So after reading your advice about bubbles in the radiator water, I changed Popeye's head gasket. As some mentioned, it was not a difficult job and took only about four hours. There was significant carbon buildup, kind of oily, on the pistons and cylinder head which was easy to remove with a small brass brush. I followed the cleanup with a wipedown using brake cleaner.
The cylinder head is not warped at all - I took it to my machinist who measure and said it does not require planing. I did discover that aluminum pistons have been installed, 0.30 is marked on the piston heads. After cleaning them up, I inspected the block and cylinder head with a magnifying glass to ID any cracks or fissures - but found none.
So this afternoon after return from Luray I finished tightening the head bolts to about 40 ft/lb and hooked up all the water lines. I cleaned the plugs and checked gap, which is OK.
Big moment: he fired up on second turn. I immediately pulled the spark advance lever down and set engine speed to a fast idle. As the engine warmed up I saw a couple bubbles in the radiator, but chalked them up to air in the block working its way out. The bubbles stopped as the engine came up to temperature.
However, now there is significant oil smoke coming out the tailpipe - which never happened before. I suppose it could be the copper coat gasket sealer burning off the fire rings, or somehow by better sealing the cylinder head I have caused more oil to pass by the rings. I did inspect the cylinders while the head was off - could see no evidence of scoring or other imperfections in the cylinder walls.
I will do another compression test (engine warm) shortly and report further.
If any coolant got into the cylinders during the swap, it will smoke for a while. I wouldn't be concerned as long as the smoking stops after a few minutes.
After it cools down dont forget to retorque the head bolts, then again after a couple of hot/cool cycles.
After you start it and get it warm shut it down and re-torque the head again, you will be surprised how loose it is. Do it again another time or two. 40 ft/lb is a little low in torque but that is a fine line with how much...I try for 55 and have never stripped one out but don't want to be the guy to tell you that and then get you into another problem. It is important however to get it warm and re-torque.
If you have an aluminum head, torque the bolts while the engine is cold. Re-torque after it has warmed up and cooled off again. However, if you have an iron head, warm the engine and re-torque while it is still hot. After you drive it for a few miles, re-torque again. Continue to do that until it maintains the torque. You should not have any more problems with the gasket until you need to pull the head again.
If you are running an iron head, re-torque while the engine is hot. If you are running an aluminum head, after you warm the engine let it cool off then re-torque the head. After you drive it repeat the re-torque. Do this several times until it maintains the torque 50 ft lbs. Then you should not have any more gasket problems until next time you need to pull the head.
Never heard of recommending re torqueing when hot. Makes absolutely no sense as the parts are expanded from heat and will shrink/get loose from cooling. Run/normalize the engine let it cool overnight & re torque. Standard operating procedure.
Cliff: replacing the head gasket did not cause the engine to smoke. Can you nail down the color? Comp the test results would be appreciated.
Yes Charlie, a standard operating procedure for a aluminium head, cast iron when hot.
Yes Charlie everything expands but I think the steel head bolts grow more than the cast head and it gets loose. If He torqued it to 40 and got it to operating temp then checked the torque I'll bet it is down to 32-35. Snug them back down and it will be tight but do it again until they hold the torque setting.
Encountered another problem today. I was tightening the cylinder head bolts after running the engine (Tim, you were correct - they were very loose) and one of the head bolts gave way. I pulled the bolt hoping it had lost its threads, but no luck - the block gave way. The bolt threads are intact.
So now I have to pull the head again and install a helicoil, which I have never done before. I am wondering, however, if I can use a larger diameter head bolt and simply tap the block out to that larger size?
Either way, the head has to come off - can I reuse the copper head gasket, or will a new one be required?
Need your advice as to best way forward, and where to purchase the helicoils...and installation tools.
BTW: I think I figured out where the blue smoke is coming from. When I filled up last week (when the car dumped me and I had to arrange a tow home), I put some Seafoam in the gas tank. I may have been a bit overly generous in dosage. If I can otherwise get the car running I will see if I can thin out the Seafomed gasoline (partially drain tank and replace with fresh gas) to see if that reduces the smoke. There was no smoke before the Seafoam.
As always, thanks for your patience and great advice!
Seafoam always takes time to work its way through- you are probably correct in your analysis. Sorry to hear about the broken head bolt.
It might well be possible to helicoil that hole with the head in place. Probably the centre one failed (pretty common). Try the helicoil tap in the head bolt hole. Certainly worth checking
Hey Les, it's #9 in the tightening sequence. Still very accessible. I would love to be able to place the helicoil without removing the head.
If you can make a shouldered sleeve for the drill bit, then it will be perfectly centered and I'm pretty sure it is doable. Make some careful measurements and probably use a good vacuum cleaner to remove the chips
Cliff, what are you torquing to? The T is not a model A, I wouldn't go over 45 FT/Lbs. Also, make certain the threads are clean to the bottom of the holes so you aren't bottoming out on the hole before the head itself is "squished."Since you have to pull the head, I would helicoil instead of using a larger bolt.
When you do drill the block, be careful not to drill into the water jacket. A water leak there will cause the threads to rust into place and be a problem in the future. It might also be difficult to keep water from coming out around the bolt. One way to do this would be to measure the depth of the hole and put some tape on the drill so that you don't go any deeper than the existing hole. I have used helicoils successfully in the past. Most important thing is to keep the hole centered so that you can get the bolt in with all the other bolts installed. It is possible that your bolt was too long and was bottomed out and that's why it pulled out the threads. I like to put the head on without a gasket and put in all the bolts turn them down and if they bottom out before they hit the head, shorten them. Then take them all out and install the gasket.
Thanks David, I was pulling to 40 ft/lb. I did clean out the bolt holes with a pick and blew them out with high pressure air. A couple other bolt holes already had helicoils installed. I guess I will learn one more skill now <grin>....
