We tried to take Lizzie out to dinner (despite the 35 degree weather) and she seemed to run okay. But within several minutes of driving, she started steaming and soon began to boil!
I've checked the usual suspects. Spark and mixture were fine. She had plenty of water and oil. Besides, I don't think that retarded timing and too lean of a mixture will make her overheat THAT quickly.
I have never had issues with her overheating, even on the hottest summer days.
I'm not running a water pump, so no issues there.
We drove her about a week ago and didn't have any troubles at all.
Again, she seemed to be running okay. Just overheating badly.
What could have happened? Any ideas as to what to check? I consider myself to be a pretty good T mechanic, but this is a real head-scratcher!
I'm suspecting that she blew her head gasket, but I'm not sure how that could have happened just like that.
Stranger things have happened...
Did you take the radiator cap off with it running and look for bubbles which might indicate a head gasket?
I'd be checking the spark linkage, the mixture, and the emergency brake to start with. If it was running fine (cool) then this happened suddenly something has either broken or been changed. From the sound of it, it's not likely to be a cooling system problem, more likely spark (timing) or mixture.
Just my $0.02 worth.
Take a compression test. You might learn something. No really, if nothing obvious appears it'll tell you if the gaskets gone.
Antifreeze mix ? 35 or a few degrees colder ? Any possibility your radiator partially iced up ?
Rich, that is what I was going to suggest. I learned about wind chill and radiators, when I was 20 years old. My Jeep Wagoneer's coolant tested good to zero, and it was 15 degrees above that. I started out for work, and ten miles into the trip, she boiled. I was completely baffled. Dad had a chuckle at my expense.
Just touching some of the bases...
For the thermo-siphon principle to work, the coolant level in your radiator has to be high enough. -If you top it off, your system will automatically burp out the excess as you drive, leaving you with the proper level.
Oil is primarily a lubricant, of course, but it also acts as a coolant and running with the level too low will heat things up. -
Another possibility could be a too-lean mixture and that can be caused by some crud in your gasoline that made its way to your carburetor. -Try enriching it. -If that works, be prepared for the engine to start running rough at some point in the future when the crud washes out, leaving you with a too-rich mixture. -In that case, just lean it out again. -It's happened to me a few times.
Overheating can be caused by running with the spark timing retarded. -Check your linkage to make sure it's connected.
Make sure your fan is spinning.
The above are the cheap, easy fixes. -As a general practice, always check those possibilities first.
My car normally runs nice and cool, even in hot weather, but driving up a steep hill in low gear really tests the cooling system.
Had a baffle in the upper radiator tank come loose one time and cover the tubes. Took me a while to find that one.
I automatically thought it was 35 Deg c but then realised its F. So you have a real problem there!
Iím looking forward to reading later what you found.
Alan, I believe he has experienced radiator icing, as he indicated the cooling system is filled with water. Due to wind chill, even a water/antifreeze mix will freeze when driving. Even when the mixture tests below ambient temperature.
I thought wind chill only affects unprotected skin, not inanimate objects...
An excerpt from a NOAA article:
Can windchill Impact my car's radiator or exposed water pipe?
The only effect windchill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5 degrees Fahrenheit and the windchill temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit, then your car's radiator will not drop lower than -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, really long story made short, if it is -15c outside, no amount of wind will make it -35c except to exposed skin.
Tim is correct. There is NO wind chill on inanimate objects such as a radiator, piece of steel, or a big rock. Any amount of wind will NOT cool the object below the temperature of the air.
On the other hand, the more wind you have, the more heat you can remove. Total heat transfer is based on several factors, one of which is the mass flow rate (wind). With higher mass flow rate, you will either remove more heat or change the inlet/outlet temperatures of the cooled fluid and wind. Think FAN. Your car would still work on a thermo-siphon with or without a fan. BUT, with a fan, you can remove more heat from the radiator, and lower the radiator outlet temperature. If you add blades or speed to the fan, you can remove even more heat from the radiator thus reducing the outlet temperature even more.
On the other side of this equation is changing the size of the radiator. Specifically, covering all or part of the radiator. The overall effect of this will be to raise the temperature of the engine by reducing the amount of heat transfer.
