My '13 touring keeps getting hot. I bought a reproduction motor meter from Snyders. Assuming it's accurate it's getting too hot and stays hot regardless of speed. Granted it's hot here in Texas I thought/hoped it wouldn't be a problem. Even when it's in the 70's it doesn't take long.
The engine supposedly had a complete overhaul in the 1960's but wasn't run until February of this yr. I put on a "better" head gasket from Snyders which helped but didn't entirely fix it. The block had some sediment but I cleaned it out. Is there something else I can try besides a water pump?
What condition is the radiator in?
Most radiators are full of gunk and minerals. I'd flush and clean the cooling system before doing anything else.
Check your spark advance position. You may be running a notch or two up from where you should be. It doesn't take much of a spark retard to overheat, particularly at road speed.
A lot of reasons why a T will run too hot and boil.
Here are a few things to check and put straight to have a normal temperature running T, but remember, if let to idle for too long, or run at high speed for long time, or climb steep hills, lots of excess heat will be generated.
Radiators can wear out - fins not touching tubes….
Also - folks get concerned about the cleanliness inside of the radiator but don't comment about the exterior. However, the outside can be plugged with road dirt and other foreign matter between the tubes and fins which can impede cooling. If necessary, clean out the crap with a stiff wire or hacksaw blade, etc.
A fresh rebuild will often run hot until broken in? Do you have your engine pans installed?
It has the original radiator and it's in excellent condition. I had it cleaned at a radiator shop here in Wichita and they said it was "exceptionally clean" for it's age with no leaks or build up inside or out. I have actually flushed the system too.
I haven't checked for spark retard yet. I run it where it sounds the best without going too far. I might have 10 hrs of run time on it.
I'd also check carburetor adjustment. If it's set lean it'll cause the engine to run hot.
Interesting - of the two overheating lists posted by Dan, the one on the left just says "Incorrect carburetion" (item 11), which is true as far as it goes. Item 6 on the list to the right says, "Gas mixture too rich". As far as I know that's not true. A too rich mixture will cause problems, but overheating isn't one of them. A too lean mixture will cause overheating, or so I've been told.
Am I correct?
Ft. Worth has a good club. If you have not reached out to they, please do so. I'm in Waco. Understand the over heating issue. Try the following;
1) drain the radiator
2) fill it with vinegar
3) let it stand for about a week
4) drain and fill with water
5) have someone from the club come over and check the mixture
At this point you will be able to determine where the issue is.
The most fun of having a T is working on it and driving it.
Sorry, I should have said timing also. Mixture and timing seems to contribute to over heating issues.
If your radiator is original - 104 years old - it could be worn out even if it is exceptionally clean. Radiators can expand and contract during use (heat/cool) which can cause the fins from coming detached from the tubes which in turn can decrease the ability to cool efficiently.
You should also "time the timer" - i.e., make sure it is set up correctly.
There is something called wet water that is suppose to raise the boiling temp.higher than antifreeze and cool better. It is available at the Napa store, probably most good auto stores. I have never used it but have heard of good results.
It could be the carb is running to lean, lean on the mixture. Mine T s are extremely sensitive to mixture adjustment. Jmho
Cord, as a Texan myself, I run a water pump on all my T's. Sure, they'll run with um but a pump helps. Now, if you have engine conditions that promote heating issues that are above and beyond then they need to be address, But, Texas heat is aggressive and a pump helps. I love my water pump.
One thing not already been mentioned is the coolant. What coolant are you using?
A 50/50 mix of antifreeze is a common cause of over heating in a thermosyphon system. Plain water is more effective at heat transfer then a 50/50 mix. However for rust protection and for the Texas location a 1/3-2/3 or even a 1/4 - 3/4 mix would provide corrosion protection, provided the needed freeze protection and cool better then a 50/50 mix.
Did you put the head gasket on the correct way? Big hole to the rear.
If his radiator has been professionally cleaned, I seriously doubt it needs the vinegar treatment. Try the easy stuff first, mixture, timing. If that doesn't fix it, my money is on the radiator. You can clean one 'till your heart's content, but if the fins aren't a good fit to the tubes, they ain't a gonna carry the heat away.
Here is an excellent article on coolants, albeit for a Model A. FYI water wetter does not change the boiling temperature of the water but helps with the heat transfer efficiency. Enjoy
Erik and Dan bring up two good points for sure. I'm betting the poor ol' radiator is just whipped, with very little fin contact to the tubes. And speaking of tubes, if it's an original, then it's also a round tube. Take a look "square on" at the tubes from the front, Cord, and you'll notice they're all in a nice neat row. Which means those that are behind the front row just don't get much air flow. Round tube radiators are notoriously "warmer" running than flat tubes, altho flat tube rads are "modern" and not considered "correct" as far as point judging is concerned. To me, cooler running trumps the judging points. And as Dan said, if you had the head off, are you positive you put the gasket on correctly? It's very easy to put 'em on backwards, but that will restrict water flow. You may want to take the head off and double check it if you're not 100% positive. JMHO.
