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Hi. I’m new but have been reading up to work on a 1952 pilothouse rust bucket that is a project for me and my 14 year old son.  It’s been sitting outside for 20 years so everything is rusted and not moving including the engine. First order of business has been to soak the pistons for the last few weeks and try to move the crankshaft with the bolt. Two days ago it moved and today it moved about 1/4 of a turn but since I had the head off I was able to see the pistons and valves. Nothing moved as far as the valves and pistons or even the pulley on the engine that goes to the generator.  The nut id definitely turning. Can anyone tell what could be happening? Am I doing more damage to the engine? Thanks for any help ......KT 

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If it rolls on wheels/tires and has a trans and driveshaft, rocking back a forth in high gear is a safe way to attempt to move the pistons.  Or, find which cylinder has the valves closed and piston starting down on the power stroke.  Now put the head back on temporarily, even use the old gasket if you have it.   If not, a simple shim gasket made from a pop/beer can around that one cylinder will work. But if you do that, only use bolts around that cylinder or you could warp or crack the head.  Make a adapter to attach a grease fitting in the spark plug hole of the cylinder identified above.  attach a grease gun and fill the cylinder, shouldn't take much if the piston is near the top.  Careful though, as the grease gun trick can generate a lot of pressure.

 

try turning it each day, and add a little more grease if possible.  Not guaranteed,  but works sometimes.

 

If/once it moves a half turn or so, pull the head.  You don't want to hydrolock the engine and break something.

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Thanks all for the reply’s. I turned the nut counter clock wise and it loosened and came right out. The threads don’t appear bad at all. Better safe than sorry I think I will try rocking it in high gear - since I have the starter out to rebuild I should be able to see if there is any advance. Has anyone ever taken off the oil pan and tried to get things moving from underneath? Thanks again KT

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there is little you can access for turning the engine within the pan...your better bet is using the teeth of the flywheel albeit carefully here also....rocking is a generally accepted method..what are you using to soak the piston/rings/cylinder

 

to prevent damage I would suggest pulling the head and tapper access covers to ensure the valves are not frozen also as you can do some damage here......slow and easy confirm what is or is not frozen

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Here is my 2 cents, worth exactly what you paid for it.

These engines are solid and will take a lot of abuse, just do not run them over 3000 rpm.

If they sit for a long time, you can bet will be 3" of sludge in the bottom of the oil pan. You want to pull the pan and clean it.

I bought a complete engine gasket rebuild set from napa, think it was $110

 

These engines are also known to get stuck valves after sitting, Just because you get the pistons freed up, does not mean the valves will be free ... yank the head.

One motor that had been sitting since 1978, had 5 stuck valves. Pull the head and rotate the motor, I got 4 valves freed up in a hour or less, the 5th was more stubborn and needed a little more love.

 

Thats my opinion, buy the gasket set, yank the head, yank the pan, get it moving freely and then lets talk about other issues you may, or may not find.

 

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While I have had great luck freeing engines using the grease gun method listed above - it seems like the important step of a soaking agent was missed for all the cylinders. I use a 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone. The acetone thins the ATF down so it can soak in and get into more nooks and crannies - and then it evaporates leaving the ATF in its place. I always fill every cylinder with this mix - and then selectively use the grease gun technique to apply some force to get things moving - slowly.

 

Be cautious. Too much oomph with a grease gun CAN and WILL break/bend something. I've freed dozens of engines using this method - but I've seen them destroyed by others that weren't cautious.

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I've seen several suggestions to pull the head.  Please confirm what I think I saw in the original post, the head is off???

 

if so read on.

 

Since the head is off, a pic of the cylinders may get some better advice.  We can evaluate the rust etc and may say, don't bother, or maybe some better ideas.

 

One more idea:  if you don't want to go the grease gun or pan pull first:  get a good solid piece of wood big enough to go into the cylinder with as little space left as possible.  You want the grain vertical and cut square on both ends.  That puts the load of the following whack on the outer edges of the piston, not on the weaker center.  Landscape timbers are normally oval and 3.5" on the widest dimension so will trim down fairly easily with a plane.

 

Set it on top of each piston and give it a really solid whack with at least a 3 lb hammer.  Don''t try to kill it, just break the rings hold on the cylinder wall. and let the penetrating fluid creep past.

Edited by kencombs

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cutting a block of wood to fit into the cylinder and covering it with a metal plate and then using a pneumatic hammer is the better method for loosening a piston/rings.  The shock is what you need but without the brute force of a hammer blow....you can use a hammer but successive raps is the better choice over a dead blow to the piston.  These older piston ring lands are very much subject to breaking...

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Sent my B1B to my nephew's brother"s body shop to have the four cab corners redone.  They took the cab off and into the shop to work on it and left the rest of the truck outside.  When I got the truck back was told the engine was seized.  Said they had soaked the pistons to try to free them with no luck.  They pulled the driveshaft so they could roll it around and get it  on the flatbed to deliver it to me.  I pulled the transmission and the engine was free,  it was the transmission that was seized.  Pulled top cover of trans and it was half full with water with gears rusted together.  Rebuilt trans and was good to go.  Recommend you drain the trans and look for water.  Just saying.

