I've just replaced my head gasket. I torqued the bolts to 50 ft/lb in the tightening order recommended on this forum (generally inside/out). I added a gallon of antifreeze to the radiator and then, to help start coolant circulation, decided to turn the crank a few times. The crank moved about 1/2 a rotation and stopped hard. There was definitely compression compared to when I cranked it with the head off (of course). But it definitely seems to be stuck now. I gave it a firm pull, but didn't go over the top before posting on this forum to see what others might think is going on. Clearly it seems that there's a gasket obstruction of some sort. I can't really envision how it might have happened.
Cleared the bolt holes with a bottoming tap - even inspected the bottoms using my endoscope (that was cool)
New Copper Head Gasket
Tested head gasket alignment to make sure it was installed correctly. All of the holes lined up perfectly other than the larger water jacket holes on each end. For those I have the gasket matched (large to large / smaller to smaller). The gasket is slightly larger than the holes in the block. I've attached a couple photos of this.
New Head Bolts (purchased from one of the Model T Parts distributors specifically for this project)
2-3 light coats of CopperCoat on the head gasket
Placed head gasket using 3 old bolts cut off to be used as alignment guides.
Finger tightened each of the remaining bolt holes before removing my alignment bolts and putting new bolts in there.
Torqued using the prescribed torque order to 50 ft/lbs.
Poured 1 gallon of antifreeze in the radiator
Turned the crank - stopped at 1/2 revolution.
Check your starter for a locked Bendix.
Take out the plugs. Let off the handbrake and push the car back and forth.
You may have water in a cylinder causing an hydraulic lock. Unlikely but not impossible.
Do you use a high compression head? Clearances with HC heads can be very close and interference is possible and even common.
Do as Chris suggests however and remove your plugs to be certain you don't have water in one of your cylinders.
Thanks all. I will remove the plugs and do the same. I do have a Z-head.
Water in the cylinders would be a whole new issue. Is it even possible with just 1 gallon of antifreeze in the system? If so then there's a substantial leak between water and combustion I think?
Probably interference with the Z head combustion chamber.
When installing an after market head it is best to temporarily install without the gasket. Turn the engine over by hand to make sure there is clearance. If the engine can't be turned over through two complete revolutions then remove the head and place putty or Prussian blue on the piston tops. Turn over until you can't. Remove material from head where marked until you can turn the engine over. Then when the gasket is installed you will have sufficient clearance.
This was a head gasket replacement. The car was running with this head prior to the gasket. Sadly the head removal was only necessary because I'd over-tightened a spark plug and broke it off trying to get it out. Only real solution was to take the head to a machine shop.
Adding to the thread - Do I use high temp anti-seize grease on the block bolts?
I sure would. Be aware that lube on the threads will reduce the tightening torque required to achieve a given clamping load:
In plain language - if you use anti-seize, torque the bolts to the low end of the accepted range (45 ft-lbs).
Did the machine shop plane the head without you knowing it ?
The pistons extend above the top of the block when at top dead center. If the cylinders have been rebored to a large diameter, it is possible that when you installed the head, the head was slightly off center of the cylinders. There is enough play in the bolt holes to cause this. If so, the edge of piston could be hitting the head.
I'd like to hear what happens after he removes the spark plugs.
Mark - thanks - great advice.
Dean - the machine shop did not plane the head. It was a quick job for them (less than 30 minutes between drop off and pickup and they didn't charge me.
I removed the spark plugs, absolutely no help at all. Same problem. Rolled the car back and forth (only a foot or so) in neutral but that did nothing. Released the parking brake so the car would engage in high gear. It wouldn't budge so I'm pretty sure nothing is moving in there.
Norm - if I read you right, there must be some of the gasket hanging over and blocking a piston. I spent a lot of time checking the gasket against the bolt holes & water jacket ports, but didn't really inspect the area around the cylinders. I would think that would have jumped out. Or maybe by "crushing" the gasket (at 45 ft. lbs only), it squeezed some in the way? That seems challenging.
I have no idea if the cylinders may have been re-bored. Based on work done on this car, I would say maybe. Do I check by measuring with calipers / micrometer or something of that sort?
It sounds like this a "remove the head again" problem. Hopefully the smoking gun will be plainly obvious. I hope I didn't do any damage. I think not as I've not used much force to try to advance the engine.
In the photos above, you can see at least a small sample of the gasket / cylinder / piston clearance.
And I can also see two small pieces of "debris".
Might there be larger pieces in one of the cylinders preventing the piston from going to its upper extension? Not much room in that chamber - in certain spots.
Maybe a "head removal" is in order....unless you want to try a really, really strong shop vac in the spark plug holes. I doubt that would work, but it won't take long to try.
Charlie, Here's an idea, See if you can turn the motor backwards. Maybe push or rock the car backwards in gear. Before you remove the head determine which piston is near the top and this might give you a starting point after you get the off.
Curious did you install your head gasket backwards?
His photos show it correct. Except for the front and rear water passages the gasket could be installed ether way and would not effect the fitment around the valves and pistons.
