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stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Porvair ()
Date: January 27, 2011 01:20AM

One of the things that I like best about the Corvair community is the way folks come up with ways to get the maximum effect from the minimum dollars. Combine that with the characteristic of never throwing anything away (admit it!) and you have a group of people who will understand when I say that I have an engine frozen on all six cylinders that I'm convinced I can salvage.

The pistons are junk and the cylinders will need to be rebored, but everything else should be savable... assuming I can get the P&C unstuck!

I've searched through the archives, so let me summarize what I found. Heat, ok. Blaster PB, fine. Coca cola-- don't bring that kid stuff, this is Corvair rust here!

Heat and Blaster haven't worked. Soaking the engine in diesel or some other solvent is not an option, because even if it worked, what the hell am I going to do with a huge tub of contaminated solvent? Even being as cheap as I am, no way would I run that diesel through my truck. Do you guys just dump it in the crick when nobody's looking? Shame!

Someone on another thread suggested putting an entire block in a tub of water and heating it on a crawfish boiler. I really like this idea. Unfortunately I am not a cajun, so I lack the special gear.

Another person suggested bolting flat stock across opposing cylinders and running a bolt through threaded holes in the center of each piece to put pressure on the pistons, then applying Blaster, heat, etc. I am a mechanic, so I like this mechanical solution. But I'm thinking the press will need to be a larger apparatus, because I don't want to pull studs out of the block. Before busting out the MIG, though, I wonder if anyone has ever actually tried this.

What else? Again, I am ready to sacrifice the pistons, but I bet these cylinders can be saved. And no dice unbolting the rods, by the way-- not enough room to get any one rod completely off.

Anything I missed?

I'm going to try some hot/cold treatment again, but assuming that doesn't work I would like to get more creative. It'll be a learning experience if nothing else!

Thanks,
Vito

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: January 27, 2011 01:31AM

Take a 1/8" drill and drill completely through piston crown... complete circles...approx.1/2" inside the outer edge...

Then a small chisel...to break up the ring lands... rings will shatter when hit.

After you do one side you should be able to split the cases..





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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: 62corvairjunky ()
Date: January 27, 2011 01:57AM

Matt suggestion is best IMO.



even if it worked, what the hell am I going to do with a huge tub of contaminated solvent? Even being as cheap as I am, no way would I run that diesel through my truck. Do you guys just dump it in the crick when nobody's looking? Shame!

I'll burn it in my truck!smiling smiley

Junky
Hurricane Utah.
Home of the "Red Desert Corvair Sanctuary."

 photo 7121255b-53ac-4335-a3ba-83724bf6f396_zps111b404a.jpg

62 Rusty Rampy
62 wagon under construction.(Taking all my time and $$)
61 lakewood parts car.
63 coupe
half a dozen parts cars n trucks
20x40 garage full of greasy parts

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: lgoodwin ()
Date: January 27, 2011 02:08AM

Great post, I needed a good chuckle! Since it's a junk motor anyway, why not use it as a testbed for up to six different methods? Matt suggested one way. Try that on one cylinder!

Here's an idea for getting your stuck engine apart with little or no damage:

1. Remove the heads (or one at a time).
2. Turn the motor with one back facing up. Make sure it's resting on a clean/soft surface and is held in place securely!!!
3. Squirt diesel or similar penetrant all around the piston tops and let it soak.
You may need to repeat this process 2 or 3 times.
Sounds like you already did something LIKE this, but if you didn't have them pointing UP and get the lube all the way around and let gravity do the rest, it probably did not reach all the stuck parts.
4. Flip the motor over and lube the other bank.
5. Cut a piece of 1-1/2 to 2 inch thick hardwood into a round that fits the cylinder bore.
6. Take turns smacking each of the piston tops with sharp raps of a hard mallet (up to 2 pounds) on the piece of stock. Don't hit them too hard! You are just trying to shock the rust loose!
My theory is that if you keep working your way around the pistons, that each will break loose a tiny bit, and after awhile, it will "pick up speed". I've done things like this before with great results.

