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Starting engine after sitting for 6 years - 2001 Sunsetter VLX


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newbeejohn

I have a 2001 Malibu Sunsetter VLX with the 325 HP Indmar engine.  6 years ago, i put my boat into storage, it was properly winterized with respect to ensuring no water was in the system.  The engine was not “fogged”.  It has not been started since that time.  What precautions should i take to ensure i do not damage the engine?  I am planning on changing the oil and filter and the impeller.  Beyond that, I am hesitant on other steps.  Thanks in advance for all suggestions.

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Posted (edited)

First thing I would do is pull all spark plugs and inspect the cylinders with a bore scope if possible.  If no significant rust or corrosion is present in the cylinders, squirt a few ounces of fogging oil into each. Then attempt to rotate the engine by hand in order to ensure nothing is seized up. If the engine rotates freely, replace the spark plugs and wires. Replace all fuel (I imagine the fuel will be in very poor condition) along with the other maintenance items you mentioned. May be some other items to address depending on the winterizing method utilized. Drop the boat in the water or attach a Fake-a-Lake and attempt to start. 

Edited by Murphys
  • Like 2
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If it were me I would pull all the plugs, spray some fogging oil or pretty much any non lithium spray lube in each hole.  Then spin the motor 1/2 a turn by hand using the crank pulley - spray again and then put the plugs back in and start it up.   

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i would also pull the coil wire and crank the motor for 10-15 seconds to push oil throughout the system.  After that long the oil has all drained down and you don't want any metal-metal contact when you fire it up!

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12 minutes ago, hmh800 said:

i would also pull the coil wire and crank the motor for 10-15 seconds to push oil throughout the system.  After that long the oil has all drained down and you don't want any metal-metal contact when you fire it up!

You think that a motor sitting for 6 years is going to fire up in less than 10 seconds? ;)

But if you want to do that, it is easier to just pull the lanyard than messing with the coil wires.

 

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If you can drain the fuel and replace it with new stuff, that'd be a good idea. Then I'd key on and off 10 times or so before attempting to crank. The fuel pump will run to pressurize the rail, bleeding excess back to the tank via return. Cycling the key repeatedly will effectively help flush that loop and the rails. Then try what others have said. 

When doing the key up exercise, inspect and sniff for fumes before starting. Unused hoses tend to dry out. 

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Above comments are all excellent and mirror what I would suggest.  All fluids should be changed & refreshed, oil / fuel.  I would pull the plugs, spray some light oil / fogging oil in each cylinder, bar the engine over at least one revolution prior to using the starter.  When you are ready to start the engine, I would spin it over with the plugs out for several revolutions to move some of the oil through the passages.  When you change the filter fill the new one before install as that is the initial oil being used for lubrication.  For all the initial engine spinning, my procedure would be in the garage / driveway and the impeller removed or belt off (depending on raw water pump style) since initially you are not starting the engine.  Given it has been out of the water for 6 years, and to save some time if there is an issue, I would probably at least then start it up in the garage / driveway dry (impeller still on the bench) for less than 20 seconds to simply make sure it actually starts.  Don't run it very long w/o and water running through it.  Look to make sure it gets oil pressure, sounds reasonable then shut it off.  New impeller installed once you feel ready to actually run it, give the impeller some lube and then your water source (fake a lake or in the water).  With that much time 'sleeping' I would carefully check any rubber items (hoses, belts, seals) to avoid any surprises down the road.  Good luck, hope it fires right up and runs great. 

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newbeejohn

Thanks for all the great suggestions.  I was also planning on purchasing new hoses in addition to oil change and impeller change.  You all are great, really appreciate the help.  

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RedWakesetterVLX
3 minutes ago, newbeejohn said:

Thanks for all the great suggestions.  I was also planning on purchasing new hoses in addition to oil change and impeller change.  You all are great, really appreciate the help.  

Inboardonline.com is great source for parts.  

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@newbeejohn - you mentioned storing with no water in the block, I would also check some key water passage areas for any corrosion.  I would remove the two block drain plugs (between the two center cylinders right above the pan rail) and poke in the hole with an awl to see if there is any 'junk' in there and I would probably pop off the exhaust hoses to verify water can flow freely there also.  Another annoying area with corrosion is the thermostat housing, you will know very quickly if the thermostat is corroded closed, might be worth looking before that happens.  Hopefully, your initial look shows nothing.  If you are doing hoses, you may as well change the belts at the same time.

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newbeejohn

Yes, on the belts, i did not have them on my list.  Great suggestion.

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electricjohn
Posted (edited)
On 6/8/2021 at 8:52 AM, oldjeep said:

You think that a motor sitting for 6 years is going to fire up in less than 10 seconds? ;)

 

 

I don't see why it would fire instantly, EFI and GM. VaRoooom

Edited by electricjohn
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2001 Sunsetter VLXes might be the best V drive Malibu ever built (my family has had one since new in spring '01 so I'm biased).  Awesome she's getting back to what she was built for!

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On 6/8/2021 at 7:18 AM, UWSkier said:

When doing the key up exercise, inspect and sniff for fumes before starting. Unused hoses tend to dry out. 

This is excellent advice.

On 6/9/2021 at 8:07 AM, newbeejohn said:

Yes, on the belts, i did not have them on my list.  Great suggestion.

And since it wasn't mentioned, I'd add the following to your list:

  • Trans fluid change
  • V-drive fluid change
  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug wires
  • Cap & rotor
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