Motor froze up while sitting for two weeks? - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
 
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post #1 of 35 Old 08-12-2013, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Motor froze up while sitting for two weeks?

My daughter bought a 1999 Mustang which seemed to run very well; smooth and strong. She went on a trip just after the purchase, and had to park it for about two weeks. When she got back, the motor seemed to be locked up, but I suspected a bad starter. Took it to the shop, and they confirmed it was a bad motor, and that the starter is good. Mechanic said he could turn the motor backward, but not forward. So in summary; it ran well, was parked for two weeks, and froze up (forward) while it was parked. What could cause this?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 35 Old 08-12-2013, 03:41 PM
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And do you trust the word of the "mechanic"?


1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
1999 GT 2v A/T.....4.10's, Cobra brakes,H&R, 315's.....SOLD
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post #3 of 35 Old 08-12-2013, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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I've been using this well-established mechanic for a few years, and have been generally happy with his work. I trust him in that I don't THINK he would directly lie to me, but this issue has me a little confused as to his abilities. Nevertheless, though I can take parts off and put them back on, I am no engine mechanic; hence my question here.
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post #4 of 35 Old 08-13-2013, 08:02 PM
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Id pull the plugs and see if it cranks over. Also check the coolant if some has dripped on top of piston while siting due to a bad head gasket this could be a simple fix. I find it hard to believe that it would lock up due to a damaged engine.

1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
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post #5 of 35 Old 08-14-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, 188. The mechanic told me two days back that he had pulled the plugs, suspecting a gasket issue, but everything along that line looks good (no coolant present), and that the oil looks good.
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post #6 of 35 Old 08-14-2013, 08:35 PM
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When he pulled the plugs did he scope the cylinders for any damage?

1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
1999 GT 2v A/T.....4.10's, Cobra brakes,H&R, 315's.....SOLD
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post #7 of 35 Old 08-14-2013, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I assume he did not scope it, since he didn't mention it.

Additional information I just got this evening - He eventually was able to turn the motor both directions, not just backwards. Could turn it part way backward, and then part way forward, back to where it was. So it seems like maybe something came apart inside? He still says the motor needs to be replaced. I may take it elsewhere for a second opinion.

Last edited by gifron; 08-15-2013 at 12:15 AM.
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post #8 of 35 Old 08-16-2013, 05:20 PM
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If it wasnt such a PITA Id say drop the pan and take a look your self.

1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
1999 GT 2v A/T.....4.10's, Cobra brakes,H&R, 315's.....SOLD
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post #9 of 35 Old 08-22-2013, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Just heard from the second mechanic. He says the head gasket is blown, it's leaking oil everywhere, and the motor is hydrolocked! This seems somewhat contradictory to what the first mechanic had to say. :-(
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post #10 of 35 Old 08-22-2013, 08:15 PM
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Wow 2 different problems suggested but Id lean more towards the 2nd one cause it does sound more reasonable. It must of leaked all down thru it while it was sitting, at least its something simple.


1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
1999 GT 2v A/T.....4.10's, Cobra brakes,H&R, 315's.....SOLD
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post #11 of 35 Old 08-22-2013, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the second guy also said it needs a new engine; said it basically is just falling apart. I still don't understand that, as it seemed to be running like a champ when parked. Rrrrrrrrrrr.

Last edited by gifron; 08-22-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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post #12 of 35 Old 08-22-2013, 09:15 PM
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Did your daughter let her boyfriend drive it while she was away? Or maybe a roommate drove it without her knowing? seems fishy
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post #13 of 35 Old 08-22-2013, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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No, it was parked at my home, with the keys in the house.
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post #14 of 35 Old 08-24-2013, 01:24 AM
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Indeed the story from the mechanics just doesn't seem to fit the symptomology very well.

But strange things DO happen, and it IS a V-6 isn't it? I can only presume it's a 3.8, right?

Those things ARE known for head gasket problems, always were and always will be. I've passed up buying several very nice cars once i discovered they had that specific engine.

