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.