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Advice welcome - US TR4A project just arrived - engine seized


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Hi all, hoping for some advice and direction please Just received delivery of US TR4A I (probably foolishly) bought unseen, which I am hoping to restore (despite complete lack of mechanical know

Hi all and thanks for further comments, tips and suggestions. Have cleaned up dry rust of top and yes it was from inside rocker cover. Dropped some diesel in and will leave it to work. Did s

Hi, thanks for all replies. I guess I was worries because had expected not to see holes "on the "con rod side of the cap's bolts", just assumed should be a closed casting - great if its as it sho

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Mark, 

Did I miss reading whether you yet tried rocking the car in (top) gear back and forth.?   

I recall your saying the tyres were all shredded but I don't know if you've replaced these.  If not then a temporary set of second-hand tyres fitted is not that expensive and of course makes moving the car around so much easier. There's little point in fitting new tyres to a car that is going to need welding and paint, and the used ones don't need to have a tread on them really nor be balanced ..just of the right size and good enough to hold air and get your car on the level. 

Btw. Does the gearbox seem to be engaging / disengaging in all gears OK, and the pedal freeing off the clutch ?

- - -

Out of interest..  I had problems with a 1948 (short-stroke) motorcycle engine which seized (..the prior owner who hadn't cleaned out the oil-way feeding into the crankshaft when he rebuilt the engine !).  That darn thing was locked up tighter than any I had experienced before. The aluminium of the piston had welded itself to the cylinder bore.

With the engine still in the frame,  the way I got it to move was by dropping the sump and using a length of hardwood timber as a lever between one of the big-ends and the inside the block.  Naturally I chose strong places inside the block, with webs or a flange, to lever against.  Similarly I used the same timber lever between the crankshaft bob-weight and the other side of the block to turn the crank back the other way.  Because it's not easy to get the bike jacked up very high (perhaps 13" from the engine block to the floor) the piece of hardwood was only 16 - 18" long,  but with another wood block tucked inside - meant the lever arm ratio was perhaps 6:1  ..which together with the leverage of the crank throw..  finally achieved movement.   

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^   Not Borrowed from Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci's  sketch book.  He also rode a Sunbeam S7 motorcycle.. Not many people know that.

Anyways up..  Partly due to the particularly awkward access, it took two perhaps three hours of working one side and then the next, back and forth., before I could get the crankshaft free enough to turn over using the kick start.  Yes the engine still had to come out, and be totally stripped down to rectify the root cause.  But had I not done this, with the engine being held in the frame ..then I would have really struggled.  Because that motorcycle engine is all aluminium - I would have had a devil of a job just to hold it down.

I haven't tried this on a TR engine.  Most certainly its cast-iron block is more robust than my motorcycle's aluminium engine case.  And I might only assume that if the end of the TR crankshaft is strong enough to twist to undo a locked engine, then it would be plenty strong enough to lever locally / directly against each big end.    NB. I used hardwood timber for the lever and another wooden block to lever against.  Although I did use another block of 4"x2" soft wood as a mallet (as I say it was awkward to get in there ..working around the bike's centre stand) - I would not use a big hammer nor a steel crowbar.

Perhaps others here might speak out if they have any doubts about the TR 4-cylinder engine being strong enough to use this technique. ?

Whatever the consensus - only you can decide whether that's the best way to proceed.  Of course,  any such force on an engine is a risk. Personally I would give it ago, but then that's me ..and most likely I have more experience in the feel of forcing stubborn (mechanical) things.

Anyway it offers you another option.  Hope it helps.  

Pete

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I imagine that your bike engine had only one or two cylinders, BFG?    The lever tecnique will apply torque to the single piston, when the seizure in this TR4 may be in one or four bores.    

In unseizing a T6 (it had stood in the rain, without a cylinder head on) I used the pulley nut, and a breaker bar.     Both ways - I had to retighten it sometimes, after an anti clockwise turn - in the confidence that any torque I applied went to all the pistons, and mainly to the seized one(s).