I just ordered a Time-Sert kit - it includes several extra inserts as a hedge against future mishaps. I like this kit because it is complete with all drill bits, etc necessary. It will be here Monday. In the meantime I will remove the head and get ready.
And that my friend is what happens when you keep tightening head bolts on a hot engine. Repeat: you run it let it cool over night and retorque. Then you leave it alone because it's done. Period. You do not torque a hot motors head bolts.
Your torque readings may be off. Try checking it against another torque wrench.
Many of us have reused a head gasket after recoating it again with copper coat with good success.
It's worth a try. Go easy on those torque settings!! Loose the Sea foam stuff and enjoy driving the car.
Good Grief, Torque as many times as the torque will tighten the bolt.
We always torque when hot, and then, when cold again. Then hot, and then cold again, ect.
As many times as it takes.
If you only torque when cold, as the motor takes time to cool down, it can leak water, or Antifreeze over, or under the gasket.
Thanks Herm, I consider you the final authority on things like this. Makes sense to me...check and re-check until the torque is where it was first set. I know for a fact that after the first cold set and then ran and checked hot they are WAY loose. That could easy mean a leak and exactly why a new gasket was installed with sealer (so it wouldn't!) regardless what others have said, I have actually done it many times. These are not modern stretch bolts with a specific method.
Herm, I would like to know what you consider the proper ft/lbs and also...here we go again, do you use never seize on threads or oil or do you torque dry? I have done it both ways and honestly don't know if wet or dry torque is correct or either is fine. I usually do it wet but don't want the threads to turn too easy but on the other hand when dry threaded cast doesn't like force that bends.
Tim, I have always used Indian Head gasket cement in all gaskets, in the head bolt holes, and other places, and still do. That goes for A's, and B's also.
The Indian Head acts as a lube, and also will seal any head bolt hole that would leak.
Plus, the studs, and or head bolts do not rust in.
I use oil on all bolts that don't have water, or oil connected with them.
If you don't use some type of lube on a bolt, you can shear very small pieces of steel off, and then it just starts balling up and ruins all.
If you torque, it will give false readings, if dry, as the threads are dragging, rather then sliding smoothly past each other.
The problem with T's, A's, and B's, is that many times, the hole will leak water up the bolt, or stud, as the threaded hole will be drilled through, or a small crack in the bottom of the hole.
On a Model T,A, and B's we never torque under 50# pounds, and not over 55#.
I see you have gone with a "Time sert " kit and removing the head. Please have a plan for drilling accurately "square " to the block, and then tapping square as well. Using the hole in the head (with a sleeve if possible or needed) has proven to help.
Thanks Herm, now I know.
Considering how old these engines are and the fact that we do not know what was done to them in the past I always torque by feel and not by a specific torque number and have done well on six Model T and Model A engines. I also just use plain water in the cooling system for the first couple of weeks after installing a head with new gasket until I know I have no leaks into the pan and have no need to take the head off again.
Possible change of plans....
I removed the cylinder head to discover that the offending head bolt hole had been heli-coiled. There are several other head bolt holes that have helicoils installed.
There were bits and pieces of the helicoil in the bolt hole, and the tang had not been removed. I am wondering whether failure to remove the tang caused the failure?
Here is a picture of the bolt hole, cleaned:
I used a 7/8-14 bottoming tap to clean out the threads remaining at the bottom of the hole, they look OK. I will flush the hole again with brake cleaner to remove any remaining debris.
The Time-Sert kit came today but I am pondering ordering another helicoil kit and simply replacing the one that failed. And I'll remove the tang this time..... This would save me having to re-drill the head to install the Time-Sert, which would be a blessing.
I'll send you one if ya wanna wait.
no the tang was not an issue
I have never heard of a Heli-Coil failing. Did the threads pull out of the block, allowing the Heli-Coil to come out?
Gene: thanks for the offer but I will need the entire kit, which includes the installation tool.
Jerry: I can see threads in the drilled out portion of the block. The threads are not the best (not very deep or well defined) so, at minimum, I will have to chase them out a bit before installing another helicoil.
I'm still waffling over using the Time-Sert or Helicoil. Did not realize that helicoil kits are so darned expensive - cost more than the Time-Sert kit......
If the Time-Sert requires a bigger thread to insert into, I believe I'd go that route. It will allow you to make a more complete and proper thread than those that someone has done for the Heli-Coils. Since all Heli-Coils are created equal, I can only surmise that the poor threads in the block were the reason for the Heli-Coil failure.
As I understand the helicoil is just that, a coil of specially shaped wire so it's a thread on the outside and the desired thread on the inside. If the NEW threads cut into the block are poor, they may not hold the helicoil tight enough to keep the coil in the block. I'm not "on hand" to really inspect and analyze the situation. The Time-Sert may be a better solution for you. I'd have someone with some experience with inserts in cast iron to look at it.
The helicoils failed on a speedster engine I did. I managed to convince the machine shop to put inserts into the block with the motor still in the car. I had to remove the head and fortunately the fire wall was not in the way. Its worth a try
if you do not have a Heli-coil insert kit, then you do NOT have a tap which will clean out the threads. Heli-coil taps are NOT standard taps, so don't be fooled into using the wrong tool and making things worse for yourself
I like keenserts In cast Iron, They use standard taps and have locking keys so they will not back out. They use a larger thread in your block to give more strength and I have used many hundreds on very high powered racing motors and never had a problem. They are made of a high grade of steel and give more accurate and repeatable torque. I have used thousands of Helicoils for other applications but in soft cast Iron Keenserts are far superior.
The most important part of a successful insert instillation no mater witch insert you use is to make sure you drill and tap perpendicular to your clamping surface, and make sure every thing is very clean before instillation.