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Old 04-16-2018, 01:56 PM   #1
weak_link
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How to properly start two BMW's after a 10 year slumber

I have a close friend who lost her husband 10 years ago. They had 2002 and 2004 3-series, manual and sport suspension on both. Both have been parked for ten years in her garage after he unexpectedly passed. She just completed the first round of her own cancer treatment and is looking good, but not without challenges. She needs to sell her home and both of these cars need to be smogged and sold. I know BARF won't let us down. We could use some links, or, advice on what to do to accomplish our goals. I've worked on bikes for decades so basic stuff I can handle. The oil looks like it was changed just before being parked. Gas is still unknown as the batteries are dead and I've only just put one on a trickle charger to find out. Told her not to crank the motor until we find out what to do but to find out how much gas is in the tank.

So what do we do? Do I try and figure out how to drain the tank, change the oil and crank it up? Will adding fresh gas be enough to not worry about it? This is a wonderful human who could really use some help. Please point me in the right direction so I can help.

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Last edited by weak_link; 04-16-2018 at 01:59 PM..
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:02 PM   #2
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I am sorry for your friend. Usually I would be all over this, but considering that she needs to sell the cars to pay for her cancer treatment, she should sell it for the most she can get.

You are a good man for helping her.

Here is a starting point for the stuff to do before turning the ignition on the cars.

https://www.thoughtco.com/start-car-...storage-726206
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:37 PM   #3
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swap fluids (oil/water to start with), turn over motor by hand, drain gas and add a new battery. Before I started any of that I was see if they roll and the brakes work at least a little.
If there are back regis fees it probably won't make sense to sink a bunch of money into them since they don't sound like they are worth much to begin with.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:19 PM   #4
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I would put new batteries on both cars, get a jug and put some fresh fuel in the tank and just start them. I bet they will start no problem.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:25 PM   #5
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Check air filter, critters can crawl in over 10 years.
I disagree that it will start right up, I'm assuming gas was left in the system for all this time, most likely starter fluid will be required and a good carburetor cleaner (Sea Foam is one option, others will have their favorites), it's probably going to take a full tank of gas run through to clean the injectors.

Just adding to the good advice above.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:14 PM   #6
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If there are back regis fees it probably won't make sense to sink a bunch of money into them since they don't sound like they are worth much to begin with.
I suggest this first. Make sure it was non-op, or else there will be severe fees that would make spending more time/money a losing proposition.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:25 PM   #7
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I would put new batteries on both cars, get a jug and put some fresh fuel in the tank and just start them. I bet they will start no problem.
This.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:22 PM   #8
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I suggest this first. Make sure it was non-op, or else there will be severe fees that would make spending more time/money a losing proposition.
Sell them out of state.
Oregon does not care about back fees in CA
All it takes is a pinkslip
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:33 PM   #9
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Check air filter, critters can crawl in over 10 years.
I disagree that it will start right up, I'm assuming gas was left in the system for all this time, most likely starter fluid will be required and a good carburetor cleaner (Sea Foam is one option, others will have their favorites), it's probably going to take a full tank of gas run through to clean the injectors.

Just adding to the good advice above.
Carb cleaner? Your advice does not apply to modern vehicles. There are no jets to gum up. No needles, no float bowls. A modern car takes very little effort to start, even after sitting for a decade. At worse, it doesn't start, plug in your odb2 reader and grab the codes.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:56 PM   #10
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I believe in Calfornia after 7 years, the state presumes that the car is sitting in a garage somewhere and the registration fees/penalties are cancelled. It's like the cars were non-op.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:18 PM   #11
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I've started cars sitting 3 times as long. Top off with some fresh gas. Check oil, water. Quick once over to look for anything that's built a nest and start it. Don't over think it. Get em out and up to temp. Maybe a bottle of seafoam in each tank if you're feeling sporty.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:43 PM   #12
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what stan said, I would also check coolant
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by stan23 View Post
Carb cleaner? Your advice does not apply to modern vehicles. There are no jets to gum up. No needles, no float bowls. A modern car takes very little effort to start, even after sitting for a decade. At worse, it doesn't start, plug in your odb2 reader and grab the codes.
Tell that to my 2001 BMW that sat for 2 years, the engine ran great when I stopped using it, it was a bitch to start and ran really ragged after sitting for 2 years.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:02 PM   #14
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Lol you people.

Injector o rings are probably bad, valve cover gaskets probably will leak, fuel lines gunked up, needs new oil, fresh gas, need to turn the motor over a few times before you start it, rings will have no oil and cylinders will be bone dry. Tires are dead with flat spots, brakes are probably seized, same with a/c compressor, maybe ps pump. Rats nests don’t forget that, A lot to go over.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:06 AM   #15
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Sounds like sea foam in the tank would be a good first start. Pretty much expecting all the seals to shit the bed as soon as it gets up to temp/pressure, and that's if we can even get it started. We know the tires will have flat spots but we really just want to see if we can get it smogged and onto someone who wants the projects.

Just to clarify, she's not selling to pay for the treatment, but to move closer to her family. First step in selling the house is to make both of these cars go away. She'd like to get something for them as every little bit helps, as I'm sure most of us can understand. She's had a bit of a bumpy ride and anything I can do to help, I'd like to try.

I'll update this thread once she gets her tax refund and has $ for things like oil and coolant and let you know how it's going. Thanks for the advice, some good ones in here.
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