When I bought my '23 Runabout a few years ago, it was supposed to have had a fresh engine done by a reputable builder in Turlock, CA. The motor was certainly peppy but had many modifications from stock. The first two years I had the car, it was mostly torn apart while being converted back to coils, rewired and having many other things done. The car had the magneto removed and still runs on 12v with an alternator until this can be put back to stock also.
One of the things I did to start was painting the motor. It had been very poorly painted and had rusty spots. While prepping the motor for paint a repaired spot appeared on the water jacket near the number 3 cylinder. It looked like some sort of material like J.B. Weld had been liberally slathered on. There were no signs of leakage so I just painted over it and went on to other matters.
Now the car is running and I rarely have occasion to look at the left side of the motor. The gas shutoff valve is on the other side and it may be six months or a year since I had a look. The other day it seemed a good time for an inspection of the whole motor. The hood came off and two unexpected white streaks were found, one on each of the front two cylinders. The streaks look like they come from the base of the water jacket. The streaks are white because I use a white anti-rust compound in the coolant.
I do not recall any signs of previous damage or leaking but possibly I just missed it before. The radiator is just a little low and would want no more than a couple of cups of water to bring it up to top. It was last checked some months ago.
What is going on here? It doesn't get to freezing here in Fullerton, southern California. Is there another way the block could get such damage? Can it be repaired reliably with J.B. Weld or something else as the number 3 cylinder area appears to have been? If so, should it be cleaned up with a wire brush or is something else needed?
paul, looks like the block may be rusted thru. might not freeze in southern cal but the water, ugh. as for the jb weld, what do you have to loose by trying it. i would clean the block well and try it. john
I know it is a bummer to see the streaks … but there is an excellent chance the engine will still run for many many more years. And yes, JB Weld and other methods can be applied to stop the leak. The cooling system is not pressurized so it doesn’t take much to correct a water leak. With the location you are showing you can probably fix it while the block is still in the car (although it would be easier if the block was out of the car). Depending on the condition of the engine – I would recommend long term (i.e. before your next engine rebuild) obtaining a better block to have rebuilt in 4 to 10 years etc.
What could have caused it? It could have frozen some time in the distant past and when the engine rebuilder rebuilt it they didn’t check for cracks etc. before they rebuilt it. When I was teen, one of the local T guys had a beautiful 1926 or so Fordor. He had the engine rebuilt and afterwards discovered it had a crack. If the engine shop or even he had discovered that before the rebuild, he would have used one of the other 1926 blocks he had. So things happen.
Another cause might have been leaving the block tilted so the water stayed on the left side of the block. We used to routinely drain our Ts before we put antifreeze in them. If the car was parked on a slant with the driver’s side lower – the water may have collected there.
It could have been a poor casting – hey – Ford used people – and sometime the people and/or the machines get a little out of tolerance.
Or the kids could have put salt in the water and never flushed it out. Salt water doesn’t freeze at as high a tempature – but it kills the water passages.
Suggested approach – JB Weld etc. and if it holds – just drive it. I would be sure to use a rust inhibitor and/or “Evans Coolant” etc. to slow down future rusting in the block.
If you are brave – pull off the water inlet and with a flash light and mirror check it out. I suspect you will find deep pockets where the rust ate the metal (ok – that is rather pessimistic). But it was patched once already on that side. And it looks like it needs two more patches. It probably is thin and/or or cracked for some reason.
See: http://www.model-t-ford.org/projects/engine_crack/default.htm for one excellent example of how to fix a cracked block. If it is rusted out – this could also work. The JB Weld would be easier to do – if you are planning to work it with the engine in the car. Search on Engine Block rust repair and you should find lots of recommendations.
Note, I had a 1928 “ish” Model A two door that had a really large rusted out area. Back in the 1960 I used “Barr’s Stop Leak” about once every 6 to 12 months and it ran fine and would not leak. I believe the JB weld will give you a better fix and I prefer the method shown at the link above.
What a great opportunity to tell the wife you need to purchase a new engine with a high compression head and Stipe cam etc…..
Good luck – I’m sure you will still have many years of useful service from the block. But again – over the next few years recommend you look for a good engine block in the year range you need for use when it comes time to rebuild it.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Ruanbout. Sumter SC.
Almost any water jacket damage can be repaired with solder and brass plates when the block is out of the car and gravity can be used to help with the repair. The secret is to use sand blasting to clean the repair for tinning. Any grinding must be followed by blasting as grinding contaminates the cleaned area with carbon and prevents tinning. We plan to cover this subject in great detail in our next series of videos.
I have repaired many a T engine that developed the same problem you are experiencing. Rather than rebuilding an engine that otherwize ran excellent, I chose to JB WELD. What you want to do is grind the block to bare metal around the repair area/crack. Take a grinder and v the crack a little too. Clean area with wax/grease remover, and apply a liberal amount of jb weld. Once dry, you can shape the repair and paint. It will last a very long time.
I had not thought of rust out. This motor was cast in July of 1922, 86 years ago. Very likely it spent most of its life with just plain tap water as coolant and may have been left on its side out of a car for many years. Who knows?
I'll try a wire brushing and cleaning with solvent to see if we can get the J.B. weld to plug the holes.
Long term, I like the idea of building a new motor to exchange later. That will cause some legal issues as the motor number is used as the VIN.
What is a good rebuildable mid/late 1922 block worth?
if its a crack around the water jacket there is a product out there called marinetex or marinetek anyway it hardens very strong and applies like a plastic filler i have seen it used on outboard moters and even inboard/outboard applications. this stuff really works
also paul, when i had my t head off and the water inlet fitting off, there was still close to half an inch of water in the bottom of the water jacket. this can freeze and cause cracks or can sit there rusting away the block. john
Just taking a closer look at the detail pic above, there could be as many as 5 separate leaks. This water jacket could resemble Swiss cheese in some areas . . .
Why not rebuild another block and grind off the numbers, stamping your numbers on the block. I still haven't gotten around to stamping numbers on my "replacement" block, that has a blank face where the numbers go.
Back in the 1950's the water in Southern California tasted like salt water. It was from the Colorado River and as the water flows downstream, it evaporates and what is left is high in salt. Nowdays, this source of water is blended with water from the Sierras and it is not as salty. I wouldn't use tap water in any car here but use a mixture of anti freeze and distilled water. I don't get rust with that mixture. All of the old cars many years ago had rusty radiators here in California, and since the radiator is not made of rust forming materials it must have come from the block and head. If that car lived all it's life in Southern California, that's probably what caused the problem. Repair, and then use only distilled water with 50 percent anti freeze or at least a good rust inhiberator.
Hey Paul, long time no see - I bet if you clean it good as advised you will get away with the J B weld, its pretty good stuff. Hopefully plenty of driving left in that sucker, take care Tom.
If you look around you can find other jb weld type products that are higher quality such as Devcon. Easy to use as J.B. Weld but works through a wider temp range and lasts longer. by the way I saw your Hudson at Peterson a few years ago......Nice Car!!!
Bill in Paso Robles