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THREAD-concoctions for loosening up seized engines ? let's hear your recipe

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by the SCROUNGER, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. the SCROUNGER
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 486

    from USA

    my approach to seized engines that sat in junkyards for 30 years, has always been brute force oriented- remove heads, oil pan, as many pistons/rods as would come out, then grit blast rust above piston, lube, and try to pound out piston- if it didn't come out, then drill a number of large holes in piston top, so piston would collapse when I hit it with 6 foot long pipe and sledgehammer. In short, I didn't soak engines in any fluids and wait it out. The one time I tried that, with WD40 on an Olds 455, it took torch heat through soft plug holes on cylinders, to finally break it free anyway

    well I just scored a 1967 Pontiac 400 GTO engine, and guess what, it's locked up- so I'm going to attempt the slow, patient approach- and filled the crankcase and intake tract with a concoction of new diesel fuel, transmission fluid, and old gasoline

    someone suggested PB Blaster but it costs $22/gallon, so I'll go the diesel fuel route for $4/gallon instead

    anyone out there have a favorite formula that works ? let's hear it :D:cool:
  2. Jim Beam
    Joined: Sep 7, 2006
    Posts: 269

    Jim Beam
    from St. George

    An old man told me one time that Coca Cola works good. I havent tried it yet..
    Joined: May 1, 2006
    Posts: 345


    FYI, WD 40 isn't the best for using as a penetrating oil.
  4. panhead_pete
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,265


    Do a search, this has been covered comprehensivley in the past, including the last few days. The advanced search function is a cracker.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Rich Rogers
    Joined: Apr 8, 2006
    Posts: 2,019

    Rich Rogers

    Coke will eat the hell outta rust. Years ago I took a glass of Coke and tossed in a rusted bolt and left it there, when I took it out the rust was gone and so were the threads on the bolt.Works great for cleaning off bugs on the windshield too but I don't know about a stuck motor. I'd use a good penetrating oil and let it sit and every once in a while when you're walking by it throw a breaker bar on the crank and give it a shot
  6. fuzzface
    Joined: Dec 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,031


    we used to use the coke trick years ago with the old formula coke and it worked great and was fast. I don't think the new coke works as good. Don't remember for sure but for some reason we switched to using marvel mystery oil now.
  7. jimmyv
    Joined: Dec 1, 2006
    Posts: 620


    Muratic acid, PB Blaster, Diesel have all worked for me. Usually I use a BFH and break any really stuck pistons into pieces since the block is going to need a bore anyhow.
  8. hoarder1212
    Joined: Jun 1, 2007
    Posts: 156


    I like your concoction but I would go light on the gasoline as it might thin out the other ingredients too much. The tranny fluid is probably the best.
  9. J. Infante
    Joined: Jan 20, 2008
    Posts: 64

    J. Infante
    from Ohio

    i use marvel mystery oil for most everything. if that doesnt work, vinegar then flush with alcohol (this followed by a very large hammer and plenty of heat). gotta watch with the vinegar--leave it too long and it starts eating through the metal. coke dont really work so well anymore, they changed their formula. used to work wonders on chrome. something interesting ive heard about doing is using air pressure to force oil down through the rings. pull the rockers so the valves are shut, then knock the cores out of the spark plugs and put a rubber hose on it. shoot plenty of oil into the cylinder then hook up the hose to an air tank and wait. was done on a rustball farmall engine and the thing ran afterward!
  10. speedtool
    Joined: Oct 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,541


    A diesel train mechanic told me that "Knock-er Loose" is the stuff to get.
  11. 54EARL
    Joined: Oct 12, 2007
    Posts: 212

    from Idaho
    1. A-D Truckers

    Marvel mystery oil is the stuff.
  12. dutchtreat
    Joined: Jul 7, 2004
    Posts: 304


