For Those Who Have Purchased a "Non-Running" Mopar/Other

General Discussion

  1. dibbons

    dibbons Well-Known Member

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    What major gaff did you find when you tore down the motor that prevented it from running? My experience:

    '65 Barracuda which had a 318 block transplanted along with the original Formula "S" AFB had a nice hole burned through one piston. Never figured out how that could have taken place. Local machine shop rebuilt the motor and it runs just fine now.

    1986 Isuzu Trooper (four-cylinder 5-speed) had all four exhaust valves burned resulting in zero compression. I either did a valve job or maybe also a ring job (not sure about rings) but it ran after that.

    Beat up Ford Ranger pickup (forgot the year, but prior to 1995) had a busted (rubber) timing belt. Replaced it and it ran fine.
     
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    • ragtopfury

      ragtopfury Well-Known Member

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      Picked up an 88 Dakota back in 2002. 4banger and a 5speed. Guy gave it to me because his "mechanic" tore the motor down to fix it. I have no idea what was originally wrong with it. I simply put it all back together with all of the old parts, including the old head gasket, just to get a baseline of why. Damn thing fired right up and ran fine. Sold it for $1500. Guy drove it for a few years before I stopped seeing it around town.
       
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      • dibbons

        dibbons Well-Known Member

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        One more incident. The '72 318 Satellite Sebring Plus I found on Craigs list had the motor removed and sitting on the garage floor when I purchased the vehicle. A small tab was tack welded to the block from a machine shop indicating a previous rebuild at one time with standard pistons and undersize bearings. The seller said the slipping automatic transmission kept "burning up" the ignition points so he quit driving it, which made no sense to me.

        I tore down the motor and replaced all the gaskets (except the rear main seal) and put it back together not touching the rings/bearings. When setting the new point set, I found I could not even get them to open. Something was wrong with the distributor, like the rubbing block was worn down or something.

        Purchased another distributor at Pep Boys and put everything back together. Fired right up. Smokes a little when first started but made two 3,000 mile road trips already.
         
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        • Treblig

          Treblig Well-Known Member

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          I bought a 73 (?) Vega that wouldn't run, mechanic said that it needed the motor replaced. I removed the head and did some research. Turns out the old Vega aluminum engines have floating cylinders that tend to shrink down into the block causing the head gasket to leak. Me, being a machinist, I look a piece of 2 X 4 and wrapped it with sand paper, plugged the cylinders with rags and sanded the whole top of the 4 cylinder block down. Once the top of the block was flush with the tops of the cylinders I re-assembled the engine. It ran like a top, drove it like I stole it. A year later I sold the engine to someone who had the same problem with their Vega. I got $200 and the guys old engine in trade then I put a V8 in my Vega. I pulled the head on the other motor and sanded it down and resold it to another Vega owner. I had bought my broken down Vega for $200 but made $400 on the two motors that I fixed!!!! Who'd-a-thunk:rofl::steering::thumbsup:
           
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          • ragtopfury

            ragtopfury Well-Known Member

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            Had a guy give me a slant 6 71 swinger with a hole in the block back in 84. Yanked the motor and dropped in another from a wrecked Volare or Aspen taxi that had just over 500k on it according to the maint log. Burned a quart of oil a month. Drove it for a few months and sold it to the taxi dispatcher. Same guy had bought a 74 dart that was my 1st car. That one was given to me not running as well - a good complete tune up cured that one.
             
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            • RustyRatRod

              RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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              Vixen wasn't running per say. You could dump gas down her gullet and she'd pop off. But we know the rest. lol
               
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              • Howard1784

                Howard1784 Well-Known Member

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                Junkyard Empire on Motor Trend:
                Andy bought a newer model supercharged Audi from a dealer who advised the car needed a motor due to oil smoke out the tailpipe and oil everywhere on the motor.
                I was invested emotionally at this point and was curious myself.

                Compression good, pulled supercharger, cleaned oil, valves, new plugs. Culprit: bad PCV system which was replaced. Ran like new when all said and done. Dont know the purchase price though. I know dealers are not the be all, end all. Bad techs? Inexperienced tech?

                Also, I knew a guy who got an older model lexus from a dealer who told the customer he needed a head gasket due to overheating. Customer bailed. Guy takes car home changes the thermostat and coolant, keeping close eye on it. Never had a problem since!
                 
