Car Wont Turn Over


May 25, 2001
Ok, here is the story. A while ago, one of my pushrods came out (the rod didnt go through the valve cover, but got dislodged and did not stay in place). Long story short, I had a ton of metal shavings on the oil drain plug (magnetic) and I need a rebuild....In the meantime, I removed the bad rod a while ago, and wanted to see how the car would run missing a rod (this was after the car has been sitting for about a year). I popped the valve cover open, removed the rod that got out of whack, and put the valve cover back on. I tried to turn the car over, and alls that happens is a loud thunk when I turn the key. Please keep in mind that I didnt try turning the car over right before I removed the rod. The battery is new, and I had no starter problems when the motor went bad. So, Im thinking maybe the motor is frozen, so I removed the intercooler and fan, and got a big socket wrench to try and turn the crank over with the wrench. It only rotates about a quarter turn and then it feels like it hits something (i.e. the rotating assembly is being blocked by something). I also did this with the tranny in neutral. Surprisingly, on one attempt when I tried turning the key, the motor actually turned for a few seconds, and then stopped. Then I tried turning the crank by hand again, and still same problem (only turn about quarter turn). Does anyone know what the problem may be?? I am thinking maybe the starter is still engaged and not working, and thats why the motor is frozen? Or, is it that it does not rotate because I removed one of the rods??
STOP TURNING THE MOTOR OVER!!! The engine should turn freely with the push rod removed. More than likely the valve is hung open and the piston is hitting it. Regardless of what is going on, you need to figure out why that pushrod jumped out. Trying to start the engine like this will only cause more damage. Never force the engine to turn over.
should rotate, unless...... you got water in it :confused: . then it wont compress water no matter how hard you try...

Pull the plugs and see if you can get it to rotate.
If pushrod is out, then valve wont be open and kiss the piston, if it has stock pistons and head gaskets, seen plenty slip timing chains and NOT kiss valves.

Our cars are non interference motors, stock.
TTA is, but not too bad...

You're kidding, right? What were you doing when the pushrod found another home? Metal in the oil pan? You must have tossed a rod. Drop the pan and find out. It probably leaks anyway, so won't be a wasted effort. Good luck!
Hmm, well, I think im going to take the valve cover back off and see whats going on. Like I said, when I manually try to turn the crank (I removed the intercooler fan and put a socket wrench on the end bolt), it only turns quarter turn and hits something, so something is definetly not allowing the crank to spin. So its definetly not the starter in the way of anything? If I open the valve cover again and see that the other rods are all in place, what else can it be? Maybe due to the fact that the one rod was taken out, the valve is somehow in the wrong position, thus hitting against the piston? I really dont care about this motor anymore since I know it needs a rebuild (I drove the car home (2 hours!!) when I threw the rod a while ago....I got another stock motor waiting to be put in, but in the meantime, I just wanted to start this motor up again..... :frown:

Oh, by the way, all the motor internals are all stock (with the exception of replacement valve springs). What happened was, I took the car to 150 (verified by my scanmaster), and must have floated a valve, and thus the dislodged rod. Come to think of it again, I bet the new valve springs I put in were too hard and my stock cam couldnt handle it...BUT, all the valve springs are still in place...The rocker arm is what got screwed up, but suprisingly the rod didnt go out the valve cover, it just got dislodged... :confused: .
Pull that valve cover off and check to see what that pushrod is doing, If the pushrod is not in place, then the valve will not open and kiss the piston.

Does it stop abruptly or are you hitting compression stroke?
Starter shouldnt be in the way, wonder if you have a wrench stuck on a torque convertor bolt and its hitting the tranny?

If you floated it hard enough, i wonder if you have a bent pushrod on the other side?

When I threw the rod a while ago, the motor still ran and I drove the car all the way home (ran like craaaap though). The car sat for a while, and I started it a few times every other month. A few months later, I removed the valve cover, removed the dislodged rod, and then tried to start the motor with no luck. There are no wrenches or anything stuck in the motor/tranny either. Ill give you an update when I remove the valve cover again and see if I see anything funny.....
If the motor ran before once a month, and just ran like crap, i would pull both valve covers off, inspect and pull both rocker shaft assemblies to see if they are complete and not snapped in half.
Now, with the rocker shafts off, the springs wont be compressed, and ALL valves should be in the closed position, if you still have some springs compressed, then you have a valve that is hung up and thats whats hitting.

I didnt notice that jimmymopower posted 4 minutes before me at the beginning of this thread, i think he has a good point a valve could be open all the way from you over revving the engine.

I havent ever had a starter lodge out and keep a motor from turning over, but then again strange things can happen.
Starter has to come out for new motor right?
Ok, I took the valve cover off today...When I tried to re-install the missing pushrod (the one I removed a while back), it had nothing to sit on top of (meaning that it would fall into the motor if I let it go). I guess this means that the valve is open and it smacking the top of the piston when I try to turn the car over..damn..Everything else under the valve cover looked fine, the rocker arms were ok,the buttons holding them onto the shaft were in place, the valve springs were all in place, etc....

Is there any possible way to make the valve close so that the pushrod will stay in place? I wish I knew from the start when I removed this pushrod not to try to turn over the motor!!
Thats some funny sh!t right there-

If you take the pushrod and try to install it back on the lifter and it acts like it will fall into the motor, then the lifter has pushed up and out of its lifter bore.
Find out where the lifter is and that could help.

Pull the intake if you cant fish it with a magnet and a scope.

Man, theres no way Ill be able to fish out the lifter, and theres no way am I gonna pull the whole intake out in this freezing weather, and I dont have a garage to do the work in!...Oh well, so much for trying to start the car up..This sucks :frown: :frown: