>A friend of mine was just given a 1986 Alpha Romeo with
>a seized engine. He knows nothing at all about the
>condition of the engine. My first reaction was to
>suggest that he pull the spark plugs and shoot some oil
>into the cylinders to see if he could make the engine turn over.
>If that is a good idea, what kind of oil should he use and how
>Any other suggestions as to how he should procede before he
>resorts to a complete rebuild?
When I bought my MGTD, the engine was also seized. I spent 2 weeks
spraying penetrating oil through the spark plug holes, then rocking the
car fore and aft in high gear to attempt to loosen it up. After 2 weeks
of fruitless shoving, I pulled the head and smacked the pistons with a
rubber mallet. This did free up the pistons, but I also observed that
the exhaust valves in #2 and #3 were hopelessly burned. It looked like a
bite had been taken from each valve. Since I had to do the valves
anyway, I went ahead and rebuilt the engine. Of course, since I couldn't
put a new engine in a tired car... You know the story from there!
I suspect that the seized pistons are likely to be caused by rust, which
has the side benefit of pitting the cylinder walls and rings, causing oil
burning and compression loss. If he manages to free up the engine, it
will be a short time before he wants to rebuild it anyway. I can't
imagine that it's so hard to pull the head, even in a new Alfa, that it
wouldn't be worth the effort. It'll allow intimate inspection of the
valve train, cylinder walls, etc. All for the price of a decoke set and
a few hours labor!
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