1993 Chevy Lumina won't start

Hi all. Hope someone can help me with this please. I have a 1993 Chevy Lumina Euro 3.1 that decided it wasn’t going to start one day. The night before it ran perfectly fine with no issues. When I would turn the key to start it, it acted like the battery was not charged. It didn’t click or make any sounds. Tried to charge the battery and it wouldn’t hold, so went and bought a new one. Got it hooked up and tried to start it again, and nothing. A friend came over and tried to check the starter by trying to start it directly from under the car while the key was on. The starter clicked but the car didn’t come on. He also checked the alternator and it was fine. He then went and checked to see if the fly wheel would turn, the one on the right side of the car with the bolt. It was locked solid. He tried to say that meant the engine was gone on it.

I don’t know. I do know I have had to replace the timing chain on it years ago. The fuel pump and all that was replaced a year ago. It keeps bugging me that it’s something else and not the engine being gone in it. I have also had the ignition replaced a while back as well when the previous one shorted out. Can anyone enlighten this poor mind of mine to see what is possibly the cause and hoping beyond hope that it’s not the engine? I am the second owner and it has 188k original miles on it and it’s nearly 25 years old. The fact that it does the same thing with a new battery tells me it’s more electrical than mechanical wise. Or am I wrong and only doing wishful thinking? Here’s a photo of my car’s engine and yep, the clean work is mine. Makes me sick if it is locked up. Sighs Thanks in advance for anything to help with this.

I think your friend was trying to turn the crankshaft pulley, not the flywheel. Anyway…

Find the crankshaft pulley, it’s the big pulley at the bottom of all the belts, over on the passenger side of the car. It has one large bolt in the middle of it. Find the correct size socket and a large “breaker bar” and try to turn it either way. This shouldn’t take more force than an average guy has. If it will not turn, remove the serpentine belt and try again. If still no go, there’s a very small chance that something in the starter is bound up in the flywheel, but chances are that the engine is gone.

The engine might be hydro-locked. A bad head gasket may have allowed coolant to fill up a cylinder. Coolant is not compressible, so the engine won’t turn. I suppose it is possible that a fuel injector allowed raw gasoline to fill a cylinder and raw gasoline also cannot be compressed. If the engine won’t turn with a breaker bar with the socket on the flywheel, you might try removing the spark plugs and try to turn the engine. If it is then free, you have the hydro-lock condition.

Okay thank you. My friend did try the suggested and even removed the belt to try and with the cheat bar. I’m just glad it happened in my drive way and not out in traffic somewhere. Is something like this expensive to fix for this year model? Or is it not worth redoing?

Whatever it is, it will be expensive to fix if you have to pay a shop to do it. Just how expensive depends on what has locked up the motor. For example, if a head leak has the engine hydrolocked, then you might get away with only needing to replace one head gasket (out of the two). And if its the right hand bank (front of car) this is easier than the other bank. Or you might find that you’ve had a head leak for a while and this has damaged other things and the whole engine ought to be rebuilt. Or you might find that it’s not a head issue at all but a lower end issue which would also require a rebuild.

No one can tell you whether its worth re-doing. That’s a question about you and the rest of the car. You get a guesstimate about what it will take you to get back on the road and then ask what kind of car you’d be able to buy for that amount of money. You also ask yourself about what is coming up soon for this car. Will it soon need tires? Brakes? Suspension work? Then see what you think.

I would first double-check that engine won’t turn over by hand. If not, I would start pulling spark plugs to look for coolant in cylinders - just to get an idea of what is going on.