Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 41

Thread: 1955 Commander: Engine Won't Turn Over (again)

  1. #1
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72

    1955 Commander: Engine Won't Turn Over (again)

    Alas...

    After:
    1. Repairing exhaust leak
    2. Replacing head gasket
    3. Rebuilding leaking carb
    4. Manually spinning oil pump

    The engine will not turn over (again). Radiator fan turns slightly, but not all the way to kick over. (see link)

    https://youtu.be/BCfXTEbIW0M

    Battery seems OK, still have bright lights and fast wipers.

    (Last time engine was running fully was a little over a year ago)

    EDIT: About a month ago, the engine was free and turning over, but wouldn't stay running (would maybe run for 3-5 seconds before sputtering out). I discovered a noticeable hissing from the carburetor, and had to replace the gaskets.
    Last edited by jhicban; 05-12-2018 at 03:03 AM. Reason: added EDIT at the bottom

  2. #2
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Fanning Spgs, Florida
    Posts
    74
    If you are sure battery is good then I'd check all connections. Battery terminals, solenoid, starter. Are you sure starter is good? Can you turn over engine by hand?

  3. #3
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    north fond du lac, wi., USA.
    Posts
    452
    Be careful! Sounds like stuck valve. Remove valve covers and check before going any farther. -Jim

  4. #4
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    North Little Rock Ar
    Posts
    1,218
    Pull plugs and try turning by hand.if no go rtemove valve covers and using a brass hammer tap each valve directly on the rocker arm tip. Luck Doofus

  5. #5
    President Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Great Falls VA
    Posts
    3,256
    Battery cables are toast.. (internally).
    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

  6. #6
    Champion Member JimKB1MCV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    21
    I think you should start with the easy things first. Your video sounds/looks like a low battery condition. Have you verified the battery voltage under load (when you hit the starter)? If it hasn't been started for over a year and you haven't charged the battery, you need to do so.
    Posts #3,#4 ans #5 apply as well.
    Good luck.

  7. #7
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    british columbia
    Posts
    1,049
    Get another battery and a set of jumper cables and remove one cable from the existing battery and connect the jumper to it and see if it spins. If it spins then you have an issue with your battery and or cables. I say to remove one cable to assure no possible unwanted spark and possible battery explosion. As Paul Harvey would say, Good Day.

  8. #8
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Damascus, OR
    Posts
    1,540
    Is it possible that there is liquid (oil? water?) in the cylinders? As post #4 suggests, remove the spark plugs and see if that makes a difference.

  9. #9
    Golden Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wappingers Falls, New York, USA.
    Posts
    20,272
    Quote Originally Posted by Studebakercenteroforegon View Post
    Is it possible that there is liquid (oil? water?) in the cylinders? As post #4 suggests, remove the spark plugs and see if that makes a difference.
    This was my first guess - hydraulic lock.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  10. #10
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    british columbia
    Posts
    1,049
    i would think a hydraulic lock would be solid, this engine still turns.

  11. #11
    Golden Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wappingers Falls, New York, USA.
    Posts
    20,272
    Quote Originally Posted by altair View Post
    i would think a hydraulic lock would be solid, this engine still turns.
    The OP states that the engine "will not turn over."
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  12. #12
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Searcy, Arkansas, USA.
    Posts
    6,948
    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    Pull plugs and try turning by hand.if no go rtemove valve covers and using a brass hammer tap each valve directly on the rocker arm tip. Luck Doofus
    Make sure the battery and cables are good, but I would also follow doofus' advice.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  13. #13
    President Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    885
    Quote Originally Posted by 64V-K7 View Post
    Battery cables are toast.. (internally).
    Yep... To prove such, remove both cables and place the crimped part of each on a solid surface and beat it with a hammer with two or three solid blows. Reinstall and if the car starts, you know what now to do.

    Many cables were shoddily constructed during the copper shortage era and people are now paying the price for such...

  14. #14
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    british columbia
    Posts
    1,049
    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    The OP states that the engine "will not turn over."
    But the video shows it turning a 1/4 turn on each attempt that would not be a hydraulic lock. it would just bump solid and stay there. I once lost an outboard under water and it was hydraulically locked and it would not turn at all.

  15. #15
    Golden Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    14,581
    I agree with the low voltage / bad connection ideas. I was starting up a ‘53 Commander recently that had the same issue as what your video seems to show. Ended up being a loose connection that had shorted out one of the battery cables.

    Id make sure the battery is fully charged and clean all of the terminal connections on the cables, and make sure the cables themselves are in good shape (and the correct gauge wire).

    It could also be a worn out starter.

    The V8s I’ve had with a stuck valve would still turn over fine.