I have nothing positive to contribute to this thread, but am surprised not to read about exterior paint affecting the radiator cooling. Maybe that urban legend has been debunked, but I thought a special paint was needed on the exterior or a very thin coat of paint on the radiator to alow the fins to do there cooling.
Too much Rustoleum exterior gloss paint on the radiator?
An original T radiator that's in excellent condition means it hasn't actually had much service or none at all.
Original radiators that look good after years of service can fool you. I went through 3 on my 24 that looked really good before I finally bought a new Bergs and couldn't believe the difference.
I'm not saying that could be the problem in this situation but it was for me.
I really appreciate all of the help. I can adjust the carburetor by turning the adjustment rod all the way to the right and the engine keeps running. I didn't know Fort Worth had a club but I'll get in touch with them. Only a 2 hr drive.
It's hard for me to tell if the fins are separating from the tubes but I hope that's not the case. I'd really prefer to keep the original radiator. Especially given the price of a new one from Brass Works. Tim said that the flat tube is "modern" but cools better. I too would prefer more efficient cooling than point judging. I'll have to look up how to time the timer as Erik said. I might try the wet water too after I've gone through all possible fixes. Being August it's hot here.
Jerry said he runs a pump on all of his T's. If I do end up needing a pump which one should I get?
I have the 50\50 mix but I can dilute it.
I made sure to put the head gasket on the right way. The instructions were very clear on that.
I didn't read every posting here, so forgive me if I missed it. But, are you saying that the engine is running hot just because the moto-meter says so, or is it actually boiling and making steam?
If it ain't steaming, it ain't hot.
My radiator was "exceptionally clean" and the T would overheat in 15 minutes whether idling or driving. As was mentioned earlier, after eliminating everything else (including pulling the head for a looksee), I replaced the radiator with a new Berg's flat tube unit. It now will not overheat under any conditions that I have experienced. My T is now here in sunny SW Florida where the daytime summah highs are usually 92-95 degrees. If the cooling system is clean, the radiator working properly, and all factory cooling system components are working as designed, you don't need a pump. That sort of thing is simply a band-aid.
[All factory cooling system components are working as desinged, you don't need a pump. That sort of thing is simply a band-aid,] This sounds good,but why did you need a flat tube???
For a comparison, just ran the '23 cut-off to the post office, about 5 min. run and 35mph, and then a idle there checked the radiator upper tank and the lower pipe for actual temp using a laser thermometer.
My T has rebuilt engine, runs on magneto, rebuilt coils, good plugs, timing set proper, Anderson timer, and NH carb in good condition, with mixture set correctly. Radiator is new from Smith&Jones, repro flat tube, don't know mfg.(not a Berg's or Brassworks)
Then took photos of before and after, comparing to the motometer readings too.
Today temps in at 90 degrees F. North FL, elev. 180 feet above sea level
Before temp of cold engine in hot garage! Lower inlet metal pipe and motometer.
After the run and letting the T idle in the parking lot, got these readings, at the lower pipe and the motometer. The lower pipe is cool to touch, unlike the upper tank...don't stick your finger on that!
And here is the upper tank reading at the same time, this is the temp of the coolant leaving the block going into the upper tank to fall down in the radiator allowing the fan to pull air thru the fins and tubes, and drop the coolant temp to again go back into the block. The magic of thermo-syphon, so simple, but elegant.
Just right smack on the good operating temp for an internal combustion engine, about 180 degrees F.
I'm just reading the motor meter. It'll purge some water out of the overflow but not much. It has yet to steam. As John said he went through 3 on his 24 that were in excellent condition. I will try everything suggested here and if it doesn't change I'll just have to try a pump or radiator. I appreciate the pictures Dan. That's a good comparison. I need to get a laser thermometer and see what my temps actually are.
I'm with Jerry on this. If there's no steam you're fine. If your upper tank is 180º - 190º as Dan's last picture shows, you're good to go and you can stop fretting over pumps and additives.
Try this. Take off the motometer. Fill the radiator clear up to the top of the neck. Start the car, stick a $5 meat thermometer in the water, and see how warm it gets. As the water heats up, some of it will overflow. As long as there's enough to cover the thermometer's sensor, that's OK. If it gets over 200º at idle, drive the car a little and see if it cools down to normal operating temperature.
Cord - In case you were not aware of this, Harbor Freight Tools regularly stocks a laser thermometer that works very well, and normally sells for (I think) $24.95, and I've seen it on sale from time to time for as little as $19.95. FWIW,....harold
Cord, just how high does the red dye in the moto-meter actually go? Even if it's in the "circle" on a 90+ degree day, that really aint so bad! Now if it's all the way to the top, well, then something needs looked into. I agree with Ken & others, you don't need a water pump, and the inherant problems that can eventually go with them too. If you can turn the carb adj. thing all the way to the right without killing the carb, then you've also got a carb issue that needs dealt with. Not saying that's contributing to the hot running, but needs looked into. It's obviously running fairly rich if it isn't stalling, and rich mixture tends to help cool the engine when running anyway. And don't waste your money on "water-wetter" or whatever it's called. Doesn't help hardly at all, if at all.
