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remove the plugs and dump a quart of ATF into the cylinders and let it set for a week or two. shoot some penetrating oil into the valve chamber by removing the cover while you are waiting and then try to crank it after this time is up with the plugs out. if this doesn't work come back for more ideas. Good luck

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I like to use diesel fuel

Put some in the plug holes then start rocking the crank forward and back

It will break loose.

Change the oil before starting. Please drain the fuel tank AND a little top oil in the fresh fuel

I don't use quarts as there is no real reason for extra inches of fluid standing atop the piston.

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I was advocating 1/4 quart for each hole, sorry, but like it to cover valves or enter open (stuck) valves. I use a squirt can to get at the open valves. My idea of waiting a week is to let things penetrate and soak in.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have you tried pulling the starter? Sometimes the starter pinion will stick locking up the engine. I would pull the starter and try turning it over with the hand crank. Might solve the problem, or at least confirm that the engine is really stuck.

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Have you tried pulling the starter? Sometimes the starter pinion will stick locking up the engine. I would pull the starter and try turning it over with the hand crank. Might solve the problem, or at least confirm that the engine is really stuck.

Stuck indeed, pulled the starter 2 weeks ago. Put it back.

Crank won't move a bit.

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How long did it sit? I have a car that was parked for 15 years before I bought it. The engine was free. The clutch was rusted to the flywheel but the engine itself was free.

Probably a long shot but.... one other possibility would be a bolt or other debris stuck somewhere in the flywheel ring gear. I have seen photos where multiple pieces of debris ended up in there over 80 or so years and eventually something moved into a position that locked up the engine. If it is that, sometimes you can carefully turn it back slightly from the starter opening, and the debris falls out, freeing it up.

Other than that,

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I see where I inadvertently erased the last part of my previous response....

So here it is....

Sounds like the ATF or Diesel, or some other penetrating oil and time are your best options. Good Luck with it!

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You might also pull that starter back off and carefully pry on the teeth of the flywheel ring gear. I tried all the same things you did on a 1936 Dodge pickup, finally pulled the starter, pryed on the teeth, broke loose pretty easy then.

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Only one other suggestion. I have a friend who had a severly stuck engine. He broke it free by towing it with a pickup... Hooked it up with chains, had a buddy pull him down the road up to about 20 mph while he held the clutch in. Popped the clutch out. It took a few tries, managed to leave some amazing skid marks, slid all over the place, but eventually broke it free.

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Before you rip the rear axle or transmission apart by popping the clutch at 20 MPH, try some dry ice on top of the pistons while placing a jack under one of the crank throws and lifting a bit of tension on the crank. Pan and head removed, If that doesn't work and nothing other in the engine or transmission is out of place or frozen I am out of ideas other than a complete dismantling. Start with removing the rod caps one at a time and finding out which piston is frozen, then work on that one.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
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Did you drain the oil and look for evidence of water in the oil? If it is on blocks for the winter, I assume that draining the radiator or maintaining antifreeze is done for storage purposes. I had a similar experience many years ago with alum. pistons installed on my engine rebuild. Ran great, but the winters caused seizing every spring no matter how well I prepared for it. All the above suggestions are very good. Every spring I would use "liquid wrench" or "rid-rust" and let it stand at least a week, maybe more, with success every time. If the head is off, use a 2x4 and tap with hammer to gently move each cylinder (after a thorough soaking). This is really unusual for a car that was running last year. Metal to metal seizing from ring failure or broken parts sounds more likely. Good luck, this could get expensive. Look forward to your findings.

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  • 4 weeks later...

When you get it free, check the tang on the drive gear that drives the oil pump and distributor to be sure it did not break off. It is inside of the valve spring cover. At this point, you may need to disconnect the rods and push / jack the pistons out upward one at a time, then clean the cylinders, and be sure the rings are free. Check the head for cracks. Do you run water in it? It appears to be Anifreeze in the photos of the block. Was it stored in a flooded area? Dandy Dave!

