Just fired up my 1st T a 25 roadster, I think it sounds all right but I have never heard one running before. one problem. after running slow & half speed for about 15 minutes it boiled over. the fan was working and what I can see of the tubes thru the fill pipe looked clean, just surface rust. Is what i am experiencing normal expansion of the water, It was filled to the top. the car had not been run for 10 plus years. or have i got a problem?
Was it boiling, or did it just push the excess water out? I f you fill them full, they will seek their own level through expansion. Mine, if I fill it full will loose close to a gallon while it warms up. I have a new Berg's radiator, and that is my car's response. A whole different mater if it was boiling the water out
There are a number of possibilities. It could just be normal overflow since filling the radiator to the top is actually over-full. It could be overheating which could be caused by several different things.
Since you're new to T's I suggest you find a local T club or chapter and have someone with a little more experience look it over. There are usually plenty of guys around who would be happy to help you.
Since you're a newbie, here's your education:
The Model T cooling system is known as a "Thermo-Barf" system. The coolant rises because it gets hot in the engine, dumps into the top of the radiator, then is forced by gravity back into the engine when it gets to the bottom of the radiator, cooler.
The proper "level" for the coolant in a cold system is about 1" above the top of the tubes in the radiator. Any more, and it impedes the flow from the upper hose into the radiator.
The system is self-correcting when over-filled. It simply spits out the excess until it gets to the level it likes. That sounds like what you saw, since you said it was filled to the top.
It's as simple as that!
One more thing -- about water pumps:
The Model T was built without a water pump. For 100 years, that has worked well. However, since most people fill their system with water from the hose, which contains stuff that can coat the insides of the system (Calcium, etc.), and the insides of the engine tend to rust, the system slowly gets less efficient. The proper 'fix' for that is to flush the block and boil out the radiator. But, there are precious few radiator shops any more that can boil out a radiator. And, properly flushing the block takes time. So, lots of people add a water pump. Here's the rub: it doesn't help!! It seems to for a while, but it is a Band-Aid only. If your T has one, most folks on the Forum would recommend you take it off and do things right. And remove the thermostat from the upper fitting on the block.
Two more things:
The "coolant" you use should be the same as in a modern car, except not so modern as the aluminum-radiator types. Use a 50-50 mix of water (distilled is best, but...) and old-fashioned Anti-Freeze.
One thing that will make a T run hotter than normal, and ultimately boil over, is running the spark advance too far retarded. It's hard to tell when idling in the driveway, but when driving you will find a "sweet spot" for the spark, where the engine seems to run best. In some cars, the sweet spot changes with your speed, and some it stays constant.
If it's too far retarded, the spark happens late, and the mixture is still burning in the cylinder when the exhaust valve opens and the piston starts to push it out. That will cause the exhaust manifold to get red or white hot, and will overheat the engine. Ultimately, it will burn the exhaust valves.
just to add to the spark retard overheating problem ---running too lean on your carb can also add to overheating...Paul
See what I mean? All these possibilities and you don't yet know if it's actually overheating.
I urge you to NOT start making adjustments to spark and/or fuel until you determine for sure that it's running too hot.
All of the above are true. Another cause would be how hot the weather is and how steep a hill you are climbing. If you climb a steep hill on a hot day and then turn off the engine, it will continue to get hot.
The most usual cause of overheating is the most expensive to fix. That is a clogged radiator or an old radiator where the heat conduction between the coolant tubes and the fins is bad. This area gets corroded and even if the tubes are clean and there are no leaks it still overheats.
Anyway, try advancing the spark, enriching the fuel mixture, and driving into the wind. If it still overheats, you will need to investigate the more expensive causes.
I started her again and let it run for about 1/2 hour, still up on jacks, I'm getting a wet steam from the vent and maybe 1/2 cup water in a bucket. the water level stayed about 1 inch above the tubes.
what is a normal water use rate? is what I am seeing in the normal range? How do I determine if it is really overheating?
Make sure the fins in the radiator where the tubes and fins meet are tight or the radiator will not cool. If you can move the fins up and down you need a recore.
Get a meat thermometer and stick it in the neck for a test with the cap off...lots of T's run normal in the 185-190 range when all else is good.
If you are running 205-210, then 'maybe' there might be something worth checking
John my 2.5 cents, adjusted for inlfation is this: if you're running it sitting still on jacks with only the fan drawing in air, and that's all the hotter you're getting, I think you're doing pretty good. On most of mine, 20-25 minutes sitting still and the moto-meter thermometer is up to the bottom of what I call the "open circle", which is still OK, often normal area for running all day in hot weather. Take her for a good drive and take her temp if you don't have a moto-meter, sounds like you don't have one.
And, every one of my 5 T's "holds" its water at a different level from one another. You'll figure it out.
One problem you have is running it without moving down the road. Set a electric fan up and face it at the front of the radiator, then see how it works.
Just a thought John. On the speedster reunion tour my A kept boiling out the water. I noticed my amp meter was reading 10 amps charging all the while. When I got home I unknowingly (my first A) the generator has oil ports for the front and rear bearing. They appeared very dry of lube. I did than oil them, started the engine and the amp meter showed 2 amps charging. Now the battery had not been charged in a while so I'm guessing the 2 amps. Point being, I wonder now if the dry bearings in the generator was causing such a drag on the engine to have caused it to over heat.
Tomorrow I drive in a parade so I should find out if that made any difference. I also cleaned for grease and rust the rad/block.
It should not be run for 30 minutes stationary in your garage. Drive the car and see what it does.
I'm pretty sure the car should be able to stand still idle and not overheat. Actually over heat I mean. Maybe your not quite ready for a spin in it but this problem bears checking out. "Filled to the top" as stated is going to cause some spillage but it should level off and stop doing it after a while. How long? No idea but they usually let go real good after it's shut off. Running lean is your #2 check. Best with the eng warm, fiddle with the carb adjustment knob. Slowly turning it back & forth looking for the "best running" spot. Not the best way but good enough for a new T owner. It'll probably eliminate the lean running if any. #3 Spark: keep it retarded when running slow and advance it at higher revs. Remember: it WILL puke with a full rad. Check the other stuff to be sure.
John, so today I drove Model A in parade. Last week I had trouble keeping water in it on a 120 mile tour. Got home found generator had not been lubed in a coons age, so figured it was a drag on the engine, put in two gallons of apple vinegar let sit 24 hours, flashed with baking powder till clear water runs out, put in a water pump lube/rust preventer (macs 1300 from napa)and tap water. Drove my car to the parade, had people walking their dogs in front of me so slow going, the temp out was in the mid 80's did boil water out toward end, but only about a half liter. I will still have rad cleaned but I am happy with the vast improvement. Hope this helps.