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Old 12-30-2007, 02:05 PM   #1
Spazie
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Default Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Alright, my old 94 SL1 has been living in my grandma's garage since May of 2003. I'm trying to bring it back to life, and I'm wondering what all I should look at replacing due to it being in un-prepped storage for so long, beyond fixing what was wrong with the engine that caused it to stop running.

Right now I'm planning on replacing:
tires
air filter
spark plugs and wires (these haven't been changed since I got the car originally so I'm sure it wouldn't hurt)

Anything else I should do? Gaskets, brakes, fuel filter?

It's a basic SL1, has a sunroof (which needs to be fixed, I cannibalized it when my SC2's roof seized up), auto transmission (worked great before car died), and A/C as the only options. Everything else is completely basic including the stock am/fm radio! Has about 115,000 miles on it.

This car will be going to someone that can't afford to do a lot of maintenance on it, so I'm hoping to get it into a condition where she won't have to spend any money on it for at least the next 2 years except for oil changes and tire rotations.
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Hi Spazie - you might want to think about replacing the hoses as well and the serpentine belt. The temp fluctuations of sitting in a garage can wreak havoc on anything rubber. Just to be on the safe side you might want to replace the thermostat as well. Sounds like you're doing a nice thing for someone so I hope it doesn't get to expensive for you. Happy New Year
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

I would replace the ECTS, check the how to library, It can cause alot of little and large problems if it's bad. Also check your SES (service engine soon) codes. You can find all kinds of info that way. (If the SES shows up on the dash panel) Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogi1200 View Post
I would replace the ECTS, check the how to library, It can cause alot of little and large problems if it's bad. Also check your SES (service engine soon) codes. You can find all kinds of info that way. (If the SES shows up on the dash panel) Good luck!
Learning fast

Your pretty much doing a Tune up:
replace ECTS
replace connector for ECTS as needed
new spark plugs and wire (NGK Copper all the way)
check brakes-replace as needed (adjusting rear drums if equiped)
check belt - replace as needed
check coolant level
change oil and filter
change transmission fluid (if automatic) and filter
clean throttle body and all passages
clean air filter
check power steering fluid
check brake fluid
check tire pressure

and a nice cleaning of anything you can reach on the engine can always make your car a little happier

Have you fixed the issues with why it died in the first place?
...
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Since I'm new to this, Is a good power wash with engine degreaser ok on all the electric components? I use to work on good old fashioned sb chevys etc.. I'm not used to all this electronic stuff. What we use to blast with water now has electric connections! Is it okay to hi-pressure blast the engine bay?
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogi1200 View Post
Since I'm new to this, Is a good power wash with engine degreaser ok on all the electric components? I use to work on good old fashioned sb chevys etc.. I'm not used to all this electronic stuff. What we use to blast with water now has electric connections! Is it okay to hi-pressure blast the engine bay?
honestly....i would never spray water inside the engine bay in any car now adays. supposedly the connectors will be alright, however if I were you i wouldnt risk it
...
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

The brakes and rotors/drums are gonna be rusty to hell and wouldnt work for shti Replace due to the fact ur giving to some1 w/ low mantinece (sp)

dont change the tranny fluid yet until u drive it around and see how it (mis)behave :chuckle: it'll be abit sloopy soup ish
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Thanks for all the replies folks!

02SaturnLady - this car's going to be worth far more to my friend than it is to me just sitting around collecting dust, I can't wait to see the look on her face when I show up with the keys! It'll be completely worth every penny I've spent on it! (She has NO idea that I'm planning this, and was planning on buying a car with her tax return - I'm getting it fixed and giving it to her before then.)

yogi - the infamous ECTS! I think I've already replaced the one in this car, but I'm definitely going to check it out before all is said and done.

rc - excellent list! Where can I find NGK plugs at?

I still don't know exactly what's wrong with it (there's two or three theories floating around) - basically, it will start and turnover (with a jump, now) and run for about 10-20 seconds before the engine will just sputter and die. There's plenty of oil on the dipstick, but just seconds before it died on me while driving, the oil light came on, so it may be a sending or pressure problem.

A good friend (and SF member) who has already bought one broken down car from me and fixed it back up, is going to be fixing this one up for me. He'll find the problem in no time, I'm sure! I'm trying to make a list of parts for him so he can check prices through his connections compared to what I can find them for, so we can get them ordered. I'll be towing this car to him in a week or two (we're waiting on a settlement check - and using part of it to pay for fixing up this car) and hopefully will be able to give it to my friend before the end of next month.

Twin - I'll try and check the brakes, you're probably right about them being rusty. I want to check the condition of the rotors but I'll most likely be tossing new pads and rotors on the front anyway so she won't have to worry about getting them done. Hopefully the tranny will behave - it was in very nice condition when the engine pooped out!
...
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazie View Post
Thanks for all the replies folks!

02SaturnLady - this car's going to be worth far more to my friend than it is to me just sitting around collecting dust, I can't wait to see the look on her face when I show up with the keys! It'll be completely worth every penny I've spent on it! (She has NO idea that I'm planning this, and was planning on buying a car with her tax return - I'm getting it fixed and giving it to her before then.)

yogi - the infamous ECTS! I think I've already replaced the one in this car, but I'm definitely going to check it out before all is said and done.

rc - excellent list! Where can I find NGK plugs at?

I still don't know exactly what's wrong with it (there's two or three theories floating around) - basically, it will start and turnover (with a jump, now) and run for about 10-20 seconds before the engine will just sputter and die. There's plenty of oil on the dipstick, but just seconds before it died on me while driving, the oil light came on, so it may be a sending or pressure problem.