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You don't need to pull the engine. Just take the rod caps off and push the pistons out the top. Then sand and lightly hone the cylinders, install new rings and you should be good to go.

Since your two photos show the pistons in different locations I take it that you got it free. Why the degradation in the paint on the block between the two photos?

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You don't need to pull the engine. Just take the rod caps off and push the pistons out the top. Then sand and lightly hone the cylinders, install new rings and you should be good to go.

Since your two photos show the pistons in different locations I take it that you got it free. Why the degradation in the paint on the block between the two photos?

The photo to the right was an older photo posted by mistake.

I did not get it free. Still frozen.

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When you get it free, check the tang on the drive gear that drives the oil pump and distributor to be sure it did not break off. It is inside of the valve spring cover. At this point, you may need to disconnect the rods and push / jack the pistons out upward one at a time, then clean the cylinders, and be sure the rings are free. Check the head for cracks. Do you run water in it? It appears to be Anifreeze in the photos of the block. Was it stored in a flooded area? Dandy Dave!

I always ran antifreeze. No flooding anywhere.

After I cleaned the head and pistons, I may have not torqued the head down enough and saw water seeping past head gasket drivers side.

I think pushing up the pistons is the next plan.

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You don't need to pull the engine. Just take the rod caps off and push the pistons out the top. Then sand and lightly hone the cylinders, install new rings and you should be good to go.

Since your two photos show the pistons in different locations I take it that you got it free. Why the degradation in the paint on the block between the two photos?

Just pulled the pistons, seems like #2 sleeve is a bit damaged.

Wondering if I need to pull the engine.

There's a stuck valve too.

see pics.

post-77064-143138649806_thumb.jpg

post-77064-143138649823_thumb.jpg

post-77064-143138649839_thumb.jpg

post-77064-143138649857_thumb.jpg

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Something just doesn't make sense here. As someone else said "that's some serious rust" not the kind you get from a normal engine sitting and having condensation. Was the head gasket replaced from the 2009 photo? What did the oil look like when drained? This engine has had major coolant leakage inside when last shutoff. The valve chamber and oil pan area and cylinder walls below the pistons all show rust damage consistent with water standing inside. If as I suspect the headgasket let everything in the last time it was shutdown there would be no mixture of coolant and oil as would happen if the leak occurred while the engine was running. If however the engine ran with the leak, the oil and coolant would be a grayish sludge which I don't see. Were you running water and switched to antifreeze when it was put in storage? Any idea what damaged the sleeve bottom? Looks like it just happened during this teardown.

Howard Dennis

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I have no idea how that sleeve bottom got damaged.

The only thing I hammered on was the underside of the pistons.

The engine never ran with water in the oil, but it did get in there while trying to start it.

Water most likely got in past head gasket when trying to start.

The rod bearings and crank shaft all look good, no apparent damage.

2 valves stick.

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If I read your answers and pictures correctly you had the engine apart in August of 2009 and reassembled it with the old headgasket, refilled cooling system and it sat until June or July 2011 when you tried to start it and it was siezed. Correct? If correct it probably started leaking almost immediately in 2009 and that's why you have so much damage in mid 2011.

Howard Dennis

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If I read your answers and pictures correctly you had the engine apart in August of 2009 and reassembled it with the old headgasket, refilled cooling system and it sat until June or July 2011 when you tried to start it and it was siezed. Correct? If correct it probably started leaking almost immediately in 2009 and that's why you have so much damage in mid 2011.

Howard Dennis

Correction!!! In 2009, I did NOT wait until mid 2011 to start the car. I tried immediately after reassembly of the head.

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Well, the good news is you have learned to never let a non-operable engine sit for a couple of years. The bad news is it is going to take a lot more work to get it going now.

Another bit of good news is a Model A Ford engine is a lot more forgiving than a lot of other engines. Best of luck in getting it fixed and running.

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