Strange engine failure (1 Viewer)

Joined
Nov 30, 2006
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Yesterday I was driving along in my '88 going up a mountain at about 25 mph after running about 30 miles worth of errands, pleased with how well it was running. All the gauges were normal - oil pressure, voltage, trans temp, water temp. Suddenly there was a clanking sound and the engine quit. Also all the gauges went dead, not even the alt light was on, and the four ways didn't work. About the only electrical thing working now is the chime for door-open-key-in-ignition.

Battery and alternator are about a year old. Cables are fine at the battery and all belts are on. No fluids under car, no holes visible in block. Ground cable is a good.


But here is a really strange thing: my first thought with the clanking is that I threw a rod. I did an oil change a few months ago and knew that I could not be low on oil, but when I pulled the dipstick, most of the dipstick was missing. It's about 7 inches long and is very neatly sheared off. It was perfectly normal when I changed the oil. Is that weird or what? I've never seen anything like this in 40 years of messing with cars.

As for the electrical strangeness, is there some way that the starter could suddenly malfunctioned in such a way that it engaged while the car was running (clanking) and then shunted all the 12v to ground? I haven't been able to pull the starter yet or test the battery as it's raining and the car is outside. I also need to pull the oil pan to see if the clanking was a rod and to find the stray dipstick piece.

The only upside is that I was a 1/4 mile from home at the time and the AAA tow was free.

Ub
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
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On the electrical I'd be looking at the fusable links near the battery. Not sure I wanna comment on the clank...BTDT. :crybaby: Though in your case it might just be the sudden loss of the electrical system stopping the motor combined with the vehicle being in motion at the time.

Love to hear the outcome of this one...

:cheers:
Nick
 

BlueCruiser84

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Heh (not laughing just kinda wtf'ing). I would imagine if half the dipstick is gone, and it was there when you changed the oil, that it is now in the pan, oorrr lodged in the motor somehwere. First thing I would do is make sure your fuses/fusible links are good and that your alternator is still intact (clanking?). Then try to turn the motor over by hand. If it won't turn over then I would drop the pan... actually I would drop the pan even if it did turn over and try to find the other half of the dipstick!!
 
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Sep 9, 2007
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Vegas Baby !
 
 
I had the same thing happen to my dipstick after I just changed the oil pan. Had to drop the pan again. I have no idea how it happened but it did not damage the motor.

Mark
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2006
Messages
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OK thanks guys. Alternator problem was the fusible link; that's fixed. Motor is not stuck, turns over with starter, but still gotta figure out the clank and get that dipstick out of the pan.

If the clank turns out to be a rod, I may be selling this rust free '62 with fresh transmission. in Virginia.
 

RockDoc

I'll take Bruce Vilanch for the block.
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Jun 3, 2007
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Any idea what led to the blown fusible link? I turns over but doesn't catch? Does it turn over smooth? I seem to recall at least one other thread in the last month or two with missing dip stick portions.... and I think that engine was still running fine like MrLocksmith's..... Hopefully there is a simple but non fatal explanation when you pull the pan.

Does the dizzy rotor turn when the engine is cranked? Maybe the camshaft sheared? (grabbing at straws)
 
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Feb 21, 2006
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I think........and its reaching...lol that when the engine was forced to shut down and the current was suddenly stopped which in turn caused the fusable link to blow? but then again the fusable link isnt a diode so it really dont make sence to me ?No , even if there was a surge with the stock configuration the fusable link should be able to handle maxuim output of the alt, which leads to a question, what alt. do you have?
 
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Santa Cruz, California
 
 
I think I remember someone saying that their sheared dipstick just happened to be still in the tube that goes in the block. I would try taking a peek with a flashlight, if you're lucky it could still be in their if it's long enough.
 

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