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Old 12-07-2018, 13:18   #1
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un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

first a little back story (i will try to keep it short). i bought the boat (listed in my signature) for a project to rebuild. the boat has been sitting on a trailer for about 12 years (best of my knowledge). so as expected, there are some issues with the boat. the distributor cap is missing, as are the points (just discovered), and so is the alternator. on top of this, the engine, having been immobile for 12 years, is quite stuck. there are other boat issues, but i will leave it to the engine for now.


I have removed all the spark plugs, and 6 look great, while 2 had a little rust. i squirted a liberal amount of WD-40 in all cylinders, in the hopes of freeing up the engine. allegedly, the engine was recently rebuilt, and had about an hour on it before it sat for 12 years (sterndrive was run full-power without oil).


so, my question is, is WD-40 enough to free up this engine, or is there a better penetrating-oil or chemical?


i know this boat has a lot of issues, but i think if i break it down to smaller projects, it will be less overwhelming.


Thanks in advance for any help.


~Travis
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Old 12-07-2018, 13:29   #2
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Boy that sounds like bad news. If the WD40 didnt work I would put maybe diesel or kerosene etc right in the cylinders filling them up. Let it sit for days. But I suspect even if you break it loose, it's going to burn oil due to pitting etc on the cylinder walls.. BTW, a completely Jasper rebuilt long block 350 was less than $1500 last I looked.

I bought a boat with a 350 in it that was "rebuilt" I bought the boat for parts for another boat. Turned out the engine was full of water (and oil) but did appear near new under the covers. I just drained all the oil and water mix, put cheap oil/filter in and ran the engine an hour. re-Drained the oil/filter and used the engine. It was fine, but it was never froze up.
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Old 12-07-2018, 13:36   #3
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Boy that sounds like bad news. If the WD40 didnt work I would put maybe diesel or kerosene etc right in the cylinders filling them up. Let it sit for days. But I suspect even if you break it loose, it's going to burn oil due to pitting etc on the cylinder walls.. BTW, a completely Jasper rebuilt long block 350 was less than $1500 last I looked.

I bought a boat with a 350 in it that was "rebuilt" I bought the boat for parts for another boat. Turned out the engine was full of water (and oil) but did appear near new under the covers. I just drained all the oil and water mix, put cheap oil/filter in and ran the engine an hour. re-Drained the oil/filter and used the engine. It was fine, but it was never froze up.

I will try the diesel/kerosene method. i am aware it may not be perfect afterward (burn oil), but with limited funds, i can't swing $1500 right now.


thanks for the response.


~Travis
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Old 12-07-2018, 13:49   #4
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Buy a cheap car/truck swap. Look for a good runner with a bad transmission/ rust bucket. 350 Chevy is the easiest to find cheap.
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Old 12-07-2018, 13:52   #5
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

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Buy a cheap car/truck swap. Look for a good runner with a bad transmission/ rust bucket. 350 Chevy is the easiest to find cheap.

i will defiantly keep that in mind, if the diesel/kerosene method has no effect.


thank you!



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Old 12-07-2018, 14:06   #6
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

If the engine wasn't properly pickled, and a fog spray wasn't done to the cylinders, you can expect the rings have rusted to the cylinder walls and that's what is locking it up.

PBlaster or Kroil will chemically attack the rust, follow the instructions, it may take 3 applications but that should free the rings. It may take a large breaker bar to get any rotation. After twelve years of sitting...I'd assume it will need a rebuild, or at least a thorough tear-down to confirm what condition anything actually is in.

Some judicious use of a blowtorch (don't set the engine on fire) or dry ice (chips mixed in alcohol to make a slush) can be used to heat/freeze the pistons in an attempt to try breaking the rust on the rings as well. In any event, you will need new rings and quite possibly having the cylinder walls done.

The good news is, there are always 350's to be found.
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:13   #7
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If the engine wasn't properly pickled, and a fog spray wasn't done to the cylinders, you can expect the rings have rusted to the cylinder walls and that's what is locking it up.

