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Dead Mustang

My son’s 2002 Mustang GT stopped running on highway. He was driving on cruise control at 75mph and the transmission downshifted, then the engine died.

We tried to jump start the battery and the starter solenoid clicks but the engine will not crank over. Checked all fuses inside car and under the hood. Oil was changed in car day before it died and it looks fine. Tried to hand crank the engine and it will not turn. However the guy that sold the car said that the timing chain was replaced by direct gears. Would this cause us not being able to hand crank the engine? Transmission was rebuilt 2 months ago. Any suggestions would be helpful

“The guy that sold the car said that the timing chain was replaced by direct gears?”

That would have been enough to prevent me from buying the car.

I suggest you have it towed to a mechanic.

What did the engine temperature gauge show when the car died? Was it normal?

How does the oil dipstick look now? Oil at normal level?

This car does have a timing chain, perhaps somebody wasn’t very clear on what, if anything, was ever changed out.

the guy that sold the car said that the timing chain was replaced by direct gears.

That would scare me.

BTW where did you son find a 75 mph speed limit? :slight_smile:

This story is not complete…This V8 engine is an overhead cam design driven by a rather complex roller chain system. I don’t think converting it to gears is even possible…These engines are better left as they were delivered from the factory. Normally, they have 300K mile reliability. I would start looking for a decent salvage yard engine…

Oil looks good. Clean and at normal level. Seller said timing chain was replaced with gears. Going to pull starter and see if that is binding up flywheel.

BTW where did you son find a 75 mph speed limit? :slight_smile:

They might live over here in Colorado.
I-25 has huge stretches of 75 mph signs on it, north and south of Denver.
I-70 also has nice long stretches of 75 mph between Denver and Kansas.
I also believe its the same on the Western Slope.

Just because you don’t have 75 mph speed limits in your area, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.


Perhaps the timing chain and “gears” were changed, meaning camshaft sprockets?

How would the starter be the cause of the engine dying? I’d pull the spark plugs and try turning the engine by hand.

Actually the turnpikes here in OK have 75 MPH speed limits.

There are a lot of details that are unknown but I’m in agreement with Caddyman about an incomplete story and also wonder why a timing chain had to even be replaced on this car.

Just being curious let me ask this. You state the oil was changed the day before this happened.
Were there any noises before this happened?
Who changed the oil and were you present when this was done?

No way the timing chains were replaced with timing gears, this car has a 4.6L SOHC engine, the timing chain is a couple feet long. If it had been replaced with timing gears they would have to be massive.

I don’t think it was the starter that caused the engine to die, but now I can’t turn the engine by hand. The stater gear might be stopping the flywheel from turning.

speed limit on I-10 in west Texas is now 80 mph.

Pulled out the starter and it tested good. No damage on flywheel teeth. Tried cranking engine by hand with starter out and it wouldn’t move. Would a spun bearing seize the engine?

Yes, a spun bearing can seize an engine but so can a number of other things. It’s difficult to say based on someone going into the chain case and replacing anything at all.
If you’re at the point where you’re replacing timing chains and tensioners then odds are other problems exist also.

Just for hoots, remove the serpentine belt and see what happens. A gentleman towed a 60k miles showroom clean Nissan in to me once that was seized solid. He sent along a note to overhaul the engine or whatever it took because it was his daughter’s car and with money no object.

Since the odds of a well-maintained low miles Nissan shucking an engine without abuse is about zero I decided to take a closer look. The idler had seized for the A/C and the belt was locking the engine up solid. Starter motor or socket/ratched would not budge it. Remoed the belt and it started right up and ran great. An easy 10 minute fix and an equally stunned car owner who flat did not believe me when I called to tell him it was already a done deal and for cheap.

This may not be the problem but it’s easy enough to weed out.

I’ll second the serpentine belt suggestion.

I had an Oldmobile Silhouette minivan years ago that locked up the alternator with no warning. The car got very sluggish on local streets and then within a few miles the engine locked up. The starter couldn’t budge it.

A new alternator took care of it, very much to my surprise and relief.