About 6 months ago I blew a head gasket. I changed the gasket with a faulty part and blew a hole in the cylinder right through a water gallery. This head had been planed over 0.125" and the mating face in places was only wafer thin, hence the hole.
I dug out a spare head low head, a 1912, in good original condition. I had the head cleaned and machined flat on a mill. I have put this new head back on the car with a new silicone head gasket and followed the instructions to the letter torquing down to 45-50 ft/lbs. It has now done about 100 miles and due its 3rd & final retorque, as per the instructions.
The radiator, commutator, timing etc. have all not changed. Mixture reset. This car hardly ever boiled before, only under extreme circumstances, say after a long climb on a hot day, even then at the top it would go off the boil within a few seconds. It still starts great. This morning cold 3 primes and started once again straight away second pull on maggie (no battery fitted). Even today I started the car on maggie all day. Nothing wrong in this department.
What I have now are the following symptoms. Gutless, not as perky as before, I put this down to a stock, unshaved head. However, it now boils even at idle in the shed after about 15 minutes. I have cleaned & flushed the entire water system twice. Oil - is clean and not milky. Only changed it a couple of weeks ago seeking confirmation of a leaking head gasket.
Today after a good run it boiled again and has emptied the top tank below the tube plate, twice! I refilled at lunch and it happened again by the time I returned home, about 30 miles round trip. Guys, please note - I have had this car for a long time, travelled lots of miles and I know exactly how much normally gets thrown out, this is way below that level!
Oh, fan is fine, belt good and doing what a fan does.
Guys, I am running out of other ideas and can only think I have a leaking head gasket. Your thoughts?
What was the reason why the gasket blow??
If there is a real obstruction in the radiator flushing it will not help only a rebuild will get away the problem.
Did you clean out the spare head?? A mouse nest will get you the same problem.
David, experience has taught me that a radiator is not cleaned by flushing only by removing at least the bottom tank and rodding each tube through can you be sure. I had a similar problem,not as bad at least it was winter with a silicone head gasket I reverted back to a copper one actually second hand and he presto all good again.No where in the world could be worse than Adelaide in summer for overheating both for cars and people ask any V/8 Super Car team manager at the Clipsall 500. Remember in your conditions richer is better than leaner and a bit of advance is better than a bit of retard but a properly cleaned radiator is the best medicine. I driven my 12 on a hot day with no fan and provided I didn't stop all was OK. And make sure your vent pipe is clear mud wasps are a shocker up here at filling in open pipes often several inches inside.
Dear Doug, I hear you loud & clear. My concern is everything was fine until I changed the head. I am not ruling anything out at all though...
David have you readjusted your carb and is it running too lean. This will caused the engine to run hot.
David...FWIW here's another thought or two...from my own experience in blown head gaskets, usually, tho not always, you'll see a little white "smoke" (really water vapor) vent out from the oil filler cap. But you may be leaking so minutely it won't, but rather blow out the exhaust, so next time you are driving, and come to a stop, then usually you see the same vapor out the exhaust. As Doug said, a dirty radiator could be the problem, perhaps if you are still running the round tube version which don't cool very good anyway, it coincidentally decided to get all crapped up inside what with all this head changing. And lastly, but not probably, there's a remote chance you've warped your block, the pistons are tighter, hence, the continued overheating. I've had that happen in a couple of diesel school bus engines years ago.
Like Andre said, I would take a closer look at crud inside the head. I find you need to make sure the inside of the head is totally dry before you shake out the rust chips and dirt as the crud will bond to the head if it is wet. Perhaps a hair dryer could speed that up. I found an amazing amount of junk in my head and block and cleaned it out.
Late timing would do what you're seeing.
Here is a list of things to consider. An aging radiator and the amount of antifreeze are often over looked.
Things that would cause the engine to run hot may be:
Running the mixture too lean or maybe a partial blockage of the main jet.
Running with timing retarded.
Water level below the top of the radiator core.
Blockage of water flow.
Working the engine hard and low speed, in other words lugging the engine.
Restriction in the exhaust system.
Lack of air flow through the radiator.
