I've got an early brass radiator that is a borderline over-heater. This radiator is probably more than 20 years old, so who knows what's going on inside that appears to limit cooling. I see in a vendor's catalog where there is an accessory "finned inlet tube", where this is described as "a popular engine dress-up item". My question is whether these deliver tangible cooling performance?
Thx Jerry. Scott
First, try cleaning it out with a strong solution of white vinegar, say 80%, run it about 20 minutes, then flush the crap out of it, re-fill (duuuh) with water, go for a drive and see if that helps.
Is it a round tube? If so, they run warmer naturally. I even have a fairly new round tube brass radiator on my '12 that I swapped from the '15 when I bought a new flat tube rad for it. It will always run in "the circle" whereas the '15's hardly ever reaches it under similar conditions.
It is a round tube radiator Tim. I'm running-in a new engine, and that aggravates heating as well. I had this radiator installed on a previous engine, where it started out running hot, and only slightly improved. No problem to just add water as needed, but would prefer to run cooler if possible. This radiator was previously flushed and inspected by a shop, but did not find anything except a baffle that had come loose at the fill inlet.
The inlet tube with fins concept sounded interesting, so thought to ask the question.
Well, the cooling effect of the finned inlet pipe may be small, but the fins should cool a little better than a straight pipe - if I had such a pipe it would be interesting to do some measuring with a IR thermometer - might do some difference in a marginal situation? Depends of the price if it's worth to take a chance, a new radiator is certainly a high price to pay. How many miles after engine overhaul? Maybe it'll loosen up and cool down soon enough?
Decades of vibration sometimes cause radiator fins to come loose from the tubes. With that loss of direct contact the transfer of heat to the fins is reduced and the radiator doesn't radiate like it used to. Cleaning won't fix this.
The two solutions are: 1 New radiator; 2 Recore.
I chose a recore for two reasons. It allows you to keep the original tanks, and it costs a couple hundred dollars less than a new radiator.
So does running a Hot radiator damage the motor? Assume the overflow tube normally lets off steam(but not violently), and that the motor doesn't appear to loose performance when running like this. I can run the motor sitting still at a high idle for 10 minutes before any steam comes out of the overflow. Once it starts to let off consistent moderate steam, it appears to run like this indefinitely. While breaking in the new motor, I ran it at 15 minute intervals for 3 hours, with cooling in between runs, then did an uninterrupted one hour run, again with these same results.
Scott...Steve brought up a very good point that I overlooked, that being those old fins are probably loose, and Lord knows how many. If you really want to enjoy this car and be comfortable with the heat, I'd either replace or recore the radiator. Today it was 80 outside, I ran the '15 all afternoon with the new flat tube rad and the moto meter never reached more than the bottom of the open circle, most of the time was quarter inch below it.
As far as running the engine that hot, I'm no expert there, but I would think that eventually it'll at least not be good for it. I'd surely re-torque the head bolts a time or two with it being new and all, and with the temp. extremes, things might loosen up and need re-tightened. Torque 50 ft. lbs.
William, if running at high idle for that length of time before steaming I'd say that's pretty good. Most T's don't like a lot of idle time any way. A radiator just over twenty years old shouldn't have loose fins. You could clean it as has been suggested, if it does not over heat on the road you should be good to go. You didn't say if you had a water pump or not. KGB
I would that yes if you get it too hot you could melt the Babbitt out and do some damage
You should not have any problem with damage to the motor unless you have a block with serious faults in it and you run the motor with no water, even then the bearings should be Ok as the oil hopefully is not also not there.
Over the years I have had my cars run short on water at one time. On the Town Car it never used any noticeable amount of water for years after I purchased it. So much so I rarely checked it.
On a tour several hundred miles from home it became hot one afternoon and when I stopped on the side of the road to check it and I opened the hood the solder had melted off the wires on the spark plugs.
After letting it cool and borrowing water from a farmer who was down to a couple of inches in his water tank all was good. that was 30 plus years ago and it still is running strong. It rained that night and the farmer got a good amount of water in his tank.
The Kamper when restored had its first run 500 miles to a tour in Melbourne (one of those finished the night before restorations). It became fairly obvious quickly the round tube radiator was not up to cooling the Kamper as the frontal area is basically a 7'3" high running board width flat wall. I contacted our engine reconditioner who advised to just keep up the water to it, so for the whole trip we stopped and added water every 30 minutes or when it boiled.
Once home a new flat tube radiator was ordered. 20 years later the engine shows no signs of damage. I have always been amazed how rugged these motors are.
Thanks gentlemen. I'd like to run this radiator til it falls apart....replacement is a pricey undertaking, and recoring sounds nearly as costly. The engine does not have a water pump, and I'd question whether adding one may fix one issue by creating another. Not sure about the possibility of loose fins....this isn't readily visible, but I can see how that problem may not be conspicuous.
