1964 Studebaker Daytona Restoration


Starting a long dormant motor


Task: Preparation

It's been a long time since this motor has been running (30+ years) and alot of maintenance was performed

prior to any attempts to start a motor that has been sitting awhile. Engine moved freely and was reasonably clean


Here is the steps I did "before" I attempted to start this long dormant motor.


1. Emptied and cleaned gas tank    

2. Replaced all of the fuel lines - installed fuel filter

3. Cleaned and checked fuel pump operation

4. Replaced battery

5. Replaced Distributor cap, spark plugs & wires, points, condenser, rotor

6. Rebuilt carburetor

7. Removed & cleaned/checked Starter

8. Changed oil & filter

9. Changed Transmission Fluid

10. Checked battery cables & replaced one

11. Drained Radiator, cleaned /painted, replaced hoses, cap, thermostat & added new anti-freeze

12. Replaced Fan Belt

13. Removed valve covers to inspect rocker assembly along with gap and coat with oil

14. Removed valley cover cleaned out sludge and add oil

15. Cleaned engine bay, checked all connections and security of parts

16. Replaced complete exhaust system

17. replaced PVC Valve

18. Filled gas tank with Non-ethanol Hi-test fuel mixed with Seafoam


Task: Starting Motor

After all of the above maintenance was completed I turned over the engine to build up the oil pressure

and get oil to the rocker assemblies prior to staring up the motor. I disconnected the coil wire and

turned over the engine until the engine oil pressure is up (check Gauge). I reconnected the coil wire

and then attached a 2 ft length of 5/16 inch hose to the fuel pump and put into a full 5 gallon container

of new gas.  I got my helper to turn on the ignition and he proceeded to turn over the engine while

I removed the air cleaner and poured a small amount of gas down the carburetor throttle body.

If everything was done correctly then the motor should start but I had to replace the needle valve as

no gas was initially getting into the carburetor.  Once I was able to get a regular supply of gas to

the motor it run but needed some adjustment.  I kept it running while adjusting the idle and the

air-fuel mixture screws. It gradually idled better and started to have that distinctive Studebaker V8 sound. 

Black smoke turned into just a hint of smoke after 15 mins but this is too be expected as the motor

& exhaust system still had some soot & carbon buildup. I was quite lucky that this car was stored

inside a garage for 40 years and not outside as you would normally have to rebuild a

motor that has sat outside for such a long time if you expected it to be reliable. Next step is

to time your engine as instructed in the manual


Note: If you hear any funny, knocking noises turn the motor off immediately. Try to identify

the exact location of knock or noise, if it comes from the rocker assembly area remove the valve

covers and check to see if  the push rods are still straight and have the proper gap. Sometimes

the rocker assemblies will seize up causing the pushrods to bend.  If any push rods are bent

you will have to remove and rebuild the rocker assemblies to ensure they operate as designed.

Check all Push rods to ensure they are straight, replace as needed, then lubricate rocker arms

with oil. If the noise comes from the block you may have to remove the motor and disassemble it

to find out the source of the knock.


Note: FYI the car did smoke during the first period of running due to the buildup of carbon and sludge

in the engine. Valves or piston rings will stick after sitting so long. If smoke persist

it's advisable to do a compression test on all 8 cylinders to see if you have any cylinders

that are low. Readings should be around 150 lbs and all should be within 15% of each other.


If you have a low cylinder then you can use seafoam in gas or engine restorer in oil (or other additives that help cleanup

the internal parts of the engine)  to unstick valves and piston rings that maybe a bit sticky after so many years being dormant.






1964 Daytona Restoration