What kind of radiator and how old? The solder connection between the tubes and fins have been know to break down on older radiators. With out a good connection, heat transfer is poorer. Also round tube radiators are much less effective that more modern flat tube radiators.
Running too much antifreeze will decrease the efficiency of the cooling system. A 50/50 mix is never recommended for a thermosyphon system unless it is really needed for extreme frigid conditions.
Some thing that can happen when you blow a head gasket and run it a few miles to get home is the water is in the combustion chamber and dries up the cylinder walls, then causes scores in the pistons from heat and now that cylinder has gaulding in it and now you have a drag on the engine and that causes the over heating. Just a thought?
Is there any way that the head gasket could be installed upside down and thus be blocking a water passage? That is the kind of thing that I personally do to screw up a repair
David, from what Doug Partington said, it may be the silicone head gasket that is the problem.
Also, did you ensure that the 3 steam holes in the block and the head were clear?
What about coresponding steam holes in the gasket?
John R. is closest so far. At least I agree with him. What I don't quite understand is your low power complaint. The head was milled so you should have at least "normal" power from the engine. It ran OK until you blew the head power wise? I believe your present over heating and the original head gasket problem are related. You masked the problem by replacing the gasket and head. I hate to be the bearer of bad news Dave but I think that head needs to come back off. You've, in my opinion, have a crack somewhere. As to the boiling and over heating: anti freeze will come out of the tail pipe as white smoke if it's burning/getting into the cylinders some how. It's worth a shot as a test to see if that's where the coolant is going and resulting in boiling from a low coolant level in the radiator.
excellent post and responses this is how the rest of us learn
I have to agree with most of the advice here. You may have a leak with the new head gasket between a cylinder and a water jacket. Hot gases are blowing into the water jacket super heating the coolant. If that is happening it would not take much to overwhelm the cooling system especially with a brass radiator. Maybe you can do a compression check as a first step. I would then look at pulling the head and replacing the head gasket with a copper gasket.
Good luck let us know what you find.
I had the exact problems and symptoms in my 53 Merc. It turned out the engine had gotten hot enough to crack the block through the valve seat right down through the cylinder. One thing you can do on your T is:pressurize the cooling system to see if there are any leaks, also pressurize each cylinder to check for leaks. This is easily done welding an air fitting in a spark plug base. To pressurize the cooling system, block off the return in the head, make a plate for the side of the block and weld an air fitting in that.
Um, IMHO, Dan's idea for pressurizing the cooling system is a good way to blow up a radiator--these are NOT pressurized-system radiators!
David, read my post. Block off the head! The radiator is not pressurized.
Spend a radiator cap and attach an elevated container about 10 inches fill with water (with a small amount of food color in it) this will provide adequate pressure, remove the spark plugs and turn the engine over and see if any water squirts out.
I wonder if you scored the pistons when the water got into the oil. The overheating problem may not be a head gasket or cooling system issue.
I had a serious problem with my '12 that caused me lots of troubleshooting time a few years ago. The intake manifold had a pinhole that corroded through to cause a vacuum leak. I changed damn near everything in the ignition system, replaced the glands and rings twice, and was about to pull the cylinder head when I finally noticed it.
Thank you to everyone. I will answer the questions put to me thus far.
Head gasket is the right way up, as per the instructions on the silicone gasket. Torque 45-50 ft/lbs with a tension wrench. Head bolt tightening sequence copied from the Mac's catalogue. I had a mechanic with me to make sure this time!!!
Power, new head is stock and unshaven, it has nothing removed. It was only milled flat to seal, minimum cleanup, I saw the witness mark. Old head was shaved within a sceric of its life,well over 1/8", so far that the metal covering the water galleries was only about 0.015"-0.020" thick. (This was not done by me!!!) This may, or may not, be part of the power problem. One thing at a time.
Mixture set as I have always done it, motor hot, set throttle at a fast clip, retard the spark and adjust lean until she just starts to miss, richen until she starts to race, then set. I lock it down in this position. I do not play with this on the road, never have, I am not smart enough.
Radiator is a genuine, unmodified, round tube, 103 year old brass radiator. No colonial top tank.