Tim: I torqued the head bolts to 45lbs, after I had a couple pull out the threads @ 50lbs. It's worth noting that the threaded holes that failed were ones that had been previously helicoil'd, but that's another topic for another day.
It's the same old story,you read all the advise telling you have loose fins and you must replace or recore! What happens when you follow the expert advise,replace and have the same overheating problem???????????? When you start looking for the cause,[and there are many]is it you allways need to replace/recore?? A Anderson timer let's me run pumpless after years of trying. If you have a early car do you actually need that small dash sheild? Do you have engine pans? Are you fully advancing your timeing or must you move the spark lever every time Lizzie fart's?? Do you adjust your carb as needed or was it set properly from the factory?? Do you use motor oil or tar?? Do you have to jack a wheel up to start your T?? My point is THINK!!!!!!!!!! Bud.
I hear what you're saying Bud. I've fiddled with this quite a bit, so fairly confident that this radiator is the culprit. I ran this on another 1912 motor where it performed very similarly, if not identical. Problem disappeared when a new flat tube radiator was installed on that motor. Not saying this isolates the heating source, but looks likely.
A good size coolant bottle will help, at least you won't lose the coolant. If you don't have a leaky water pump and put an O ring under the radiator the coolant will be drawn back into the radiator as the engine cools down.
I ran my first T for years with a radiator with loose fins (including major tours). I mounted the one gallon recovery tank on the passenger side of the firewall so I could see it. I figured as long as it wasn't blowing bubbles every thing was OK. When it did start to boil adjusting your driving style (slowing down)) frequently stopped the condition. Also a down hill run would allow the water to be drawn back into the engine.
The recovery bottle needs to be at least 1 gallon capacity.
Sorry I did not fully respond to your questions....I have the dash shield and both engine and transmission pans installed. I had an Anderson Timer that I abandoned because of it's tendency to automatically flip the spark lever down. I presently use a Tiger Timer on the Town Car, and an original cast aluminum job on this Touring. I tweek the spark lever till she's running smooth, where the lever position is changed slightly depending on rpm, motor strain, etc. I try to run the fuel mixture rich, as it appears to help this motor run smoother and possibly cooler. Motor oil is straight 10W-30 and I do not need to jack up the car to start it. It starts with the crank on mag, but I have installed a starter to avoid the arm and back strains.
Water recovery sounds like a plan...do the vendors sell a kit for this that can be hidden under the hood?
William,My reply was not to anyone but to all.A new flat tube is great but not a option for me? I guess i could but i'm hard headed!!!! Will you be at the OCF?? Bud.
Hello Bud: Like you said....Me. I'm just too cheap. Sorry that I am unable to be at the OCF this year, as the result of an aging family member who I am looking after. I really enjoyed it 2 years ago, and certainly hope to do a return visit. I am told that many of the entrants are regulars, so there are a couple that I really want to get a better look at. My favorites are a 1903 Durea, and an unrestored tulip bodied 1904 Cadillac.
Just a thought, you always run the chance of messing up a radiator when you clean out. why dont you take the radiator out and go to town cleaning on the waterjacket. Its likely as nasty as your radiator and (i may be wrong) but you dont have to worry about messing that bit up!
Hello Nathan: this motor was boiled out when torn down, and has not run long enough to have developed much residue, and radiator has been professionally flushed. I may be missing something here, but I don't think we're going to get much more gunk out of either. We'll keep running it, and see if we reach the happy place. Could also improve just by rolling down the road, and cycling at higher rpms? I don;t have the body on it yet, so we've got a couple of weeks to wait on that yet.
When a new motor has been purchased and then all the money paid it doesn't then make a lot of sense to run it with constantly overheating radiator. I for one had overheating problem that nothing would cure but a new flat tube totally ended my overheating. I am lucky in that I am part of a large chapter with hundreds of T's in it. It doesn't take long to prove positive what the overheating issue is. If the radiator is marginal I would see about installing a flat tube borrowed radiator for the break in period. You can drive a brass car without a hood for awhile with a BLACK radiator on it. That way you can find out for sure that the radiator is the issue (I suspect it is) and know how cool the car should run if all is OK. That would be a better option than ruining a new motor.
Oh in that case I think you are completely right! I like to fix the small and cheap stuff first!
William: Auto parts stores do sell kits, but you need one with at least 1 gallon capacity. I used a 1 gallon clear plastic jug which I believe had contained a cleaning solution. I drilled a hole in the cap and made sure the hose was long enough to reach the bottom of the jug.
Follow-up report....Got the new flat-tube radiator installed, and yes, this satisfactorily eliminated my over-heating issue. Interesting that this Late 1912 radiator is listed by Brassworks as their 1913 model, where this has the MADE IN USA, filler neck rivets, and vertical side gas line inlets. This did not come with the hole for the Choke wire, so I added this, and also had to tap the dashboard support rod mounting hole .25" deeper. Many thanks to Snyder's and Chaffins for helping me obtain this without the normal 8 week wait.
