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Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized?

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New User

Oct 4, 2017, 12:54 AM

Post #1 of 7 (703 views)
Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

So I took my 1988 Alfa 75 (milano) 3.0 V6 for a 5 minute drive up and down a lane. A very easy drive, no high revs. I’ve finally got the car running on 6 cylinders after an air leak through a fuel injector caused a misfire. It's been sat for 6/7 years.

The car was running fine (finally) but when I stopped driving and left it idling for a few minutes, it was running rough and wouldn’t rev with a fair amount of throttle. I turned the car off for a few minutes and when I came to start it, the engine wouldn’t turn. The lights dimmed and the fan slow down when turning the key, which lead me to believe the starter was engaging. After a couple of tries the start just made a ‘machine gun’ type rapid clicking noise.

Before the drive, I noticed a rapid coolant leak when the engine was running coming from the water pump/ thermostat area. However there was sufficient coolant in the reservoir before and after the drive. My initial thoughts (lost sleep over this) were that the engine had overheated and seized due to bad coolant flow. The engine felt very hot, the fan was blowing warm air (so radiator had heat) and the waterpipes were too hot to touch (wouldn’t this mean coolant was flowing?). The fan was blowing throughout the duration of the drive and idle (because I’ve hard wired it on – waiting for new fan switch).

Anyway, since this bad day, I’ve returned to the car and managed to turn the engine by hand. I’ve fully charged the battery and the engine started with no fuss. What could have happened here? The were no signs of overheating - the oil temp gauge was at 50/60°C: could this suggest a fault? Seems low. Although as I said, the fan was on all the time.

Since cooling, this leak is now very rapid even with engine not running.

Any help would be appreciated.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 4, 2017, 2:22 AM

Post #2 of 7 (694 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

I don't know this vehicle specifically but doesn't matter much. It sat for 5/6 years so unless properly put away, dry and prepped to survive that there will be a list of things to do and check prior to first time running it let alone driving it.
Oil and fuel probably both bad. Oil would drain so completely just humidity will can rust internal parts critical to it. Battery can't be any good.
Anything that seals lacked lube - water pumps - all of them sitting dry.
? Oil temp isn't surprising to me depending on where that's monitored?
Can't know how you "woke" this up before first attempt I would more likely separately force oil pressure up before first start, lube (just a tad) in each cylinder. Probably if belt(s) not removed and items periodically spun over the years those items would leak or fail soon.

This would take most of a day of prepping it for first attempt. It did turn and run so not seized still doesn't mean there isn't extreme leaking already more than just what you've noticed.
Possible that it needs all these seals or replacing items all thru it seen now and again later with a longer run find what else failed from just sitting - long list of items not just engine.
Rubber and even plastic parts just don't fare well.
So much depends on how it was stored and what was done proactively for a start up later.

Side note: In just a year or two a new vehicle just left outdoors if so is usually scrapped or parted out for items that wouldn't be effected.

Tough call, lots to check still,

Hammer Time
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Oct 4, 2017, 5:13 AM

Post #3 of 7 (684 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

Sounds like a simple battery or charging system problem to me. Your engine wasn't seized. The battery was dead. Have the battery and charging system tested.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

New User

Oct 4, 2017, 7:35 AM

Post #4 of 7 (655 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

Yeah before we started it we changed the oil and filter, replaced the fuel, new battery, sprayed lubrication in each cylinder and left for a couple days. It started right up. now we've had it running a few times i think the seals are breaking and need replacing.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 4, 2017, 8:00 AM

Post #5 of 7 (651 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

Sorry had # of years wrong was 6/7 still matters. BTW - if knowing for even just a season of no use you change oil FIRST not later when you want it if expecting ONE season of non use. Best if expected is run the vehicle periodically - never mind stuff happens.

I've bought these type thing to restore. Virtually all pumping item's seals let go, shafts, brake parts, tires NG if on floor/ground. Exposed to the elements really wrecks things not always known till you use it.
I'm in a zone with real Winter, snow and all that fun. Boats go away and snow equipment comes out even just lawnmowers, snowblowers you do first before lack of use time expected but usually get away with it if not too simple of machines, most of them.

Go for it just expect stuff till it quits throwing surprises at you then finally you can trust it. You didn't say but if it was outdoors it's just lots harder even in super dry climates, T

New User

Oct 4, 2017, 8:09 AM

Post #6 of 7 (647 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

It was kept outdoors yeah. Wasn't started or a number of years. Thankfully, I don't think there is too much rust on the car.

The front brakes seemed okay, however the rear brakes a bit strange on this car and are difficult to get to; they are inboard brakes, which brake the axle rather than the wheel. Typical alfa romeo. We'll get to them once the engine is running.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 4, 2017, 9:06 AM

Post #7 of 7 (639 views)
Re: Engine wouldn't turn after short drive. Overheat? Seized? Sign In

OK - Doesn't appear like a lost cause rust bucket to me. I question the battery's age with sight glass and fill caps ARE not sold where I am may be a state by state thing? Must be sealed exceptions for some farm type equipment other voltages.

It may work now but it can't be trusted at age later if it cranks fine and seems right with some tests plain 6 years is rare once wet or filled with acid the clock starts ticking on them.

Think and find out what rubber items might be for the valves - it's hidden and couldn't guess. Too old now if rubber timing belt.

Others too. Use PB or at least WD-40 on anything you know you'll be dealing with now. The air cleaner snaps clips, the hose clamp type things on the snorkel, all flare nuts for anything fuel, brakes PS coolers anywhere. They fail tubing to flare nuts not so much the threads.
Rear inboard brakes? Can't know but clearly the driveshafts would have to come out to replace that type or turn them. It's possible to "machine" those while installed if thick enough and OK ask for a place that had the equipment or shafts come out. Others do that way. Calipers can be done and other things not the rotors.

Use up or get fuel out if can it probably will be an issue if not now. Unsure of what you buy where you are how stable it is over time isn't really gasoline/petrol alone it's all the junk they put in it goes bad or worse to a gel you don't want. Check - this may have a drain plug on the gas tank!
Just decide how far you want to go and expect to change out a lot of seals or the whole part depending.

Good luck, we'll help as possible just expect things by surprise. Been there/done that with a 19 year old unused for about 18 years clearly stored indoors only helped all rubber anything failed in no time just 19,000 miles original proven!


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