Pipe, I am running a steel pipe between the block and the radiator.
Cooling System, after I blew the head and installed a new head gasket, I ran the car and second torque as per the instructions. I then cleaned the system with washing machine soap powder (OMO brand) and flushed out all manner of grey sludge from inside. This was ran for about 10 minutes then drained. Then hot water was added, ran for about 10 minutes and then this flushed out too. Then filled back up with water and a dash of coolant.
Coolant, she has about 50mls in the system to just take the edge of Adelaide's poor tap water. With about 5 litres in the system, the ratio is about 1:100.
What I can't answer because I have not tested for is whether the thermosyphon is actually working with the bottom section of the radiator should be much cooler than the top. Oh, wisps of smoke from the exhaust pipe.
I will do this shortly and report back...
Sounds like it's used by date is up Dav, better sell it to me for parts!!
You did not answer one question:
Do you think the pistons were scored when you got water in the oil?
I don't think these possible causes have been addressed:
1. The cause of the original blown gasket? Was it overheating before you blew the gasket? Even the day you blew it, might have been the first time it overheated.
2. When you removed the head,and scraped the surface of the block, did any carbon, rust etc. fall into the water jacket? If it did, it might have plugged the water passages in the radiator. This is what I like to do when I have a head off. I clean the water jacket by running a snake around in it and then wash out with water. When I scrape carbon, I block the cylinders. After I re-install the head and before I put on the radiator hoses, I take a hose and wash out the water jacket letting it run out the inlet on the side of the block. When it runs clear, I stop. Also take off the radiator, turn upside down and rinse it out. This is about all you can do without a radiator shop.
3. Timing and carburetor mixture. Not usually the cause if the engine runs smoothly, but is much less costly to fix than the last two causes, and so I put it here.
4. Dragging bands or brakes could cause both sluggish performance and overheating, so be sure to check first before proceeding with the last two checks and fixes.
5. Do a compression check. If you are near sea level, the compression should be around 50 lb per sq inch. Note you might need to translate that to Australian! If it is low in one or more cylinders, you might have ring or valve problems which are quite common after overheating. If the rings seize it will score and you will lose compression, and if the valves get too hot they could warp or burn. If so, the engine needs a minimum of new rings and a valve grind.
6. Very likely you need a new radiator. If the fins are loose at the tubes, no matter how much cleaning you do, the radiator will continue to overheat. This is the most expensive fix unless you need to rebore the block.
"Wisps of smoke from the exhaust pipe"
I read your second post. A couple of things stand out which could be the cause of the problem. Maybe not. You said you retarded the spark and then adjusted the fuel mixture. Then left it that way. The spark should be advanced after starting and then adjust the fuel mixture with it advanced. It should be run advanced, with a slight adjustment according to your speed. If the engine is running fast it will be more advanced and if the engine is running slower, it should be slightly more retarded, but in all cases when you run the car, it should be advanced at least half way or farther on the quadrant.
The other possible cause of the problem would be running the engine with the washing soap. This will dissolve and dislodge grease and sediment and it could clog the water passages in the radiator if chunks of grease or rust are not completely dissolved.
Thanks so far to everybody.
Royce, no the bore wasn't scored. I had a mechanic with me when it was dismantled after blowing the head.
The question has been raised as to why all this started. I blew the old head gasket, confirmed with water in the oil and emptying the top tank. This was when I fitted a faulty part and then blew a hole in the head as described in the start of this post.
Norman - I have just changed the bands. This is a new thought and worth checking.
Oh, I forgot to mention Happy Birthday to my old girl, 103 today. She started her journey on 3rd March 1911 as a batch of 100 RHD motors shipped to Canada. She left Canada as a car on 6th March 1911 for her new life in Australia.
