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Hired a welder to install a firewall and floor on my '34 Ford pickup. Got into it with him then found out the guy was clinically CRAZY. Anyway I moved out of town. Weeks later, prior to start up of the stock 350 SBC that's in the truck, I went to drain the oil as it had sat for 6 months and at least a gallon of water shot out of the oil pan, then some saturated oil. I was shocked and just sick about it. Of course the guy disappeared, either in the can or some asylum somewhere. My question is this. During the time the water was in the engine, I did not try to start it. I tried using a screwdriver on the flywheel and maybe it moved just slightly if at all. It was way too hard to turn. I like the motor and want to save it if I can. What exactly happened to the motor when water was put into it remembering that it was never started? If I can get the motor to turn at the flywheel using my brand new handy dandy Flywheel Turner ($44.95) and free it up will the motor be OK ? Can I expect to have trouble in the future ? If I can't get it to turn at the flywheel should I use the starter ? If I have to take the motor apart what/where should I look to find any damage ? Thanks a million for your help.
 

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1949 Ford Coupe RESURRECTION
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1,050 Posts
Ohhhh noooo....don't turn it over or try to start it with any water in it ...I'm at a loss to suggest exactly what to do otherwise...drain it as much as you can, get a fan powered space heater, put it under the pan blowing up, close the hood, and let it run for a few days..is the best I can come up with..other guys may have a better idea
 

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More for Less Racer
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20,945 Posts
Water sitting in the crankcase for any length of time will cause rust rings to form at water level...rust is extremely abrasive, so even if you were to get it to break free and turn you've still got rust remnants between parts to worry about.

Engine needs to be pulled out of the vehicle and the oil pan removed, and then inspected included removing rod bearing caps and main caps to assess for possible damage. Oil pump needs to be closely inspected, since it hangs the lowest and with oil floating on water the water is going to ba all around the pump body and pump pick-up.
Anything you find this way can be dealt with either through just cleaning solvents or with steel wool, scotchbrite, fine grit sandpaper to re-polish things if necessary.

Breaking it loose and then just running it can easily lead to damage far more costly to repair...pay a little in time and effort now, or pay likely a lot more later
 

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Vd=0.7854B2S, CR=Vd+Vc/Vc
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273 Posts
Water was probably poured in the oil filler so i would pull the valve cover and see if any water is still there sittin on the head, pour some solvent in there to flush the bottom of the pan, fill the motor with fresh oil prelube it for a good 15 minutes, fire it up run it till its good and warmed up, dump the oil, put in fresh and run it some more and don't hire anymore crazy people !
 

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True Hotrodder
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1,955 Posts
Gallon of water spread across the length, width and depth of the oil pan. Not knowing what oil pan you have on it, my guess would be that the sump area was pretty much covered. You had your oil layer above that which is a bit more than a gallon of oil. That layer of oil protected everything else above it. At worse, you might find a rust ring around some part of the oil pump and rear cap.

I would suggest pulling all of the plugs, if any water comes from the cylinders then that indicates other concerns. If those are clear, then I would add a teaspoon of oil to each cylinder, then gently attempt to turn the engine over with your flywheel tool, start by turning the engine back and forth a bit. Once you complete a good revolution or two, then you should be able to turn it over with the starter. After that, put the plugs back in and get it fired up - of course you have added fresh oil and filter at this point. Just a side note, we used to have a SBC powered inboard 18 footer. The risers were shot on it. Every time we stopped somewhere, we weren't going anywhere until we pulled the plugs, spun the engine getting rid of the water, then put plugs back and firing it up. I finally got tired of the drill, put new risers on it and all was good. Some water in an engine is not a death note - plenty of Katrina cars and trucks still running around.
 

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Race it, Don't rice it!
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A bore scope up the drain plug prevents you from having to remove anything. If it has signs of rust I'd pull it but otherwise Id flush and fill and run it. The other thing is to determine for sure the water cam from above and not the cooling system.
 
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