I spent the money on my original radiator having it repaired, cleaned out, flushed engine, etc.
Still got hot. So bought a nice clean original and it leaked. Spent more money and worked on it myself. Still got hot.
Rechecked the timing (again) and this and that. Again.
STILL GOT HOT!!
I bought a new Bergs and guess what? It doesn't get hot. On hot days over 100 here in Texas it works just fine.
Sooner or later and if you want to enjoy your T a new radiator or recore makes all the difference.
It made my 24 Coupe different car. No kidding. And it had a rebuilt engine in it also.
William,I'm glad the new flat tube did it for you! How noticable is the flat tube core? I had the chanch to go flat tube when i bought new years ago but hindsight is 20/20! Bud.
Kenneth...you can hardly tell the difference. You really gotta get close up, like inches away and then even look at an angle to tell. Three feet away and looks like a good ol' hot round tube. Only flat tubes for me from now on. Will need one more, for my '12, then I'm done replacing radiators!! Finally!
Agreed with Tim, to the average Joe there is no difference, maybe because the black horizontal fins are what you see most of, and these are spaced identical to the round tube. Just for S's and G's I ran this new radiator with the fan belt disconnected, and again it didn't overheat. I really believe my old round tube radiator is loaded up with mineral deposits, because that dude would get hot immediately, and there did not seem to be significant temp difference between the top and bottom of the core. The new flat tube core quickly gets hotter at the top, and this condition remains constant after the system has reached equilibration.
The flat tube must be good because mine is ancient and a bit rough looking yet my car always runs at the right temperature even in hot weather parades. It seems the flat tube gives you a wide safety margin.
Near the top of this trend, someone mentioned a loose plate in the top of the radiator.
I had one loose and it would lay on the radiator tubes and limit its cooling ability.
The fix was simple, I got a piece of wire and bend a hook in each end. One end I hooked and raised the loose plate and the other end I hooked in the overflow pipe. OVERHEATING PROBLEM SOLVED. I think it is still on the car and I forgot about it till I saw it mentioned above.
I can't help but wonder if a radiator that boils over isn't like the old saying about how 99% of all ignition problems are carburetion and vice-versa. It may not be quite that high a percentage but there are a lot of things that can cause overheating. More often than not, I have experienced what Kenneth DeLong says, "What happens when you follow the expert advise, replace and have the same overheating problem? When you start looking for the cause,[and there are many] is it you always need to replace/recore?"
I'm running the original radiator on our '14 touring and have no overheating problems. It does not have engine pans. I don't have a water pump. A couple of summers ago, I ran the car without a fan in a 100 degree summer with no over heating. I have a new round tube radiator on my '14 depot hack and it runs the same temperature as the touring. Both cars run stock ignition (stock T timer and coils). The only exception to them is aluminum pistons and a cam.
The idea of the fins becoming lose from the tubes is an interesting one. I wonder actually how much connection there ever was? How much heat transfer between the fins and tubes actually takes place? Have you ever heated up a rusted nut with a torch and noted that the nut was red hot but the bolt was not red also? That makes me wonder how much heat "transfer" is actually taking place from fins to tubes on a radiator. There was a person in TX that had about a '13 T that looked like it was right out of the Grapes of Wrath. The radiator was missing a lot of fins and he didn't have overheating problems. In fact, it would run away from most anything on the tour.
I have thought about making a list of causes for over heating but like Kenneth says, there are many!!!
Amen John!! My first rad was a flat tube for my Model A, best $850 spent ever. Second rad was a flat tube brassworks, got lucky and got it on "sale", best $1K ever spent. Third flat tube was a high rad for the '25 TT firetruck, best $850 ever spent. Hope everybody sees the common denominator here! Oh yeh, one more brass flat tube to go, for the '12 Commercial Roadster Pickup. Maybe next year. Engine rebuild this fall! Good Lord I'm going broke!! LOL
Did it overheat before you rebuilt the engine? If not, you might find that after the engine gets broken in, the overheating will stop. Takes about 200 miles, and the more you drive it, the more broke in it gets. With the combination of hot weather and the new engine, just drive it until it warms up, and let it cool off then drive some more, etc.
The flat tube radiators will cool better than the round tube ones, however, one advantage of round tube, the tubes are larger and not as easily clogged. Always run a rust inhibitor or antifreeze in your radiator. It will run many more miles without trouble that way.
Keep an eye out for flat tube radiators on ebay. I bought one a couple of years ago that is most likely a period (30's maybe) correct one for my '25 coupe (high radiator) and it works great. The one on my TT that is on my profile picture is also a period correct one, low radiator(has '29 stamped on the tank). I can't make either one boil, even in a parade at 95+ degrees. I got the one for the coupe for about $275.00 as I recall. Just because they are old, doesn't mean they won't cool, if they are a flat tube type. I wouldn't use anything else. JMHO. Dave