Re;even inspected the bottoms using my endoscope (that was cool)
Maybe get it out and play some more! Does it have a flexible end? Maybe something got dropped in one of the holes or you might be able to see if the valves are hitting the head.
You guys are really starting to get me thinking about debris in a cylinder. I'll be really angry with myself if there's a bolt or some other giant, offensive piece of material in there. I'm starting to think that in my effort to properly line up the gasket and get everything put together that I could possibly have overlooked a major error. At the same time, it seems to me that there would have been plenty of space in the combustion chamber for debris to simply rise and fall with the piston.
And, as I think about all of the recommendations here, I wonder about one other thing. The copper coat on the gasket was somewhat sticky when I installed it. Directions didn't indicate that any sort of full drying was necessary. I wonder if the stickiness meant that while the gasket was basically aligned, that the play in the bolt holes mentioned above may not have done anything to help the gasket "settle" into the right spot.
I'm pretty sure I'm taking the head off later today. Do I need a new gasket since this one has been torqued to recommended level?
When I put things back together, I think I will dry fit the gasket, lightly finger tighten the bolts and crank the engine around a couple times to ensure fit and clearance. Then back at the torque ratchet again.
The first responder stated to check for a stuck starter Bendix and I don't see where you replied to that question Charlie.
In the last close up photo I see carbon and a chunk of something metallic between the cylinder and wall.
Charlie you should be able to re-use the gasket. Just re-apply the copper spray to both sides of it. FWIW, before you do all that, after you do whatever with the head off, try rolling the engine first. I'm sure you've already thought of that.
HI Gary - Thanks for the reminder. How would I know if it's the Bendix? And if it were the Bendix, would I have been able to advance the engine 1/2 turn or so? It did move well for about that much. Then got stuck.
When you say you "cranked" it 1/2 turn, did you mean that literally, or did you use the starter?
Literally cranked from the crank at front of car.
sounds like a piston hitting the head. As recommended above, always put the head on with a few bolts screwed down and turn the engine over with the hand crank.
Charlie says above in one of his post; "This was a head gasket replacement. The car was running with this head prior to the gasket. Sadly the head removal was only necessary because I'd over-tightened a spark plug and broke it off trying to get it out. Only real solution was to take the head to a machine shop."
Unless new valves and seats were installed(?), if it was working before it should be ok now.
And hand cranking pretty much rules out the starter bendix
Even a slight mislocation from it's previous position can bind things up.
Or even a dislocation...
It's easy and quick to pop the head back off and yes just reuse the same gasket. After you get the head off and you don't see anything LOOK to see which piston is at the top and remember that. Then turn the engine over to eliminate anything else. Next put the head back on Without the gasket and turn rotate the engine to see if anything hits. Since you hadn't changed anything except a gasket this shouldn't show anything Unless you had maybe two gaskets originally.
Good Luck and let us know
I'm going to pull the head this afternoon. I kept the old gasket so will also compare it directly to the new one. Seems I should have done that first. I'll post photos of the results.
Took the head off and the photo above pretty much says it all. One of my precious headless alignment bolts was sitting just where it shouldn't be - on top of a piston. Maybe to help excuse my mistake, I figured out how it happened. I had put in 4 of these headless bolts to align gasket / head. When I went to remove the headless bolts, I found one had been cut too short, so when completely unscrewed, I still couldn't get it out of the head. So I ended up pulling the whole head off. I'm guessing it fell through the bottom of the head at that point and in a hurry, I put the head back on and ended up with more work.
There's obviously a lot of antifreeze in the cylinders. That worried me, but I suspect that it's simply overflow from when I pulled the head off just now. I'd put a gallon of antifreeze in the car and assumed that wasn't enough to fill it up to the point that there was antifreeze in the water passages in the head.
Certain valves were open of course. What's the penalty for some antifreeze getting down into there?
I mopped up all the antifreeze, rotated the pistons, wiped clean any wetness on the cylinder walls.
The gasket itself doesn't appear to have been the cause of the block of the pistons.
The gasket is stuck in place on the head (by the copper coat). Do I pull off the gasket anyway and redcoat with copper coat? Is there a cleaning process I should follow? Paint thinner / start over?
Dang it Charlie, That sounds like something I would do.
Confession is good for the soul !
Believe me, Charlie, you are not alone.
Just think, you (and others) will never do that again.
Thanks for "the reason why", however humbling it may be.
Wow, you have great Luck, sort of, Think if that had not jammed the engine and started how much damage it would have caused in there... I'd pop the gasket off and recoat it no cleaning of the good Coppercoat already there and start it up and after getting it up to temp any small amounts of antifreeze will be gone. Of Course not a bad idea to change the oil before too long because some may have leaked down into the pan.
Glad you found the problem.
After you have soaked up as much antifreeze as you can out of the cylinders, and put everything back together, be sure to fire it up outside, there will still be lots of white smoke as you burn off the small amount of antifreeze remaining in the cylinders.
Good story Charlie and I enjoyed it but not sure I would have told it but we have all been there on something. How many have put the rear end together backwards and suddenly have 2 speeds in reverse and one forward? It happens. I read once a long time ago about a guy I think in N Dakota who had his family in Florida during the winter. He got drunk and decided to check the rear end lube. He pulled the plug and stuck his finger in the hole and couldn't pull it out. There he was stuck and the only solution was to roll around and unscrew his finger or die.