Releasing fluid?   I used my own concoction of white spirit and engine oil, left in the bores.  Americans swear by an acetone/ATF mix, which is weird as they don't mix - they form a brief emulsion like salad dressing if shaken vigorously - but the Yanks love it!

John

Edited by john.r.davies
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Article on testing/making your oil penetrating oils  https://www.engineeringforchange.org/news/how-to-make-penetrating-oil/

Unseizing a TR2  engine.

Soaked for some days from above with whatever penetrating oil was in our oilcan... Plusgas/Moovit/Loosol.   

Then we bolted a 4 ft length of angle iron the flywheel using two of the clutch mount screws (engine was out and head was off) and rocked the flywheel to and fro.  This had the effect of unseating one liner and piston and moving the other 3 pistons in their liners.  Once the 3 pistons were 'moving' we rotated the crank so the unseated liner was re-seated.  One of us turned the flywheel with the lever and the other drove the piston down the bore with a block of wood and a mallet.  This freed the remaining piston.

Peter W

 

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Thanks for further suggestions re unseizing.

Yes, have put cheap tyres on and did try rocking in gear (although not in top) - absolutely no movement. 

Wood, angle iron on flywheel, all sound good, however ………

whilst reviewing photo's I took yesterday I spotted what I think is likely to be cause of seizure, and think its going to be safer to strip down without any more effort at trying to unseize it as there's likely to be some shrapnel floating around or jammed somewhere in there. You'll see what I mean if you look at left side of following two pictures, and centre bottom of third.

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Also below I have uploaded photo's of oily water which came out of bottom of radiator when I removed it, side of engine casing showing oil on rear corner where head meets main casing, square ports on right side of engine which show rust inside, and state of cylinders and connecting rods. Can just see line of rust between piston and lining

 

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Any further comments most welcome.

In meantime have managed to get radiator off, and access dog bolt by removing covering plates, remove generator, strip seats, carpets, radio mounting over transmission tunnel, and started to remove transmission tunnel (to get at starter motor bolts and to separate gearbox from engine). - Everything seems to take so long !!!! - Hope to finish removing transmission tunnel, strip left side of engine, separate engine and gearbox, and lift engine this coming weekend. 

Thanks for continuing support and interest

Mark

 

 

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Mark, good evening. 

Am I missing something you're seeing, or are you expecting to see a nut on the con-rod side of the cap's bolts.?  If the latter then you'll be relieved to know that the con-rod is drilled and tapped for the bolt and there is no nut. 

Have you checked the sump oil with a magnet ?

Pete 

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I'm with Pete, nothing unusual there.

Mick Richards.

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25 minutes ago, Mark Richardson said:

below I have uploaded photo's of oily water which came out of bottom of radiator when I removed it, side of engine casing showing oil on rear corner where head meets main casing, square ports on right side of engine which show rust inside, and state of cylinders and connecting rods. Can just see line of rust between piston and lining

I don't have experience of oil in the water like that. I guess you are sure it's oil.?  I only ask because it looks very much like rad seal (sealant used to block a water leak, usually the radiator core or corroded pipes).

Oil on the rear corner is nothing to be concern about. Mine was encrusted and 1/8" thick.!  often oil in a place like that (under the manifolds) is the result of the rocker cover leaking or just as likely it has run back from the timing cover.  The vortex from the fan blows it around a lot.  The cover on these is a bit of a poor design because aside from being a piece of thinnish pressed metal (never easy to make oil tight) it has an oil seal in it (for the fan extension) and also a central bolt (without anything but the cover to try an seal against).  in short a lot of oil is blown from this cover right the way back to and including over the gearbox.  The forensics team are looking for signs of where oil been running from. These are places where the dusty crud has mostly been washed away ! 