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Again I’m no expert but would having the truck in neutral release it from the transmission so the engine would turn if it was free? Regardless its a good idea I haven’t even looked at the tyranny since there is no drive shaft.  Thanks KT

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Ok... so here is the game plan let me know what your think. Given what I saw when I took the head off I’m fairly certain the valves are stuck along with the piston.so the manifold and valve cover will come off so we can work to free the valves .  Oil sludge was drained today .... smelly mix of water and oil almost grease like so the pan needs to get dropped and cleaned. Since we don’t have a drive shaft rocking won’t help so I’ll pick up a landscape timber trim it and take some shots at the pistons. Thanks for all the reply’s and help we’ve worked on a good number of Farmall tractors but never a truck like this. It doesn’t seem to be to different from the Tractors we are use to. Thanks KT

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3 hours ago, Kxt710 said:

Ok... so here is the game plan let me know what your think. Given what I saw when I took the head off I’m fairly certain the valves are stuck along with the piston.so the manifold and valve cover will come off so we can work to free the valves .  Oil sludge was drained today .... smelly mix of water and oil almost grease like so the pan needs to get dropped and cleaned. Since we don’t have a drive shaft rocking won’t help so I’ll pick up a landscape timber trim it and take some shots at the pistons. Thanks for all the reply’s and help we’ve worked on a good number of Farmall tractors but never a truck like this. It doesn’t seem to be to different from the Tractors we are use to. Thanks KT

As a matter of fact, the Mopar flatheads were used in tractors and combines!

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Heads off - good fork bar the valves u can - lifter covers off - good raise the valves u can until all valves free - then nudge pistons by rocking. I've used Knockerlose  Krol molasses & RO water r 10- 1 electrolysis turn down fence posts for a wood wedge to encourage the pistons to remember what they have done for 50,000 miles +_ .Charlie Stephenson

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If the valves are stuck even if you can free them up do you think the rusty valve faces and seats will really seal up once  it's running?

No......gotta pull it apart.... major work if you want it to run right and long trouble free.

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Heat the block up with an external heat source to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then rock it,  If it doesn't run well after freeing it up, then restore it. My 33 201 didn't smooth out for 10 miles, but after that it's been on 125 mile road tripe, it works til it don't then well fix er up. Charlie Stephenson

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Have you made any progress freeing the engine.  Hope so, and if so, how did you do it?

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No luck at all freeing up the engine. I have been tapping the pistons every fey days with  piece of round post that fits perfectly on the piston. I haven’t been able to get to the valves yet because the nuts on the manifold are rusted so I am soaking them with PB Blaster . I am pretty sure I need to pull the engine, pull it apart and see what’s going on but I’ll give it another few weeks of soaking and tapping. I did get the fenders and front clip off and started to weld some patches in place.  Thanks KT

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Sorry to hear it is still bound up.  Here are my thoughts: Tapping on one piston is actually trying move all the pistons since they are all interconnected through the crank shaft.  Also you are trying to move the valve train since it is connected to the crankshaft through the timing chain.  Not to mention you are trying to rotate the the input shaft of the transmission if the clutch is engaged. I would try to separate some of these things and get things moving.  For example: Front clip is off: remove front motor mount and remove timing chain cover and cam drive sprocket and timing chain. Reinstall cam drive sprocket and see if camshaft will rotate.  Tap piston and see if crank shaft will rotate. You get the idea. Separate all the systems that are currently tied together and try to get them free, one by one.  Regards.

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That’s a great idea.  I’ll be going out of town next week but that will be my plan when I get back. Thank you for the advice and I’ll keep you posted.

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Regarding possible (perhaps probable) causes of the engine being locked up, for what it might be worth, I have an extra engine and transmission which I could only turn back and forth a few degrees by wrenching the manual crank nut on the damper pully. On removing the head and oil pan I could see that the pistons moved up and down a very small amount but the exhaust valves were frozen in their guides and were the total cause of the lockup. Replacing those bad valves and their guides was all that was needed for the engine to turn freely. The bad part is that removing frozen valves in a flathead motor is no easy task.

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Put tranny in low gear, put a snipe on output yolk of trans and give it a pull, its been soaking long enough she'll prob break loose.

Either that or the clutch will slip, if so, try a higher gear.

(Low gear acts as a torque multiplier if you rotate the output shaft, you shouldnt have to pull very hard)

Edited by f_armer
Brain fart

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what James said...frozen valves can also contribute.  FEF's engine was "frozen" (would only turn a little), having 4 valves stuck wouldn't let it turn over.  pull starting or forcing can sometimes damamge things worse than just checking things over and being patient.  My nephew wanted to pull start FEF, would have meant things broken in the engine if we had tried.

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