PO let motor freeze- What to check 1st?

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Mar 11, 2010
East Tennessee
This site is GREAT! I'm new to cruisers.Got an 87 few months back, had some questions and ya'll answered them fast,(thanks)
I was searching for a "parts" rig and came across a 89 that is bone stock with 137000 on the speedo good 31" A/T tires, new alpine stereo,amp,and 6 speakers for $600;)
The PO said that he let it freeze with only water in the system (tennessee):frown: He replaced the radiator, water pump and 1 freeze plug on the drivers side rear.
I checked the oil and it has water in it, the radiator is empty.
While I was not looking he started it up knowing all this, not to smart, but it was his at this time.(sounded rough) He saidit ran perfectly before it froze.
When I got home the wife wants it for her (its in good shape) so there goes my parts truck! (keep her happy and I might get some goodies)
It is either another freeze plug(doubtful), crack head, cracked block, tore head gasket (hopefully) I'm mechanically inclined but never pulled an engine apart.
What should I do first to try and pinpoint this issue? (Fuel Injected 6 cyl) I looked at the search and nothing points to this situation that I could find, I am confident ya'll will send me in the right direction. Thanks !
I'd change the oil, charge up the battery and then do a compression test. I'd then visually verify the presence of each freeze plug. If the compr test was satisfactory, I'd change the oil again and prep it to fire up for extended running tests.
IF he let it freeze and sit for a long time...you potentially may have rust issues on bearing related surfaces...and other places ...not good.
I would at least drop the oil pan and inspect crank journal bearings and see what if anything is up. I personally have witnessed a FJ40 that ran 30 miles without oil pressure from a punctured oil filter, engine seized and after inspection the next day after all cooled down, no notable damage to engine bearings! FJ40 is running to this day years later! FJ's are tougher than most really know even in poor condition!
Hopefully this weekend I can do some checking (working 12's, not much time left) I'll post my findings here.
What make of oil pan gasket should I get?
Stock Toyota 1-piece oil pan gasket. I (and others) have used the 4-piece Fel-Pro, and it works, but it's a pain in the ass to get lined up (and stay there while you wrestle with an oil pan).
Update: Well here is what I got so far, I drained oil (5+gallons), no water in radiator (removed lower hose) I have at least 2 freeze plugs missing.
Here are my questions/plans:
1. Put oil pan plug back and fill with oil, remove coil wire and turn engine over a few times and drain/change oil and filter again.
2. Do a compression test of cylinders. Post results here.
3. Radiator pressure test will be useless do to freeze plugs being out
4. Is there anyway that water can get into the oil with ONLY the freeze plugs out?
5. What is the MOST common item the "breaks"? Head , block, or head gasket.
I don't have any experience with the effects of freezing temperatures on a motor, but.....

My thinking is that the larger bodies of water are in the block, which is where the greatest expansion and therefore damage should occur.

My suggestion is to perform a cylinder leak down test with each piston at the bottom of the stroke, to see if there is any leakage from the combustion chambers into the water jackets. That is the usual way cooling water gets into the crankcase via the block.

The other ways coolant gets into the oil is via a bad head gasket or cracked head. You will probably need to seal the cooling system in order to pressurize it and check for leaks. I would suggest an air leakage test of the cooling system if the cylinder leakage yest proved the cylinders are sealing correctly.

There is a plug in the back of the block towards the firewall. That one would be a bugger to replace with the engine in the truck. The oil cooler might be a weak spot to let coolant contaminate the oil. I'd test or isolate the cooler from the system.
There are small freeze plugs inside the side cover of the motor. If those blew out there is your coolant in oil story.

One of my pictures for proof :)

I gotta get a camera! That is a good picture, klinetime. How many freeze plugs on the drivers side?
Here is what I got for a compression check this morning, starting in front and going back:
#1 - 120#
#2 - 120#
#3 - 125#
#4 - 128#
#5 - 115#
#6 - 131#
The butterfly on the TBI was blocked open for theses tests. The cylinder under test was the only one with the plug removed, all other plugs were installed. All cylinders held this pressure for at least 5 minutes till I released it. What does this tell me?
I ran the engine with new oil/filter for @ 4 minutes to start and flush the system, ran good, no weird noises, but I have no water in the radiator at this time. Going to drain oil again.
Four on the driverside. Then one on the back of the cylinder head. (no picture of that one)


You need to find someone with (or rent?) a borescope who can stick the scope down through the head oil drain holes and check the condition of those freeze plugs. Otherwise you will have to get that cover plate off..... no fun!

I would not waste money on another oil change till you know what direction you are headed. Plus when you drive the truck on long trips, the PCV system will suck any residual water vapor out of the crankcase and send them out the tailpipe.

Your leak down method is not valid, because the piston position was not done in a controlled way so as to leave it at the bottom. But given the information and photos from klinetime, you are probably not looking at a broken block.

Well Rchalmers3, I took the cover plate off and eyeballed those 4 freeze plugs and they are intact. (your right, not much fun). What would you think of putting those rubber expandeable freeze plugs in the 2 on the drivers side then putting some of that "Blue Devil" in it? (http://www.autobarn.net/blue-devil-engine-and-cooling-sealant.html)
Has anybody ever used anything like this stuff before? I have heard just today that it works like a champ, I've never heard of it.
Just get two new freeze plugs from anywhere. In my experience I couldn't find the right size rubber ones to install on the drivers side of the motor. Freeze plugs are really easy to install.

Just smooth the hole with very gentle emery paper, then get a socket large enough in diameter to fit nicely inside the plug then tap it in with a hammer.
What do you think about adding that "Blue Devil" stuff? ($60 a bottle)

Never heard of it. I have heard green loctite works on freeze plugs and thats only $7 a bottle.

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