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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Ford Mechanic
Category: Ford
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Experience:  35 years Master Mechanic
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Ford F150: Hello, I am buying a 1997 F-150 and it has been

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Hello, I am buying a 1997 F-150 and it has been sitting for 2 years without running.

The battery is completely dead and it has a flat tire. I know what to do about those things.

Can you tell me what things I should do? I assume that I should change the fluids? Are there any other potential problems that I should look out for before running the truck?

So far I have put a different battery in the truck and started it. It started after pumping the gas a while. It sounds good. But I am worried about things that may have aged poorly because it wasn't running.

Is this a 2 orXXXXX

Auto or stick transmission?

How many miles on it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

it isXXXXX automatic transmission, and I didn't look at the miles but if I had to guess, I'd say around 110k


It would be a good idea to at least check all the fluids in the differentials if not replace them. A transmission fluid and filter change would also be good maintenance. They only things that are really affected by sitting for that long are the fuel, might be a good idea to add some stabilizer additive to break down the varnish it turns into. Also the hoses and fan belts may have become dry rotted or cracked from sitting. Also would be the cooling system. It would be good maintenance to flush and fill the cooling system. Take a good look at all the rubber under the hood, such as vacuum lines and make sure they are not dry rotted or cracked.....thats about it other than having it put on a hoist to get a good look at the underside and brakes and steering just for safety reasons. Not that those get damaged from sitting but its just good to know especially since you just bought it.

Please remember to rate my assistance today and just let me know if you have any further questions. If not, thanks for asking!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So if you were me, you would change the fluids, check the hoses, put a stabilizer additive in the fuel and then do a more thorough check once all that is done?


What is the stabilizer additive called? The tank is full of gas, so I am particularly curious about that.

Hi Colin,

Yes on the fluids and hoses. You can get the fuel additive at any parts store and on the back it tells you how much to use depending on how much fuel it has in it.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

one last question, do you know how I can tell if the engine had synthetic or normal oil in it? I want to make sure to use the right oil when I change it.


Its pretty hard to tell just by looking at it because it looks and smells the same after its been in there for awhile. Actually todays synth oils can be used as long as you drain all the old oil out. Even if it had regular oil in it. Same vice just dont want to add synth to regular oil like to top it off, or vice versa.

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