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                • missing linc

                  missing linc Loose nut behind the wheel

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                  Bought a 68 Chevy Caprice from my bank's loan manager years ago, he said the timing chain was gone. Paid $50.00 for it, towed it out of his yard to a nearby parking lot, pulled the distributor cap off and sanded the points, regapped them and drove it home. Took the power seat out and put it in my buddy's 64 Pontiac ragtop, drove the car for a month without any issues, then sold it for $400.00.
                  Guy I used to work with had a Plymouth Voyager van that needed a timing belt. Gave it to me for nothing just to get it out of his yard, put a new belt and water pump in it plus a set of front brake pads and sold it for $1800.00.
                   
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                  • Cuda Al

                    Cuda Al Well-Known Member

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                    In 2010 I purchased an old CHP 1969 Polara that had been sitting in a field for 30 years. I was told it was parked for a bad transmission, the sellers son was a mechanic and more than capable of rebuilding a transmission.

                    The engine was frozen, two weeks of soaking and banging I got it to spin, that was enough to take it apart for rebuild.

                    My recent purchase (1969 Polara) shouldn't have run.
                    Very bad gas smell,
                    Bad starter relay
                    Fusible link down to one strand of wire
                    Clogged fuel filter (like pudding)
                    Distributor with a fried rotor and the cap held on with one clamp
                    Exhaust practically dragging
                    Suspension very questionable
                    ...and we drove it 540 miles home


                    Alan
                     
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                    • Professor Fate

                      Professor Fate Push the button, Max...

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                      Years back, I got a'72 Gremlin- mechanic told the owner the engine was toast. Sat next to his garage for a year, and now the clutch was frozen. Gave him $75 to save it from the scrap yard. Pulled it out to the road, tugged it with it in gear with the pedal pushed in and busted the clutch loose. Jumped the battery, no spark. Bad condensor. Popped in a spare from my toolbox, fired it up and drove it home. Former owner changed mechanics the next day.
                      Drove that thing for 4-5 years until some clown T-boned me at an intersection.
                       
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                      • Professor Fate

                        Professor Fate Push the button, Max...

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                        I also scored a 5.9 Magnum motor a couple months ago that a guy replaced in his truck (Cummins swap)- it wouldn't stay running for more than a few seconds, and was told the motor was junk. I gave him scrap price for it, with all the accessories still on it. Turned out the alternator was seized up, so the motor couldn't spin...
                         
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                        • AJ/FormS

                          AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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                          Many decades ago, I bought an old 318 demon with a jumped timing chain, fixed her up, then resold it to one of the friends of my kid brother,for $350 with the proviso that when he was done with it, I would buy it back for $50 no questions asked.
                          And so it went for several years. I lost track of how many times I resold that car, but I made a lotta money off her, that's for sure.
                          Those kids used up a lotta my used parts tho,lol. ...............
                          Back then $350 was about a weeks wages...... gross.

                          Man if I only wouldda kept her, I'd be rich today
                           
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                          • CFD244

                            CFD244 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            Bought a Husqvarna 385 chainsaw that would kick but wouldn't start. Fuel, spark & compression all good. Thought it was flooding because it had tons of fuel. Scratched my head after re-doing the carb and fuel pump. Turned out the flywheel key had sheared and the flywheel slipped just enough to cause the unit not to start. Worked great after I fixed that. Good deal on the saw too!
                             
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                            • halfafish

                              halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                              82 D150, paid $200 as a known dead dog to save it from the scrapper. Turns out the washer on the cam bolt disintegrated, letting the cam gear flop around like crazy. The truck is a keeper so it's now getting a complete rebuild.
                               
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                              • famous bob

                                famous bob mopar misfit

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                                My vega didnt have any motor or anything else , body only , was an ex don hardy, east texas race car . I built a hot 406/turbo 400 and put in it , ended up like this --------after a lot of hard work and a good body man . Ran a best of 10 ;28 as a streetcar ,often drove it 26 miles each way to work , Sapulpa and back , 16 miles per gallon !. IMG_0234 (2) - Shortcut.lnk.jpg
                                WISH I STILL HAD IT !!
                                Had a lot of help from 2 friends
                                 
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                                • 67Dart273

                                  67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                  I'm amazed in the other direction, LOL, the junk I've torn down that was still running at the time.
                                   
