How to tell if have cracked block?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: How to tell if have cracked block?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 09:14 pm:

In my haste storing my '24 last fall (it ended up 'dieing' several times on the way).... I was flustered and wasn't thinking properly. I left without putting antifreeze in the radiator, and letting it circulate. So... it spent the winter with it's usual mix.... plain water. Luckily, we had a mild winter... but likely cold enough spells to potentially crack the block.

Besides the obvious puddle of water under the car.... how can I tell if the block is cracked before attempting to start it up?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dallas landers on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 09:19 pm:

Hope for the best. No water under it now? Start and see if it leaks when it warms up and when it cools down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 09:25 pm:

Not there yet.... Holding my breath until I get there Sat!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Warren on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 09:34 pm:

Drain a little oil out and see if it has any water in it. The water will be on the bottom and will drain first.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tim moore, "Island City" MI on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 10:02 pm:

This may not end well, I am also in Michigan and while the winter was "mild" that doesn't mean it didn't get way below freezing for several days or weeks. I am afraid both your block is broken but also your radiator is now ruined.

Hope for the best but fear the worst.

Tim Moore


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dallas landers on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 10:10 pm:

Northern Indiana had some pretty cold weather. Not prolonged but several days. Fingers crossed!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C on Thursday, April 06, 2017 - 10:32 pm:

It happens Dennis.
Put water in on Saturday and let us know would you? Start it up anyway AFTER checking that there isn't a bunch of water in one of the cylinders so you "hydraulic" that cylinder with a solid mass of water as opposed to just air. Warm that block up. You'll see what happened.
Please remember NOT to beat yourself up too much if something got wrecked. It happens.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 08:29 am:

It'd be nice if the freeze plugs would do what they're designed to do, but I bet they won't. More than likely there'll be a crack at the bottom of the water jacket, back by #3-#4 cylinder. Sometimes they crack up on the front under the jacket too. I hope it didn't. On the plus side, if the cracks aren't too severe, you can just "patch" 'em up and keep on trucking. If the rad is toast, and as the other Tim said it probably is, NOW you've got an expensive repair/replacement no matter what. At least it's not a brass radiator!
Good luck.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 09:27 am:

"freeze plugs" is a misleading name, because they were never designed for frost protection - they are just covering holes in the block that was needed to hold the sand cores in place that created the water channels during the casting process.
So call them core plugs instead.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Friday, April 07, 2017 - 10:51 am:

Make sure you check up behind the valve cover.

Don't ask how I know!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Killecut on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 07:29 am:

You might be lucky on the radiator,they can be a little more forgiving. I messed up on my first car, a 53 Merc. and froze the engine and radiator back in 1962. both went undamaged and the radiator is still in use in my 53 Merc convertible.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Blake, Kansas City on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 01:54 pm:

Roger is correct and it is worth repeating, considering how widespread the "freeze plug" misnomer has become. In fact, in the machine shop where I used to work, Dormann, a supplier of a wide variety of automotive hardware products labeled one of their drawers "Freeze Plugs". That has never been the intended purpose of the plugs.

Strictly speaking, the ones used in a T block are Welch plugs.

For more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_plug


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 07:54 pm:

Learn something new every day! Thanks! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 08:20 pm:

Well... I filled her up with water (to proper level), first thing. It did take over a gallon... but let it set for about an hour while I put a charge on the battery, checked Tire pressure, oil level, cleaned sediment bulb screen, carburetor bowl and needle / seat, etc. Ruined the fuel back on, out in the coils, 6 1/4 pulls with choke on, trimmed fuel and timing levers, and she took off on the 2nd pull. Let it run for about 5 minutes and shut it down.

So far, so good!! Checked for leaks... except for a couple slow dribbles in the radiator.?all looked goood. Let it set while I cleaned things up, and threw all the extra gear back in my wife's car, started it up and ran a short lap around a couple cars in the yard, and all looked good.

Take off with my wife in the vulture-mobile, and got about 10 miles when the engine did start sounding a little diffetent... a little noise reduction than normal. About about another 4-5 miles , I started loosing speed and power, and heard a rhythmic pisss-piss-pisss..... pulled into a gas station and, well.... the rest is in another thread.... "My spider senses detect I have a cracked head"(pics posted thwre).

So, now I'll be pulling the head and valve covers... Likely dropping pan, too.... and see how many lessons I've learned.

I'm not so sure the cracked head is from freezing, though... as I woukd have though any meaningful amount of water in the head, woukd have drained into the block, before anything could have frozen. I might have more suprises coming, however... :-(

Live and learn. Pay the piper, and keep on T'n!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 08:45 pm:

That crack in the head IS typical for leaving water in the system over a freezing winter. I've seen that on a few Model Ts here in Minnesota.

Don't know why you believe water would drain from the head into the block leaving the head empty. If the cooling system was full of water when you stored the car, the passages in the head would have been full of water. The radiator tank sits higher than the head.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tim moore, "Island City" MI on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 10:34 pm:

Cast iron doesn't bend too well, it is like trying to bend cement.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Saturday, April 08, 2017 - 11:26 pm:

Erik.... duh, on my part... I was totally ignoring the radiator! Thanks for the correction!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 02:01 pm:

I finally got the report back from my engine block and camshaft. camshaft looks good, will just need re-grinding (i.e. no cracks, etc).
The engine block didn't fare so well ... multiple cracks where the guy said 'he couldn't make sense of' ... they will have it marked up for me to see, when I pick up the block, but said it was scrap. Some cracks they can repair .. but didn't offer on this pile of metal.

So ... it's off looking for a used motor to get me by, a donor motor to rebuild, and re-start the process ... or look for a rebuilt short block, and go from there.

I seem to remember someone in the Ford Times, I think, advertising available rebuilt short blocks. More things to ponder, I guess


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