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Old 01-28-2019, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to safely start an Insight that has been sitting?

I am pretty sure this has been asked before, but I can't find the answer with a forum search.

Anyway, later this week I'm going to try to start a 2000 that has been sitting for about a year. I'm going to bring a 12v battery and I'll disconnect the IMA battery to keep the 12v charged before I start the car.

I'm mostly worried about the top of the engine not having any oil in it right at startup. Is there something I should do to get that flowing first? Also, if it has gas with ethanol in it as is to be expected, is there anything I need to worry about there?
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You could remove the plugs and spray some fogging oil in the cylinders. Smell the gas and see if it smells stale. Otherwise I'd just start it. Grid charge the battery before you let the car charge it.

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Old 01-28-2019, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree about pulling the plugs and spaying oil. You will need to turn the engine to expose each cylinder wall. This could also give you a tip-off about a pre-existing combustion issue (plug color/fouling).

You might be able to take a picture inside the cylinders with you phone camera; or, USB inspection cameras for your phone are around $20. Might be a good idea to look for any show stoppers like signs of a leaky head gasket.

You might consider an oil/filter change before even turning it over, since most of the old oil will have drained to the pan! Why run it back into passages when it has spent a year settling out? Ideally you would try to get gunk out that has settled to the pan bottom. Inspection c camera to the rescue again.

You might use the opportunity with the plugs out to do a compression test. All that cranking may also prime the system with oil. You could also pull the valve cover to confirm that oil is reaching the cam when you are cranking - dunno if this would work on an Insight so YMMV.

Once you confirm the car operates, you could adjust the valve clearances before buttoning it up for good.

Or... Just crank it over.

Have fun!
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Old 01-28-2019, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My Insight sat for about three years. I thought about this after I got it running! At least it didn't start right away, so the oil hopefully got a chance to circulate while cranking the first few times. I didn't even change the oil, it was changed a couple hundred miles ago and looked fine.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ideally you would pressurize the oiling system before putting stress on the bearings and such. Know of no practical way to do that with an Insight.

I think I'd spin the engine over for 30 seconds or so with the plugs removed. Hopefully that will get a bit of oil to all the bearings. You might even get oil pressure that way.

Certainly, as you say, throw the IMA switch so you don't hit the dead battery with a starting demand. You will probably need a jump box or cables to do that.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My priority would be to make sure the engine turns freely - either turn it by hand or push it in 4th gear (if manual) gently back and forth while observing the pulleys.
I did this with my car after it stood for 6 months and the engine would not turn over.
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There's a post somewhere about jumping the fuel pump in the fuse panel under the hood, if you're really concerned about the fuel, but I don't think 1 year would be an issue. So my advice:

Pull the plugs. Crank the engine a few times to build oil pressure. Replace the plugs, fire it up, be happy!
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Speaking only for the internal combustion engine, since I don’t have enough experience with the IMA yet to be useful...

First, sniff the gas. If it smells stale (very distinct odor from good gas, kind of sickly sweet) you need to figure out how to drain it. If there’s just a little bit in the tank you might be able to top off with premium and dilute it to an acceptable level. Maybe add a bottle of fuel injector cleaner to try and dissolve any deposits from sitting.

Second, check the oil and other fluids. If the oil looks at all manky, change it. Blew up the engine on a low-mileage ‘49 Plymouth on the drive home from purchasing it because some of the oil had coagulated into little blobs of grease, which eventually plugged an oil line and starved a bearing. Saddest face ever, and then a $1000 rebuild.

Third, best practice is definitely to pull the plugs, mist or drip some oil in the cylinders, and roll the engine over. Short of that, though, at least pull the wires off the coils/plugs and crank the engine for 30-60 seconds to pressurize the oil system and wet all the dry surfaces.

Finally, once you get it going, warm it up and drive it gently through the first tank of gas or so. It can take a while for all the seals to soften up and start doing their jobs again. Nothing keeps a car in shape like regular exercise.

Really, if it was a decent running car a year ago, you’re unlikely to have a problem. So don’t worry too much and go for it.

Blessings,

Park
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Old 01-31-2019, 09:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I've started Insights and many other cars that have been sitting up to 3 or 4 years by just tossing in a battery and starting them up. The few seconds it cranks before starting will circulate enough oil to prevent any real damage, and even 5 year old gas in a fuel injected car will run fine. Now if it was sitting 20 years, you would have to do some more prep. There are dozens of videos on youtube of people starting cars and trucks that haven't run in 10, 20 or 30 years or more.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The oil looked pretty fresh and was near the top dot on the dipstick, and the coolant was at the right level.

I hand cranked in neutral for about 3 rotations, no issues, and then I started it up. It fired up immediately. Thanks everyone!
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