This evening, I did a few minor things to my '88 Veloce. I put some stop-leak in the radiator, some STP in the oil, and set out to hoon it for about 10-20 minutes (with the heater wide open and the top down) to let the stop-leak take effect. The car runs and drives great, and I was looking forward to a little starlight, top-down driving.
In less than 5 minutes, I was stopped at a traffic light on a hill when the engine died. I had the radio cranked pretty loud, and I thought I had simply killed it with bad clutch technique. I went to restart it, it caught and immediately died again. When I tried to crank it again, it turned over reluctantly...ok, something is wrong. I coasted it to a parking lot, walked back to the house to get my Avalanche and tools, and returned to the car.
Long story short, the starter could hardly turn the engine...even with the Avalanche connected via jumper cables. There were no indications prior to the engine stopping: oil pressure, electrical, temp...all indicated normal, with no warning lights. The radiator cap and oil cap were securely fastened. In fact, I hadn't even got the engine up to temperature to circulate the stop-leak; I can still see it floating in the neck of the radiator.
I towed it home, put it in the driveway, and put the battery charger on it. It showed 59% charge, which seems reasonable considering the cranking attempts, and towing it home with the flashers on. I pulled the plugs and put a scope down the holes...nothing out of the ordinary; the plugs show normal proper wear. I cranked it briefly with the plugs out, but again, would barely turn.
There are no unusual leaks, it made no strange noises, and as I mentioned above, it gave no indication of impending failure.
It would seem that I have a seized engine (with a radiator containing uncirculated stop-leak)...and I don't know why. I guess another possibility is that the starter suddenly went bad, but that doesn't explain the first failed start attempt.
It's going to sit tonight while I ponder this. I cannot think of anything I would have done to cause this, but coincidence is rare. I searched the BB and internet for relevant information before starting this thread, but obviously found nothing useful.
If anyone has any wisdom, I'm all ears.
NOTE: This story has a happy ending. See post #541 HERE for a summary of the project and lessons learned.