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Discussion Starter #1
Evening, all. First-time poster. Looking for help and/or advice.

Long story short: Tried to start up the 1968 Galaxie 500 at my home in Washington, D.C., this evening. Horrible engine noise and failure. No idea what happened.

It is about 50 degrees outside, so the engine was struggling to start. It would fire up but then quickly die down, even if I gave it just a tiny bit of gas.

So, on the last attempt, I fired it up and then gave it much more gas to rev the engine to help warm it up. I didn’t quite floor it, but I put more weight on the pedal than before. Much more.

The engine was firing up loud as usual, then there was a terrible clanging, banging noise. Not quite a pop like a backfire, but like something snapped. Then the driver’s side of the car felt like it dropped about an inch or two. I quickly turned the car off, and then the engine slowly died making a terrible, agonizing sound. I haven’t attempted to start it up since then, and really don’t want to until I get a better idea of what just happened.

I am new to owning a classic and have been working hard to restore this ’68, so I’m obviously really bummed about whatever just happened.

If there are any users who may have suggestions for what went wrong and how I may fix it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

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What size engne you working on and is it still factory stock or been modified with aftermarket parts? Have you done any work on it at all?
 

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It could be anything from a locked up accessory to a catastrophic failure of engine or transmission. You will need to do all the external inspection you can and maybe you find something simple - maybe not.

I would visually check the fan clutch, alternator, power steering pump, waterpump, air conditioner compressor and clutch.

Check the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid - anything in there that should not be? Then try to turn the engine manually with a socket and breaker bar on the harmonic balancer. Be gentle but firm and see if it turns both ways. See if it turns all the way through.

If the motor turns smoothly by hand, try to crank it but just bump it a few times first. It could be the starter clutch locked up and stayed engaged. reving the motor would overspeed the starter and can tear it up.

Great looking car BTW. The description of failure could point to so many things. How long since the car was driven regularly?
 

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Agree with the above. Since you mentioned the front end dropped, I'd look at the suspension. I had an upper A arm break on a Mustang. Or maybe a motor mount is broken, allowing the fan to contact the radiator, etc.

Pat
 

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My worst comparable starting experiences were 1. Distributor set incorrectly (a. too far adv/retd or b. TDC not on #1 or c. wires to plugs wrong or d. points), 2, float (a too high or b. front and back floats switched or c. float bowl empty) 3. choke plate not closed 5. air cleaner plugged with dirt, 6. bad gas.
Good luck!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Hey, all. Thanks so much for the input. Sorry for tardiness.

So, I guess I have to out how new I am to this. To answer some of the questions, it has been driven recently. About a couple of weeks ago with no issue. The engine is a 302. Some work has been done with aftermarket parts. The suspension looks fine (to me at least).

I cannot for the life of me find what went wrong, though I did find these two bits unconnected under the hood. Any thoughts on this? Thanks for patience as I learn my way around it.
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Those appear to be the filling points for the A/C - are they flopping around and could connect with something when the engine is running - if not, then ignore them.
So - find the distributor and remove the cap, then pull out the rotor and have someone try to start the car for a few seconds as you look under the hood. Obviously it will not run because you've pulled the rotor, but the resulting noises should give you an indication of where the failure has occurred - engine related or ancillary related. Then have a poke around under the hood and maybe remove a few fan belts if it sounds like it's not internal to the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Those appear to be the filling points for the A/C - are they flopping around and could connect with something when the engine is running - if not, then ignore them.
So - find the distributor and remove the cap, then pull out the rotor and have someone try to start the car for a few seconds as you look under the hood. Obviously it will not run because you've pulled the rotor, but the resulting noises should give you an indication of where the failure has occurred - engine related or ancillary related. Then have a poke around under the hood and maybe remove a few fan belts if it sounds like it's not internal to the engine.
ugh, yeah. friend already pointed that out. got a lot to learn, obvs. wasn't kidding when I said I'm coming in at ground level.
 

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Before you start pulling plugs and rotors and such, I would do full inspection of external components Look to make sure the motor mounts are intact, the fan isn't hitting something, the belts are intact, no accessories have fallen off their brackets (power steering pump or alternator). Any holes in the sides of the engine, catastrophic fluid leaks (that weren't there before)?

That's easy to do and should be the first thing.

Check fluids...coolant good? Oil good (shine a flashlight on the oil dipstick to see if there are any metallic particles in the oil itself).

When it ran, did it run okay? Was it rough? Maybe the timing was off and when you floored it to start it the revs caused something inside to make contact (valves on pistons, perhaps). Maybe a valve seat dropped. Was the car smoking at all when this noise was happening (either from under hood or out of the exhaust)?

I'm trying to put together how the noise happened and THEN the driver's side felt like it dropped. That seems like a weird sequence of events.
 

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You said the car sagged alot when you got off it? I wonder if it is a motor mount. If it went out in a big way, it might make some clanging noises from the engine twisting when you rev it up. Does the sound change at all when you rev the car? Does it get really loud or speed up/slow down depending on how much gas you give it? Have you tried to start it since then? If you go to try and it doesn't give you anything, maybe you threw the gear off the starter. If you had done that, it could get thrown around by the flywheel in the bellhousing and would definitely cause an awful racket.

It's hard trying to diagnose over the internet, hope we're helping you out man.
 

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Evening, all. First-time poster. Looking for help and/or advice.

Long story short: Tried to start up the 1968 Galaxie 500 at my home in Washington, D.C., this evening. Horrible engine noise and failure. No idea what happened.

It is about 50 degrees outside, so the engine was struggling to start. It would fire up but then quickly die down, even if I gave it just a tiny bit of gas.

So, on the last attempt, I fired it up and then gave it much more gas to rev the engine to help warm it up. I didn’t quite floor it, but I put more weight on the pedal than before. Much more.

The engine was firing up loud as usual, then there was a terrible clanging, banging noise. Not quite a pop like a backfire, but like something snapped. Then the driver’s side of the car felt like it dropped about an inch or two. I quickly turned the car off, and then the engine slowly died making a terrible, agonizing sound. I haven’t attempted to start it up since then, and really don’t want to until I get a better idea of what just happened.

I am new to owning a classic and have been working hard to restore this ’68, so I’m obviously really bummed about whatever just happened.

If there are any users who may have suggestions for what went wrong and how I may fix it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

View attachment 167112
Curious to hear an update from you. I've got a 68 hardtop with a 302 as well. And I, like you, am all new to classic cars.

What you describe may be something simple like belt slipping off a pulley and getting caught up in the fan or other belt-driven accessory. I had that happen to me when I reinstalled the AC in my 68--started the car without properly tensioning the belt and it slipped off and wrapped itself around several things. It made a horrible screeching sound and stalled the engine. And it all happened so fast! Had a small fire--belt burned up. That was a way to get adrenaline pumping!

Can you take some more photos of the engine bay? Plenty of guys here could probably immediately spot a problem.
 
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