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Greetings list members:

I have a question about whether I should be concerned about a motor being stored without the exhaust and intake ports being covered, or the water pump and water manifold ports being covered.

I am looking at purchasing a GTV 1750 project and finishing it. The current owner had the engine rebuilt down to the crank over a year ago. However it has been sitting on the concrete floor of his garage since the rebuild with the ports open. I noticed this from the photos of the project.

I am wondering if should be concerned and what precautionary steps should be taken before installing the motor. My intuition says that condensation, dust, bugs, mice, seed, etc. could have gotten in the open ports and that could lead to big problems if it gets into a running motor.

I’d appreciate some constructive advice, no flames please, as the current owner is a list member.

Mike
 

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Difficult to predict what damage, if any, would have occurred. Just depends on how much condensation, dust, bugs, mice, seed, etc. are in the guy's garage. If he lives in the desert, owns a mean cat, and keeps a clean garage, it should be fine. Otherwise, ??

My "trick" is to throw a trash bag over any partially-assembled engine in my garage. Sure it does nothing for condensation (I don't think duct tape or other fixes do either), and sure a mouse could still crawl up in there, but it does keep dirt off.
 

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If the engine has not been run, it shouldn't be much trouble to pull the head and oil pan. Then everything is available for inspection. Sitting for that long, I'd pull the bearing and rod caps and add some assembly lube so they won't score the first time you start it. Rings are probably OK, but I'd pull them too 'cause I prefer to KNOW rather than guess. Besides, I trust my work better than someone else (with a few exceptions for people I know). Lube the crank seals too.

Robert
 

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60sRacer is absolutely correct -the "belt and suspenders" solution would be to disassemble the engine, check the bearing clearances, verify the valve clearances, make sure it was balanced properly, etc.

On the other hand, if the seller seems like a competent mechanic and if he has receipts for engine machine work, it's probably OK. A lot depends on your enthusiasm for pulling and re-installing the engine if something seems wrong once you have it running.

So we are discussing two unknowns here:
- How well the seller assembled the engine. Bearing clearances, balancing, gasket sealing, etc.
- Damage caused by the ports being left open.

In thinking about it some more, the second of these worries me less. While the bottom end of an engine needs to be kept antisepticly clean, the combustion chambers and cooling system can tolerate some crud. When you disassemble an engine, you find carbon deposits in the combustion chamber, and corrosion particles in the cooling - these don't typically cause problems, so any dust blown into the stored engine shouldn't either. And moisture & corrosion will attack an assembled/installed/running engine equally to one sitting on the floor.

If you trust how the engine was assembled, use a shop vac or compressed air to pull or blow out as much dust as you can - unless mouse nests come out of the combustion chambers, I wouldn't worry about the open ports too much.
 

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I'd look in the ports and see what you can see. Also look at the cams, tappets, and timing chain, but removing just the cam cover. Maybe pull the distributor out and look at the top of the oil pump shaft. If those all look OK with no corrosion, I think you're good.
I just disassembled two engines that had been left outside for years. One fully rebuild, then left out in the rain with the plugs out. It's useless without a rebuild, including rust one all the steel and iron parts in the bottom end, because the condensation gets into everything. The other engine, with plugs left in, is not as bad, but moisture still gets in through the ports and vents.
If it was inside and the storage space was not especially damp, I would not worry. I have several engines that have been sitting inside on concrete for 10+ years (coastal Calif) and all the ferrous stuff is unaffected.
Andrew
 

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A year is not a very long time for in-door storage, assuming it was built properly in the first place. Mice have difficulty getting past valves. Even if one was open all the way during storage, 9mm isn't very much! At only a year, the assembly lube on the bearing surfaces and cylinder lubricant should still be fresh. And even if you have a slight amount of rust on valves and seats, they shouldn't be pitted in only a year. They will clean up with use.

I would highly recommend filling the entire system with oil before turning it over at all. Fill the cam valleys. Fill the oil filter as much as you can before installation. And fill the oil galleys through the oil pressure sender fitting. When you are done, turn it over with the plugs out until you have good oil pressure on the gauge.
 

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Here's what I've done before:
Borescope. All aircraft mechanics have one. The last one I asked to look at engine bores didn't even charge me to do it.
Pull the spark plugs and do a light spray of oil in the bores through the spark plug holes.
Pull the engine through by hand two or more revolutions.
Put oil in the sump. Take off the oil filter. Put a catch pan under the oil filter fitting. Cut off the fuel supply (whiich in your case means don't connect a fuel source yet). Spin the engine with the starter motor until oil come out the filter fitting. Now you know the oil pump is primed.
Replace the oil filter and spin the engine for two minutes total, off and on a few (say 5 to 10) seconds at a time.
Replace the spark plugs.
Done.
I'd say do a compression check too but that might not have too much meaning until the rings seal. Woudn't hurt anything to do that first, but don't go off into the weeds if they're not all spot on.

Looks like Erik was about to post his when I started writing mine. I think we're of the same mind on this. One exception on prefilling the oil filter is that I have done that and it's good but... the pump might not prime against a full oil filter. I know this from experience. Filter off to prime the pump. This takes literally seconds if not nearly instant. Then prefill the filter, put it on, and spin the engine for two minutes off and on, or if you have gauges like Erik suggests until you see good oil pressure. I'd add plus one minute total of spinning after you see the oil pressure to make sure everything is good and wet.
 
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