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post #15 of 35 Old 08-24-2013, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help, everyone. I'll watch out for the 3.8 in the future. Blessings.
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post #16 of 35 Old 09-09-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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I'm reopening this thread. While I was on vacation, my daughter got this car hauled back home from the second mechanic shop. On a lark, she decided to turn the key, and it started up! It sounds terrible, but it's running. I'd like to post the sound on here for your expert opinions, if you don't mind. I'll see if I can figure out how to do that.
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post #17 of 35 Old 09-09-2013, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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1999 Mustang running: https://soundcloud.com/gifron/memo

It starts up every time now, but sounds bad. It drives in forward and reverse. Kill it, and it starts right back up. So what is it?

Last edited by gifron; 09-09-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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post #18 of 35 Old 09-10-2013, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I've discovered that the sound is made by a missing spark plug. That just tells me that at least one mechanic removed at least one plug, and didn't reinstall it. But the real question now, goes back to why it wouldn't start before, but now starts and runs.

BTW, the radiator is still full, and doesn't look oily; and the oil is full, and doesn't look milky. If I am understanding hydrolock, shouldn't the radiator have lost coolant to the cylinder(s)?
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post #19 of 35 Old 09-10-2013, 12:46 AM
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Yes, if it was hydrolocked due to coolant there should be a good bit of coolant missing. Starting to sound like both of these shops employ clowns..

Just another slow mustang with a single turbo....
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post #20 of 35 Old 09-11-2013, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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When my daughter asked the mechanic today, about the car starting up now, he said he had relieved the hydrolock situation; I suppose by removing the plug(s), and then the water from the cylinder(s). I think this makes sense; except that the radiator is still full, and the oil still looks good.

I put a new plug in and started it up this evening. It runs good at low idle speed (800 RPM), but shakes at around 1700 RMP and up. I let it heat up at idle, about 10-15 minutes, and the temperature gauge settled in the middle, without getting any hotter. There was no white smoke from the exhaust, and I couldn't see or hear any leaks in the engine compartment. However I did hear an occasional sound like someone knocking lightly on a door. This was not constant, and only occurred after revving the engine up and letting off the gas.

Please feel free to comment. I'm looking to learn. Thanks.
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post #21 of 35 Old 09-11-2013, 07:52 AM
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Cars can make quite a few different knocks...my 3.8, specifically, has a rod knock, whose symptoms are what you describe (a rapping sound after hitting the throttle and letting go of it, as the revs come down). If you can rev the engine slowly and find an rpm range at which you will hear constant knocking then its definitely that. Most people would tell you the engine is toast, and its likely that if it has rod knock that a rod will come through the block at some point, but the time when that happens is pretty variable. I drove mine for a year like that, and beat it too, and it still runs fine, except for the knocking and the fact that it only has 6 cylinders
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post #22 of 35 Old 09-12-2013, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Another option would be to go ahead and trade out engines, if this one turns out to be bad. I'm looking at a 3.8l out of a 94 Continental. Is this one of the "head gasket waiting to blow" engines? This one has 50k miles on it, and he's charging $500 for the engine and $700 for the swap. According to the seller, the motor will swap out, siting this article on Wikipedia, but I'm not sure, as the article mentions some differences in the 99-00 Mustangs. What do you think?
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post #23 of 35 Old 09-12-2013, 05:13 PM
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Well the engines went from single to split port during that time but if you take the whole engine and intake i doubt it would be a problem. As long as the computer can run the engine, which it should, it would work. If it was a 95 I would say to throw in a V8 while you're at it, but the '99s have more to change so I doubt you would want to do that. As for the head gasket issue, yeah it was all the 3.8's. From what I read here Rebuilding The Ford 3.8L Engine: Engine Builder
the head gasket failure is a block/design thing rather than a production flaw. You can always get him to change the head gaskets since the engine will be out... The older engine will actually be less powerful though (if I read properly you will lose around 40 FWHP) if that is a concern...
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post #24 of 35 Old 09-17-2013, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update. Engine still starts right up, but runs rough at higher speeds. Oil and coolant still look good. I drove it in to work today with no problem; 30 miles, at about 80mph on interstate. Motor was very responsive to the gas pedal, as it should be. I'll take it by for a code reading this afternoon.