FYI, there are nuclear reactors that will run completely on thermo-siphon of the coolant. Ford proven technology at work in modern day industry.
I also suspect radiator icing, even though the officially reported temperature was above freezing.
Not due to wind chill, but I suspect the local temperature may have been colder than the official reported number.
I respectfully suggest that you drain a gallon of water out of the system and pour in a gallon of antifreeze.
I usually install my home-made winter front when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees F. I just cut it out of a piece of cardboard and painted it black. It slips between the radiator fins and the outer shroud. Takes only seconds to install or remove.
From the antifreeze manufacturer's site "While a 50:50 mix is the most common antifreeze ratio, you may discover that even with a clean and full system your carís coolant is showing a freezing point thatís higher than predicted temperatures in your area. Keep in mind that wind chill plays a factor, especially if you are parked with the radiator grille facing the brunt of the chilly blast. If your hydrometer is showing a freeze resistance thatís right on the borderline, you might want to consider moving to a more aggressive ratio of antifreeze-to-water. Remember to consult with your mechanic first before making any extreme changes to your coolant and water mix." I have seen this first hand.
You did not state whether or not you had anti freeze mixture in the radiator, but 35 is very close to freezing which is 32. Unless you had a very accurate thermometer at the location where Lizzie was parked, it is possible that the radiator had some ice in it, enough to block the tubes. Since the system is thermosyphon, the coolant would not be able to circulate and the frozen area did not thaw enough to allow the water to circulate. Think about what happens when you take your turkey out of the freezer and place into the refrigerator. Even though the refrigerator is above freezing, it still takes a couple days for the turkey to thaw. Anyway, try driving the car on a warmer day before you start taking things apart. Maybe if you park it in the sun with the radiator facing the sun. Then try again. If it still overheats, you might have a problem. It seems to me that in the old days people use to heat water in a tea kettle and pour it into the radiator before starting on a cold day.
What Ed says is very true about freezing.I have had a couple of tractors freeze up while running! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Ed, I agree with everything except windchill. As a mechanical engineer that studied thermodynamics, I can tell you that windchill only applies to animals (and humans of course) when wind blowing across exposed flesh causes the moisture in the skin to evaporate. Evaporation is a cooling process so you add the cooling by evaporation effect to the ambient temperature and you get windchill. More wind, more windchill. So machines, buildings, and other objects will not experience windchill. However, if the object can experience surface evaporation it will cool such as a carburetor that can freeze up at ambient temperatures above freezing, or an old style water bag that sweats to cool the contents, which is why you often see water bags on the front bumper or radiator of an old car in historical photos.
2. Can wind chill impact my carís radiator or exposed water pipe?
A. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit, then your carís radiator will not drop lower than -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is there a thermostat involved?
Jeff, I humbly submit that while some evaporation in the case of animals or humid beans probably factors in wind chill, the operative factor is that as wind chill accelerates the removal of heat to the point the temperature of an object equals ambient temperature, in extreme cases when it outstrips an organism's capability to maintain its body temperature, hypothermia and death result. In the 1980s wind and severe temperatures resulted in range cattle freezing solid where they stood in the Medicine Lodge country - of course eventually their temperature equalled ambient temperature after they died. Flash-frozen beef, anyone ?
Humid beans? Must be that darned spell check!
Of course, a humid bean will cool faster than a dry bean in the wind.
(Message edited by cudaman on February 05, 2018)
Yup,When planted,pulled,and thrashed we call them dry beans but after eaten they are Very Humid!!Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I wish the weather men had never "invented" Wind Chill. Most of the above postings are correct or mostly so.
As for the effect on humans, I don't think it is accurate. -20F with no wind isn't to bad. +30F with a 30 MPH wind is cold. Real cold.
Heck, yesterday, the temperature was +22F with a 25MPH wind behind me while I was splitting wood - with a log splitter - and I got cold even through my Carhartt's.
Of course, the sun makes a bunch of difference.
Cameron, What would you say to taking the car out for another little run during the day when the temps aren't so close to freezing ? If all is well, you can probably chalk it up to a frozen radiator. If it gets hot same as before when the air temp is up around 40 or so, then you will have to investigate further.
Your radiator froze.