Rust in the ports, especially the exhaust ones is to be expected.  It's raw cast iron without paint and the exhaust, and carburettor intake, are open to the atmosphere.  Because of the heat burning any oil residue off the exhaust ports are usually worse.   Again yours are ten times cleaner of rust than my engine.   

The furring up of the pistons is about as bad as I've seen. I would not be surprised if the piston is both seized (both the aluminium and it piston-rings corroded to the cylinder liner) and also the gudgeon pin is corroded in to the piston itself.   Vigorously rocking the car back and forth in (top) gear would be my first approach to freeing them off.  And when it does move then just progressively work it back and forth until the engine turns over one full revolution. Then each of the pistons will have moved their full travel. 

The engine's still got to come apart to be rebuilt ..but the task is so much easier once the pistons will come out of their bore. 

Pete.

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54 minutes ago, Mark Richardson said:

Everything seems to take so long !!!! - Hope to finish removing transmission tunnel, strip left side of engine, separate engine and gearbox, and lift engine this coming weekend. 

Yep., it takes an age when everything is crusty.

You'll see in some of my photos that there's a cordless drill / screwdriver with a 1/4" socket adapter.   Mine is a lightweight one so it's not suitable for undoing tight or big bolts, but often I just loosen the bolt with a socket (I mainly use six-point sockets, so they don't round the corners of nut and bolts) and then run around with the socket on the cordless to quickly unwind them.  It's a good time save for where there's many of the same size, for example the sump bolts, the front timing cover, and the fastenings around the transmission cover.   

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Hi, thanks for all replies.

I guess I was worries because had expected not to see holes "on the "con rod side of the cap's bolts", just assumed should be a closed casting - great if its as it should be, but you may be able to make out in the second photo the edge of the hole is damaged and a part of the casing is missing (sorry - not sure of proper terminology). Again great if all is as it should be, I'll keep spraying penetrating oil, and keep rocking car in gear (top from now on) and see what happens.

Glad to hear no great concerns over oil on engine casing, and rust in ports. Might be radiator seal in rad' water, I've no experience on which to judge - just looked and felt like oil. 

It seems to be the little things which take so long - like removing jammed instrument knobs from mounting over transmission tunnel, and trying to get bottom coolant pipe off radiator - struggled to access screw on jubilee clip attaching it to radiator, then rounded screw head off, only getting radiator out eventually by taking coolant pipe of engine and wriggling radiator out with coolant pipe still attached. Still, am getting big dose of satisfaction every time I manage to get something apart, am slowly learning my way around the engine.

Anyway, feeling better already - your responses very reassuring

Will plod on, thanks

Mark

 

 

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Mark, coolant pipes - cut them off. Easier to free the clips when whatever they're attached to is on the bench. If you plan to replace the pistons and liners, assuming the head is off, I'd take the big end caps off, get a length of wood and a big hammer, and wack the bottom of each piston till it moves. That way you're only working against the seizure of one piston at a time. It doesn't matter if a liner comes loose since you'll be replacing at least the figure eight seal and probably the liner as well.

Pete

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16 hours ago, Mark Richardson said:

photo of oily water which came out of bottom of radiator

Must admit it is difficult to say from a still photo,  but it's worth noting that engine oil floats on water ..and they really don't mix very well, 

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^ photo downloaded off the internet ..just to illustrate how dirty oil and water remain visually separated.

So.. if your tray is left to stand overnight (allowing time for the oil and water to separate) and then gently swilled around, you'll be able to see if it is an oil slick (engine oil tends to be blackish) floating on the radiator water (very often a rusty brown colour).  In a shallow tray, as they are gently swilled around - you'll see the two fluids (with different viscosity) slipping and tumbling over one another, or like beads of dirty flood water running off a polished car.   

If however that reddish-brown substance in the tray is thoroughly mixed in and there's no separation - then it's very likely to be radiator seal.  

