View Full Version : Freeing Up a "Stuck" engine

345 DeSoto
11-18-2015, 07:37 AM
All the cars I've ever had, I've never had to break loose a stuck engine...thus my question. The Hawk I bought has been sitting in a Shop building for 40+ years. It would be a miracle if the engine isn't stuck. To free it up, without completely dismantleing it, what is the BEST way to go about it? Is it as simple as pulling the plugs and squirting oil in the cylinders?...:confused:

Skip Lackie
11-18-2015, 07:41 AM
A mixture of ATF and acetone seems to be the juice de jour right now. And let it sit, with frequent additional injections, for as long as you can -- days or weeks if possible.

11-18-2015, 08:01 AM
PB Blaster

Kroil < preferred

Dont force it, take your time. Rotate the motor till it stops soak overnight. Rotate the motor the other direction until it stops soak overnight. Rinse & repeat.

11-18-2015, 09:12 AM
What Skip Lackie Said.......

11-18-2015, 09:26 AM
How fast does that acetone evaporate in that hole?

11-18-2015, 09:40 AM
So far, you've gotten good suggestions. However, it depends on where the engine is stuck, what components are seized, as to how you should proceed. If it is merely slight corrosion or rust where the rings, pistons, and cylinders are, the penetrating oil solutions are usually sufficient. However, if the valve train is seized, you will need to remove the valve covers and attend to that area as well. Seized lifters or rocker arms could result in damage to your cam or bent push rods.

It would be nice if it rotates without having to open it up, and sometimes this is the case. That is why the advice to rock it back and forth is a sound suggestion. Better to begin with a gentle touch than break something that is not broken.

11-18-2015, 09:43 AM
There are numerous threads on the SDC forum about freeing up stuck engines; use the search function in the upper right hand corner of the page and you should come up with hours of good reading :). Another good place to go is the AACA forum (http://forums.aaca.org/) (http://forums.aaca.org/).

11-18-2015, 10:39 AM
I'm going through a similar problem, my motor was stuck so I tried letting it soak with various mixtures of this and that...

what has seemed to work for me is rust-oleum rust dissolver I get it at autozone for $10.00 a quart its pricey but works.

this stuff has phosphoric acid in it so use caution and follow directions....

55 56 PREZ 4D
11-18-2015, 11:13 AM
Part1 1959 Pontiac 389 resurrection for "The Find" 1956 GMC 250 Dually
This guy goes through a very neglected motor and shows what to look for when resurrecting a real nasty one.
It's in six parts.
If you have a need for a surgically clean, climate controlled work area, be prepared as this will definitely test you.
BUT !!! He does find a lot of problems and how to "redneck' fixes to find out if the motor is worth spending more money.

11-18-2015, 12:58 PM
I like Ederlyiron and watched the episodes where he got the 389 running again. That engine was a mess and was sitting outside and upside down for years.

Skip Lackie
11-18-2015, 03:48 PM
How fast does that acetone evaporate in that hole?

Pretty quickly, though putting the plugs back in the holes loosely will slow it down. But the point of the acetone is to thin the ATF and let it flow more freely into the rust. That happens PDQ, after which it can be allowed to evaporate.

11-18-2015, 04:06 PM
Already been said several times. Acetone & trans fld. It don't evaporate fast when mixed.

345 DeSoto
11-18-2015, 04:07 PM
Does the Acetone evaporate out of the mix, or does it stay I solution?...

11-18-2015, 04:15 PM
Does the Acetone evaporate out of the mix, or does it stay I solution?...

There really is no "solution". You can mix the two but they begin to separate quickly. Agitate and pour.

11-18-2015, 09:04 PM
Used diesel engine oil, and diesel fuel. Give it about a month before trying to free it. If you have a inspection camera check the bore for flash rust first. Mine was in a shed for 30 years. Did all the brakes and bearings and cleaning before I tried to free it up.

11-19-2015, 08:11 PM
Sometimes its not only pistons that are stuck , A few years ago I got a Avanti R-1 in which the wrist pins were the culprit , It was fun taking that one apart , Ed

11-19-2015, 08:43 PM
My 55 sat in storage for 25 years and seized. It was running when I parked it. I soaked it in everything suggested on the internet. Soaked for 6 weeks. Nothing moved. I finally took off the pan and put a jack under one of the crank throws that was horizontal and jacked it up so there was a lot of weight on it. It shortly moved, so I repositioned the jack and turned the engine the other direction. Soon it was free, There was no rust in the cylinders or anywhere else. There were sticky oil deposits on the sides of the pistons and that provided enough resistance to prevent the engine turning. Glad I tore the engine down though because the ring lands were all full of leaded gasoline deposits such as you used to get on spark plugs before unleaded gas was the norm. The rings were well stuck. A couple of the wrist pins were sluggish from thick oil as well. Gregg Petersen

11-21-2015, 12:11 AM
http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/asset.php?fid=41696&uid=12402&d=1446067403My ex father inlaw was a mechanic in Vietnam and the things I have seen him invent,re invent and design is amazing. Pretty much if it's stuck from sitting pull your plugs and squirt WD 40 a 1/4 a can in each hole.put the plugs back in and let it sit a few days then get a long screw driver and go to the flywheel and try and pry it about three or four teeth in one direction if it starts to tighten up go in the other direction. If the pan is still on dump Diesel into the crankcase up to the rockers. Keep working the flywheel until you get it to turn all the way around.Now pull the plugs out to avoid hydraulicing a rod. You may be able to find a socket at this point with a breaker bar and extension and turn the motor over by hand. It is not advisable to eliminate any of these steps as it will very likely end up with broken parts. Incremental is best. I saw him take a shortblock sitting in a couple feet of cow **** for years given to him by a buddy of mine that had a hydraulic ed rod. it took him a month of soaking and 1/8 play to turning it over. He pulled it down took a used piston and rod out of another motor. He did a minor and last I heard it was still running. I witnessed this or I'd have called B.S! It can happen.

11-21-2015, 08:25 AM
My Uncle had a Studebaker V8 that had sat outside and was locked so tight that a socket on the crank and a four foot cheater pipe would not move it. He soaked the cylinders with some kind of lube, took out the distributor and rotated the oil pump with a drill for about five minutes to get oil throughout the motor. He then took a spark plug, knocked out the center porcelain, and braised a grease zerk in the top of it. He found a cylinder that was just off TDC (happened to be #2), screwed the plug in and started pumping grease in. After about a quarter of a tube, the motor broke loose. I think that motor was driven @15K miles and 10 years with no ill effects other than being old...

Good luck