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My 1972 Grande Coupe has been sitting for 5 years. Now I have the time and the ability to get her back on the road. I've done some research but not getting the results I was hoping for.

What are the best new engine parts to use on my 351C? Best plugs,wires,distributor.....

I want to do it right, for peck performance.


2,913 Posts
Hello rob497,

You are right at a point where you must be careful when trying to start the car. Five years is possibly stretching it. I would think you will be fine but there could be issues. I think a lot of it has to do with the conditions she was stored in. I should have looked to see what part of the country you are in.

I feel like I can help here. I put my Mach 1 351c on the road after it was in the garage 23 years. Please learn from my mistakes. I won’t name them all but I will tell you what I did.
Don’t try to start the car. I suggest the following.

See if you can rotate the motor by hand or use a socket on the damper bolt. If she spins pretty easy, you may be OK.. If you have time and want to be safe I would do the following
1. - Pull of valve cover/s
2. - Squirt “Marvel mystery oil” all over the valves, stems etc.
3. - Pull the spark plugs - squirt “Mystery oil in each cylinder don’t worry about smoke or over oiling - we’ll get to that.
Try this for several days - - Don’t do anything else.

4. - Put a pullbar with socket on the crank bolt (In the center of lower pulley about 15/16 bolt)
5. - Keep valve covers off. - Don’t change oil or anything yet.
6. - Try to rotate the motor by hand using the pull bar.
7. - Watch each and every rocker and see if the move up and down.
8. - If any rocker is not moving....squirt the valves, and stems with Mstery Oil. If they are stuck....try remove the rocker and put a block of wood on the valve stem. GENTLY tap the wood and see if you free the valve.
Don’t worry about the MYstery Oil. Use plenty of is great.
9. - Once the motor turns over pretty freely...and all valves are free.....
10. - Drain the oil...Change filter, and oil. I would use a thin oil like 10/30 at first.
11. - Drain the gas. If your lucky you will have a drain plug on the tank. If not, siphon it towards the fuel pump. The gas WILL be stale. I think the tank will be fine
12. - blow out the fuel line or at least blow it out with compressed air.
13. - Drain and flush radiator.
14. - Replace all rubber hose. Radiator, heater, gas lines etc.
15. - Change fan belt
16. - You may have to do brake work kinda depends on the system.
For me I have drums all around so I replaced all wheel cylinders and all brake hardware. Then I replaced the master cylinder.
17. - The carb will probably need some work. It may need a rebuild or a new carb.
18. - Back to the motor....The brakes could wait untill you get her running.

19. - Probably a good idea to put a tune-up on her. Plugs, points, rotor, cap condensor. You may want to try to start the car before doing too much.

20. - If the motor is free she may start. Of course, put on valve cover/s.
21. - If auto trans. - check the fluid level. Don’t want to strain the system.

Well I have written a lot and don’t want to discourage you but to get the old girl going you will need to be patient and take things slow.
Use mystery Oil. The mystery oil in the cylinders will find it’s way down to the pan but she may smoke a bit but will clear quickly. The oil in the cylinders should help you from breaking a ring or scoring the cylinder walls.

Trust me...I bent several pushrods and other problems by trying to go too fast. When you eventually try to start the car. I would pull the coil wire and just crank the motor to build up oil in the motor.

Lastly....if you are excited and want to see if she fires up before rebuilding/changing the carb....try a little starter fluid. Be carefull when using the starter dries the cylinder and can hurt the piston. It is only a one or two time trial.

I realize that your question is regarding best tune-up parts and performance.

In my opinion -- - most any major brand parts will work fine if they are all set up properly. I use nothing but autolite plugs. For wires I am running Taylor "blue".
On my car I like to use "Blue Streak" ignition parts. They are copper and cost a little more than "regular" points etc.
of course some people will say to go with Petronix dizzy and forget it.

if it were me, i would try to get things running well before trying to get the best performance. What good would it be if you buy the best distributor and the carb has blockages from the varnish in the gas?

I do not mean to sound scarey but I am trying to say, the gas in the car will cause an issue. It will affect the carb, lines filters etc.

You may get lucky and have no issues at all, but I think that is unlikely.

Have you thought about what you would do if the carb is gummed up? Would you rebuild or replace?

The 351c is a great great motor and will give you lots of pep. I can put down a pretty good patch of rubber just by opening the carb in second gear. I guess what I am trying to say is that if it were me, I would go a little slow and make sure things are all working well. Then I would fine tune the car and get her running like the champ I know she can be.

If you need help or any more suggestions let me know.

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