A Tale of Water and an Air Intake

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Yeah so I was out delivering the other day. Well, actually it was my day to cook but due to the torrential downpour orders were streaming in faster than the drivers could get them out. Lonnie had already stalled out in a puddle and couldn't crank, so after my shift was supposed to end Doug asks me to go out on a run.

"Terresa said the road was flooded but maybe it'll be clear by now."

Well what I thought was a puddle ended up being a lake >_< I figure that I can probably make it through and I slow down and ride the brakes to keep them from getting wet. That much worked.

About halfway through the engine starts running kinda rough and when I get to the other side it finally gives up and gives me the finger. Luckily I rode the brakes or I'd have gone back down the hill into the water again. :thumbs:

So this is a 1995 Thunderbird LX, 4.6L V8 fuel injected SOHC. I gather it hydrolocked in some form or another. I've had the plugs out today and two of the cylinders have/had water in them. By my estimate (using a relatively clean rod of some sort carefully) there is about an inch of water in the cylinders yet, the two with water. Those two the pistons feel to be at or near the top, though like I'm about to say we did get it to crank a fraction of a turn earlier.

Won't crank, I get the tell-tale click of the starter saying "I think I can I think I can :banghead: nope I can't." Had a friend over who actually worked for Ford, he tried to turn it over by hand with the plugs open and it budged. Then we tried to crank it again and it wentmaybe 1/4 a turn and locked to the point where neither of us can turn it and trying to start it doesn't even make the flywheel budge.

So as a last ditch effort I went out there with a prybar like he said and managed to get a good purchase on the flywheel and tried to horse it over. It's not budging, unless you count the engine bouncing against the motor mounts. I tried then turning it the other way and it still won't move a fraction of a degree. Oil pan has no signs of a flying rod and there are no mysterious oily holes. I haven't removed the oil to check for water yet.

What else could have locked me up? I've got 8 pistons so as I understand it if I did bend those two rods it might still be drivable? Say until I can afford an engine rebuild? (I love this car, don't die on me love!)

I'm taking this to a garage in the morning if no one can suggest how to fix this myself, and I really don't want to do that because the person paying to have that done said I'm not going on my vacation if she pays for it to be fixed.

posted by  Zennoa

edit:i'm retarded and didn't see part of your post... you don't have to punch a hole in the oil pan to have broken a rod. my friend did th exact same thing in a saturn. i drain the oil and got about a gallon of water out of it... and #1 rod was snapped...

posted by  dodger65

Still, wouldn't I likely have heard that, especally at low speeds? I know a vehicle owned by my family had a rod break once and it was apparently quite noisy when it happened.

Also, I happen to have kinda tested the cylinders with a clean(ish) welding rod and the two that have/had any substantial amount of water have the pistons very near the top, so if one of those rods broke the piston has to be cemented up there somehow.

posted by  Zennoa

you could have broken a rod but its not as easy to break one as you think, still poss. thow, remove the oil pan drain plug and let it drain, pull all 8 plugs at the same time and remove the intake manifioild because it is sure to have water in it, you may be attempting to turn it over and just refilling the cylinders with water from some that is in the intake manifiold.
try rotating the engine in both directions WITH all the spark plugs out and see if it will turn backwards, usually if a connectiing rod is broken the engine will trun backwards a few degrees before it rejams
let me know
ppauley/cobra freek

posted by  ppauley

Actually to get at the spark plugs I had to take off the intake manifold anyway. At least I think that's what it is. Anyway the plugs are out and I can't turn it either direction. Dad had a look and basically said "Well, finish paying me the $550 you owe me and I'll loan you the money for a new motor." We're going to tear it apart this weekend and see what actually happened, but I know he's rebuilt one before so by that point I'm sure we're not putting it back together. Heh, I remember vaguely how long it took him to rebuild the one for the van. And how hard it was withouth all the proper tools (you'd be surpised just how many uses a rag has). Although I think we're both curious to see exactly what I did.

Well, at least I'm keeping the Thunderbird. My favorite car and if I can manage I'm going to keep it running for many years yet. Last I heard (three days ago when I had the $500 tune-up) the transmission was in very good condition.

posted by  Zennoa

well your in for a world of shock when you pull the front cover of the engine and the cam covers and see 3 timming chains, blows most peoples minds, if you haven't been inside a 4.6L you better get a manual and sit down for some hi tech reading. the heads and timming chains is a mind blower, and yes it takes special tools to lock the cams in place when your putting it back together, the best thing is, don't even bother taking it apart sense most 4.6 engines are a toss out engine, go find another one and just replace it,
ppauley/cobra freek

posted by  ppauley

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