1962 Corvair 900 sedan1967 Corvair Monza 140/4-speed1968 Corvair 500 coupe1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0
1962 900 sedan needs a home1967 Monza 140/4-spd1968 500 coupe (now my son's)1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Mike Stillwell ()
Date: January 27, 2011 02:36AM

My buddy Chris, aka Texas Yenko Dude, told me once to just sawz-all through the rods. Worked like a charm and I salvaged a nice nitrided Corsa crank and an RB block.

Mike
YS-117

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: January 27, 2011 03:32AM

Curious how our opinions of what is more valuable. I would NEVER ruin a good set of rods, I am constantly struggling to find good straight and same length rods. Cylinders aren't as important to me I guess. In fact if the rust pits are very deep the cylinder won't stand anything less than .040-.060" anyway.

What I have done with limited success however is use a hardwood block against the piston and a large hammer. Good luck however you get it apart.

Sincere regards, Steve

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo 1967 monza 110/4
1968 monza 110/4 1971 amante gt 110/4

Golden, Colo. CORSA/RMC/PPCC

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: texas yenko dude ()
Date: January 27, 2011 03:32AM

Mike is right. I have done it several times.

Another thing to try is aviation hydraulic fluid. It eats rust like mad. I keep it around in squirt bottles and old oil cans for penetration fluid. You typically can go down to your local airport and get used for free. They must change it very regulary and have drums of it around.

Texas YENKO Dude
YS-070
YS-199
YS-320
Southeast of Disorder


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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Porvair ()
Date: January 27, 2011 03:44AM

Great suggestions, right out of the gate. I knew I could count on you guys.

Luke, your suspicion is correct-- I've pretty much tried that already. I have the engine on a stand, heads off, and I've been alternating Blaster soakings and MAPP torchings and wood poundings. It's been about ten days now, and I'm all out of patience. And Blaster.

Mike, the last engine I had that was this stuck got taken apart with an angle grinder, a chisel, and a 5lbs hammer. I'm trying to see if I can do better this time!

Matt, I considered this-- someone on another thread mentioned a hole saw for the same effect-- but I wasn't sure how to chisel out the edges of the pistons without gouging the cylinder walls. This would definitely be easier than building a piston press though.

Just went out to the garage and hit it with the torch again. No dice! This one's a challenge for sure.

Thanks again--

V

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: 65 Crown Corsa ()
Date: January 27, 2011 03:46AM

What happened to ATF & acetone(or blaster, MMO, etc) then a good soak up to the plugs with the heads still on?

IMHO you wont get enough heat into the jugs to do anything more then dry out whatever finally got soaked in.

Used murky diesel strained through a fine strainer or old sock would run just fine mixed into the rest of the diesel in your tank.

Ed
65 Crown/Wills Corsa
WPB Florida



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2011 03:48AM by 65 Crown Corsa.

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Johnniespeed ()
Date: January 27, 2011 04:31AM

Stop wasting time and air chisel the pistons tops. Once the pistons are broken to pieces you can get this apart. I have salvaged more trash engines than most anyone, but the trick is to not waste time on parts you know are junk.
I am not as optimistic about the cylinders as you are.But the crank and block are probably worth the time and effort to take apart.
Corvair engines seem to be quite easy to locate locally and the not running ones dont sell for very much. As old as these cars are the parts are quite easy to find.
John

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: lgoodwin ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:03AM

Vito, since they don't want to break free, seems like the next best thing would be to use a cutoff wheel to saw through the edge of the cylinder sleeves along where each piston is (different for each). This way, as Steve Goodman pointed out, you are only trashing the already trashed cylinders and some/the piston tops (depends on how careful you are and luck of the draw), and will save those valuable rods.

If you have a radial arm saw and large cutoff wheel, you can do a very controlled cut and save the pistons. You can probably cut ALMOST all the way through and jam a chisel between the fins to spread it apart.