    I had a 300 Buick years ago that frooze up sitting for a long time. I had a couple of cases of damaged Transmission fluid cans (when they tried making the main body out of cardboard with tin tops) I drained the oil from the pan and filled the engine with transmission fluid. Pulled plugs and shot trans fluid in to top of all pistons. Then filled engine up with transmission fluid through the Carb so it filled the intake and worked its way down past the open intake valves.
    I let the engine sit for a month and then would use a crossbar on the front balancer bolt and go right the left. I did this for a few weeks then pulled the plugs and put a breaker bar on the balancer bolt and she broke loose.
    Next was the job of daining most of the transmission fluid left enough to show over full on the dipstick. When I pulled it apart it was the cleanes engine I ever took apart. I could have run a glaze breaker/hone in the bores to get a good crosshatch and done a rering and bearing on it and had a good motor. I parted it out though as 300 heads are Alum and sought after by 215 guys as are the cranks for making stroker 215's.
  13. Mockie
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 173


    bought 50 chevy, stuck motor been sitting over 50 years in buddies gramp's garage (not lying). Tried coke and penetrant oil and worked for over a week with no luck. Then tried Marvel Mystery oil and broke loose in 2 days. Don't know if it was a mixture of all of em that worked but I think it was the Marvel, my 2 cents.
  14. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,479


    my trick is combustion chamber cleaner, you know the stuff you spray into the carb of a running engine to loosen carbon build up.
  15. 39cent
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,569

    from socal

    I have tried 'coca cola' and it worked on a Ford steering wheel. Tried it on a stuck engine and then with all kinds of stuff finally got it unstuck by repeatedly rockin the crank back and forth, [for couple of days]. I think it depends a lot on how bad its stuck, and there are zillions of ways to do it!
  16. lotus
    Joined: Sep 7, 2002
    Posts: 1,119

    from Taft, CA

    another vote for marvel mystery oil
  17. 39cent
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,569

    from socal

    my best advice on rusted stuff is repeadly putting pressure back and forth with some force, but not to much, so it exercises the rusted parts, gets whatever you are using into the rusted areas. and heat works too.
  18. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835


    I'll check in, ATF fluid and marvel mystery oil worked OK for me.

    Copied from the garage journal

    February 2, 2008
    Machinist's Workshop V20 number 2, April/May 2007, page 35

    Article: “Testing Penetrating oils”
    This reports a test of penetrating oils where they measured
    the force required to loosen rusty test devices. The
    details reported here were validated by the original
    article author. He also added some details on the methods.
    You must buy the issue if you want to see how they did the
    test. The back issue is available for purchase.
    The table below extracts the results table The lower the
    number of pounds the better. Interesting that a simple mix
    of acetone and power steering fluid (PSF) works the best!

    Penetrating oil - Average load -Price per fluid ounce
    None ...............516 pounds -- 0
    WD-40 ..............238 pounds --$0.25
    PB Blaster..........214 pounds --$0.35
    Liquid Wrench ......127 pounds --$0.21
    Kano Kroil .........106 pounds --$0.75
    PSF-Acetone mix ....53 pounds ---$0.10 (50/50 mix)

    Note from original article author:
    1) These are loads required to free the test piece after
    8 hours of immersion in penetrating oil. This is
    probably not representative of a quick squirt just
    before a wrench is applied.
    2) The original article states ATF was used in the DIY
    mix. It was actually PSF.
  19. strombergs97
    Joined: May 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,890

    from California

    First, I woud try to vibrate (shock) the engine..take a big hammer and strick the engine on all solid steel surfaces..What this does is, most times puts small cracks in the stuck areas. When you put in your penetrent it will wick in the cracks..
    The best formula is patients..
    5 cents
  20. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,479


    i also ment to add that the first thing i check on a stuck engine is for rust in the cylinders, i have a small snake light that fits through the plug holes, if i see rust i dont even try to roll the engine. no rust and then i spray lots of combustion chamber cleaner in the plug holes, works in a couple for hours.
  21. With flathead Fords the following is often the case................................

    You can pour the best shit in the world into your cylinders and it won't do any good because it's the lifters and/or valve stems that are stuck.
  22. the SCROUNGER
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 486

    from USA

    I did a web search and came up with EVAPO-RUST, this stuff is water based and specifically designed to eat rust away. There's a few guys raving about how quick and easy it works, in ONE DAY.