  16. #16
    Commander Member 56PHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    57
    I agree, with the logic of starting with the simple stuff first. The solenoid is not clicking yet so the battery is not TOTALLY fried.If you put a multimeter on the battery posts and have someone crank the engine, your voltage should stay above about 10 volts if I remember correctly. If it bottoms out you know that's your problem.

    #1. battery/battery connections
    #2. Pull all the plugs and repeat #1.
    then you can move on to other suggestions.

    JMO
    Rog
    As you walk down the fairway of life you must
    smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.


    Ben Hogan

  17. #17
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    3,950
    Over the years I've worked on at least 2 cars where the battery cable pulled right out of the terminal on the battery post, even though they looked good.
    I agree to check battery voltage before and while cranking the engine.

  18. #18
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    north fond du lac, wi., USA.
    Posts
    452
    Had two Buicks with stuck valves, one a '59 nailhead and the other a/52 Roadmaster straight eight. I always turn a motor that has been sitting several turns by hand before trying the starter. Both would turn nearly a full turn then "lock up" turn other direction and "lock up" at same point. Pulled valve covers and rocker arms and shoot the valves with W/D40, sit for 15 min. then make sure you are not on the lock up point hit the valve (s) that looks lower than the rest with a soft hammer once or twice, it should free up. Did that on both Buicks, put them back together, started them up and ran both for several years. I should mention, the st, 8 sat inside for abt ten years w/o a valve cover. -Jim

  19. #19
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    North Little Rock Ar
    Posts
    1,218
    You have electrical issues,batt, cables,starter.do the cables heat up? pull plugs and see if it will" wind mill". how does starter sound? tractor supply may carry the heavy 6 volt cables. Luck Doofus

  20. #20
    President Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Great Falls VA
    Posts
    3,256
    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    may carry the heavy 6 volt cables. Luck Doofus
    I'd opt to get 0 or 00 welder cable. It does very well
    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

  21. #21
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    Thank you for all the input. I will look into these things this week.

    I didn’t suspect the battery as it is just over a year old, but since it hasn’t run in a lil over a year maybe its dead.

    Terminals look good with no corrosion.

  22. #22
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    North Little Rock Ar
    Posts
    1,218
    Your terminals have to be shiny,SHINY. not just clean. cable clamp also. keep after it so we can all sleep at night LOL. Luck Doofus

  23. #23
    President Member christophe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Nancy,Lorraine , France.
    Posts
    1,067
    Looking at the cables or the terminals is not good enough. You should use an ohmmeter there. Good cables will have a resistance around 0,03 ohm. Don't forget to test the continuity between engine and battery too.
    Nice day to all.

  24. #24
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Devon, Alberta, Canada.
    Posts
    316
    Put a charger on your battery and let it come back up to charge, say 24 hours. You may not have a problem at all, just a low battery from sitting too long...

  25. #25
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    UPDATE:

    Tried a few things this morning.

    Removed spark plugs and cranked the engine. I did not see liquid shoot out of the spark plug holes, so I do not think it’s hyrdrolocked. The radiator fan spun freely, like a “wind-mill”

    I also removed valve covers… I do see up/down action from the rocker arms and valves when cranking the starter.

    Put a multi-meter on the battery… I have above 12V on the sitting battery, but under load (while I hit the starter) the voltage drops to below 5V (ding! ding! ding!)

    I think we are on the right track looking into the electrical/battery. Ill swing by AutoZone to rent one of those battery chargers. Maybe I should just buy one... I will probably need one down the road again.

    Thank you all for the help. I will keep you posted.

  26. #26
    President Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Wimauma, FL, USA.
    Posts
    700
    Has your 55 been converted to 12v? They were originally 6v.
    78 Avanti RQB 2792
    64 Avanti R1 R5408
    63 Avanti R1 R4551
    63 Avanti R1 R2281
    62 GT Hawk V15949
    56 GH 6032504
    56 GH 6032588
    55 Speedster 7160047
    55 Speedster 7165279

  27. #27
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Devon, Alberta, Canada.
    Posts
    316
    Harbor Freight has maintainer chargers for about $10. Probably Auto Zone and Napa, too. They do work, with caution, to keep a battery charged during storage. There is a thread here that can be searched and judge for yourself. A decent normal charger is also a worthwhile investment for an old car garage.

  28. #28
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    64studeavant,

    yes, the PO has been converted to a 12V. I got it running again in 2016 after it had been sleeping for almost 4 years. After a few months of quick trips around town, it developed an exhaust leak. While repairing the exhaust leak, I snapped the head off a bolt in cylinder head and it hadn't run since 12/2016.

