It’s not uncommon for a tractor that has been sitting a while to become stuck. If your tractor’s engine is stuck from sitting, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to free the engine without resorting to an extensive overhaul (a tractor that becomes seized while running or is seized from running out of oil is a different story).
While there are a few different methods for freeing a stuck (or seized) engine, here’s our favorite.
First, pour a high-quality penetrating oil down the cylinders (through the spark plug holes). Use up the entire can, dividing it between each cylinder. Let it sit overnight.
The next day, remove the starter to expose the teeth on the flywheel. Place a large bar in the flywheel and gently rock back and forth to loosen. If this doesn’t work – or if you are uncomfortable with placing a pry bar in the flywheel – try putting the tractor in a high gear and rocking the rear tires back and forth.
Once the flywheel is loosened, do a quick tune-up on the carburetor. Re-insert the starter and spark plugs, put in fresh gas, and start the tractor up!
There’s a risk with this method. Pry too hard, and you could break the teeth off the flywheel. However, I think it’s worth the risk. The way I look at it, if you tractor is stuck you are already in trouble. Your chances are pretty good of successfully freeing the motor with this method.
If this method doesn’t work, we decide to overhaul the tractor before we break/bend a rod or do more damage trying to free it.
Dan O'Connor says
This is Excellent Advice and can Most Definitely Free a Engine that has been sitting, I’ve Done it a Few Times.
JAMES HOOVER says
Good advice don’t know how many times I’ve done this cross my fingers haven’t broken a ring yet enjoy drive an old used tractor even if you have the big new one I’m 74 still have 2 & half 8N’ tractors
how bad is it to fix a motor that seized up while I was runningin
Steve Stoltzfus says
needs a total rebuild
Curtis Pelly says
I have a 172 engine it is seized,i put acid tone and atf in the spark plugs to soak my no.3 cyl. Is seized its been soaking for a week now but no luck in freeing it up do ypu have any advices to how to free the piston
Jane Roberson says
Same thing here. Intl. Tractor has been setting a spell and pistons are stuck (seized). Tried pouring some brand of “free it up”, didn’t work! ☹
Bill Lincoln says
Use liquid wrench in cylinders. Take a large flare tip on propane torch and heat up the block for 30 -+ Mins. Also can pour hot water in hose to block without thermostat . Disconnect implements on PTO. If you cant pry ring gear with starter off– jack up rear end and rock tire or pull with another tractor. Penetrant with heat is required but takes time to warm block.
Milton Schrader says
I did not know there was water in the oil filter and the engine seized while it was running. I filled up both cylinders wit diesel fuel through both spark [lug holes and waited a week. then jacked up one rear wheel and started rocking the wheel back and forth and unfroze the engine with no side effects. Rule if a tractor has been sitting unshaded in the summer rains drain the crankcase oil before freezing temperatures occur for the winter season
Noah Keeton says
I have an older B7100 Kubota with a 3cyl diesel . It set for 5 years outside..We put fuel in it we cleaned fuel filter and bled the air from fuel lines. It started up. After a few seconds the dip stick shot out and oil was pumping out. I drove it on the trailer brought it home. I let it set for a month or so while repairing steering box. Then I changed oil and filter put a new ignition switch. Tried to start it nothing . The motor is seized up. Crank would not turn. I’ve pulled the injectors out been pouring all kinds of solvents transmission fluids anyway it’s still not turning it’s been 3 weeks and no change. Is there something else that could be stopping it from turning? HELP!!!
First thing, check battery, cables, and ignition. If you can rock the wheel in gear it isn’t siezed. But if none of the above fix it, you will likely have to full the engine head off pull out pistons and replace cylinder liners, rings, etc.
I had a car with a stuck engine and had to get the engine loose enough to turn one revolution so we could get the bolts out of the flex plate. The pan was off the engine, and my friend was under the car checking some things out when I started spraying Seafoam Deep Creep into the spark plug holes. Within a few seconds, the Deep Creep had gotten past the rings and and was giving my friend a Deep Creep shower!
Can you pull the tractor with a truck and then pop the clutch would that free the seized motor?
I a John Deere H model and Ford 9N Tractors both with engine stuck .
I have pour Diesel down the spark plug hole and tried to rocket back and forth but no lock yet .
Any other ideas ?
Thank you .
Did you ever win on the H? I split a can of Mr. Gibbs and a 42 oz. bottle of Diet Coke. Three days and no luck yet. Next is to weld 1 1/2″ Pins on square tubing about 6′ long and try turning the flywheel.
Any other suggestions?
Douglas A Hooper says
On my 801 diesel the engine will not turn over, I checked battery it is good, put new starter on it. It still will not turn over, what’s the trouble.
carl simmons says
the best thing i have used so far is brake fluid ,it has anti corrosives and a few other good things and works well for this
I have an Oliver super 55 came out the other day to start it and it seems locked up it’s only been sitting about three months in a garage Starter is working tried to turn the fly wheel with a bar and it is stuck any suggestions
John Deere’s are a bummer with the cylinders laying horizonal. Working on one now with the front wheels on about 18″ blocks. Have a full can of Mr. Gibb’s squirted in and topped off with 20 oz. of Diet Coke per cylinder. Going to give that concoction 3 days and rocking a wheel. Next will be a bar with welded pins in the flywheel holes.
Time for a nap!
If you have a better idea, I am all ears.
I have a Massey Ferguson 35 gas burner and pistons seem to be stuck, the guy I bought it from already pulled the head off and oil pan rods seem free so what do I try next pored penetrating oil over all cylinders letting it sit haven’t been able to budge it so far but not giving up will try anything please help
Lisa Warren says
Have you tried hardwood 2×4 and pound on them?
Anthony Miller says
I have the same problem , used it all winter went to use it couple weeks ago, and she locked up while I was useing it. Any luck on yours?