Thanks for all of the excellent responses! I had a chance to work on Lizzie today, and I definitely figured it out, thanks to everyone's guidance and suggestions.
First of all, I didn't mention that when we took Lizzie out the time before she overheated, the temperature was the same, but she was in a (relatively) warm garage, and I gave her plenty of time to warm up before we went anywhere. Last night, we trailered her to Guthrie and started her up there. I didn't mention any of this because I didn't think it was important.
Yes, it turns out that her radiator iced up. She did have antifreeze, but I didn't keep up with the concentration and I never measured it.
The big clue came when I opened up her radiator cap after she cooled down for quite some time and saw slush in it. I ran her for a bit afterwards, and although she started to steam, her radiator core was cold to the touch, while the top tank was so hot that you couldn't get near it!
As for wind chill... well... I definitely think that played a role. She sits very high up on the trailer. As I drive, the air flowing over the truck travels faster than the air elsewhere. Because of Bernoulli's principle, we know that faster travelling air has lower pressure than slower moving air. It's why aircraft wings are prone to icing. I just don't know how much of an effect it had, however.
Still, after letting her radiator thaw out, I had no troubles with her! I drained a gallon out of her radiator and replaced it with a gallon of antifreeze.
You dodged a bullet there. Lucky thing you didn't crack the block or cylinder head.
If the effects of wind chill on warm bodies was the same for inanimate objects, such as say a Thermometer, it would be impossible to measure ambient temperature. Think about it.
Whe I bought my first Model T, it had Evans coolant in it. It's some kind of high buck crap that some of the vendors sell to help with overheating. At any rate, it's also got a nice low freeze point too.
I took the car to a local club event when it was 20F outside. Along the way, the car overheated. The coolant didn't freeze, but it did get too thick to flow well through the flat tube radiator. I changed it out for regular antifreeze and never had another heating problem.
This thread has got me thinking. I'm far from a scientist, and I'm wondering what effect humid air has on a automobile radiator. Say ambient temperature is +20F and your coolant mixture tests to +10F. You're driving through snowfall and/or humid air. Can the coolant mixture frost up? I say yes, and I have had it happen.
Yes, humidity is a factor. Relative humidity is determined by taking 2 temperature readings, a "wet bulb" and a "dry bulb" temperature. As the names suggest, the "bulb" of the thermometer in one case is dry, while the other's is wet, (has a little sock on it that's kept wet by it's being dipped in a small water reservoir). The wet bulb temp allows for evaporative cooling to occur while the dry bulb registers only the ambient temp. at the ambient humidity. The wet bulb temp will be lower than or equal to the dry bulb temp. The wet bulb essentially imitates 100% humidity. If the dry bulb equals the wet bulb, then the relative humidity is 100%. If the dry bulb is higher than the wet bulb, the relative humidity is then something less than 100% To find out exactly what is, you need to go to a psycrometric chart to determine where the wet & dry bulb lines intersect the relative humidity lines.
Anyway, all of this is to say that when the relative humidity is 100%, evaporative cooling will lower the surface temperature of an inanimate object below the ambient temperature, just as the wet bulb of a thermometer will be lowered.
By the way, I believe that while wind chill readings take the above in to account, they also include other factors, such as wind speed. I believe that wind chill relates more to the rate of heat loss.
Also, to add to my last sentence above, the relative humidity does not need to 100% for evaporative cooling to occur, it's just at it's maximum there.
Jerry, I think you mean when the relative humidity is %100 the two thermometers show equal readings because the saturated air can no longer absorb any of the moisture from the wet bulb, therefore there is NO evaporative cooling.
I agree with Gary. No evaporative cooling when you get to 100% relative humidity. The air will not absorb anymore moisture at 100% by definition, so no evaporation can take place. Same reason a swamp cooler works better in Arizona than Florida.
Yes, I guess that is what I mean... My mistake. Been a long time since school! Thanks for clearing that up.
That also makes my comment, "...the relative humidity does not need to 100% for evaporative cooling to occur, it's just at it's maximum there." untrue. Would be minimum, not "maximum".
Yes, exactly the case on the swamp cooler thing. My bad. Got things turned around a bit.
In a thermo-syphon cooling system, antifreeze and water needs to be mixed before adding to the radiator. The mixture wont' mix properly otherwise. We have that problem with the old John Deere 2-cylinders.
