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Old 10-03-2009, 07:34 AM
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Exclamation Hydrolocked or NOT hydrolocked???

Well I was driving my '98 Wrangler Sahara TJ on the beach last month and drove into an 18 inch deep tide pool going about 30mph. My jeep stalled and died in the tide pool. I had to wait 3hrs for a buddy to come pull me out and the tide was coming in makin the tidepool deeper and deeper eventually reaching over my right fender but not to my intake. (The left side was much higher out of the water than the right) My interior electricals all stopped working but my exterior electricals all worked fine. I had to be towed 27 miles down the beach back home. I pulled the air filter and it was dry, sprayed WD-40 in the distributor and dried everything out for 3 days, installed a new starter and alternator. A week later it still wont turn over. Tow it to a 4X4 shop. Wires under the underhood fuse box have corroded in half from the saltwater. Replaced underhood fuse box including harness and all fluids changed. Jeep still wont turn over but now all the electricals in and out work fine. Mechanic is puzzled and suggests experimental engine surgery. What the heck is wrong with my Jeep?!? Did I kill it?

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Old 10-03-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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did you pull the plugs and see if you had water in the cylinders?

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Old 10-03-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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X2 pull all the plugs and crank the engine!
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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He says it won't crank though. He could pull the plugs and if its manual put it in gear and roll it then release the clutch right?
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:55 PM   #5
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He says it won't crank though. He could pull the plugs and if its manual put it in gear and roll it then release the clutch right?
That would work if the starter was the problem, but he already replaced the starter.

Good luck man, this sounds like a bad situation... But if worst comes to worst... V8 swap!!!
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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pull plugs and turn key. if water sprays out then you did hydrolock it and with it being salt water, its time for a new motor.

i have to ask this question tho, does the motor spin and not start or does it just not spin? if it spins and doesnt start then it is not hydrolocked but if it doesnt spin, even with the plugs out, put a big wrench on the crank pulley bolt and try to turn the motor. if it turns with the wrench get under it ans short out the soleniod signal wire, the small one, to the positive battery wire, with big one comming from the battery and see if that gets the starter to spin. i allways ask this question because different people have different meanings for the word crank.

do not let the mech do any more surgery until this question is answered. if its just that the starter isnt going, i know you replaced it theres alot more to it tho, then it is absolutely not an internal problem its just a wireing thing.
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:27 AM
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Thank you all for replying. I pulled the plugs and they were dry. I hooked the battery straight to the starter solenoid and the starter spins but the motor doesn't turn. The mechanic took a wrench to the crank pulley bolt and it wouldn't turn. What's next? I love my Jeep and don't want to get rid of it. I'm not in a situation right now that I can afford a new motor much less a V8 swap. Should I take it to the Jeep dealer and let them take a look? The mechanic I have is supposed to be the best 4X4/electrical guy in the area but I'm not impressed so far. BTW my Jeep is an automatic 4.0L.
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:01 AM   #8
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I hydrolocked my old cherokee but that was in fresh water. (this was the entire front end taking a dive) i removed the plugs and wired my buddies super V8 alternator directly to the starter and the engine still turned over (while shooting 3 streams of water at least 40 feet) I'm not sure what salt water would do to an engine or electronics but it your air filter was dry then you should be able to manually turn over the engine.

You said the starter spins but the engine doesn't? Check that the starter isn't loose and make sure that its fully engaging the fly wheel. (crank the bolts till they won't go any more)

Good luck
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:52 AM   #9
 
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Thank you all for replying. I pulled the plugs and they were dry. I hooked the battery straight to the starter solenoid and the starter spins but the motor doesn't turn. The mechanic took a wrench to the crank pulley bolt and it wouldn't turn. What's next? I love my Jeep and don't want to get rid of it. I'm not in a situation right now that I can afford a new motor much less a V8 swap. Should I take it to the Jeep dealer and let them take a look? The mechanic I have is supposed to be the best 4X4/electrical guy in the area but I'm not impressed so far. BTW my Jeep is an automatic 4.0L.
If the starter spins but doesn't engage they the solenoid is suspect. i took a quick look at my starter and I don't see the small signal wire like GM used, maybe Jeep uses a relay like Ford's old system. Does the + cable from the battery go directly to the starter solenoid or to a relay like the black thing in the picture? Raining outside or I would trace it out.

If it goes to a relay you can test it by jumping 12 volts to the small wire on the relay, if that spins the starter the relay is OK and you have a wiring problem, fuse problem, fusable link problem or something of that nature between your ignition switch and the relay.

If jumping 12 volts to the small wire on the relay doesn't spin the starter, replace relay.

If starter spins but doesn't engage it would have to be the starter solenoid or starter drive (bendix), overrunning clutch in the starter drive isn't holding or something like that. Odd if the starter is new, is the solenoid new also?
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:56 AM   #10
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Hate to say it man but you are fighting a lossing battle.Even if you salvage the engine for another 5000 miles or so your tranny will not last that long if you have an auto.I sank mine in fresh water(well muddy water really) but mine was in there for about 30-40 mins total and it trashed my tranny.Even after getting as much as I could from the tranny I still had water in the axle housings,transfer case,and places I did not even know it could get trapped in.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:02 AM   #11
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Sandman said: """""The mechanic took a wrench to the crank pulley bolt and it wouldn't turn."""""

If it won't turn by hand, the starter is NOT the culprit. You should be able to turn it by hand.