It MAY have a slight rod knock, but I'm not sure. Example sounds I've heard in other motors has sounded much worse than this (though I suppose it has to start somewhere). If it is a rod, I guess I might as well drive it till it goes. I bought this car used, and was told the motor has already been replaced once. Having read the article on rebuilding the 3.8, I'm wondering if there is some way to tell what this motor is, or what it came out of. I don't know if it came from a 94 Continental, a 99 Mustang, or something else. Are there ways to determine specifics about this motor, without taking it apart? Thanks!

Last edited by gifron; 09-17-2013 at 03:34 PM. Reason: typo
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post #25 of 35 Old 09-17-2013, 08:04 PM
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Should be able to read the engine numbers on the block to tell you about it but I have no idea how to read it,sorry.

1988 GT- 306, AFR 165 , Peformer II, 4.10's, MAF conversion, 93 Cobra brakes, 315's, etc...
1999 GT 2v A/T.....4.10's, Cobra brakes,H&R, 315's.....SOLD
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post #26 of 35 Old 09-17-2013, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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I took it by the parts store for a code readout. The guy asked, "Did someone clear your codes?" It showed no codes at all. As I mentioned earlier, the motor was changed by a previous owner. Would that generally result in cleared codes? Aren't codes generated all the time; continuously updated? Is there something wrong with my, uh, code generating software? This car has been interesting, if nothing else.
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post #27 of 35 Old 09-17-2013, 09:28 PM
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I am 99% sure that a Continental engine won't interchange at all, as the transmission bolt pattern for all FWD 3.8s was different. As I recall.

If it has a rod knock, just stop driving it and pull the motor. No sense junking the motor you have.

Codes are only present when the computer detects a fault. No fault detected, no codes stored. Mechanical problems are hard to detect because there is no sensor specifically dedicated to each mechanical part. Is the "Check Engine" light on?

Have you tried draining the oil? If coolant has leaked into the oil pan while the car was not running, it wouldn't get whipped into a brown sludge ... it would settle to the bottom more or less intact. So if you drain a little oil, the first part should come out watery. If it looks fine, then maybe it's not leaking when parked.

You say the engine was replaced before? I wonder if it was botched in some way?

It sounds like your second mechanic was trying to milk you for lots of money. But then again, the engine could be shot ... We need more data to figure it out.

What do you mean that the engine runs rough at higher speeds? Higher car speeds? Higher RPM? Under load? Free revving in the driveway?

Have you checked the timing?

Have you checked the spark plug wire order?

Where does this light knock appear to come from? Exhaust? Engine bay?
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post #28 of 35 Old 09-17-2013, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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S_Mazza,

If it has a rod knock, just stop driving it and pull the motor. No sense junking the motor you have.
>My understanding is that it’s not worth the price to rebuild. The car itself has 220k on it, and I don’t have a shop or tools for a DIY job.

Codes are only present when the computer detects a fault. No fault detected, no codes stored. Mechanical problems are hard to detect because there is no sensor specifically dedicated to each mechanical part. Is the "Check Engine" light on?
>Check Engine light is not on; it’s just not running smoothly, so I thought it might throw some codes.

Have you tried draining the oil? If coolant has leaked into the oil pan while the car was not running, it wouldn't get whipped into a brown sludge ... it would settle to the bottom more or less intact. So if you drain a little oil, the first part should come out watery. If it looks fine, then maybe it's not leaking when parked.
>I have not drained the oil to see what’s in the bottom of the pan, but the oil on the dipstick has always looked like straight oil; not a hint of milkiness, even after driving. Also, there’s been no noticeable coolant loss.

You say the engine was replaced before? I wonder if it was botched in some way?
>That’s what I was told. Used car, so who knows for sure! For all I really know, the seller lied about a new motor, because the car has 220k on it. Or, maybe a botched replacement. Don’t know.

What do you mean that the engine runs rough at higher speeds? Higher car speeds? Higher RPM? Under load? Free revving in the driveway?
>I mean the motor starts shaking the car when parked in the driveway, when I get up to about 1800 RPM and above.

Have you checked the timing?
Have you checked the spark plug wire order?
>I have not checked the timing or the wire order. I’m sure I can find the information on the wires, but have no experience or tools for checking timing.

