1967 Thunderbird 390 engine lock...help

Anyway its very rare that it is completely blocked after some month. I remember a 1930 Nash convertible I bought of a farmer at his barn. This car was parket in 1950 and never used anymore. It was about 15 miles from my house. So I went there in morning with a compressor, tools,battery and fuel and some hoses to give the car fuel directly from my container. Before starting it up I checked for spark and gave some fuel directly into the carb. Car started right up with lots of smoke out back....but it was alive after 62 years at the same spott. Pumped up the tires and we drove it home...was a funny trip as the radiator was without a lock and halve way it started to spitt out water direct into my face as the convertible top was down and all rotten.
I feel sorry for Gbird67. Lots of more work then he thought now. I wish you luck that you quickly find out whats wrong with your engine. Keep us informed
I guess like you said pulling the heads could reveal something. See what the cylinders are like. Though he'll have to remember that head bolts are torque to yield so he'll have to replace the head bolts and gasket if he does in fact remove them.
 
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Yes, he will have to invest some bucks. It is just very funny that this engine should rust that fast. And if so, he will see that directly when heads are off. They never get rusty from underneath - maybe its like I said - from a faulty headgasket and use of normal spring water
 
Yes, he will have to invest some bucks. It is just very funny that this engine should rust that fast. And if so, he will see that directly when heads are off. They never get rusty from underneath - maybe its like I said - from a faulty headgasket and use of normal spring water
Well I don't think it rusted fast per say... more like the piston moved into a portion of the cylinder that was rusted and got stuck after sitting. In all honesty an engine that has been sitting for ages it isn't as simple as just pulling it out and firing it up. You need to recondition it before trying to turn it over. Since it's been sitting for so long that mean its been dry and no oil is in the cylinders keeping them from corroding. In most cases like this when an engine has sat for ages more often than not it needs to be pulled out and rebuilt.

And I don't mean how long he has had it sitting after he got it. I mean how long has it sat before he bought it? Also where in PA do you live? I live in PA as well so if you need and help just let me know.
 
I would jack the engine up a bit and take off the oil pan. Unloosen all your rod bearings and see if it turns. Sounds real funny it turned over fine when you went to check it out then locked up. Forget about the transmission and brakes until you get the engine figured out. Automatic transmissions can not and will not lock up up and seize your engine. Keep us posted
 
Thank you for the postings, wow you guys know your stuff. I wish you were with me when I found this beast. When we cranked it in July 2018, we did not do a complete revolution and I think as someone else pointed out , one or more of the pistons reached a rusty point in the cylinder. I did not want to 'hurt' it so I just wanted to make sure it moved. Then the car sat for more months and here we are. Knowing what I know now I would have lubed the cylinders beforehand, let it sit for an hour, and cranked for a few revs. We were quite rushed and didn't think it through enough but oh well. It is a learning experience if nothing else.
I'm gonna squirt stuff in the cylinders over the next couple of weeks and try to free it slowly, why not right? Worst case total rebuild.....
OneAmongOthers I really appreciate the offer and it is very kind of you, the car is now in Virginia in a friend's garage. If you are ever down this way please let me know. Yorgiki@*********.
So how much torque can that big-ass crank pulley bolt take before I break it? What is the best way to proceed once this Marvel Mystery stuff sits on the pistons for a few weeks?
 
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Oh and Excaliburss....although low in the radiator, the coolant was bright green, and I flushed it and the block, had the radiator rebuilt. Radiator guy said it had a few leaks. Oddly enough on the radiator side of the thermostat, the coolant completely hardened to a solid in the housing, but the coolant in the engine and radiator were fine. If I would have gotten it running that way, it would not be happy for long. I had to chip away at that housing glob with a screwdriver to break it, and bought a new housing.....the old one is ruined.
 
Well I don't think it rusted fast per say... more like the piston moved into a portion of the cylinder that was rusted and got stuck after sitting. In all honesty an engine that has been sitting for ages it isn't as simple as just pulling it out and firing it up. You need to recondition it before trying to turn it over. Since it's been sitting for so long that mean its been dry and no oil is in the cylinders keeping them from corroding. In most cases like this when an engine has sat for ages more often than not it needs to be pulled out and rebuilt.

And I don't mean how long he has had it sitting after he got it. I mean how long has it sat before he bought it? Also where in PA do you live? I live in PA as well so if you need and help just let me know.
Agreed but I've seen many many 'barn finds' on YouTube that have sat longer than mine and start with no problems. So either that is total fakery or it is actually possible. This car has 1977 PA tags on it and a 1977 inspection sticker on the windshield. The title from 1977 has 60,xxx written on it and the odometer has a few hundred more miles on it. Based on the evidence it has 60,xxx miles on it, but it could he 160,000 miles too of course. When I pulled the valve covers there is little to no sludge and it looks ok. Oil was not watery and dark color but not abnormally yucky. No evidence of water in the oil when I drained it. I wish I would have taken more pictures to share!!!
 
