enough for the fuel pump, or even start.

the Seafoam might be enough to get it to a shop, but i wouldn't use more than directed. save the second can for when it's up and running to do this: http://reattaowner.com/roj/component/content/article/67-engine-a-drivetrain/fuel-system/241-cleaning-the-fuel-system-with-seafoam

#2: Oil - since she wasn't prepared for a deep sleep, most all the oil (and contaminants) has drained into the oil pan. it's possible that one or more of the pistons has become stuck to the cylinder wall. there is a fix for that (basically shooting penetrating oil into the spark plug holes and waiting a few days). an oil and filter change should be done prior to starting even if the engine is not stuck.

Brakes - if the parking brake was engaged, it's probably stuck. as stated above, the discs may be stuck the the calipers, etc. the brakes (and coolant) flush and fill should be mandatory. probably the tranny also, as the fluid also has a tendency to gum up.

#3: Tires - should be replaced asap! Tire Rack usually has closeouts all the time, but i'd want to know what the "tire date" is prior to a purchase.

if you can't do most of the prep in your garage, i'd suggest having her towed to your trusted shop. the tow bill will be much less expensive than a catastrophic failure.

haven't gone into the electronics waking up from a deep sleep.

i may be leaning toward safety of the vehicle, but i and some classic car friends have BTDT.

just my 2 cents, hope this helps!:)

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For the tire suggestion, I really like my Pirelli P4's, still offered in the original size for the Reatta.

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