                                • Demonracer

                                  Demonracer 71 Demon 00 Ram 16 Chrysler 300S 05 Caravan FABO Gold Member

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                                  My first 67 Dart I bought as a non runner, the previous owner said it quit running all of a sudden. He & some of his friends worked on it for 3 months he said & could never get spark to the plugs. I bought the car, drug it home & started diagnostics. The points, condenser, cap, rotor, wires & plugs were all new. I checked to make sure it had fuel & I took the distributor cap off. I had a friend hit the key. What I found dumb founded me, some how the intermediate shart had broken in the oil pump. I bought a new shaft, brought it to TDC, stabbed the shaft & distributor, put the cap back on & it fired off the first time. The PO said he & his friends never thought to check for the distributor rotating. LOL I drove the car through high school & beyond until a kid made me an offer that I couldn't turn down.
                                   
                                • Treblig

                                  Treblig Well-Known Member

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                                  Man that thing looks like it was a ton of fun!!!!
                                   
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                                  • Jim Lusk

                                    Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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                                    At the end of 2011 I went looking for a Durango. Found one in a buddy's shop that wasn't running. Dash said "No Bus". His mechanic had torn the dash apart looking for a short on the CCD bus. Couldn't find it. Owner was tired of throwing money at it.

                                    Made a deal to drag the 2000 Dodge home for $750 (and about $400 in back fees at the DMV). Bought a set of manuals, but was just playing around with it when I realized the fuel pump wasn't on in the first few seconds after turning the key to on. Confirmed the pump was good and that the wiring was good. Ok, go find the missing ground from the PCM. PCM had a good ground, but wasn't supplying that ground to ANYTHING. Ok, bad PCM. Ordered one with a lifetime warranty. Truck ran exactly one time. Got another, it had the wrong emissions program, got another, it worked...for a year. Finally got one that has worked ever since.

                                    Oh, and the mechanic forgot one very important thing. The new part that you put in six months ago may have failed. He had replaced the PCM six months earlier...
                                     
                                  • RustyRatRod

                                    RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                                    The ones I laugh at are the ads that read something like "runs good, but has no spark" or "runs good" but the carburetor or distributor or other necessary parts to actually RUN are missing. Or "engine runs good" and it's sittin on the floor on its side with no plug wires, cooling system or anything else to make it actually "run". I would rather see "ran when parked" or "ran when pulled". At least then you might be hearing some truth. The bottom line is, either a car or engine runs where it is, or it doesn't. Period.
                                     
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                                    • SGBARRACUDA

                                      SGBARRACUDA ROY FABO Gold Member

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                                      You are a better man than me. I’m afraid that chain saw would be in my pond.
                                       
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                                      • Charrlie_S

                                        Charrlie_S Well-Known Member

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                                        How about a car comes into my shop smoking like a bug control truck (Cops actually had the women get it off the road). Pulled the dipstick to check the oil level, and oil came out the tube. The engine was totally full of oil. Drained the oil, and put in the correct amount, let it run in the driveway for about an hour, to burn the oil out of the exhaust system. Set the idle up just a little higher (to keep the oil light from coming on at stop lights). Woman kept adding oil every time the oil light would come on. Car was fine after that.
                                         
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                                        • Charrlie_S

                                          Charrlie_S Well-Known Member

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                                          Or, guy brings me a 273 engine he just rebuilt. Engine wouldn't turn over with a big breaker bar. Two problems.
                                          1) bored 030, but not honed to finished size
                                          2) lost one rod cap, so just got another one from junk yard, and put it on.
                                           
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                                          • Jim Lusk

                                            Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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                                            Another one, but not one that I bought.

                                            1967 Dart GT 440/727. I went and looked at it and then a friend of mine bought it for $1,500 (late 1980s). Guy told me that the engine had very little compression so he rebuilt the heads and that didn't fix the problem. So my buddy bought it. It ran, but ran like crap, spit and sputter. I drove it once and swore that the engine was sound OTHER than this lack of compression (no smoke, etc.). Car was at my house for a few months while he was with his Navy squad in Japan. I'd start it periodically. It was very difficult to start and would just about kill you with the unburned gas coming out the exhaust.

                                            He got back and picked up that car. Called me one day to tell me he had fixed it. One of the previous owners (probably the guy he bought it from) had bought a pushrod kit and made EVERY ONE OF THEM SLIGHTLY TOO LONG...Doug put a set of stock 440 pushrods in and it ran great...
                                             
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                                            • Cuda Al

                                              Cuda Al Well-Known Member

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                                              Got a 67 Valiant that had an electric fuel pump, mechanical was there? I hook the mechanical back up, nothing, try a different pump, nothing.
                                              Pull the timing cover thinking the eccentric was missing, no just very loose bolt almost falling out. Locked it up and all was well.

                                              2004-06-06_29.jpg

                                              Alan
                                               
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