    The more I think about seized engines and what is the cause, the characteristic is this- the piston is aluminum, the bore is iron- there is a chemical reaction between the 2- I'm sure you've all had an iron bolt stick to an aluminum water pump or timing cover sometime- they weld themselves together.

    The piston actually "grows" in the bore and puts an outward pressure on the cylinder wall when it corrodes- it welds itself into the cylinder wall- lubing will only work on a mildly seized engine- I've seen engines where there was 1/8" of rust all around piston, in that case, something must be used first to eat away the rust.

    In the past I used a big industrial sandblaster with compressor that had a 6-cylinder engine on it, and blaster orifice that was huge- to bring cylinders to white metal appearance- rust all gone- then proceed.

    Next one I do, I'm going to try the Evapo-Rust. It's also pricey at $21/gallon, but cheaper than running a sandblaster for sure.

    I like that acetone/power steering fluid trick mentioned too.

    FWIW, I poured a quart of trans fluid down carb barrels each side of intake, then filled with new diesel fuel (off road diesel is cheaper than over the road diesel, FWIW)- then poured about 1 gallon of old dirty gas in crankcase, added one quart trans fluid to crankcase, then poured the rest of the 5 gallon can of diesel into crankcase- still did not fill up crankcase, but I want to attack the seized pistons from both top combustion chamber and bottom crankcase side.

    I have another engine a Dodge 325 poly (the one that had broken crank)- I'm going to try the Evapo Rust on. If that stuff gets this Dodge free, it will be the ticket. The 325 is mega power seized, rusted solid, and was sitting in a car with no intake manifold on it

    I've tried muriatic acid on the Dodge 325- it does eat away the rust, but the acid fumes will kill you ! And the engine didn't come free anyway. My throat and chest were raw and sore from acid fumes. It would work if one had a huge vat of it and lowered the engine in with a chain hoist, but the acid is just too dangerous to work with at home, or in your back yard. The fumes that come off it are smelled and seen by the neighbors, a white mist rises off the vat or engine you pour the acid on. And the fumes burn your lungs ! The acid is just too hard to work with- and requires a respirator and rubber gloves.
  23. the SCROUNGER
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 486

    from USA

  24. irondoctor
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 515

    from Newton, KS

    it does amazing things
  25. Ramblur
    Joined: Jun 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,103


    Hahaha.My brothers stovebolt in his 38 Chevy was stuck. No amount
    of soaking was helping. Ended up with the head and pan off,crap
    rusty bores AND rusty pistons(in 38 they were using tin coated
    cast iron pistons). Soaked and pounded on pistons with a 2x4 some
    more. Eventually got it to move with a crowbar on the flywheel,rocking it ever so little back and forth,farther each time till
    it was making complete revolutions. Flushed and blew out most of the
    junk coming loose in the cylinders. Bolted it all back together and
    pull started it. Smoked something awful out the pipe and road draft
    tube for about 10 minutes and then cleared up. Still running today
    without smoke at all and never having removed a piston.
    Think of it as a power hone...;)
  26. jbradleyd
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 118


    I knocked one loose with a 50/50 mix of marvel mystery oil and atf
  27. RacerRick
    Joined: May 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,749


    I usuallyjust use diesel or ATF and patience.

    My engien guy just got an entire drum of Evaporust, and that stuff rocks. He has been dipping entire rusty blocks in there and the next day they look like they were just cast.

    He has a really siezed 509 casting 400 block we are going to try soon.
  28. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,632

    Tech Editor


    I read that as a TECH Tip here on the HAMB a long time ago.

    I havent tried it on Engines yet, but I have on other things.
    Like rusted solid brakedrums, etc

    I took the whole spindle, drum, backingplate assembly and but them in a large bucket under water for a week.

    Came apart without having to hammer on it...
  29. cooljerk
    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 56


    my old man's "magic brew" was kerosene and brake fluid...worked like a charm

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