I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Elliot today. He is an occasional poster on here. A relative newcomer to the model T affliction, he has gotten his TT running and been driving it around close to his home.
So, this morning, I go to participate in a local Endurance Run with my boat-tail. My wife had opted out late, so, I drove in by myself. I was running late because the car did not want to start this morning (portent of things to come). The drivers meeting has already started when I pull in. After the meeting, this young (at least compared to most of us) fellow asks if my passenger seat is truly empty and would I like a navigator? Why not?
I warned him that I had missed the past two Endurance Runs that I usually try to attend, and that I promised neither survival nor completion.
He still wanted to go.
This was the first major drive for the car since I removed the water-pump. It started running a bit hot almost from the start. Hmm. It never ran hot before. Also, I had been having a minor issue with the ignition switches (a result of not being run enough, engine vibration helps keep them clean), so it acted up a bit. We pressed on. The engine got hotter. Then it got a lot hotter fast. Out of enough water to circulate. Shut the engine down, on a hill. Let it cool a bit, then turned it around and headed back to a ranch at the bottom of the hill. Not only did the rancher give us water, he insisted I keep his old plastic milk jug he was using to carry water. I already had one gallon jug, but after refreshing the car, we filled both gallons and continued on.
We caught up to the rest of the tour at a rest stop. Checked the water, then left behind the rest of the group, with the (1950ish) tow truck behind us. A few miles later we went up a long, hard, climb. By the time we reached the top, we were at a full boil again. We pulled over, tow truck behind, and put both gallons into the radiator (thanks again to the rancher). Later again, we pulled into a little town and into the only gasoline stop for miles. Steve bought us some gas, while we again filled the radiator and two gallons of spare.
We pressed on.
By now there is an occasional miss in the engine. Which gets worse. I am thinking "what did I fry"? Steve E hits the coil box a couple times and we are off running on a solid four again. I feel better. Thank you Steve E. (For the gas too)
We continue on, stop for more water, continue on again. The engine begins to miss on one cylinder again. I kick the coil box. I don't mind the miss now since I know it has nothing to do with the engine getting hot. Mostly, the car is running very well. At some point, I noticed one wheel is a bit loose. I hate to admit that. I usually check them often enough, and it has only been three months since I did do my violent shake each wheel. Just from sitting again. They don't like to be ignored.
Then we pull up to the final stop. Pizza and sodas are enjoyed.
Afterwards, I drive Steve back to his car which is at the shop of the tow truck. We all chat a bit. I finally say "goodbye", drive off, and run out of gas within sight of the shop. Okay. It has not been one of my best days. I almost never run out of gas. Our official tow driver offers his full five gallons of gasoline, but since I have a vacuum tank on the car (because the tank is so far back),I tell him we can just fill the vacuum tank and that will get me to the gas station just a block up the hill. He does, I make it, get some more gas and go home.
I suspect the head gasket may be the cause of major water loss and over-heating. Just something more to be fixed. I figure we put about ten gallons of water in it in 105 miles. Maybe I will look at the oil tomorrow.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the day. My thanks to all that made the plans.
I hope Steve E had a good time. I know I did.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I would check the radiator. Once up to normal operating temperature, can you hold your hand on the lower water pipe?
If it wasn't running hot before and the only thing you changed on the car was the water pump ... you have a great opportunity to provide a data point in the "water pumps are bad...vs water pumps are good discussion." Of course you would need to rerun part of the route -- i.e. close to the same outside temperature and same elevation and climb etc. If Steve is not available -- add some weight to simulate the additional load etc.
It would be easier than pulling the head -- which you do not need to pull before you do a compression check. And it would give us two good data points and lots of discussion.
Note our data point for storing Model Ts, they tended to store better than the more modern car. When I was child my Dad was stationed overseas for 30 months. He took the family all the Ts and the newer 42 Chevy were stored in the garage. When we came back the Ts didnít need any extra maintenance to get them back up to where they had been but the hydraulic brakes on the Chevy and absorbed some moisture -- rusted and the hydraulic portion of the brakes on the Chevy needed to be rebuilt/replaced. Before departing all the engines had the spark plugs removed, oil added and spark plugs re-installed. Batteries were pulled and cars put up on blocks. That may be an exception Ė but the Tís appeared to store well.
I'm glad you arrived safely and I'm sure you will get it sorted out. If you do put the water pump back on (assuming it was in ok shape and you still have it) please let us know how the test comes out. And yes Ė checking the compression before installing the water pump would be wise.
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I'm glad you made it home safely and in good spirits. Please keep us posted as you discover the problem. Thanks for the post,
#1 compression test. #2 anti freeze usually will blow white smoke if it's getting into a combustion chamber water won't. #3 plug condition can also indicate if water is present. My last T came with a water pump on it and the former owner claimed it stopped over heating in parades after he installed it. Cure for a border-line radiator? Don't know. I left it on. Of course constant hill climbing and load conditions are a factor but if the comp. is OK and your ign. timing wasn't too far off your cooling system needs looking at.
Likely you have found the problem for the water pump installation in the first place. It was probably put on to mask an overheating problem i.e. failed radiator. Just a thought.
I doubt anyone would argue successfully that a water pump is needed with a good radiator. The question is will a water pump compensate for a poor radiator. If the flow is impeded for some reason a water pump may help but if the problem is that the heat is no longer dissipating because the fins are loose and not contacting the tubes then I would doubt a water pump is going to help. All it would do is circulate hot water faster. You might even argue that a water pump will make the problem worse in a radiator that has poor fin contact by removing water from the radiator before it has a chance to cool at all. If I have a car that is running hot chronically I replace the radiator. On one car I purchase years ago that had a water pump I found that it ran cooler after I took it off.
I did pull the spark plugs today, no sign of washing on any of them (sometimes there is, sometimes there is not). I have not yet drained the oil. That should tell me more.
When I put the car together, I first used a really beat up original Ford radiator. I put on the water pump because I expected some trouble from that radiator. In spite of being ugly, it turned out to work rather well. I then changed the radiator to one of the nicest looking original era cellular (like a honeycomb, but technically not a honeycomb) radiators I have ever seen. Knowing the risks on these (mostly nearly impossible to clean thoroughly), I left the water-pump on it. But after a few years and a couple Endurance Runs with no over-heating issues, I thought it was time to try it without the pump.
While driving, I watched the motometer. While it seemed to be running a bit warm when the water was properly full, it did not get really hot until the water level had apparently dropped a bit too low. A lot of the water went to boiling. The question is, where did the water go enough to lower the level and restrict thermosyphon before it reached boiling. Tomorrow, I hope to drain the oil and see. Depending on what I find, I will either pull the head or flush the block and radiator next. Depending on what I find, I may just try the car again with a water-pump to see how it would do.
Meanwhile, my dying camera allowed me a couple decent pictures. My boat-tail parked next to Les Silveria's speedster in front of the Pizza place.
That is Steve E standing next to Les' car.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
All the missing indicates a coil box or other wiring issue. A car running on three will overheat almost all the time. In a light speedster you should not have any need for a water pump if the radiator is any good.