PBlaster or Kroil will chemically attack the rust, follow the instructions, it may take 3 applications but that should free the rings. It may take a large breaker bar to get any rotation. After twelve years of sitting...I'd assume it will need a rebuild, or at least a thorough tear-down to confirm what condition anything actually is in.

Some judicious use of a blowtorch (don't set the engine on fire) or dry ice (chips mixed in alcohol to make a slush) can be used to heat/freeze the pistons in an attempt to try breaking the rust on the rings as well. In any event, you will need new rings and quite possibly having the cylinder walls done.

The good news is, there are always 350's to be found.



you all seem to have little faith in my engine.
to be honest, i am thinking i may be losing faith in it myself.
i just hope this whole boat is salvageable, to the extent i can float it some day.
in any case, i do appreciate the help.


~Travis
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:21   #8
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Oh heck, let me put on my optimistic face:

Just grab a couple of extra batteries, put 24 VDC on the starter, and fire it up. What could possibly go wrong?(G)

Once the rings are frozen solid, even if you break them free, you can figure they'll have to be replaced because what's left will never seat or flex properly. It might RUN. I helped a friend tune up an old Chrysler wagon that had a 6-cylinder mainly truck engine in it. It ran a little better after we replace the two spark plugs that it had, literally, ingested. Got much better gas mileage, too.

So yes, it may just need a good whack and then it will run. (Got paddles?)
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:23   #9
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

If I were you I would pull the heads. That's maybe a 45 minute job. Then you can see what's up. Even if you break it loose, you will want to clean the rust out of the cylinders by rotating the engine to where a piston is full down and cleaning each one.
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:27   #10
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
If I were you I would pull the heads. That's maybe a 45 minute job. Then you can see what's up. Even if you break it loose, you will want to clean the rust out of the cylinders by rotating the engine to where a piston is full down and cleaning each one.

that may be an option for this weekend. at least i will know what i am dealing with, internally.


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Old 12-07-2018, 14:43   #11
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Hello Travis.


Situation is no different than dealing with a stuck tractor, truck, or car engine, except insofar as access may be concerned.


You would want to be sure that there is no standing water in the cylinders, otherwise your WD40 or whatever will not reach the rings.


It may take time. You can use WD40. I would use JB-80 because I find it does in fact work better. Some people would use motor oil or transmission oil or various mixtures.


The thing here is that you want to be sure some form of penetrating oil reaches the cylinder to piston interface. If you are not flooding the cylinder (which I don't recommend as it is messy to clean up afterwards) you should spray some penetrating oil in each cylinder every night. Then try and turn the engine forward and back with a breaker bar and wrench. If it doesn't move, let it sit for another day, and try again.


It may take a few days, or a few weeks. After a month I would maybe give up or put a bunch of pipe on the breaker bar.


Otherwise, avoid excessive force.



How well will the engine run after being frozen like this. Depends. Sometimes they are OK, often not, no way to find out short of doing it, although pulling the heads and taking a look around will give you some clues.
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:50   #12
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Silly question perhaps.....

If the stern drive has been run without oil it has probably seized. Are you sure the engine is disconnected to the drive ?

Maybe the engine isn't seized just the drive. I've seen many engines run after long periods (not marine engines admittedly)
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Old 12-07-2018, 14:55   #13
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

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Silly question perhaps.....

If the stern drive has been run without oil it has probably seized. Are you sure the engine is disconnected to the drive ?

Maybe the engine isn't seized just the drive. I've seen many engines run after long periods (not marine engines admittedly)

good question. yes it is disconnected, as it currently resides in my motorcycle shed floor.


i have a video bore-scope (just remembered as i rarely have the chance to use it). i think either tomorrow, or this weekend i will see if it works for what it was designed to do. it may save me from having to pull the heads.


~Travis
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Old 13-07-2018, 08:35   #14
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

Try Marvel Mystery Oil in the cylinders.

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Old 13-07-2018, 08:49   #15
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Re: un-sticking Chevy (OMC) 350 V8

It sounds like it would make a good artificial reef..
(Just kidding )
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