parked 2002 Explorer XLT now engine appears to be seized, is this possible?

5

Asked by Jan 27, 2015 at 01:29 PM about the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Car ran well until it was parked (about 165k miles), next day the engine acts like its seized.  No water in oil.  Thought battery was bad, so replaced, but cannot turn engine over at crank with breaker bar.  Is there another explanation?  Other than miles the car ran well.

23 Answers

44,665

Possible head gasket leaked a cylinder full of coolant or leaking fuel injector filled cylinder full of fuel. If it were mine I would pull all the sparkplugs and see if it will turn over. Once you do this, hope that it is fuel cause the repair bill will be lots less. Trying to crank it over will bend a connecting rod or break a piston.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
5

Bob, no evidence of water in oil. I can pull the plugs and check for fuel filled cylinder. Good call.

44,665

Could be coolant filled cylinder also. Let me know what you find.

21,765

It is an old, dead Ford- mourn it and move on-

8,060

A starter that is stuck with its gear in mesh can do that too. also an accessory can stop it at the belt. quick prechecks, reverse direction at the crank bolt bak and forth ? shtoonk, hey try it now ? vroom. Or, remove the belt and turn the engine. I have seen both occur. Those other ideas are good but further down the precheck list.

5

The starter idea is interesting. It ran great when it was parked. We removed the serpentine belt and tried the crank with a cheater bar, and could not rotate engine. I will look into dropping the starter once I have tried removing spark plugs to release a fluid filled cylinder. Either of these ideas are great approaches and make more sense that it "Seized". I figure it has at least another 50-100k left in her and just replaced the brakes all around. I wouldn't have done that if it was on its last leg.

8,060

We never had a customer seize an engine when I worked on fords, blu or gray. but we did have some rebuilt starters that jammed. We fixed the original starter everytime when we were called to the task, but you cannot make people come for help. Our quick check was to twist the pulley both directions to see if it would come unstuck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
5

Okay, here is an update. Sorry for the delay, but its been snowing and I just didn't feel like crawling around in it. : ) I removed all the spark plugs and there is nothing in the cylinders. Still cannot move the pulley (clockwise or counter clockwise). I am thinking the starter has gone bad. Cannot recall replacing it, so its likely original equipment. Anymore thoughts before I proceed to remove it?

8,060

Get it pulled for inspection, please, and see if it was the starter drive or you can see anything else up in there. reseals were done on many of these, and update bulletins for sealing issues . Let us know.

5

Thanks Dannyl, I will follow up once I get it pulled. I haven't gotten my head around the mechanical process that a starter would jam in such a way that the engine could not be turned over (by hand). I am surely exposing my ignorance here.

8,060

If a starters drive is worn and has play it can get stuck. since it contains a one way clutch like a sprag clutch, it does not freewheel in both directions. once it is out of its axial line and travels in a bind, in mesh, voilla. It is a possible precheck to eliminate.

5

Having great difficulty getting bolts to starter loose. Can someone guide me on use of heat to loosen bolts? It is freezing outside, so metal is contracted anyway.

8,060

You cannot push vehicle into a building and thaw it ? No fire recommended. Space heater perhaps ?

5

I cannot move the vehicle. It is uphill to the garage, currently parked on street. Cannot shift it out of park, cannot turn engine, cannot disconnect starter bolts. I heated general area with propane torch for about 30 minutes, but cannot get close enough to do any real damage. Managed to get a rattle gun onto the upper nut before trying heat, but no joy. Haven't been able to see lower nut yet. 3/8" drive reaches bolt, but cannot get enough torque to turn it. Put 1/2" ratchet and cheater bar (various) and haven't enough swing to budge. Done for today.

8,060

Still havent heard what happens when you try to turn the crank both directions to free the starter drive from the flexplate

5

Dannyl, I could not move the pulley at all with a 1/2" breaker bar. This is with all spark plugs and the serpentine belt removed. I also tapped on the starter and solenoid with a ball peen hammer, but no joy. I cannot rule out the starter without removing it, so that brings me to where I am now. I appreciate your interest. Drew

8,060

Bummer, when it thaws you can yank the engine. It must have failed in some way internal. they usually come free when they are held by the starter being engaged. The good news is you can build a replacement from Pik-n-pull and be ready to drop it in in the spring. You can incorporate all the oil leak sealing updates and have a cheap dependable fix if you choose it.

8,060

I had a little toyota like this after high school and tech school, it just ceased to run and would not crank. noticed no noise. crate engine was 150. + bolt-ons. Replaced it while it was parked beside a busy street. A girl helped me install it. still runs. that was in 1987

8,060

During the meantime you could inspect the oil filter's contents and see what it was trapping. any solid piece, even very small can stop the oil pump if it can get through the pump screen and try to go between the gears. that could stop the insert at the distributor hole. pull that insert out to inspect its gear and you could tell if the pump got jammed. I saw a guy doing gaskets on one with those grinding pads once. The chunk of solid matter went down from above into the valley and travelled to the sump. It jammed the pump a day later. the cam drove the distributor gear and twisted the pump drive, stopping the engine. It stands to reason in his case that the distributor drive gear teeth showed evidence. Yours would have an insert that is driven the same in place of where the distributor used to go before distributorless systems

8,060

What if removing the insert leaves you with a freed cam? and then the engine turns freely? That would be worth a try to solve the issue and help you figure out if it seized at the crank bearings or not.

5

Interesting thoughts, but I am betting on the starter until I know better. I'll be back when I get that done. Drew

5

Well, I took a brazing torch to the bolt that wouldn't release, and after letting it cool I tried a half inch ratchet with about 20 inches of extensions and a swivel joint, No dice. I attached an air wrench and it finally released. Removed the starter and the engine won't move. I guess I have to accept it is seized. I will be starting a new thread as I cannot remove the vehicle from PARK. I will need to do this to move it to where I can replace the engine. Fussy neighborhood.

8,060

Do the brake lights work? and the fuses are good ? The owners manual procedure of turning the key, and coming out of park, then turning the key To start while in neutral....this has been tried? Loooks like after that is figured out, you would remove the cam insert to see if the cam is unable to turn?

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