Where does this light knock appear to come from? Exhaust? Engine bay?
>Best I can tell; engine bay, passenger side, near the firewall. It does speed up to match engine speed.
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post #29 of 35 Old 09-18-2013, 08:59 PM
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That sound bit definitely sounded like a missing spark plug leak and not a knock. Hopefully they didn't touch much else. Start with checking the basics. Battery sounds weak and makes sense if you had trouble after letting car sit. Loose or crappy terminal connections could also be the culprit. Could also be the reason for no codes. If connections look good you may wanna have it tested at parts store.

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post #30 of 35 Old 09-18-2013, 09:57 PM
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Ok well I made a short (and relatively crappy) video of the sound mine makes, but its the sound that matters anyway and it seems to be coming from where you say.

95 Mustang 3.8 knocking - YouTube

Notice that the engine is shaking too, I've been told it is the exhaust that does that, could be bad balancing or motor mounts too, but yeah it does shake (heck the whole car does :P). I didn't rev too high for fear of waking up half the neighbourhood but I could make another one if you want.

It's been like that a year+ and I'm fairly convinced it is a rod, if someone knows better please let me know the 408w is gonna go in next year regardless :P

and yes the 3.8l is not worth rebuilding. The point about the FWD makes sense, unless you can swap bell housings and all the stuff that links to the transmission onto that continental.

You don't know the history of the car or engine, so if it is running, I'd say drive it. It would be really frustrating to try and fix that knock and throw money at it just to have something else crap out a few moments later...
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post #31 of 35 Old 09-22-2013, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Having driven the car for four days with no issues (other than the vibration), we decided to get a tuneup at a tuneup shop. We told them nothing about what had been going on in this soap opera. Got a call from the shop, and the guy told us the motor was in "really good condition" and obviously had never been overheated! Said he was surprised the head gasket was in good shape, as these cars "are known for overheating and blowing the head gasket." Hahaha!!

Anyway, after the plugs and wires were replaced, the car doesn't shake as bad while sitting in the driveway. It still has a vibration starting at around 1800 RPM though. The vibration is significantly less when accelerating from highway speed to pass; and worse when letting off the gas, slowing back down. I guess I'll look at engine mounts next.

I added about a cup of coolant today.
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post #32 of 35 Old 09-22-2013, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Forest, the first thing I did when it wouldn't start was to check the battery contacts. Changed the terminal connections and used a known good battery. No change there, was what led me to haul it to the shop in the first place, to get the starter checked out. Thanks.
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post #33 of 35 Old 10-01-2013, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Engine mounts look good. I had a friend drive the car, and he thinks it feels like a vacuum leak. The hoses definitely are old and broken down. An Internet search has failed to turn up a GOOD vacuum hose diagram. Does anyone know of a site that has good vacuum system diagrams? I've changed three short hoses that were easy to get to. They needed changing, but the new hoses haven't made a noticable difference.
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post #34 of 35 Old 10-01-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hey, Forest. I don't know what happened to my original responses, but they seem to have disappeared. I don't think my message REPLY function is working properly, so I will reply here.

I had not originally mentioned the battery and wire terminals, as I had already ruled them out, and wanted to keep the discussion as simple as possible. I still don't know why the car wouldn't start! It starts now every time, withoug a hiccup.

The issue now, which may or may not relate to the initial problem, is the vibration at 1800 RPM and up.

For now, we're driving the car every day; it's just not the pleasant experience it should be. Hopefully we'll figure it out soon.

Thanks for your comments and help.
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post #35 of 35 Old 10-01-2013, 01:01 PM
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Well, it it was a vacuum leak I'd be inclined to say it would have thrown a code, but it's always possible. I guess if it was running lean like that you could be getting some knock (what you could be hearing). Is there any type of lag on light-medium throttle movement? A haynes manual would have a diagram, or you can refer here, although I don't know if the list is complete:

1999-2004 Mustang 3.8L vacuum line connection help - Ford Mustang Forums

An earlier suggestion to verify the timing could be useful, and maybe the harmonic balancer could be bad? Does the engine really run smoothly at idle or roughly? May be worth it to clean/look at the MAF, although again that likely would have thrown a code.

There are only so many external components that could cause this vibration. If the timing is fine, the vacuum is fine and the balancer and mounts are good, it is likely to be something internal to the engine...
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