Yet again, if that fluid had been a dirty-milky cream colour then it would have been emulsified oil/water mix.  This happens when oil and water are mixed and heated at the same time, such as boiling hot water with oil in it being whipped around in the water pump.   

 

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John good morning.

I suspect you're looking at the photo I downloaded off the internet to illustrate to Mark what dirty oil/water separation looks like.   ie., how very different it is to the mostly homogeneous fluid seen in his own photo (below).

Mark's photo does show bits, but I suspect those are rust particles from inside the water jacket that have been conveyed to the radiator.

IMG_03821.JPG

 

Sorry for the confusion

Pete

 

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I am confused.   Can't find a pic from Mark of oily water, and have you added a footnote to yours "^ photo downloaded off the internet ..just to illustrate how dirty oil and water remain visually separated."  that wasn't there before?

J

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2 hours ago, Mark Richardson said:

Bits is my radiator water were just because bowl was dirty!

.. what would Inspector Morse say..  re. forensic evidence  ! :D:D

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I am in a similar situation with a seized TR4 engine. I tried a few weeks of penetrating oil down the bores and rocking the car in 4 gear. I also tried a breaker bar on the pulley bolt, but I was afraid of it snapping. I also removed the head and used a block of wood to hammer the pistons, but this did not not free it either.

As I have the interior stripped out, I fastened a long length of square tube (about 4 foot) to the gearbox output flange and used this to lever the engine. Maybe it was just an accumulation of everything I'd done, but this is what got the engine moving. Putting the gearbox in and out of 4 gear allowed me position my bar, so I could swing on it,  getting the engine to turn backwards and then forwards bit by bit. After a while I got it to turn through a compete revolution. However my engine it is still too "tight" for me to think it is freed, but I guess it will be good enough to make it possible to strip the engine down on the bench.

Just a point of note, I didn't have the cylinder liners clamped and they never moved during this process, so I'm expecting it is going to be difficult for me to get them out.

 

Paul

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23 hours ago, gloide69 said:

 

Just a point of note, I didn't have the cylinder liners clamped and they never moved during this process, so I'm expecting it is going to be difficult for me to get them out.

 

Paul

Not if you use a correct puller like this

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The heavy duty channel goes over old gudgeon pins (any old thickwall tube will do) which is slid over the diagonal head studs as spacers, then tighten the centre nut with maybe 50 or 60 lbs ft torque on the nut and go to the liner skirt end and strike the centre pulling stud with a  reasonably heavily ball pein or lump hammer (don't go ape). Click ...click...clunk it goes as the seal is broken on the Figure of 8 seals. Carry on and wind the liner out until a couple of inches up before trying to "wiggle" them.

The alloy plugs are turned at different diametres to suit the liners used, 86 - 87 - and 89mm with a steel backing piece to spread the load behind (painted orange). The minor outer diameter of the alloy plug is about 10 thou less than the liner bore inner dimension, and the larger outer diameter is about 10 thou less than the cylinder block liner spigot hole. This puller brings out liners that have been in 30 years and think they are part of the block.

Mick Richards

Edited by Motorsport Mickey
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Primarily because it's easy turning and of course sympathetic to steel components (liner), if the plugs are misplaced or skew when in position they won't score or put grooves in the liner spigot holes bored into the block which should be what you are most concerned about.

You can even use this tool for pulling the liners when the engine is in the car and the crank is in position, useful for mid season reconditioning and because you don't need to take great swings at the centre stud when you are breaking the seal you have far more control. Leaving about a 50 lb tightness on the centre nut on the top of the puller keeps a "draw" on the liner when smacking the stud from underneath and prevents it transferring the impact into the block. Piece of cake.

Mick Richards

Edited by Motorsport Mickey
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I made something similar to Mick's puller, but in addition I used a hammer and brass drift on the bottom of the liner, as I didn't have any heavy duty channel iron and the angle iron I used at the top was bending. Once the figure eight seal was broken they came out fairly easily.

Pete

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