How to resurrect a vehicle after extended storage
The following was a post made in the Hotrodders.com forums.
“My wife purchased this 1981 Saab 900 new. It has 84k on it and was parked 17 years ago, when our son was born. We would like to make it go again. My question is should some type of penetrant be put in the cylinders before any attempt is made to turn it over by hand and how long should it sit before the attempt is made?”
 To resurrect the Saab, the following might help:
- Get a repair manual for your car.
- Drain and replace all fluids- this includes gasoline, brake fluid, antifreeze, motor oil, transmission fluid. Usually, power steering fluid and differential lube are OK to reuse.
The old gas can be run out of the lines by removing the valve from the pressure test port on the fuel rail and routing a hose from this point down to a container on the ground. Repeatedly turning the key on and off will cause the pre start fuel pump program to rid the lines of the old fuel. Replace the valve and cap the test port.
- Replace filters- including fuel, air, transmission (if automatic) and the PVC system breather (sometimes mounted inside the air filter housing).
- Replace all the belts and hoses and wiper blades. Any rubber lines should be considered suspect, over time ozone and the fluids the lines contain will degrade them from inside and outside.
- Before replacing the old plugs, remove them and put a squirt or two (from a pump-type oil can) of Marvel Mystery oil into each cylinder and rotate the engine a few revolutions by hand. If it turns freely by hand use the starter motor to crank for several seconds with the plugs removed to blow out the excess oil and throughly lubricate the upper cylinders, then reinstall the plugs. Warning, before cranking install the spark plugs in the cable's boots and lay them over a good ground and away from any flamable material, this will allow the sparks to jump in the plugs and send the high voltage to ground protecting the ignition coil from internal arcing, an alternative would be disabling the primary ignition by disconecting the power lead from the coil and/or ignition module.
- When it comes time to start the engine for the first time since storing it, reuse the old plugs. Replace the old plugs w/the new ones after the engine has quit smoking from the MM oil that was put into the cylinders.
- Replace the battery after cleaning the terminals.
 Starting the engine
At this point, after refilling the gas tank w/a few gallons of fresh gasoline, it should be ready to fire up.
Turn the key to "ON", listening for the hum of the fuel pump (located in the gas tank) that should be heard for a couple seconds- this is normal and is how the fuel system's pressurized before starting (this pertains to vehicles w/in-tank electric fuel pumps). If no hum is heard, there may be a problem w/the fuel pump having gotten gummed up from sitting so long.
Providing you have fuel pressure, you can give it a spray of starting fluid (read and follow the directions on the can, use the type that contains an upper cylinder lubricant) and start the engine.
Allow it to warm up, checking for any leaks, smells or noises that seem abnormal. Expect it to smoke from the MM oil for about 5 minutes, after it has quit smoking and the engine is allowed to fully cool, the old plugs can be replaced.
 Further work needed
- A complete tune up should be done. This includes plugs, plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, PCV valve, along with the timing checked to verify it's in spec. Check the ECM for codes.
- If the brake system was flushed, be sure the system has been bled properly and that there's a good pedal.
- If an automatic, recheck the fluid level after the tranny has been fully warmed up and the shifter put into all ranges and returned to "PARK". Do not overfill.
- Tires should be replaced after the vehicle is drivable. Remove them and haul them to the tire shop if they're dry rotted or unsafe. Otherwise, drive carefully to the shop to have them replaced.
- At the first fill up, add a can of injector cleaner, per the directions on the container.