Isn't water in the oil a modern engine problem due to the oil flow passing through the head gasket under pressure? What is it in a model t engine that would have to fail to allow water into the sump? Blown head gaskets I have seen in T's is either water flowing out of the carb, exhaust or heaps of compression in the radiator.Alan
There are a fiew routine things you can do, a compression test followed by a leak down test and possibly a vacuum test. You may have to install a fitting on the intake manifold to do this. Assure your timing is firing well before top dead centre and not retarded. While the engine is running squirt some water along the intake manifold and see if the engine stumbles and also squirt some water around the spark plugs and look for bubbles. A leak down test is the most comprehensive and will give you a real good indicator of the engine condition. A minor leak into the combustion chamber can cause extreme high temperatures and pressures. Racing aircraft use this system for additional boost however for short periods. For any amount of coolant to enter the oil pan there would have to be a moderate passage. The only way is through a piston/cylinder or valve guide. Happy testing mate
Oil can get in the water from the compression and combustion strokes if the engine is an oil burner and the gasket leaks or there is a crack into the water jacket. It wouldn't be as much as a modern with pressured oil system, but afer driving many miles with such a leak, there would be some, usually noticed by deposits around the radiator cap.
Ya'll imagine me using my TV infomercial voice when you read the next part:
Don't mess up your manifold with a fitting! Drill bits break and it's easy to cross-thread a tap! Save yourself the headache and keep your car original . . .
USE THE T-VAC!
Lol, while I'm being silly it really is a great tool and a good way to get solid info without doing something permanent like drilling and tapping a hole in your manifold. Especially on a 1911! Check out the link to see what it looks like. Also, it's only $52.50 (including shipping) if you buy it direct from the manufacturer Scott Conger. Just shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll give you the address to mail the check.
"What is it in a model t engine that would have to fail to allow water into the sump?"
Answer: The head gasket.
The water/coolant in a Model T IS under pressure, though not a lot. It's the head pressure, (not as in "cylinder head"), of the water in the system. A bad head gasket will allow water to seep through, into the cylinders and past the rings. It can happen while the engine is not running or, if the leak is bad, even while it's running, (but probably missing badly in the leaky cylinder).
Once you've examined the "tight bands" suggestion, which I think is an excellent one, still have a look into the water passages on your "new head". Just because you flushed it does not mean there isn't big lump of something stuck in there.
David I'm not sure but when I replaced my head gasket I put the head on with no gasket and ran all the bolts down to ensure they would touch the head thus ensuring the bolts weren't too long 2 of them were a good .010" above the head had to clean out all the head bolt holes and still didn't help I got all new bolts and had no problems if the bolts wont touch the head with no head gasket you can not get proper torque.
An old T man advised me once that you don't adjust the carb by leaning it out until it stumbles then back off until it runs smoothly; you richen it until it stumbles then lean it out until it runs smoothly. Just a thought.
That's my theory, Warren. I used to fly a lot of RC models. That's the way to set a two stroke. If you don't, they will eventually overheat. So, when I got into antique cars, I began doing it the same way. Others may disagree, but they won't change my mind.
Just a quick update between coaching netball games. Cracked the sump plug last night and no water in the tea cup... without a compression test I won't know more head gasket wise.
Go buy a heat testing gun .---
Then record heat [with engine running ] at the top of the radiator and compare with the heat at the bottom and see if it's cooling it by near 10deg.
If the radiator is not efficiently you firstly must fix that even if the compression is leaking into the water system
Maybe the bands are adjusted too tight? That will cause overheating.
As John said above, are you sure the head gasket was not installed backwards? That will cause overheating. The big hole in the water passage goes to the rear of the engine. Small water passage hole in front.
It's very easy to see if the gasket is installed correctly without removing the head. The edge of the gasket should appear at the edge of the block and head. If it is incorrect, the front edge would be sticking out and the rear edge too far in. I have never done this so I would not know whether water would leak out and run down the outside of the engine, but quite sure it would, because of the different size holes.
When we bought our '27 the head gasket was in backwards and leaked a very small amount at the front RH corner, Other than that there was no problem w/the gasket.
I don't have all the info here, but from what you have described my initial hunch is you have an 103 year old radiator that is no good. My guess the car overheated and blew the head gasket the first time. I know you said you flushed the radiator and it flows freely. The problem with old radiators is though they may flow freely they loose their cooling capacity because of the deterioration of the connection between the tube and the fins. Buy a new radiator or have yours re-cored and I suspect your problems will go away.