Glad it was a simple fix and not something really bad, thanks for this post!
CHANGE YOUR OIL. Can't risk having anti-freeze leak past your pistons/rings and contaminating the oil. Would be very best to also drop the pan and remove any anti-freeze from the pan troughs. Although I suppose you could run the engine for a few minutes to flush out the troughs, then immediately drain the oil.
Hi Jerry - I'm one step ahead of you due to another "mistake". While I'm in full admission mode. I wanted to tighten the mag bolt on top of the hogshead. It was very wobbly. In the process I removed a nut and boom - down the whole pin dropped into the transmission. I learned something important though. Seems that this wouldn't have happened if my car had a magneto to hold up the pin. In that space are what appear to be some oil "throwers / paddles" and a port that helps feed the oil up to the front of the block.
So, my "fix" was to drain the oil and pull the access plate on the pan. This allowed me to get to the mag pin which also meant that I was able to fully clean out the bottom of the pan, remove what was clearly some amount of anti-freeze in there too. The anti-freeze in the oil is the primary reason why I wanted to replace the head gasket. I hope it works. My intent, once it's all back together, is to put new oil in, run it a little bit and then frankly drain the oil again and inspect for antifreeze contamination.
You guys on this forum might be able to give me a little advice as to whether a little anti-freeze in the oil is simply part of the cost of doing business with an antique car. I've read quite a bit about how these engines are tough and will work just fine with minor block cracks and other stuff that you would think is a car killer.
In the end, oil is relatively cheap and wasting a quantity to make sure that everything is well will be worth the expense.
This doesn't apply if you're running a stock Ford high clutch with metal disks, but be aware that exposure to anti-freeze is quick death for composition-lined automatic transmission disks, like those used in the turbo 400 and jackrabbit clutches.
Quick Gasket Question. The new gasket (and the old) have all the holes lining up with the head/block EXCEPT on larger round hole in the center. Is this correct? It's the one near the bottom of the photo.
Look just down a little for the thread by Larry regarding anti-freeze and bearings. Larry is a really smart guy who has made high compression heads for Model A's and is highly respected.
Yes, it's correct.
I am so glad we got away from that type of forum string layout years ago! That is painful to read, opening each response.
Tim - I read through Larry's very well researched discussion of the oil / antifreeze issue. I had a hard time though sorting out the best solution. Clearly the best choice is to make sure everything is tight and that antifreeze doesn't even get to the oil. But if it does? What can be done. I'm hoping that it was my old head gasket that was the reason I found some antifreeze in the oil (not sure if it was a lot or a little).
But what if it's just the way my engine is. Some antifreeze will find itself into the oil. How worried do I need to be? Do I get the Propolene Glycol which is apparently better for the older cars? Or do I simply change the oil more frequently? How frequent is more frequent?
I plan on putting things back together, putting new oil in, run the engine to warm, let it cool down, re-torque the bolts, maybe run it a bit more and then change the oil, playing close attention to the oil that comes out to identify antifreeze or something else wrong. Fingers crossed, good gasket, no contamination - enjoy the car for the summer.
Would it make sense to just use water until he knows everything is working good and there are no leaks? Why waste the antifreeze. You can always drain the water and add antifreeze later.
For cryn' out loud get some help will ya? Your killing yourself for no reason. You can learn to do things without breaking your butt and it'll be a far more enjoyable experience. That stud in the cylinder is a major mistake and your lucky you didn't use the starter. Might have knocked a hole in the piston.
You have it squared away charlie D. :-)
Actually, I think it would be a far more enjoyable experience if you didn't pounce on everyone here who has problems or makes a mistake. Nobody's perfect, except for you it seems.
You should only use the CONVENTIONAL antifreeze not the lifetime stuff or extended life. Think it's in a green marked container. Says Conventional.
Can you be a little more exact?
green is good - go for it
orange is long lasting - caution - be careful
OK Charlie, Here's what I use...
Auto Zone Conventional green Antifreeze & coolant NOT Premixed,,, straight Ethylene Glycol. Says for use in ford 2000 and earlier chevy 1989 and earlier and best for Model T's..LOL.. Protects from freezing and has rust and corrosion protection.
Other brands OK but needs be to the Conventional type.
Charlie I made the same mistake on my first head removal/install. I used guide studs the first time. You don't have to and they are more difficult to do. I did not use guide studs the second time and it went perfectly: Get 2 pieces of plain 1/2 inch plumbing pipe at least a foot and put them in the spark plug holes so that you have good handles for lifting and placing the head. Use Copper Coat to stick the gasket down. Put the piston heads up at 1 and 4 to help hold the gasket in position. When pre-installing the 2 rear head bolts that go under the firewall niche, use clothespins or equivalent to hold the 2 rear head bolts up off the gasket. Using 1/2 inch pipe for handles maneuver the head into position and place it straight in. Remove clothes pins on the 2 rear head bolts, put on the head bolts working from the center outward.
I like the plumbing pipe as handles trick!