V12 5.3L start up check list

This is just about the finished product in pdf format.
If anybody sees a mistake please let me know.
There is always some extra information that could be added but I have drawn the line at a point where more would not really add to achieving the objective.

If anybody has the time, aptitude and patience they can create another list which is a systematic checklist to troubleshoot a RUNNING engine. There is lots of info in Kirbert’s BOOK, and lots of topics over the years have covered all aspects of this. I am not volunteering for it !

The check list follows. Also a pdf version of the BOOK where the index page numbers line up with the actual page numbers ( courtesy of Aristides ). I might have to revise reference to page numbers in the check list when I get a chance.

V12 CHECK LIST - PDF.pdf (1.1 MB)


Google Drive file.


Nice list, I’m sure it will be useful to many.

I can think of a few small things to add of note. It would be a good idea to check the transmission fluid. Even if finding the correct level is not possible without it being warm, at least checking that there is a vaguely decent amount in there and it’s not turned into black sludge would be a good idea.

It might be worth checking in the air filters too. You don’t want to find a mouse in there. Air filter housings are a rodent favourite.

The small tank under the battery does not exist on later cars. I think it went around the time of the facelift. My 1991 facelift car doesn’t have one.

I stand to be corrected, but off memory, Marelli cars have a tighter plug gap than the Lucas ones.

Don’t forget to add…either learn how to meditate, find a therapist, or visualize a mental happy place. Will come in handy!

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Some may think Greg is joking but in fact, he is not. This is actually sound advice that I had needed more than a few times.

Better yet, view repairing the car as your therapy :slight_smile:

But, I’m pickin’ up what yer layin’ down !

Whatever the problem is you have to go in with the right frame of mind. And for god sakes don’t try to rush through anything. The car will fight back. Slow, relaxed, and deliberate is the required mode.

You will come across some design oddities that you can’t understand. Don’t be frustrated. There are no design faults on these cars. Anything appearing to be a deign fault is actually just “an interesting engineering feature” :slight_smile:

Attitude is everything!



I don’t have a Marelli car or a facelift car.
So the list was aimed primarily at 5.3L pre HE and HE Lucas cars.
The list is not exhaustive, it is aimed at helping to deal with those things which are mostly unique to the 5.3L V12. The idea is to make sure the engine works before wasting time on other things like transmission, running gear and cosmetics.
Once the engine is actually working there could be a lot of other things to tackle before you have a car worth owning.

Obviously there are a number of things that could or should be checked in addition to the list but they are pretty much common sense or not critical at this early stage of getting an engine running.

If anybody wants to add to the list for those who are struggling to get a facelift 5.3L, 6L or 6 cyl engine running be my guest. I can provide original text in a Word doc.
I think in that case probably better to have a new list specifically for those engines, but using anything useful from the original list to minimise the work involved.

A Marelli story:
We just got back from a small ship cruise around the remote Kimberley coast in North Western Australia.
The ship is 3 years old, 5 & 1/2 thousand tons, and not too small ( 120 pax ). Engine room visits were allowed, so down I went to see what drives the ship.
The hull was built in Vietnam but not sure where it was fitted out. It has 3 Caterpillar diesels coupled to alternators for supplying the two electrically driven propeller pods which rotate thru 360deg, having no need for rudders. There is a huge amount of other equipment for all sorts of reasons.
I always like to see who makes what.
The big alternators were . . . . MARELLI ! So they are still in business.
Most of the other gear was German, Italian, Danish etc. No British stuff in there.
On the aft deck I did see something “British”. A capstan with a big Rolls Royce cast into the top of it.
Looking at the nameplate detail it was made in Denmark. A bit sad really, it is quite rare to see any British made engineering products anywhere in the world.

Careful! You could be at 700 pages before you know it!