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Old 09-02-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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bought a tj 2.5 w/seized motor... trying to diagnose

hello everyone. first official post. I've really really wanted a jeep since i was a kid but i've been too cheap, broke, or responsible to own one until now.

the catch is, i bought one with a seized motor. i'm going to try to keep my story short, but it'll be tough. here we go....

99 red tj "spice" top/interior. Previous owner threw a rod 2.5 years ago, had a weekend warrior replace with ATK reman from NAPA. Earlier this summer when taking it on one of the first drives with the top down, it quit running at a red light. would still turn over, but not catch, and was turning over slowly. He's not very technical savvy so he checked the oil level, which was good, and had it towed by AAA to a local show i've never heard of. They did an hours worth of labor, and told him it'd be a major project to diagnose, they left the valve cover loose and spark plugs out. He had it towed home, it sat for two months with 3 spark plugs out, then he sold it to me.

he had it flat bedded to my home, and in my driveway i discovered it's seized. I removed the 4th spark plug, split a quart of tranny fluid between all 4 cylinders through the spark plug hole, and tried to free it up a few days later. i was hoping for surface corrosion on the rings. it didn't free up. the crank will turn maybe 10-15 degrees freely, but no more than that. i got a boroscope into the spark plug holes, and from what little i can see things look good, complete piston tops and cross hatch on the recently reman'd motor.

i've begun tearing it down to pull the engine, and have found a few odd things. the alternator is locked up, and the pulley is loaded up with burnt on rubber from the serp. belt. And the oil pressuge sender is loose, attached to the block with a 90 degree brass fitting and both threaded connections are loosy doosy.

i drained the oil and found no metal bits or shavings or anything shiny for that matter. i was expecting to find a spun main bearing.

i'm going to pull the oil pan next, and if i don't find anything conclusive, i'll pull the motor.


i'm posting here because internal engine diagnostics are a bit foreign to me. i spent 8 years behind a parts counter and am still ASE certified, but my hands on experience is limited. Anyone care to offer direction or educated guesses as to how things will go for me? ATK warranties the long block until February, but if it's a non-warranteable problem and i ship it to them, i've got to pay to have it shipped back. i'd like to conclusively diagnose it before doing that, so i have some leverage if they give me a hard time.

i've got a newborn in the house and a new job so time is tight otherwise i'd just poke around it until i backwards engineered the whole thing and figured it out for myself. But in order to make my dream of jeep ownership (running operable jeep ownership) come true, i'm going to need to reach out for some help.

anyhow, thanks in advance, i'll answer questions and update here as i go.

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Old 09-02-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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If it turns at all , it's not seized.

You have a chance of a bent rod, but I'm thinking not.
With the belt removed, will it turn over?

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:15 AM   #3
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serp belt is off and i only get the 10-15 degrees of rotation. What are the chances the timing chain broke and got sucked into the gears?

i see no signs of hydro lock, with what little i can see with a boroscope. No coolant in the oil though
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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How are the starter, battery and battery connections?
Have you tried using a long breaker bar with a socket on the crank pulley bolt ?
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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X2
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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What happens when you crank it over using the starter and the serpentine belt off?
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:00 PM   #7
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18" breaker with the belt removed and spark plugs out, i can only get ~10degrees rotation. if i wiggle it while looking down the spark plug hole with a boroscope the pistons move up and down a tiny bit. with the valve cover removed i don't see any suprises, the pushrods are all straight and such. i'm beginning to think/hope the motor is not seized and the problem is external.

i'm beginning to think the problem is in the flywheel/clutch, or timing chain. friday/saturday i'll have the inspection cover off to the transmission (i've read the AX5 has one near the starter, but i havn't found it yet) and the timing chain cover off.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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Just a though. Make sure the tranny is in neutral when you are trying to spin the motor.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:16 PM   #9
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okay, to anyone following along...

got it tore down enough to pull the timing cover to find a snapped chain all bunched up at the bottom... binding up the crank in both directions.
if you can't see the pics sorry. im trying to figure out google+.

so, new timing chain kit from napa, straightened out the tensioner bracket, and i'm now trying to fight the timing cover back on. it's a real mother.

i guess my only persistant concern is, why did a 2 year old maybe 10k miles timing chain fail? the chain showed no signs of low lubrication or wear, just a catastrophic failure. with the chain removed the crank and cam both turn over smoothly.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:00 PM   #10
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Defective slack remover or defect in chain. Unless the cam seized. In combination that most 2.5s get rode hard because of lack of power
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:09 PM   #11
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Following this one. I just replaced my 4.0 with an atk. Good call on the timing chain bro! Hope nothing else is broken because of it.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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crank and cam turn over buttery smooth...

called ATK. they want $25 to transfer warranty (i didn't buy the motor) and then they'll send me a new timing chain and gears. I inquired about the timing cover, as it's damaged from the chain... but it's considered "consequential" damage and not covered. I thought they'd work with me a bit because i was doing all the labor myself (warranty pays labor at book time) but no. Decided to buy parts locally and leave them out of it. ordered new fenders, flares, 2" BB spacers, 1.25" body lift...

my next adventure after getting it running will be repairing two rotten body mounts, driver side, middle and front of torque box... yay...

i'm figuring i can make robust plates then adjust the body spacers to level it out (plates won't be at original height...)
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:24 PM   #13
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Its damn impressive what your have done diagnosing and pulling everything aparon your own. nice work.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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Great diagnosis. Pics please?
I bet this is going to be an awesome Jeep.
You may have to sell the newborn though(J/K!!).
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:26 PM   #15
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as it sits

when i got it home.

2" BB, 1.25" body lift, and 33" bfg TA/KO's waiting to go on
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #16
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well, to anyone following along i've got the grill and radiator back in, and have had it running up to temperature a few times. runs like a champ, and once i get the 2" bb spacers in i'll start bolting the fenders back together. should be on the road and looking for dirt in a few weeks. i really lucked out... i had no idea what i was getting into and was in the market for a hoist and engine stand.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:55 PM   #17
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That is awesome that you got it resolved.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmorehouse View Post
well, to anyone following along i've got the grill and radiator back in, and have had it running up to temperature a few times. runs like a champ, and once i get the 2" bb spacers in i'll start bolting the fenders back together. should be on the road and looking for dirt in a few weeks. i really lucked out... i had no idea what i was getting into and was in the market for a hoist and engine stand.
kudos for looking at it logically and fixing it. Many would not consider doing what you did (and considered doing) to fix it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:27 PM   #19
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Nice

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