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volvoclearinghouse UltimaDork
7/18/23 2:45 p.m.

I had a NA Miata one time that got water in the cylinders and subsequently seized.  I bought it that way from some guy.  No idea how long it had been stuck for.  I tried some PBlaster in the cylinders and letting it soak, this didn't do anything.  So I drained the crankcase, and then filled the engine- and I mean filled it, to the top of the valve cover- with a random assortment of every partially-full container of oil, penetrating lubricant, ATF, whatever I had on the shelf.  Let it sit for a week, came back with a pry bar on the crank bolt and, sure enough, a little back and forth and I was able to get it to rotate.  After I could get the engine to make full rotations normally, I drained out the engine, added the correct oil and changed the filter, and fired it up.  It smoked for awhile but eventually cleared up, and ran strong after that.  I did another oil change about 100 miles later, and it wasn't smoking or using significant oil after that. 

914Driver MegaDork
7/18/23 2:53 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :

Whew.  From the firewall forward it gets pointy, no swing room and a frame rail below, no swing there.

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
7/18/23 3:08 p.m.
Cadman5 said:

If you are able to get a prybar on the flywheel teeth and against the bell housing, that will give you way more leverage and torque than anything else. Slow movement each direction. Don't use the crank bolt. You'll just either loosen it or bust it. 

Quoted for truth, after a good soaking of course.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 4:13 p.m.

A not uncommon recommendation in some European car restoration circles of the hobbyist variety was to use a a certain brown, sugary and fizzy refreshment drink (without ice, obviously) and fill the cylinders with it. The one that used to have South American nose candy in way back when - I'm not mentioning the brand name as apparently they got a tad upset when people mentioned this off label use in Europe. And no, I don't know if it works with the zero calory or high fructose corn syrup varieties - this was back before they made those, at least in Europe.

Never tried it myself although I'm keeping it in my back pocket if and when the need arises.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/18/23 5:18 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Well, the product is said to be chock-full of phosphoric acid and other yummy stuff!

gearheadmb UltraDork
7/18/23 8:46 p.m.
Trent said:

I'm sorry to come in with a bad attitude but I have never witnessed a "stuck" motor actually be drivable after freeing it up. Yeah, they will "run" but there is always one or more cylinders with 20psi compression and they have so much blowby they look and smell like the crop duster from north by northwest.

After having hammered stuck pistons out of blocks and witnessing the damage to the bores, pulling those pistons out and having to chisel the rings out of the grooves I just don't have any hope.

I struggle to understand why anyone would do this, other than to generate YouTube content or sell a POS to an unsuspecting buyer.


But as far as what you asked, My dad once filled the block (like to the top of the crankcase) of an old pickup that had been seized for a decade with diesel and let it sit for a few months and got it turning. 

Many many old tractors have to get unstuck and then run just fine. A lot of those only have two cylinders to begin with. We once freed up a stuck fiat motor on friday night and were doing 7500 rpm burnouts Saturday morning. Sure it's not ideal, but sometimes we need to remember to not take this car stuff too seriously, its supposed to be fun.

Strongly recommend that you make an account on the AACA forum and post all of your effort there, along with the pictures. This car will get their interest for sure.

Also, stuck valves could be part of your problem, and I'd also suggest loosening, but not removing, the main bearing caps. And since it's a flatthead, removing and reinstalling the heads is pretty simple. These Cad/LaSalle engines are fairly valuable, so proceed carefully.

nlevine GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/18/23 9:25 p.m.

In reply to 914Driver :

Those were the days...

ToManyProjects Reader
7/18/23 9:59 p.m.

The Acetone and ATF mixture, already mentioned, called "Ed's Red" in some circles, has been proven in labs to be a better penetrant than any of the commercially available mixtures on the shelf. Agitate well before use. It's aggressive in penetration, but doesn't harm most things if left in situ for periods of time.

I've used it before to free long stuck engines with better than hoped for results.

914Driver MegaDork
7/19/23 7:21 a.m.

I used cola (not any particular brand) to clean nasty grills when working in restaurants and saw a red neck car show use it to remove rust from chrome bumpers.  I tried it last week on some tire change spoons I found in the trunk, all it did was turn the bumpy rusty bits into vary large bumps of rust.

02Pilot PowerDork
7/19/23 8:35 a.m.
nlevine said:

In reply to 914Driver :

Those were the days...

Well played.

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/19/23 9:05 a.m.

don't berkeley around, pull the heads.


914Driver MegaDork
7/19/23 10:36 a.m.

Ok, the car is in 3rd gear And I mixed up some 50-50 ATF & Acetone, squirting 1/2 cup into each hole and rocking it.

can't make it worse .....

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/19/23 6:34 p.m.

I mean, if a valve is stuck you could bend it and berkeley up the seat

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/19/23 7:31 p.m.
Patrick said:

I mean, if a valve is stuck you could bend it and berkeley up the seat

It's a side valve engine. 

NorseDave HalfDork
7/19/23 9:39 p.m.
gearheadmb said:

Sure it's not ideal, but sometimes we need to remember to not take this car stuff too seriously, its supposed to be fun.

Get out of here with this craziness!!! 


Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/19/23 9:45 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

I was thinking stuck down and bending a stem

car39 Dork
7/20/23 9:54 a.m.

I have a friend who swears by Lestiol.  It's kerosene based, so it provides some lubrication.  He had a flathead Rambler with a locked engine.  Filled the cylinders with Lestoil, worked at it for a few weeks, and got it running.  Filled the crankcase with Lestoil, and drove it on the highway until he could finally see out of the rear window from the smoke.  Drained the crank, chunks of crud came out.  Filled it with regular oil, changed the plugs and drove the sucker.  Hope you have the same luck.

benzbaronDaryn SuperDork
7/20/23 3:15 p.m.

It cost you nothing to pull the head, you can probably reuse the head gasket if it is copper.  If it is stuck I would wanna open it up, looks too nice to manhandle. At least you could assess the bore condition.  Not the fun answer.   


There is nothing to a flathead, it would be fun to touch it's guts.  

914Driver MegaDork
7/20/23 3:53 p.m.

Inside the cylinders look good, no rust or carbon.


Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
7/20/23 4:03 p.m.

In reply to 914Driver :

Have you completely filled the entire engine yet?  Lot's of suggestions for different solutions to use.


If the crank has rusted, just poring down the cylinders might not get it loosened up.

914Driver MegaDork
7/23/23 4:08 p.m.

Well a decision has been made.

Wifey and I went out to dinner last night to commemorate 45 YEARS of wedded bliss (mostly).

Woke up this morning and decided it's time to pull the heads on the stuck 322 V-8.  Diesel & Acetone ain't getting it.   Fine.  I blame the House Wine.  Carb off, exhaust manifold off, which goes over the top of the engine BTW.  Easy Peasy right?


The intake manifold was stubborn so some garage ingenuity was required.  Ratchet strap underneath, 3X3 over, Viola'.  Off.

And I found Mickey's pantry.....


914Driver MegaDork
7/23/23 4:18 p.m.

Anti-Freeze in the exhaust is bad, right?  As I explained to my son, "Your body has a blood system, it has a urine system, a wiring system, a debris evacuation system.  EACH is totally independent with its own function and will not be violated on or trespass on another system's territory!  Period.  OK, there are more systems...

'Bout that time wifey comes home, I showed her.  She leans over the fender "That's pretty."  I explained the green water.  "You'll figure it out".  and she headed for the doors.


without even looking back.  =~ /        "You're not putting a small block in it". 


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/23/23 4:28 p.m.

So Caddy 472 it is!

APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/23/23 4:57 p.m.
914Driver said:



...without even looking back.  =~ /        "You're not putting a small block in it". 



I like her.

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