Try turning it the other way? Rock it back and forth a little?

Were the plugs out of it when he tried? How hard did he try?

Try turning it by hand with the clutch pedal pushed down. If salt water got on the trans input bearing, it could have locked it up - much cheaper than an engine. Pushing down the clutch pedal disconnects the trans, putting the trans in neutral doesn't.

Whenever you suspect a cylinder is full of any kind of fluid - or anything for that matter (broken plug etc.) - ALWAYS TURN IT BY HAND to check it.
The starter is powerful enough it can do damage - you can't turn it hard or fast enough by hand to hurt anything.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:11 AM   #12
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Sandman said: """""The mechanic took a wrench to the crank pulley bolt and it wouldn't turn."""""

That sounds quite serious and a bit hard to believe...I have broken rods, pistons and cranks and have still been able to move the crank pulley to various degrees with a wrench.. It is hard to understand a fully locked up motor...I would double check that fact your self...
If your TJ was running when you hit the hole and if it was a soft landing and if you did not blow it up trying to get it out...I have a hard time thinking your motor is now suddenenly that dead.
I would have someone else look at it before going too much farther. Some thing else is going on here...
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #13
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One thing you may try is to get yourself some Marvel Mystery Oil and put some in each of the plug holes and let it sit over night, if you have any kind of rust starting to form it will help break it down.
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:47 PM   #14
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Did you drain the oil to see if it looked like theres water in there?
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:32 PM
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Exclamation

I'm way outta my league here. The mechanic did put magic mystery oil to try to break it loose on Friday. He's gunna see if he can turn the crank pulley bolt with a wrench again Monday. I checked all the fluids several times before I towed it to the shop and when they changed them out he said they all looked good to him as well.

Here's a question: If I installed the starter correctly and it spins, wouldn't that be spinning the flywheel? I'm starting to wonder if maybe I didn't get the teeth engaged and lined up properly? Also, the solenoid is part of the starter for my year of Wrangler. Depending on what the mech says Monday I'm flying to Dallas to borrow my parents extra vehicle. Atleast that will buy me some time.

Since I did do all this damage with saltwater alot of people are telling me to fix it and sell it bcuz i might continue to have problems for the life of the vehicle. It's a real shame. I've babied my Jeep for the six years I've had it and I hate to see it end like this bcuz I did something stupid. What would you guys do? Get a 2nd opinion and base my decision off of that?

I really appreciate all of the help here guys.
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #16
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It's possible the salt water rusted the rings to the cylinder walls, or made the cylinder wall so rough they can't slide. That'll depend on how long it sat with saltwater in the cylinders. Salt water works fast.

But - you said the intake was not wet from the saltwater, the only other way in is through the exhaust. If the engine was hot, then stalled in the water, it may have "sucked" some water up the pipe into the engine - but only in one or two cyls. But you should see signs of it on the plugs. Shine a strong light down the plug hole - see what you can see. You might need a small mirror.

If the oil's clear it shows the crankcase didn't get wet, but it still can have some in a cylinder.

Even then, you should be able to rock it back and forth and get some movement.

Using a starter on a hydro locked engine often times can bend a rod. DON"T!!!!
Especially if the starter gets it turning a little, then it hits the jammed hydro locked cylinder, making it suddenly stop. It can bend the rod so much the rod actually jhams into the walls. I've seen that happen more than one.

If you suspect any engine might be hydro locked, simply turn it over by hand. You aren't strong enough to bend a rod, but the starter sure is.

If you aren't sure you put the starter in correctly, take it out, then try it by hand. Installed wrong it can lock the engine.

Water can get to the clutch real easy. And it can get to the trans input bearing and lock it up. What happened when you tried to turn it by hand with the clutch pedal pushed down?

Next step would be pull the head.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:39 AM
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Exclamation

After being towed to my house we pushed my jeep up my driveway and water DID pour out my exhaust. I'm heading to the mechanics at 8am after I get off work. (weekend graveyards)

The mechanic said the the wrench wouldn't budge the crank pulley and stopped before he felt like he was gunna break it off.

I'm going to advise the mechanic to uninstall the starter and reinstall it just to be sure I didn't create this problem.

Also, I've got an automatic trans so no clutch. The oil looked fine and so did the tranny fluid.

Many thanks to all the guys that are trying to help me on this.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #18
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May as well leave the starter off - if it's in need of major repairs it'll have to come off again.
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:11 PM   #19
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turn your key on, roll it down your drive way and slam it into drive, that'll break it free
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:21 PM   #20
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turn your key on, roll it down your drive way and slam it into drive, that'll break it free
Going to have to be one hell of a driveway to get enough speed to catch with an automatic trans. Thought it was usually like 20-30 mph?
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:13 PM   #21
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turn your key on, roll it down your drive way and slam it into drive, that'll break it free
wont do anything with an auto.

i say pull the starter in your driveway and see if you can turn the crank by hand. if not then pull the plugs again and shine a light in the cylinders and see what you can see. the exhaust manifold is on the drivers (left) side so it could have gotten water because it is alot lower than the intake. if you got salt water in there you will see considerable amounts of rust.
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:18 PM   #22
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we were at pismo beach a few years back in a friends 75 bronco. same kind of thing. in the water then hit a drop off and all power was lost. waves were coming and we were just rocking till our other buddy got us pulled out. long story short, his main barrings were shot and decided to get a new 351. hope its not that bad but sea water sucks!!

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