I have a 1971 Ford F250 XLT. I was driving it down the highway and I realized I needed oil badly. I told my wife "we gotta get oil first thing tomorrow" and she said okay. 5 minutes later, 10 minutes from my house, the engine started to make a weird noise, and smoke started to come out from the engine. I wasted no time and parked right away on the side of the road. Turned it off, and opened the hood. The engine was smoking and making this bubbly noise. My parents came to pick up my wife and I.

Next day I came back with 10w30 oil, put it in. When I try to start it, the engine makes a thump noise. The starter is working because a little bit of smoke comes out of the starter when I try to to start it and the belt moves for a split second and doesn't move anymore. Like something is in the way of it moving. It's not the battery. Please help.

  • There are two possible "clouds" that might have been coming from your engine compartment. It could have been smoke (from oil, or overheating components, or possible from grease or oil on hot parts of the engine) or it could have been steam. Steam is usually whiter than smoke which might be almost black or at least noticeably gray. Steam will also smell less unpleasant than most smokes. Any idea which it was?
    – dlu
    Jul 26, 2016 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


It sounds like your engine may have seized. The thump and smoke from the starter sound like the starter is trying to turn the engine but can't. Starter motors are usually unfused, so if the motor can't turn the engine for some reason they will quickly generate a lot of heat. That would explain the smoking from the starter, its not a good sign (either for your engine or for the starter).

Don't keep trying to turn the engine over with the starter, the most likely thing that will happen there is that the heat will destroy the starter.

If you're game to do the work yourself and have access to an engine lift, it is probably no more than a day's work to put in a recycled engine from a similar truck. It could be more if you have to move over a lot of accessories or if you want to take the time to do some maintenance on the new old engine.

If you've got the time and can afford to do the work it could be a fun project.

  • How do I fix it? Jul 26, 2016 at 1:09
  • 1
    @HunterL.Parrick Try pulling all the spark plugs and turning it over by hand if it still won't go you're probably going to need a new engine. honestly either way you're probably going to need a new engine.
    – Ben
    Jul 26, 2016 at 1:24
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    The short answer is that you'd either rebuild the engine or replace it. What probably happened is that the oil was so low that it couldn't keep the main moving parts of the engine lubricated, the resulting friction damaged the bearings and other moving parts making it hard for them to move. Most engines are rebuildable or you can buy a "short block" (the main moving components less accessories like the distributor, carburetor, the pumps, etc.) or you could get an engine from a recycler. Or you could have shop do any of the above for you.
    – dlu
    Jul 26, 2016 at 1:28
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    check to see if it's pushing fluid out of the cylinders that would be the only real reason an engine would lock up if the lower end moves.
    – Ben
    Jul 26, 2016 at 1:36
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    yes, it's possible the lack of lubrication caused wear plus over heating. either way it's not sounding good.
    – Ben
    Jul 26, 2016 at 1:53

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