I have a Ford 4600 tractor (3 cylinder diesel) that I have had for a few years. I have replaced the starter, alternator, cleaned up the contacts, changed parts of the electrical system, etc and managed to get it running well for 1 winter, start right away, run without problems (I use it to remove snow around my house). Then one winter it would randomly die. I tracked it down to a fuel flow problem, the tank filter. I cleaned the crap out the tank and filter on the intake, got the fuel flowing at a decent rate, tested the tractor and it ran fine. Winter came and snow. Went to start the tractor, found it hard to start, took me over 2 hours of trying, engine warmer on, running the glow plugs, external starter etc. Then it started. I left it running so that it could start to heat up the cab to defrost the windows. Then after a few minutes, I heard it start to slow down. I also saw nothing coming out of the exhaust, the cab had some inside it. Then it stopped. From that point, the engine had seized up, the engine will not turn. Tested the starter, works fine. battery is fine. I originally thought that it could have been water in the exhaust (the cap doesn't come down on it) and snow goes it. So thought that it could have been blocking it. Or water had gone in the engine.

So this week I decided to have a look (been seized for 6 months now), took off the injectors (cleaned them too) and had a look in, couldn't see any water. Tried to turn it over, without them in, it wouldn't.

Tried removing the exhaust manifold (is that what its called :) the part attached to the engine from the exhaust), a small amount of water ran out.

Oil is fine, its at max. Coolant it at a good level.

What could have caused this? I was planning on just taking apart the engine to have a look. I only know what i have read and looked up on youtube videos about engines. so not a mechanic, but I am very mechanically minded.

Do I need to strip down the engine?

A new engine isn't an option for this, its a rust bucket, the replacement engine would cost more than what I paid for the whole thing.


  • Can you rotate the engine with a bar? if not it might have seized... You say the oil level is fine, but when has it been changed? When was the oil filter changed? Has the oil & filter ever been changed in the time you have owned it?
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 16, 2019 at 10:29
  • Please explain the engine wont turn, yet the starter is ok. Jul 16, 2019 at 10:45
  • @SolarMike : The oil hasn't been changed since i have had it, 4 years. it was changed the year before from what the previous owner said. I was planning on changing last year (bought replacement filters for everything (fuel, oil, power steering, hydraulic) , just hadn't replaced the oil or power steering yet). The tractor had been run for maybe 80 hours in the time I have had it. I haven't been able to get to where I can connect a bar, would have to remove the front from what I can see. I have been wondering if I engaged the PTO, could I use that to try an rotate it.
    – Bond
    Jul 16, 2019 at 11:28
  • @SirSwears-a-lot : I have removed the starter and tested it.
    – Bond
    Jul 16, 2019 at 11:28
  • 1
    The pto could be used, just the same as putting it in gear and rotating one wheel..
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 16, 2019 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


I've re-read your post a few times.

If you cant turn the engine over without the injectors, assuming its in neutral and there are no other external impediments, then it does sound seized.

Id have one last go at trying to turn it over by towing it. Towing it in neutral and then in gear with foot on clutch should confirm that the gearbox, clutch, brakes & PTO arent culprits. If you drop the clutch and the tyres lock up thats pretty compelling evidence of a seized engine.

If the problem isn't outside the motor, then it has to be inside the motor.

From there youre looking at either seized pistons, crankshaft or something horrible around your crank/valve train. (Like a dropped or bent valve)

Id take the tappet cover off and check the valves. See if you can get a camera down the injector holes to look for scoring or a dropped valve. (Difficult if you cant turn the engine over)

After that its head and/or sump off to inspect crank bearings, crank and pistons. Hopefully you can do these without removing the engine. If not, the job just got a whole lot bigger.

Once you start disassembling its going to cost money to reassemble and its unlikely youll find anything you can fix for cheap/free. But if you are happy spending the time you might just get lucky yet.

I wouldnt write off the whole tractor yet. You might be able to get a 2nd hand engine that runs for a few hundred dollars. (Potentially cheaper than fixing your current engine)

  • I will let you know how it turns out. Not sure how easy it will be to get a used engine here, I'm in Norway. Can get parts and a new engine, but that is at around 3000usd, so far too much for this. Saw over the last year or 2 some else down the road has 4600 sat on the side, not moved for over a year. But I believe they had engine troubles too. Was back then thinking could ask them what they wanted for it as the cab was in far better condition, and I could have put my engine in that. Doesnt look that's going to happen now 😊.
    – Bond
    Jul 17, 2019 at 14:18
  • If you take your engine apart, putting it back together could cost a few hundred dollars in gaskets and seals etc. Add parts, machining or bearings and it starts to add up, and could be $200-300-400 or more. You can easily spend more money in repairs than the whole tractor is worth. But if you find a single broken part that you can salvage from a spare engine you might be really lucky, and you may get it running again for next to nothing. It might be worth the effort. Jul 18, 2019 at 3:56
  • Thanks for looking more. I will try and see if I can find the problem and fix it. No reason not to try, just take some time and may be able to fix it.
    – Bond
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:17
  • I am able to get gaskets from a norwegian site for around 30usd : okonomi-deler.no/reservedeler/traktordeler/ford-new-holland/… so shouldnt cost much to just put back together. They dont do the reconditioning kit that you linked to on ebay, but do have the individual parts, will have to compare the price after finding out whats wrong.
    – Bond
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:24

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