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235 engine frozen
#1398499 Tue Feb 23 2021 04:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 7
New Guy
Hopefully someone here can give me some advice been working on an old 54 with a 235 straight six. When I bought the engine someone had already gone through it and so I installed it. The engine has turned freely with no issues. Put oil in and spun oil up to the rocker arms which looked great. Then turning only with starter the engine bound up. Not immediately but after several days of turning slowly turning the engine to adjust all the rockers and I was about to close it up. I did spin the oil to the top consistently over those several days just to make sure there were no oiling issues. The transmission is currently not in so I was able to put a breaker bar on the fly will and it is boundup pretty good. I didn't want to force anything so I thought I would start asking questions. What the oil Pan off I could see that everything looks oiled well and I can't see anything out of the ordinary.. I pulled the rocker assembly and all the lifters and rods move freely. At this point does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could try next to figure out where the problem is.

Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398518 Tue Feb 23 2021 06:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,863
Shop Shark
Welcome to the Bolt wave

Are the plugs out?

Have you checked each valve to see that they aren't stuck? Put a block of wood squarely on top of the valve stem and give it a medium sized hammer blow with a no-bounce hammer, you should feel the spring rebound with each hit.

Mike B smile

Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398519 Tue Feb 23 2021 06:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,811
Start diagnosing the problem by loosening the connecting rod nuts a couple of turns, one rod at a time, and see if one of them might have spun a bearing. Do the same with the main bearings. If loosening the rods and mains doesn't free things up, there's a remote possibility of a seized-up cam bearing, but that's highly unlikely. If loosening the rear main bearing frees up the crank, look into the possibility that the rear main oil seal might have tightened up. An incorrectly installed rope seal can lock up a crankshaft on occasion, particularly if the new Best Gasket seal isn't installed according to their directions.

Don't force anything! it's possible to bend a connecting rod if something has a piston seized up where it can't move. A little patience and a methodical approach to the situation beats brute force any time! Good luck!

The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398548 Tue Feb 23 2021 10:59 PM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 7
New Guy
A little more background. This is a 54 vette which does havea high pressure oiling system. Brand new oil pump with good pressure using a drill. Good flow out of all rockers. I pulled the rocker assembly off of the head to check all the hydraulic lifters Which are well oiled and move smoothly. Rods are all fine. I did put some Marvel Mystery oil in the cylinders about 3 months ago. Thinking its possible that oil has dissipated and it now needs more so I just added some ATF. No spark plugs are in and all of the valves seem fine with none of them sticking. I am assuming this has to be a lack of oil situation so possibly the cylinder walls are dry after several months. Very confusing since it turned so freely just a few days ago. Seems like it was fine and the quickly bound up. Also, So far I've only turned the engine a one revolution at a time while spinning the oil pump with a drill to check the rocker oiling. I won't be ready to start the engine for a couple more months. If oiling the cylinders again doesn't do it I'll move to loosening the connecting rods. I truly appreciate your comments.


Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398604 Wed Feb 24 2021 11:07 AM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,832
Unrepentant VW Lover
RC -- Thanks for stopping in and joining us here at! You've asked a really good question and the ultimate answer will be of interest/use to a number of our gang here. So ordinarily, because you've divulged that this isn't actually a truck application, we would be inclined to move your post to our off-topic discussion forum -- The "Greasy Spoon" ... wherein one finds bad jokes, questionable anecdotes, pet stories, marital advice ... and questions about cars ... laalaa

However comma two things mitigate in your favor:

1. You've asked a really good question with broad application.
2. It's not just any car, it's *the* car (as Stovebolts go, anyway.... personally, I'd rather have a Schwimmwagen or a Hebmüller ... but that's just me wink )

So here's the deal:

Your question stays right here in the Engine Forum but you must do two things:

1. PLEASE circle back and tell us what you found to be the issue and what you did to correct it.
2. Include a picture or two of the car.

And listen to Jerry (Hotrod Lincoln) -- he really knows what he is talking about. Personally, I have truly saved thousands of dollars following his direction and advice.

Regards and welcome,

"Paul! Peggy barada nikto. PEGGY BARADA NIKTO!!!!"

'49 Chevrolet 3804

Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398609 Wed Feb 24 2021 01:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 1,303
AD Addict
Originally Posted by Rcnicholl
No spark plugs are in
Is it possible something fell into one of the open spark plug holes? Did you try turning the engine by hand the other direction?


1952 Chevrolet 3100
Project Journals
‘59 235 & hydraulic lifters
“Three on the Tree” & 4:11 torque tube
12v w/ Alternator
Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398671 Wed Feb 24 2021 08:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 7
New Guy
A little more background is that the engine was rebuilt about 5 years ago and has only been turned until recently. I would rotate about every 6 months 1 turn but a couple weeks ago put oil into it iand started turning with the starter. I always kept spark plugs in it until recently when I took them out in order to turn easier with the starter. Later today I'm going to check the rods and rear main. I'm thinking it is the rear main and possibly something with the seal after it soaked up oil and expanded.. I'll post what I find.

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Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398726 Thu Feb 25 2021 02:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 892
Shop Shark
Can you access the flex plate from under the car? If you can, Try taking the starter out and see if you can turn it using the flex plate and a flywheel turning tool.

Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398925 Fri Feb 26 2021 12:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 7
New Guy
Just to catch up here I've loosened up the clamshell to the rear cylinder connecting rod bearing and the engine now spins fine. The other cylinders rod bearings seem fine so I've left them alone for now.. This rear rod bearing did seem to have plenty of oil on on it so I don't think that is the issue. The bearing is oversized at .020 So I'm wondering if the journal was not machine correctly and the fit is to tight. I'm thinking of adding a .002 shim to ease the fit. Anyone have a suggestion.

Re: 235 engine frozen
Rcnicholl #1398930 Fri Feb 26 2021 12:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 981
Shop Shark
Plastic gauge it, and see what you have for clearance.

1955.2 3100 Truck

The older I get the more dangerous I am!!!!!
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