A good friend (and SF member) who has already bought one broken down car from me and fixed it back up, is going to be fixing this one up for me. He'll find the problem in no time, I'm sure! I'm trying to make a list of parts for him so he can check prices through his connections compared to what I can find them for, so we can get them ordered. I'll be towing this car to him in a week or two (we're waiting on a settlement check - and using part of it to pay for fixing up this car) and hopefully will be able to give it to my friend before the end of next month.

Twin - I'll try and check the brakes, you're probably right about them being rusty. I want to check the condition of the rotors but I'll most likely be tossing new pads and rotors on the front anyway so she won't have to worry about getting them done. Hopefully the tranny will behave - it was in very nice condition when the engine pooped out!
You can find them at autozone or advanced auto for sure.
Also to add to the list is to change fuel filter if needed That may be your starting issue also. Good luck!
...
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

It sounds like it may be a fuel or electric problem. If it starts and runs for a few secs. then dies. could it be a clogged fuel filter? enough gets through to start but not enough to run? or the ignition is not fireing when needed?
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazie View Post


I still don't know exactly what's wrong with it (there's two or three theories floating around) - basically, it will start and turnover (with a jump, now) and run for about 10-20 seconds before the engine will just sputter and die. There's plenty of oil on the dipstick, but just seconds before it died on me while driving, the oil light came on, so it may be a sending or pressure problem.

Can't say that this is the problem for sure but 3 1/2 year old fuel or what is left of it is not doing you any favors. If you have not yet put in some/alot of new fuel I would try it.
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Fuel stabilizer couldn't hurt either.
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

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Can't say that this is the problem for sure but 3 1/2 year old fuel or what is left of it is not doing you any favors. If you have not yet put in some/alot of new fuel I would try it.
That's not the problem that caused it to die originally, for sure.

But we'll probably need to drain the fuel tank because the gas has been sitting in it since 2003.
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Don't forget to double check the wiring in the engine, sitting that long, you never who may have nested inside that car. Maybe even some bees in the HVAC vents. Good luck, and you are doing a great thing.
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Old 01-01-2008, 02:42 PM   #15
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Wrench Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

FYI = Adding fuel stabilizer to old fuel will do nothing. Fuel stabilizer is to be added prior to parking a vehicle. You can add octane booster and fill the rest of the tank with super unleaded. Draining all the old fuel out of the tank is also an option.

Change the fuel filter after running a fresh tank of fuel throught the engine.

For sure change ALL the fluids in the car and inspect everything else. Replace parts as needed from the inspection.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

I learned from a thread on bobistheoilguy.com that motor oil does have a shelf life. The colder the oil the shorter the life.

With the car sitting for 3 1/2 years most of the additives should have settled out of suspension. I second the "change all the fluids in the car".

I would do a flush on all the fluids. With the oils the gentlest way IMO is to use Auto-RX to remove the sludge and other deposits that inevitably accumulate after such a long time.
You can also run a high detergent oil (such as a decent diesel oil) and run short oil change interval once (say 100 miles) and then progressively longer OCIs until 3000 miles.

Check how spongy the radiator hoses are. Also, old hoses can become brittle and split during operation - especially if the hose is dry (i.e. upper rad hose).

If the battery has drained lower than 12 V (most likely) you may want to just replace it. When discharging a lead-acid battery (especially the non-deep-discharge variety) deeply, deposits will form on the plates.

Last edited by mjo; 01-01-2008 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Be prepared to change all your filters soon. They are going to clog up.
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Ok, so far my list has expanded to:

draining fuel tank, adding new fuel
coolant change
transmission fluid change
replace battery (easier to just replace than to worry about whether it will hold a charge)
change all filters (fuel, air, any others I'm missing?)
check and change ECTS if necessary
check and change radiator hoses as necessary
oil change was a given, the engine's going to be half torn-down anyway
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:13 PM   #19
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazie View Post
Ok, so far my list has expanded to:

draining fuel tank, adding new fuel
coolant change
transmission fluid change
replace battery (easier to just replace than to worry about whether it will hold a charge)
change all filters (fuel, air, any others I'm missing?)
check and change ECTS if necessary
check and change radiator hoses as necessary
oil change was a given, the engine's going to be half torn-down anyway
if it hasnt been changed at all, then its probaly a given to change the ECTS. even a small crack (sometimes invisible to the naked eye) is enough to cause problems
...
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: Bringing 94 SL1 back to life - been sitting for 3 1/2 years

Get it running right before you spend money on tires, hoses, even the serp belt.

With new front rotors the car will stop safely enough to get the car tuned up driving around the block. Drums are more resistant to rust related problems and will scrape themselves clean after a while... and contribute little to braking anyway.

Once you have it running right, then go to "phase two" with all new tires, belts, hoses, etc. A new battery may also be worthwhile. Don't change the oil until you have it at least running-- check it, sure, but don't change it. Who cares if the additives fell out of suspension, the oil still works as oil for that critical first start. If you change the oil then you have a few seconds of dry running.

Actually, may be prudent to pull the fuel pump relay and crank it over-- 20 seconds on, 20 off, repeat-- until the oil light goes out.

Before you start it the first time, pull the air filter and the intake hose off and make sure squirrels haven't set up shop, leaving acorns everywhere etc.

You may want to get a cheap fuel pressure tester from harbor freight, they're only $10 and it may be good to watch that when the car stalls out.
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