Please help me


Old 02-09-07, 07:04 PM
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Please help me

I bought a car today(1988 trans am) ran fine. When I got home a few hours later I had it idling in the driveway and it suddenly died...kinda sounded like it ran out of gas. I tried to start it again and it turned over like it was going to but did not. I tried again and it clicked 3 times then nothing. I started to check thinks and found it had no oil in it.
I added oil and a new battery and it still will not start. It will only click once or twice. Could my engine of seized because of the lack of oil? or could it just be my starter? If a engine seized would it not be fairly loud or rough sounding?
Please help me....

thank you!

Last edited by 4katy; 02-09-07 at 07:05 PM. Reason: adding more info
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Old 02-09-07, 08:17 PM
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No oil is VERY bad for a motor. Hopefully it was not run to long without. No oil can seize pistons and such.

What do you mean by just a click? Does the engine attempt to turn over? If it is just clicking, it may be the starter.

I would do a compression check on the engine.

You do not need the motor to turn over to do a compression check. It's fairly easy.

You pull the fuel pump fuse, then try to start engine.

Then you will pull one spark plug at a time, and screw in the pressure gauge, and crank engine over and take reading. You do this with each plug.

Look in a Chiltons manual or auto store for the proper compression #'s.
Old 02-09-07, 08:40 PM
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The problem is we don't know how long it was out of oil.
Didn't the idiot light come on for low oil ?
Believe it or not an engine can run for a short time without oil before doing serious damage but again you can't be sure of how long it was low on oil before you got it and being a 1988 T/A I'm sure that engine was already tired.
By now it has cooled down and the metal should have retracted.

I would pull each spark plug and squirt oil into each cylinder to pre-lube it before trying to crank it again then use a breaker bar to turn the engine by hand without compression to see if you can break it loose and see if it dosen't bind up.
I speak from experience, this does work if it was not damaged too bad.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

Last edited by Mackey; 02-09-07 at 08:51 PM.
Old 02-09-07, 08:58 PM
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if it just clicks and wont crank would just go right to attempting to turn the engine over by hand with a breaker bar on the crank bolt if you can turn it by hand you have an electrical problem with the starting system causing the engine not to crank over, if you cant turn it by hand your engine is seized up and will probably need replaced or rebuilt.
Old 02-10-07, 01:15 AM
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How do I turn crank it by hand?

Thank you all for your answers. Exactly I have no idea how long it did not have oil in it.The idiot light did not come on and the guy told me the oil pressure gauge did not work when I picked it up. I drove to DMV to register it on the way home and walmart to get a wire kit for a new radio.It Started up each time. So maybe I really damaged it. I called the guy and he said" well it had oil when you left" I was so mad...right and a few hours later its out? Its funny because I found 2 quarts of oil in the trunk...who carries oil in the trunk unless they have a problem burning it! I guess I should have checked before I left with the car, but truly it did not enter my mind I just took it for granted all the fluid levels would be ok...I mean why would someone have you drive away with no oil? How do I crank the motor by hand? What do I have to remove? Should it turn alot or a little?
What I mean by clicking is when I turn the key it clicks once the motor does not turn.At this point I would be in heaven if it was only the starter...but somehow I doubt I will be that lucky, especially because it started fine all the way home.

thank you!
Old 02-10-07, 02:32 AM
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"How do I crank the motor by hand?"
You don't actually crank it. What you need to do is see whether the motor will revolve. If not, it's froze up. You do this by turning the crankshaft main bolt, with the transmission in neutral. But, if you don't have a set of 1/2" sockets and experience in working on cars, this is probably not doable. What's your experience working on cars? Do you have 1/2" sockets?

"Should it turn alot or a little?"
If you can turn it clockwise a little-by-little for a full turn of the bolt, it's probably okay. If you have trouble turning it at all, try removing one spark plug, then try turning. Remove other spark plugs if you still have trouble turning it. After removing 3 or four plugs, and if you still can't turn it, and the transmission is not in gear, it's seized up.

"What I mean by clicking is when I turn the key it clicks once the motor does not turn"
If you hear the click as soon as you turn the key to the start position, but the starter doesn't turn over the engine, you're probably hearing the starter solenoid clicking. In this case, you probably have a bad starter. If so, sometimes you can get a car with a bad starter to crank if you can push it a ways, then pop it in gear (this moves the starter motors armature). Then retry cranking it with the key.

PS: Have you put oil in it yet? How much did you put in before you got it to the Full mark on the dipstick? Also, when you were driving it, did smoke come out from back of car? Is there oil dripping from underneath?

Last edited by bigfred; 02-10-07 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Forgot to ask key question.
Old 02-10-07, 02:35 AM
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remove plugs

Before you turn by hand remove all plugs to make it easy. squirt some oil in each hole and get a big breaker bar on the crankshaft pulley.
I am assuming it is front wheel drive.
Old 02-10-07, 05:31 AM
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Trans Am, MV - rear wheel drive.

I'm also curious how much oil needed to be added. I seriously doubt it had "no" oil in it.
Old 02-10-07, 03:41 PM
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any sounds?

yep good ole rear wheel drive you are correct. However a engine on its death stroke should make some very loud sounds as the mains run dry. Some knocking and metal to metal noise should have been noticed unless the stereo was cranked up.
Old 02-10-07, 03:53 PM
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Was any attention paid to the temp gauge while it was running?

A good starter and battery will only click if the motor is siezed up.

Also curious on how much oil you needed to add to bring it to full.

BTW - for what it's worth - over 30 yrs ago I borrowed my bro in laws truck, dicovered it was 4 qts down [5qt 6 cyl] added 4 qts and drove it over 100 miles that afternoon with no problems.
Old 02-10-07, 08:32 PM
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A realy good thing is it stalled while idleing in the driveway and not on the highway at 70mph.
You have a realy good chance at saving this motor but make sure you pre-lube the cylinders and mabey even pull the valve covers and dump oil on the rockers and valve train before trying to turn the engine by hand.
Just put a socket on the crankshaft pulley bolt and you might have to use an extention on the socket wrench or breaker bar to break loose the engine.
Don't forget to pull all of the plugs as I mentioned in my earlier post.

What's bad is the lower you oil level is the faster the oil burns up.

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