1962 Corvair 900 sedan1967 Corvair Monza 140/4-speed1968 Corvair 500 coupe1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0
1962 900 sedan needs a home1967 Monza 140/4-spd1968 500 coupe (now my son's)1983 Mexican Mustang 5.0

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Goldenhands57 ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:08AM

The type of hydraulic fluid in large retractable gear airplanes is brand named "Skydrol" (pronounced Sky-drawl). It is very resistant to supporting fire but beware..it is acid based and so it is nasty stuff on bare skin or eyes. CAUTION!!!! but I agree..use this and the "soak the first then second side" would be the best shot you have. Please don't cut the rods..someone can use them (if not you) in a car engine build. Almost any FBO (just look for the fuel company sign..that's an FBO office) at the local airport has the oil and yes..they will give it to you for the asking if explaining what your needs are. We can't use drained ANYTHING back in airplanes with a clear conscience (besides the legal issues involved). Give this a shot..then if no joy go after those cast pistons..chop chop chop (cheaper...and recycleable aluminum too!)

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: gatorfrey ()
Date: January 27, 2011 11:26AM

I just tore down two barn find engines that had been sitting 30 years. The crank would not turn. And yes, without being able to turn the crank, I know getting to several rod bolts is impossible.
After studying it, I split the block with the rods on the crank. It will only go apart a few inches, and I had to be VERY carefull not to nick the main journals. But, it worked. I did have to flip the block over to get to a couple, but I did this on the garage floor.Rods were frozen to the pistons also at different angles. Found dead spiders and stuff on the back side of the pistons smiling smiley It was rough!!!
I then had the case haves cleaned. Will post pics sunday of the type of cleaning I did on the blocks.
It did work, but I am stubborn smiling smiley

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Ratt643 ()
Date: January 27, 2011 02:08PM

Marvel Mystery Oil!!!, unstuck a few engines with it. Just fill the cylinders and let it sit, then try rotating it little by little, if your not in a big hurry!

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Mike Stillwell ()
Date: January 27, 2011 04:23PM

Where were you guys when I was cleaning the shop? I seem to come across way more rods than I ever have empty blocks to fill. If anyone gets in a pinch - drop me a line.

Mike
YS-117

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: 65sprint ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:33PM

Well you could try the old thermal expansion trick (dry ice/boiling water, dry ice/boiling water, dry ice/boiling water), or you could stand one cylinder bank up and fill them up with battery acid and let them sit for a week or two. The dissimilar metals will use the acid as the electrolyte and the pistons as the sacrificial anode. And until the acid evaporates into the atmoshpere, you can also hook a wire to the block and one to the con rod and use your engine as a flashlight battery!!

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Tom Z ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:48PM

..here's what a 3" hole-saw did on one 'totally-seized' engine..I located center for the 1/4" pilot drill,cut only 1/4" into the piston OD then REMOVED the drill bit so I didn't drill the end of the con-rod..slow speed,work the 1/2" VSR around slightly off-angle and pick out rings and lands..it was easier to get the jugs to slide out of the block on the ones at BDC,nudging them side-side a bit,so I hole-sawed the ones at TDC first..still took me 2 weeks of 'talking' to it..

Tom Z,,Rochester NY


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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: 65sprint ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:52PM

Or, better yet, stand one cylinder bank up and fill one cylinder with peanuts, one with greek olives and one with whale blubber. Let them sit a week while they render their natural oils and you'll have loose pistons in no time! You just have to remember to keep the squirrels away smiling bouncing smileysmiling bouncing smiley

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: Curtis ()
Date: January 27, 2011 05:58PM

Maybe it's just me, but i would never allow thousands of metal fragments to contaminate the vital areas of an engine - even if it was a parts engine.

I had several stuck pistons. I took the heads off, then the top cover, then the rod caps and removed them with the cylendars. Can be done even if the crank won't turn - i've done it.


Milwaukee, Wi

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Re: stuck pistons, frozen engine!
Posted by: MrChips ()
Date: January 27, 2011 07:53PM

Brake fluid - even used is OK.

I saw what it can do to old, rusty cylinders.

After a few days of soaking, the rust turns to 'goop' that seems to move out of the way quite easily.

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