  29. #29
    President Member Corvanti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bahama, NC
    Posts
    3,450
    [QUOTE=jhicban;1110364]UPDATE Put a multi-meter on the battery… I have above 12V on the sitting battery, but under load (while I hit the starter) the voltage drops to below 5V (ding! ding! ding!) E]

    i still wouldn't rule out bad cables. if i recall correctly, a charged battery should run around 12.4 V., but 5V or lower is too low. could have lost the voltage with bad cables.

    since you have a 12V battery, you don't really need 0 or 00 cables. and can pick up cables at your FLAPS.

    as far as a battery charger, i've had a Harbor Freight charger for 8 or 9 years. a "bonus" on this one is it will also charge 6V batteries.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/26-amp...ger-60322.html
    Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

    '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

    '40 Champion. sold 10/11. [IMG][/IMG] '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.[IMG][/IMG]

  30. #30
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4,407
    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    Your terminals have to be shiny,SHINY. not just clean. cable clamp also. keep after it so we can all sleep at night LOL. Luck Doofus
    Thank you for being one of the six people on the Internet who know how to spell shiny. Every time I read shinny, with two N's, it makes me grit my teeth.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  31. #31
    President Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    mass
    Posts
    3,625
    not mentioning "shiney" ?? BTW, why would anyone need a battery charger in LA ?? You got 5 cars where 1 sits for months...? I'd love to have 12 months of driving...

  32. #32
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    3,950
    I've picked up a few battery chargers at swap meets for $10 or less. My favorite is the SEARS 6/12 volt 6 amp with a real amp meter with numbers. Meters with just Hi and LOW don't tell you much, and I never buy them. I also don't like these modern chargers that need a charge in the battery before they will turn on to charge the battery.

  33. #33
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    UPDATE:

    Well, that was embarrassing... Never thought it' be the batter that is less than 2 yrs old, but following your advice, I purchased a battery charger/maintainer... Charged if for a day and the engine started right up!

    Stupid me, forgot to tighten up the valve cover and oil was spewing every where. Woo hoo!

    Turned off the car, tried to wipe everything down as best I could, and ran the engine again. Noticed heavy white smoke coming from tail pipe and from below the engine. Thought it might be the residual oil burning off from the heat, but after a day of running the engine off and on now I am able to pinpoint the smoke coming rear most exhaust port in the right bank manifold (that I just recently "repaired"). I am relieved to know that the engine was not seized, and it was just a battery problem.

    But am disappointed that it looks like I have another exhaust leak on my hands (again). Ugh!

    So close...

    I was hoping to take the car to the La Palma show, but not sure if it will be ready.

    I have new exhaust gaskets from Felpro with Permatex Ultra Copper coated on both sides when I reinstalled everything. Not sure why its already leaking from one of the ports. Maybe I didn't put that much effort into scraping and cleaning gasket material as I did with the block deck and head.

  34. #34
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Searcy, Arkansas, USA.
    Posts
    6,948
    Check the torque on the manifold bolts. After everything got hot the bolts may be loose.


    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.

  35. #35
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    52-fan,

    Thanks for the suggestion, I will do that tonight. I get sooooooo nervous about snapping another bolt which got me into this mess in the first place.

  36. #36
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ferndale, WA, USA.
    Posts
    27,533
    If you have measured the DEPTH of the Exhaust Manifold Bolt HOLES and made sure the Bolts are SHORTER, 30 Ft. Lbs. of Torque will not break them, unless someone has already over tightened them and stretched them, if in doubt replace them.

    Exhaust Manifold Gaskets do NOT get Permatex.
    If the Manifold and Head are Plane like they usually are, there are never any leaks on V8's.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  37. #37
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Right behind you
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by jhicban View Post
    UPDATE:

    Well, that was embarrassing... Never thought it' be the batter that is less than 2 yrs old, but following your advice, I purchased a battery charger/maintainer... Charged if for a day and the engine started right up!
    As we old engineers used to say - the simplest answer is usually the correct one.

  38. #38
    President Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Right behind you
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by jhicban View Post
    I get sooooooo nervous about snapping another bolt which got me into this mess in the first place.
    Lots old timey and not so old mechanics have calibrated wrists and arms and never need a torque wrench. Then there is everyone else.

  39. #39
    Golden Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wappingers Falls, New York, USA.
    Posts
    20,272
    Quote Originally Posted by jhicban View Post
    52-fan,

    Thanks for the suggestion, I will do that tonight. I get sooooooo nervous about snapping another bolt which got me into this mess in the first place.
    Torqueing the bolts refers to tightening to the specified amount, not just tightening them.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  40. #40
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    72
    I should add...

    The manifold bolts are new.

    I had to hand tighten them, because I didn’t have the room to get my torque wrench in there without adding a universal joint which I figured wouldn’t give me accurate torque to begin with.

    Being no mechanic working on my first car ever, I think my wrists and arms are not calibrated right.

    I wouldn’t have gotten this far without all of you guys. I’m deeply grateful.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •