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Discussion Starter #1
Need some advice!

Just spoke with a lady who is selling her '87 Graduate (about an hour away from me). She is the original owner, car has just over 100k. Here's the kicker: car hasn't been started in about 4 years, since she couldn't use it with her son's carseat. It's been in her driveway since. She's now trying to sell it, since she doesn't want to put in any money to restore it, but she wants it to go to a good owner :)D). She's asking $2000, and maybe with a cash deal I can work her down a bit. I know I'll probably need to expect to put at least another $1000-2000 in to bring it back to speed.

I am going to check out the car this weekend, but I wanted to get some advice on what to try to look for (aside from the basics - rust, etc). From the initial photos, it looks pretty decent (it's black on black), and she claims there are no dents or damage and has never been in an accident. I've owned an '86 quad, so I'm familiar with some of the "quirks" of the S3's...
 

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If it sat with fuel in the tank and system, which it sounds like it probably did, you can pretty much count on doing a through cleaning and/or replacement of the fuel pumps, fuel lines, injectors, fuel tank, etc. because they will likely be gummed up with varnish. Other than that, change the oil, take out the spark plugs and squirt a bit of fresh oil in each plug hole and pull the engine through a couple revolutions by hand, before you try to start it. It's a good idea to take off the valve cover and dump fresh oil over the cam and lifters too before you start it. Probably needs a battery. Change all the fluids before you drive it much since they deteriorate with age and absorb moisture through condensation.

Of course, in a pinch and if you are real lucky you might be able to just dump a bunch of fresh gas into the tank, let it run though the system a bit and fire it up, but that's certainly not the best way nor is it even likely to work at all for that matter.:D
 

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Buy the following:

1) New fuel pump (Advance Auto = $190.00)
2) Fuel Filter
3) Oil Filter & Oil

Drain the oil, as suggested pull the cam cover BUT be careful not to wreck the gasket or you will buying a new one of those too and pour oil over the cams... then just fill the rest of the oil.

Drain the gas tank and fill with fresh fuel (BUT do not change the fuel filters yet). Put in some new spark plugs but before you put the plugs back prime the cylinders with fuel or starting fluid by hand.

Crank the car over and when it catches... let it run a while then drive it HARD.. high revvs...

Then swap out the fuel filter and fuel pump... then change the oil again...

And you are all set for the engine...

After that change all the fluids in the transmission and differential... as well as the brake fluids.

It would also be advisable to drain and flush the cooling system.

If you have the time and a nice sunny weekend.. you could have a running car in a few days assuming all other things are working.

Cheers
Martin.
 

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In addition to the above, anything made of rubber is probably ready to fail. So, replace the tires (I know they don't look worn, but the rubber has hardened with exposure to sunlight), belts, and hoses. The giubo joint is a little harder to replace - at a minimum, crawl under the car and inspect it for cracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick responses from all.

I'm probably going to drive up and take a look this weekend. I'm not even anticipating trying to start it until all the fluids get flushed. My bigger challenge is the inevitable tow truck that I'd have to hire to bring it away, and finding a good Alfa shop nearby to give it a full inspection. At least I imagine with it being a graduate model, there are a few less electrical & mechanical issues to worry about than I did with my Quad (A/C, power windows, stereo, etc).

I'll probably take some pics and post on here for further comments.

Speaking of, are there any recommended shops that you know of in the DC metro area?
 

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Instead of hiring the tow truck, you can also rent car trailers from U-Haul (and others) almost certainly cheaper than a one hour ride in a tow truck.

--brendan
 
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