Right on Mark. I had an 47 A John Deere. Poured in a couple of gallons of ATF and filled it up with water. It over heated. I drained it out and poured it back in. No problem. Water weighs about 8 #/gal and ATF over 10 #/gal.
So the water floated on the ATF and thermosiphon was blocked as a result???? And you were able to blend the ATF with water sufficiently when you drained and refilled? I sorta get that, but oil (ATF) having a density 1.25 X water is difficult to comprehend. Handbook reference gives ATF density .81 to .88 of water depending on temp, but this may not be correct for the type you used. Interesting. jb
I think Fred means AnTiFreeze rather than Automatic Transmission Fluid ? Problem with acronyms, you never know for sure for sure what's meant.
I use that chart to explain realitive humidity on a regular basis.
You would be amazed (maybe not) how many engineering college graduates donít understand RH and Dew Point.
(I wonder what these people are being taught.)
It becomes real fun when we begin talking about Dew Points approaching -60 degrees C which are required for brazing SS in continuous furnaces.
Another comparison between water and air. You can stand next to a swimming pool in 60 degree air temp and it will be chilly but then step into the pool with water temp at 60 degree and it is going to be damn cold.
Place cardboard in front of the radiator. Old farmers trick. Better yet use use proper antifreeze.
My thermo professor, Dr Maples, liked to call that a "psychiatric" chart.
Opps, I guess I should read my posting more. Yup, I did mean Permanent Antifreeze not Automatic Transmission Fluid. Sorry 'bout that.
As for Dew Point and Relative humidity, I don't care about the relative humidity, give me the Dew Point and Temperature and I'll know whether it's comfortable. .
Our TV weather political correct reporters do not use wind chill any longer. FEEL LIKE has been this winters term! ! !
Pushtruck, 30 miles south of Hershey
Fred & Rich: Thanks, that info helps me a lot, and now I do understand the issue, jb
Unfortunately I have not used that chart since college. Hence my error in answering Ed's question. However, Hals' and Gary's kind corrections have my head back on track!
Anyway, the chart is a pretty neat tool!
First off, wow! A lot more information than I was looking for! Still, I leaned a lot!
Anyway, last night we took Lizzie back up to Guthrie for the Valentine's day event. Again, we trailed her up the just like before. It was warm during the day, but got below freezing during the night.
I had taken y'all's suggestion and drained a gallon from Lizzie's radiator, and then added a gallon of straight antifreeze. This time, everything worked as it should and we had no overheating troubles. I never would have thought about the water getting slushified and not wanting to flow through the radiator!
It's amazing how much I can learn from you folks
just by reading your comments
If you really want to confuse the new engineers include the affect of barometric pressure in the dew point discussion.
Then describe the triple point.
If you havenít lost them by then completely blow their minds by telling them about the triple gears in a T transmission.
I love talking about the triple point. That really confuses just about everybody. How it the world can that be? is all they can say.
I've seen video of water at triple point, but never in real life.
It's been years since thermo class, but I remember a discussion question on a test. In class, we had discussed how ice skating works. Essentially, the pressure from the weight of the skater on the tiny surface area of the skate blade momentarily melts the ice and the skate glides along on a thin layer of liquid water, which re-solidifies immediately after the skate passes and the pressure returns to normal. The test question was "Can you lead skate?" The answer is no. Lead does not exhibit the property of melting due to increased pressure. Of course you had to back that up with phase diagrams and explain how all that worked. I couldn't do it today, but I'm thinking some of you guys probably could. I did get the question right, but that was nearly 30 years ago. I haven't used that info since. Psychrometrics, on the other hand, has come up from time to time in my career.
To Jeff Cordes--I bet you and I are the only ones that this has happened to. Everyone in this thread and one that I wrote a comment on about a year ago never replied as to this possibility. All the engineers and scientist point to every other unique possibility but this one. It is easy to tell if this is the case, (I found out after chasing all the other rabbits). Take the radiator off and rotate it to the upside down position. The rattle will tell you the story. I think it happens often but "what do I know". Just my .02.
I thought perhaps you fellers well-versed in thermo-dynamics might like this picture of an authentic ice-bucket.