Recently checked oil and found it to be light brown and watery. Opened valve covers and there was a considerable amount of pure antifreeze in the bottom of both valve chambers. Car has been running normal. Wanting to know what might be wrong, how to figure it out and if it can be fixed.
Jeffrey, the only three scenarios that would cause this is either a blown head gasket, or a cracked head or block. If it were mine, i would start by pulling the head first to see if you can see a gasket or head failure, and then move on from there. Hope this helps.
I have pulled the head and am ready for reinstall of new gasket, but am confused about why there was antifreeze in the valve chambers?
Look up in the top of the valve chambers, about in line with the freeze plugs, and you will more than likely find the block has rusted through.
Jeffery, did you see any evidence of gasket failure? It is also possible that anti-freeze ran down the valve stems into the valve gallery. One other note is that you might have a water jacket crack in that area, which unfortunately is very common.
Any fix if water jacket is cracked? How would the antifreeze get in both valve chambers? How do I tell where the crack is if I can't see it to know if this is the problem?
How was the head gasket when you removed the head? Was there any anti-freeze in the cylinders? Diagnosing a crack may be difficult to the naked eye. What year engine?
Look at the 3 "frost plugs" and see if they might be leaking, especially the rear one. They often rust out and leak. Then it runs down the block and seeps into the gasket for the valve chamber.
It happened to my T.
This block has rusted through the top in 3 spots, middle and both ends.
Sometimes they crack around the exhaust valve. Usually between the valve seat and the cylinder wall. Take a very close look around the valve seat. You can install insert valve seats which will usually fix the problem. Another leak is the bottom of the water jacket above the valve chamber. Lastly, the freeze plug, but usually if it is a freeze plug the coolant won't get into the valve chamber, but just drip down behind the manifolds.
What year engine block? '26/'27 blocks are more notorious for cracks in the valve chamber. Blown head gaskets and cracked heads usually (not always) blow past the rings and go directly to the crankcase where the oil churning quickly mixes the coolant with the oil, resulting in that ugly brown stuff. Coolant can sometimes go by the valves, and blow by the stems to wind up in the valve chambers. However, usually, if there is unmixed coolant in the valve chamber, it most likely got in there through a crack between the valve chamber and the water jacket. Finding it may not be easy. Sometimes they show easily as rust bubbles or areas where the oil sludge has washed off. Look in the area where Frank vE shows. Rare for blocks to get as bad as the one he showed.
Properly cleaned first, sometimes epoxy put into the water jacket above the leak will hold for a long time. Too much epoxy inside the water jacket at large will slow the transfer of heat to the coolant, allowing the engine to overheat somewhat.
I have also seen the freeze/frost plugs leak down and past the valve cover gasket to get inside the valve chamber. So there are a lot of possible causes of the "green water" in the valve chamber.
Anti freeze in the valve gallery is very troubling to me. The rotted freeze out plug dripping down & entering the chamber is, hopefully your answer but I'm not betting on it. Don't really see a way for a head gasket being responsible either. They usually go between cylinders but can open up to a water passage too. That normally results in overheating but not leaking into the gallery. There's no "path" showing a way in? Wayne has pretty much covered it all.
How much is to much? How much are you leaking? I had a tractor that showed a slight bit in the oil so i drilled and tapped the drain plug and installed a 6" long hose with a cap.The hose gave a place for the water/antifreeze to settle out and just crack the cap and i usually found no more than a tea spoon in two or three months.When the tractor sold at auction i explained the hose and the need/or not? I used the tractor over ten years with no trouble.How many of us has changed the oil in a combine and first out of the drop hose have found a little green,clear water,then oil?? Bud.
I have seen a few posts about people adding sodium silicate. Does this work? If so, how much and how is it done. The engine is original to the car 1913. Thank you to all that have responded.