Thank you for the postings, wow you guys know your stuff. I wish you were with me when I found this beast. When we cranked it in July 2018, we did not do a complete revolution and I think as someone else pointed out , one or more of the pistons reached a rusty point in the cylinder. I did not want to 'hurt' it so I just wanted to make sure it moved. Then the car sat for more months and here we are. Knowing what I know now I would have lubed the cylinders beforehand, let it sit for an hour, and cranked for a few revs. We were quite rushed and didn't think it through enough but oh well. It is a learning experience if nothing else.
I'm gonna squirt stuff in the cylinders over the next couple of weeks and try to free it slowly, why not right? Worst case total rebuild.....
OneAmongOthers I really appreciate the offer and it is very kind of you, the car is now in Virginia in a friend's garage. If you are ever down this way please let me know. Yorgiki@*********.
So how much torque can that big-ass crank pulley bolt take before I break it? What is the best way to proceed once this Marvel Mystery stuff sits on the pistons for a few weeks?
It can probably take quite a lot, but don’t force anything! Yes could snap or round off the head and then you are in heaps more trouble. Let it soak for a week or so the. Try again. If nothing happens the. You know what you are looking at.
 

jazbo

Active Member
Anyway its very rare that it is completely blocked after some month. I remember a 1930 Nash convertible I bought of a farmer at his barn. This car was parket in 1950 and never used anymore. It was about 15 miles from my house. So I went there in morning with a compressor, tools,battery and fuel and some hoses to give the car fuel directly from my container. Before starting it up I checked for spark and gave some fuel directly into the carb. Car started right up with lots of smoke out back....but it was alive after 62 years at the same spott. Pumped up the tires and we drove it home...was a funny trip as the radiator was without a lock and halve way it started to spitt out water direct into my face as the convertible top was down and all rotten.
I feel sorry for Gbird67. Lots of more work then he thought now. I wish you luck that you quickly find out whats wrong with your engine. Keep us informed
There's a U-Tube channel where some guys take a battery and gas to junkyards to see what they can start. It's amazing how many of the old engines actually start after years or decades.
 
Try to turn the crankshaft bolt the opposite way the engine turns or turn it the opposite way on the flywheel behind the starter. Be careful not to loosen the crankshaft bolt. if it jammed up on a rusty part of a piston turn it in the opposite direction after lubing up the cylinders to break it loose
 
Devil Dog 62
There is a supplemental 3 grove pulley that inserts on top of the original 1 grove pulley. The 3 grove pulley is held in place by a big center (11/16 I think) bolt and 3 smaller bolts. At the moment that 3 grove pulley is not on the car. That big bolt is the only bolt to turn and the one I've referred to. This bolt can only go clockwise, not the other way as that loosens it. So I don't have opposite way options unless I attach the chain wrench as I described earlier which attaches to the 1 drive pulley. This allows me to move that pulley in either direction by reversing the chain on the pulley and pulling the bar clockwise or counterclockwise.
My dilemma is whether to use a breaker bar and socket on that big bolt clockwise only as I'm concerned about breaking it, or the chain wrench for both directions. The chain wrench bites into the 1 grove pulley a bit, but I don't think it is causing damage that will prevent the 3 groove pulley to insert over it later.
Suggestions?
 
Devil Dog 62
There is a supplemental 3 grove pulley that inserts on top of the original 1 grove pulley. The 3 grove pulley is held in place by a big center (11/16 I think) bolt and 3 smaller bolts. At the moment that 3 grove pulley is not on the car. That big bolt is the only bolt to turn and the one I've referred to. This bolt can only go clockwise, not the other way as that loosens it. So I don't have opposite way options unless I attach the chain wrench as I described earlier which attaches to the 1 drive pulley. This allows me to move that pulley in either direction by reversing the chain on the pulley and pulling the bar clockwise or counterclockwise.
My dilemma is whether to use a breaker bar and socket on that big bolt clockwise only as I'm concerned about breaking it, or the chain wrench for both directions. The chain wrench bites into the 1 grove pulley a bit, but I don't think it is causing damage that will prevent the 3 groove pulley to insert over it later.
Suggestions?
You need to start looking at the fact that you are probably going to have to pull the engine as something is locked up internally. You don't want to put to much force on that crankshaft bolt because you could break or round off the head. Also I feel putting to much force could twist the crankshaft itself or damage internal engine components if they are in fact bound up.
 
OAO,
Completely understand what you are saying, that's why I'm asking question, and want to know what's causing this before I tear into it. I'm working on getting a bore scope to look at the pistons to see what the culprit can be. After a couple of more turning tries, I'll go to the next step.
 
OAO,
Completely understand what you are saying, that's why I'm asking question, and want to know what's causing this before I tear into it. I'm working on getting a bore scope to look at the pistons to see what the culprit can be. After a couple of more turning tries, I'll go to the next step.
I wish you the best of luck bro. I know what its like to get something that looks just so good then find out a major issue takes all the wind out of your sails. Same happened to my 69 Tbird. Drove it around for some tests then bought it. Later I found our the transmission was burned up and had to be completely rebuilt. Also the case was cracked so I had to replace the case too. In hind sight I should have just bought a new one and had it installed, but 1200 miles so far and zero issues.
 
64ZCode,
What an eloquent way to put it! Work on an old car and learn something, or sit on my fat butt and do nothing, I'll work on the car - no brainer. Non-car people do not know what they are missing. I'll post here what I find out next and share it with all of you.
 

64ZCODE

Well-Known Member
Hey Gbird67. FE engines are notorious for sticking valves and bending pushrods, and the main reason they stick is because of old gas gumming them up. My happy face idea is that the pistons in your engine are gummed up with old gas and rust. I think squirting penetrating oil in all eight cylinders, letting it soak for awhile, rocking the crankshaft back and forth, and repeating might free it up. If not, all you've invested is a little time and penetrating oil.

On the other hand, as long as you do all the work, I'd be really interested in knowing what the inside of your engine looks like:)

Good luck!

Doug
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
64Zcode said: I think squirting penetrating oil in all eight cylinders, letting it soak for awhile, rocking the crankshaft back and forth, and repeating might free it up. If not, all you've invested is a little time and penetrating oil.

Kinda what I was saying way back in post #2
 

64ZCODE

Well-Known Member
Yes you did. I wanted to add the bit about gummy gas being the potential culprit.

Gbird67, you mentioned the dilemma about using the chain wrench to turn the pulley in both directions. How about wrapping the pulley with a strip of inner tube rubber to mitigate damaging the pulley?
 
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