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1936 Seized Motor


tsacchi
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Hi Everyone,

I just bought a 1936 Dodge ½ ton truck. I have usually spent my time and money in the 50’s, with a ’59 Apache, ’51 Chevy 5 window, and a ’51 Willys Wagon. This is my first adventure into the 30’s.

The first thing I found out was it is hard to find parts. With the 50’s you can basically build an entire truck out of a catalog. For the 30’s there is no such luck.

So, getting to my question. I was told that the motor was rebuilt by the previous owner before the owner I bought it from. When I got it home I found that the motor is seized. My brother in law said I should stick it in gear, hook a chain up to it and pull it to break it free. He said, since I have to rebuild it anyway what harm could it do.

So my question is, so what harm could I do?

It is the original motor. I do not want to do anything to it that would cause me to have to replace the motor.

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It's not unusual for flathead sixes to seize from sitting. Doing what your brother-in-law suggests will surely result in internal engine damage. Some times you can pour penetrating solvent (some folks use a mixture of acetone and automatic transmission fluid, others swear by Marvel Mystery Oil or PB Blaster) into the cylinders to loosen stuck pistons. You need to know that the spark plugs in this engine sit above the 'shelf' for the valves, so you need to direct any liquids toward the driver's side of the engine so it fills the cylinders. Sometimes soaking works and sometimes not, but it's definitely worth a try. You could also have stuck valves keeping the engine from turning. Disassembly and soaking are your best bets if this is the case.

You may also want to consider buying a running used engine (they are interchangeable through 1959 and even later for industrial engines), swapping it out, and disassembling your original engine once it's out of the truck. Flathead sixes came in two sizes (23-1/2" long head and 25" head...stick with the same size as original) and are frequently for sale on car web sites and Craigslist.

Finally, this is the best forum online for Mopar flatheads: www.P15-D24.com - Powered by vBulletin

There are actually two forums (one for passenger cars and another for flathead-powered Dodge trucks). Either one has many friendly, knowledgeable people who are hapy to share their expertise.

I hope this helps.

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The valves could indeed be the problem. I've seen the pistons free but the valves stuck. These engines are very tough and you may not have to rebuild it if you're careful. Drain the block and remove the head. Everything that is usually stuck is right there. Pour your choice of fluid directly down the edges of the pistons and around the valve stems. Striking the pistons with a 2 or 3 pound small hand sledge hammer with a piece of 2X4 as a buffer is a good mover and shaker. Place the 2X4 at the edges of the piston top. Rock the car in gear by hand to keep from doing any damage. If you get the engine moving and any vavles are stuck in their 'up' position,they can be simply struck with a plastic mallet to seat them. Don't be afraid to put LOTS of oil on things. Also with the head off you can apply heat from a propane torch around edges of the aluminum pistons to see if they will 'crack' free from heat expansion. I've done all this and been successful. Good luck.

Edited by DodgeKCL (see edit history)
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Todd,

There is a reader in the "Dodge and Dodge Brothers" section that is dealing with the same thing - seized engine - in a '38 car. Watch this thread. He is about a month ahead of you. http://forums.aaca.org/f143/ava-my-grandfathers-1938-dodge-d8-333837-3.html (Check out posts #30 and #89 in particular.)

I saw you had contact with member "Vic Panza" in another of your Forum posts. He knows of a '36 Dodge car that is being parted in PA now. If you find out that some of the car parts work for the truck also, that may be a source for some stuff you are looking for.

Have fun with your truck!

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i have found in two dodge engines a 251 and a 237 that a mouse had crawled up the exhaust and made a nest on top of one piston in each, preventing the engoine from turning over. so i had to pu the heads and clean things up stuck it all together and presto runningn engine. these motors are tough and its not uncommon to do as your borther said. ive done that as well. i had an 87 s-10 pickup that was siezed from sitting for many years, stuck it in 3rd gear and pulled it till she broke loose, i drove it back and forth to college for 2 years then sold it to a kid who is still driving it now. i would probably just pull the head as they are fairly easy to remove. then let em soak in some form of oil.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your input. I tryed pouring Marvel Oil through the spark plugs and waited overnight. I rocked it back and forth but no such luck. So I took the head off and found that the #5 cylinder had rust in it. I used <!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->DodgeKCL<!-- google_ad_section_end --> advise. Took a hammer and a 2x4 and gave it a pound (gently). It felt like it lossened up, so i rocked it back and forth and the motor started moving. Since I have it apart I think I am going to send the fuel pump and carb in for rebuild, then see if I can start it up after 38 years.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi Countrytravler, fast update. Took the head off to free up the motor. Since it was off I took it down to have it resurfaced. I got it back but have not put it back on. With winter coming I decided to build a garage. Thankfully my brother in law let me park my truck in his garage until I get mine built. I am building it myself so its going to take me all winter. On the cold and rainy days I will be over at my brother in laws working on my truck. I hope by summer my garage will be built and my truck will be running.

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  • 5 months later...

It might be a good idea to remove the oil pan to check for corrosion. I recently worked on a 1938 Dodge pickup where the engine seemed to be loose and turned over. When the oil pan was removed, the oil pump was rusted and the drive gear was stripped. I had to replace the oil pump. If you don't want to remove the pan, it might be a good idea to remove the distributor cap to see if the rotor is turning when the crankshaft is moved.

Edited by Drew Kreidelcamp (see edit history)
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