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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'll try to be as detailed as I can get.

I was driving back home, two days ago, and my car just suddenly turned off and all five of the lights turned on (battery, brakes, oil, engine, and seatbelt). I was going downhill, so I was able to park it. I tried starting it again, but all it did was turn those lights back on and slowly faded out. There was a faint noise, but that just died out pretty quickly. The battery was still working since I could turn my headlights on and my phone charger was still working. I hadnt run it in seven months except for a few times (was on an island). I was extremely low on coolant and oil. I just swapped out the oil with some new oil and added coolant. It's been cold, so doubt a heating issue. I just retired cracking the car, but the same problem occurs. However, now I get a click instead of that faint noise.

I also briefly had a problem where I couldn't turn the key or move the steering wheel. That's fixed, however.


I don't want to take it to a shop and don't have much money. Is like to try things I could do myself first. If it's truly dead Is rather scrap it then get a new engine. I just can't afford to spend a grand on something that might not even help me.

The car is a 2 door manual.
 

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89 Tercel EZ
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My first thought is electrical problem since it happened suddenly while driving and won't crank. I would first check fuses, battery and alternator. That click you hear is probably the starter solenoid, and should be followed by the engine turning over - does it turn over and not start or just click?
 
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Sounds to me like your water pump or radiator is bad. If your certain you have no coolant leaks and the level keeps dropping, the head gasket is probably bad. How low on oil did it get? Did you still have a reading on the dipstick? Too low on oil and the engine may have seized.:eek: Its also possible that your alternator went bad and driving thereafter drained the battery. Were your headlights really dim after the car died?
 

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Sounds like a broken timing belt to me ! You can unbolt the timing belt upper cover and check if it's there. Check all your fuses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Update. All of the fuses seem fine. The lights don't appear to dim. Added oil and coolant. The oil was pretty low, so it's possible the engine seized. I left my car for about 7 months to go live on an island and I thought the people I left it with had replaced the oil. Seems not, so again... possibly seized. I'm going to check if it has tomorrow (when there's light out). If the engine has seized, what are my options? I know it's possible to potentially fix it myself. I know that this type of car can take a beating, so I'm optimistic that the damage isn't too bad.

When trying to start the car today I considered the possibility of having flood the car earlier. I turned the key all the way over to the right and held onto the clutch + accelerator for fifteen seconds. The car still didn't start. I tried starting the car a few more times after that to see if I could hear anything and all I was hearing was a click when I turned the key. The first time I tried the lights turned on like previously, but this time the battery light drained far faster than the others. I tried again and the lights still all faded, but the was too faint to really hear anything. I put my head closer to see if I could hear anything and this time it started making some loud clicking noises over and oer in rapid succession. I was a bit surprised, so I didn't stop the car for a few seconds. The noise stopped once I took the key out.

I looked into this for repairing a seized engine:
http://gasengine.farmcollector.com/Gas-Engines/Repairing-Seized-Engines.aspx?page=3

Is this information reliable or do I need better information? My main worry is spending money on it and finding out that it'd be too much anyway for me to repair (and just wasted probably over $100 in towing/getting it checked out) or spending some cash and being told that I can't fix it.

I'm trying to figure out my options here, but some of them aren't looking good.

1) Find out what's wrong, attempt to fix car, car is an easy fix, and life is good.
2) Find out what's wrong, attempt to fix car, costs 100s in repair, and I wince but life goes on.
3) Find out what's wrong, attempt to fix car, costs too much, and I'm stuck with a useless car.

What are the options of a useless car? Is scrapping it pretty much all I can do? Or maybe there's certain parts worth something I should take out first? This is assuming that the car is just totally destroyed and I can't do anything about it. Real shame... under 70k miles. Was planning on road tripping with it.

Also, thank you to everyone who's spent some time on replying to this. All of this has been helpful and I'm going to stay optimistic until the end (I'll lose it when I realize that I can't even drive myself off a cliff, heh), but I want to know all my options. This is a pretty important matter, so I just have to use up every ounce of effort I possibly can. Since this is kind of a long post, I'll try to shorten it.

Summarized questions:
1) Possible problems with the car that I can fix myself?
2) What are my options if the engine has seized?
3) How much can I get out of the car if it's seized (rough estimate)/are there any parts worth something?
4) Are there any sites to help me with working on the car (I'm teaching myself everything from scratch pretty much)?
5) Cost projection on potential problems (to fix myself or minimal mechanic work)?

I'll be looking up the information myself as well, but when you need help don't be afraid to ask for it. A point in the right direction never hurts.

Thank you again.
 

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If it had seized while in gear driving down the road in a manual transmission, I would expect the tires to lock up and skid like what happens if you accidentally downshift into 1st instead of 3rd. If you are getting rapid clicking, then your battery is prolly too dead to start the car now - whether that was the original problem or not. I'd start by trying to jump-start the car or take the battery to a parts store to be charged and tested, which most will do for free. If it works with a recharged battery, you probably have a bad alternator.
 

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Have you checked your timing belt ?
 
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