Upside down engine

My son’s 1992 S10 pick-up was involved in an accident last week where it slid on some ice and slide down an embankment and rested on it’s roof. The truck sat for approximately 4-5 hours that way until a wrecker turned it back over. No damage to the front end or the bed. Is the motor ruined? What should I do before I try to start it? It has the 4.3L V6…Please help. Thanks, Jeff P.S. Son was not hurt!

GM uses an oil pressure switch to shut the fuel pump off in the event of an accident. Where Ford utilizes an inertia switch to perform the same task.

If the vehicle sat on it’s lid, all the oil drained to the top of the engine so there was no oil pressure. So the fuel pump should have shut off. If so, there should be no engine damage.


I would pull all the spark plugs and then turn the engine by hand to check for any oil accumulation in the cylinders. If there is a good amount of oil in any of the cylinders and you try to start it up, it could hydro-lock on you.

Other than that, I can’t think of any other reason the engine may be damaged. Like Tester said, the engine should have turned itself off before any other engine damage happened.

I agree with BustedKnuckles. Pull all the spark plugs and clear any oil that has accumulated in the cylinders. Clean plugs as necessary, reinstall, and fire it up. That should be it.

It may/will smoke for a bit, but it should clear up in a few miles. Check all fluids as who knows what leaked out.

First, try to turn the engine over by hand, using a wrench on the crank pulley or by simply turning the cooling fan if engine driven…If the engine turns over freely, see if it will start normally. Check all the fluids. Sometimes car batteries will not survive this, sediment shorts out the plates…Expect some smoke for a while…Good Luck…!

I flipped a MG Midget back in '81. It was on it’s roof for more than 12 hours before I got it towed and there was no engine damage. I didn’t do anything before trying to start it other than let it sit for a few days, it started up and ran fine. I ended up selling the car to someone to repair and resell.

I agree with Busted and Mark, except that I’d replace the plugs. There are two types of seats on sparkplugs, and the shoulder type has a metal “crush washer” on its base that’s designed to deform to the seat. Yours uses the crush washer. Attached is a photo. Once used, they should not be reused (although I know it’s common to do so).

Hey FordMan, I loved the Midgets. I took one for a test drive once and had a ball, even though the top speed was…well, whatever. Those were the days when manufacturers could make really cheap little sports cars, the days before all the regulations. A Midget would be great for scooting around town.

gsragtop makes a very point about other liquids. If it has an automatic transmission, it could have lost a lot of ATF.

The only thing I will add is ck the rear axel gear oil. The vent is on the top of the axel. I have seen the oil leak out this vent.
When I worked the dealer ship, we had a guy that rolled his car 4 deferent times with no harm to the engine. The last time it sill ran fine. We just could not fix it any more. It did show me the roof I welded on twice held up as good a the factory roof did.

4 times? Unless he’s a rally driver, he needs to quit driving.

Hey FordMan, I loved the Midgets. I took one for a test drive once and had a ball, even though the top speed was…well, whatever. Those were the days when manufacturers could make really cheap little sports cars, the days before all the regulations.

Apparently my Midget ran faster than I realized. My older brother was following me somewhere one day and when we got there he ask me what my hurry had been. I replied I was only driving about 60 by my speedometer, he said he was going 80 just to keep up with me. I’m surprised I didn’t get a boat load of tickets in it, as I always drove about 60 by the speedometer. I always thought it seemed like I was going faster than 60, but just thought it was because of the small car and being built so low to the ground. I don’t know what the top speed of the Midget was, but I think I had mine up to around 90 by it’s speedometer a few times, it really got light at those speeds. Here’s one just like the one I had only mine didn’t have the spoke wheels and was a '78 model.

how would you clear all the oil in the cylinders. Going through something similar with my 92 explorer?

It would also be a good idea to check the battery in case the acid spilled. If it spilled, a good wash with some water and baking soda might prevent damage.

I dont know what any one else would do. My thought is an oil under the valve covers would drain back down, Perhaps some hemp roe or cotton rope stuffed into the cylinder via the spark plug hole would work to absorb excess oil. Hillbilly me thought.

7 year old post, Haven’t see Mark9207 for a while.

Clearing the cylinders can be done by removing the sparkplugs and cranking the starter. That will push any oil out of the cylinders. Reinstall spark plugs and go.

And FWIW the Midgets and AH Sprites with 1100cc engines ran 15 mph/1000 rpm and were at the 6,000 rpm red line at 90 mph if they were tuned up well enough to reach the red line. I tuned up quite a few of those long ago and test drove them to the limit. Of course you needed an egg timer for 1/4 mile times.