Even if water wetter really does lower the temperature, you shouldn't need it.
There's two things an antique car guy should not own.
1. A calculator.
- It reveals the total expense of owning an antique car. Nobody should know that, including the owner, (or his wife). Sucks the fun out of things.
2. A moto-meter.
- If it's boiling you'll know it anyway. If it isn't, it doesn't matter. Just another bit of information to fret over.
In all seriousness, I think your car is doing fine just as it is.
I wonder about the accuracy of motometers. I have one on my A. If I see ANY red at all, it is already too hot. With it steaming and puking water, there's probably not 3/4" of red showing. It has NEVER been into the circle. Perhaps I got a bad one, but back when I got it, I was told they were worthless and what I was seeing was par for the course. Folks on here seem to have better luck with them than me.
There's a potential motometer problem that has nothing to do with whether it's accurate. There have been cases of the vibrating extra weight breaking the filler neck off the radiator. As Jerry pointed out, I don't need one to tell me whether my radiator is boiling.
purging water is nothing more than the radiator getting rid of excess water. I'll bet you're trying to run the level too high. Somewhere around mid way up "FORD" script is just fine, or after it purges...let it be...when it cools down you'll see where it wants to run.
Are you aware that a T runs right at the boiling point at the worst of conditions, as in summer in Texas?
After a drive, I would not be surprised to hear blubbing and blurping coming from the engine and radiator...that is the thermo-syphon working...nothing wrong with that.
I haven't seen any words from you that tell me you're overheating. Sizzling water and steam at the neck or steam blowing out the overflow are indicators of too hot. You're not describing that. What you did describe is a carb that will not kill the engine if you adjust the richness full clockwise...that carb needle is worn out and likely running too lean via multiple vacuum leaks particularly at the throttle shaft...that will make the car run hotter than you would otherwise expect. Buy a rebuilt NH and see if that solves your heat issue.
I drove it yesterday with the spark advanced a notch and tightened the fan belt. I also diluted the coolant. It cooled better and there wasn't any steam coming from the overflow but the lower pipe was still way too hot to touch. I also left the water level alone. The red dye has been staying maxed out at the top but yesterday was within the circle as long as I was going down the road. Within 30 seconds of idling it went back up to the top but didn't steam or boil. After running it I can hear the bubbling. It's circulating the water. Would Snyders have a good rebuilt NH? I'll have to run get a thermometer to get an actual temperature instead of being reliant on the motometer.
Coolant should not be more than 50/50 as comes in a pre-mix. The more concentrated it is the less it will cool a T and you've found that out.
You mention running spark "down a notch". If you're running on magneto, that is far less than it takes to advance timing to the next "node" (my terminology).
Take a look at this chart and see if you are anywhere near what is implied here...keep us all apprised as to how you're doing.
One other thing...the deal is you're either creating too much heat with a new engine which will settle down, or a bad radiator which will not fix itself.
After running a while, place your hand on the fins of the radiator at the top of the core...might be too hot to touch or hold...then check core at the bottom...there should be a marked difference (cooler) at the bottom.
If it is uniformly hot or very little change from top to bottom, then "yes" it might be time for a radiator or *gasp* a water pump if you're short of change.
I installed the flat tube because I drive my T and the flat tube has quite a lot greater heat transfer capacity then the round tube. I am a believer in the "railroad philosophy"; put the biggest and best radiator that you can find in the thing. Since size in not an option in a T, I elected to go for cooling capacity. If I wanted a show car, I'd have gone to a round tube. Nobody who isn't a T hobbyist would ever notice the flat-tube.
Cord, you're gaining, but I still think it's in need of a new rad. Just my two cents. Here's a link to Langs for a carb. Snyders has 'em too.https://www.modeltford.com/item/6200REB.aspx
Cord, As you have a 13 on our 14 I removed the tin shield on the dash under the coil box. It will not cost you a cent and if you have engine pans I think you will be shocked at the huge air flow?
I haven't seen that chart before but I'll try it and see what happens. As I break in the engine hopefully it'll cool down. Time will tell on that part. Ultimately I'll get a radiator when I do complete restoration. Just wasn't planning on doing it just yet. I don't have the engine pans or the tin shield. I'll also check the top and bottom of the radiator fins to see if there's a difference. Once again I really appreciate the help.
Cord, remember to beat the crap out that thing (not high rev's but wide open throttle for short bursts) to help seat the rings while you sort out the cooling issues. :-) Seriously.
I have 2 (OK, 3) T's that are junk downstairs (bearings) and I run the timing as far advanced as possible without the whole assembly of worn bearings rattling at me too bad.
Advance that timing on that little bugger as far as you dare.
The 18 I got last summer is very fresh upstairs (pistons, rings and valves) with a loose bottom end.
He would NOT cool to save his soul, with a NEW round tubed radiator. I put the pump back on.
After perhaps 50-100 miles, he's settling down nicely and I might take the water pump off and try again.
Keep us updated. :-)