If the car will operate fine and slowly over heat or will operate at slow speeds but can't handle a load it is typical of insufficient cooling capacity.
If the car heats up quickly it is typical of incorrect timing or a cracked block/cyl head.
Finally got out to the shed...
The low gear band was binding. The car is up on blocks, so I backed off all of the bands. Refilled the radiator and started her up. ran for 15-20 minutes and not even a hint of boiling. Top of the radiator hot, bottom much cooler. Phew.
Now she is not running smooth. Just not on 4, intermittent and not smooth, not the normal ‘T’ sound. It was not like this before I did the last run.
Timing is fine, I have shorted out every coil and have 4 good sparks, sprayed WD40 around the inlet manifold and nothing happened so no air leaks, turned out all the lights to check for any wiring faults or sparks, nothing.
When cold I need to check the timer...and start from basics. I have tomorrow night set aside with a friend to have a crack at getting to the bottom of this. I will keep you all posted!!!
I had a similar experience. I believe it turned out to be a leaking head gasket that allowed exhaust gasses to escape into the water jacket. I had added a Z head just before the Texas T Party. The head was torqued as required and everything OK for 2 days of the 3 day tour. Then she boiled with veracity. I suspected a cracked block but after removing and re torquing the head 3 times I finally got the boiling issue resolved. Suggest you get a new head gasket and re torque so tight that the car spins as you crank the wrench.
Can you hear the water circulating when the engine is hot? If you can't hear it then you have a blockage somewhere. In Texas I would think about mud dobbers making a nest in the head. If it was OK before and the only thing you have changed is the head and head gasket, then it must be one of those two. If you are running a distributor, you might have changed the timing.
I used to have an occasional problem with head gaskets until I started buying my Head Gaskets from Ford-N-More in Spokane Washington. They sell a head gasket with a black core that I believe to be Kevlar. I drive a love of miles with the new head gaskets, including a lot of Montana 500s. I am not familiar with the term Silicone Head gaskets but I doubt that is you problem.
A silicone head gasket are the type sold by Snyders on page T-27 part number T-3002-M. I have a new copper type ready here just in case.
There can't be much in it, she is a regularly used car and had no problems before all this started. So hopefully tonight we will sort this out. I have a club run this Sunday and want to give the 'T' another run to confirm I have nailed the boiling & power issues.
Ok, had her running fine tonight, out until dark without a single over heating issue and firing on all cylinders. The tight band was the backed off. Qantas is back! Thanks to my old friend Greg for coming over and helping.
The timer was cleaned and oiled. Unfortunately the good US roller timer has the oiler upside down for RHD cars. They should make them with 2 oilers.
But the real missing fault was in the carbie. The needle holding the float had come out. Stripped the NH right down, even had the main jet out. Found rust from the blown head issue. Cleaned it up, reset the float level and reassembled. Started fine and ran up until dark. The old 'Mabel' is back!!!!
However, I do have a radiator issue. The overflow pipe has a leak inside the top tank and is emptying the tank. Found this tonight after going back to her this afternoon and finding the water level down. I think it might be time to buy a new radiator. Are the Brassworks still inferior to what they used to be?
Thank you to everybody that helped, commented, suggested all sorts of things
Hey David - I don't know where else to get a good brass radiator. I got one from Bassworks about 2 years ago and have not been impressed with how it's held up. One of the support brackets inside has come unsoldered completely (my engine pan caught it) and the other support bracket that is connected to the overflow pipe has also come unsoldered. Neither of these have hurt performance - it still cools really well. Just aggravating. Also, when I received the rad new there was a lot more black overspray on the front than I expected for something I paid so much for. I guess the end result isn't so much damning as "meh", but $1350 after shipping is an awful lot of money for "meh".
The quality of the brass is not as good as the originals, wont hold a shine for long, but work well.
If all that is wrong with it is the overflow tube leaking, I'd just solder it back up. You may even be able to do it without removing the radiator. If you can drain it, dry it and clean it well enough, it should take solder from underneath and draw it up inside.
Went out to the shed tonight and found a flat rear tyre. Picked up a nail test driving last night. Boy, it doesn't rain when it pours, does it?!!!