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About justinsdad

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    Vermont, USA
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    Being a dad and (generally positive) role model, computers (professional nerd), old-time and celtic fiddling (been playing for >30 years, damn I'm old...), old cars (a passion with no budget), motorcycling (2002 BMW R1150r), home renovation (built ~1800sf addition on my house in 2012), steam punk (see: professional nerd), hiking (free time?! What free time?), mt biking (see: hiking).

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  1. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Hi all Thanks Bloo for your post, you're correct, the oil pump gear was off by a tooth or two. I reset it so that no.1 firing is at about 4 o'clock (matching where it was originally, and in agreement with the photo you posted). I then marked on the distributor where no. 1 cylinder's plug wire is, then turned the motor until no.1 cylinder was at TDC on the compression stroke (turned the motor over with my thumb on the spark plug hole, stopped when I felt air escaping, advanced until the flywheel timing mark is visible). Finally, I turned the distributor until the rotor was pointing directly at the no.1 cylinder mark I'd made. When I tried to start it, it coughed briefly and stopped firing. It sounded like 2-3 cylinders fired and then it just turned over. I tinkered with it by changing the timing by a degree or two in each direction but the best I could get was a relatively consistent but weak fire on one cylinder. I thought maybe the plug wires were bad, since I'd been mucking around with them in my efforts to adjust for the incorrect oil pump gear. One had lost an end in the distributor cap when I was trying to re-order them before I changed the oil pump position. So I replaced the spark plug and coil wires with a new set from CPR, and just for good measure the battery. It cranks very slowly considering that the starter and generator were rebuilt about 10 miles but a bunch of starts ago, and the new battery surprisingly didn't help all that much. I've tried jumping it with my 6v charger, charged the battery ad nauseum, and even tried jumping it with my jumper pack in 12v mode (yikes), all resulting it it feeling like it *almost* wants to start but not quite. It fires some, so I know there's power going to the sparkplugs, and the plugs smell like gas so I know they're getting fuel as well. I may pull the carb just to make sure the jet isn't blocked, but it barely fires even when I give it a shot of ether, so I don't think it's a fuel problem. I suspect the timing is still off somehow, but have once again exhausted my skills (which are getting better, but I'm not exactly drawing from a deep well there...). At this point I'm at a loss for ideas again. The car has a 'new' motor, new plugs & wires, rebuilt carburetor, fresh, non-ethanol gas etc.and she just won't fire up. And I've just carefully re-read Bloo's post and realized I missed this part: "Rotate the distributor just a tiny bit further to the left, and then to the right until the points JUST OPEN. Tighten the clamp." I bet that's where I'm off, and I'll give that adjustment a try tomorrow. In my usual fashion I managed to invent my own way to do it that almost but didn't quite work. On an almost completely unrelated note, I found an incredibly clever old trick for reinstalling the hood springs - I put it in my bench vise and bent it to one side. While it was bent, I slipped a bunch of washers in between the coils, bent it the other way and put in more, and then was able to pop it in place with the hood up as high as the springs would allow it to go. When I let it down most of the washers fell right out (when the spring was stretched). Slick. My wife keeps reminding me (often mid-Tourette's episode) that we do this for fun, right?
  2. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Hey again, y'all The adventure continues! A little background, and response to fraso's good advise: Before I reassembled the power plant and put it back in the car I pulled the head, and inspected it and the block carefully. I replaced the head gasket with a new one, and before I assembled the water pump etc. I pulled the water distribution tube and replaced that with the significantly cleaner one from the original motor. I also opened the valve covers and had a look in there, and everything is clean as a whistle. The old motor, on the other hand, was *completely* sludged up. So if the cracked block hadn't killed it, the poor lubrication eventually would have. When I put it all back together and filled it with coolant and oil, I watched carefully over a few days for leaks. There was some very minor initial leakage (seepage) from 2 of the freeze plugs (well, shit...) that seems to have stopped the next day, and hasn't returned in the nearly 2 weeks it's been loaded up and ready to run (yay... maybe... those little b$*%ards were a right PIA to change out and I'm really not in a hurry to do that again!). However, I've run into issues (probably directly related due to my thorough lack of knowledge about this) with getting the distributor set correctly. In short, I think the distributor drive gear is oriented differently on the new motor. I initially thought I'd installed the distributor 180 degrees off, so when it didn't start I flipped it, and succeeded in getting a rifleshot of a backfire that nearly made me have to change my pants, but that was all. I popped the distributor cap and looked at the rotor, and found that it looked different. On the old motor, No.1 spark was at about 5 o'clock as I looked down at the distributor. No matter how I orient it, the new motor is putting the rotor between 2 plug wires on the cap. when No.1 cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke. It's landing at about 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock now, so right between 2 plug wires (!). I've been reading a lot about distributors and timing, and will likely give setting and starting it another try tonight - I'm feeling bold enough to try setting the distributor to line up with no.1 cylinder at 3 o'clock and change the wires all by one position counterclockwise, and see if that works. Worst case I have pictures of how it was all set before I mucked with it and can set it back. If y'all have pointers, I'd love to hear them Thanks all for your input and interest as we bumble our way through this adventure! -justinsdad
  3. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    So, it's been nearly a year since my last (sad) post so I thought I'd follow up with the latest on Old '47. After finding that the engine block was cracked, we ended up putting the car back together and parking her for the winter. Shortly after my last post describing our trevails, I was contacted by a longtime forum member who had a motor that had been rebuilt back in the 80s, and was only a few hours drive away. My son and I trucked down their way, met him and his wife (nicest folks ever!) and brought the engine back home. This summer, in amongst too many other projects and diversions (I may have a motorcycle problem as well), we managed to pull the old motor out and last night the 'new' motor went in. Hopefully the next update will be to report that I didn't mess anything up in the transplant, and the car is running and happy with her new power plant. I wanted to say a big thank you to all who chimed in on this thread to offer your experience and advice! -justinsdad
  4. Hi folks We have a 1947 Torpedo 6 that was apparently badly overheated somewhere along the way, and needs a new (to it) motor due to a significant crack from the no.3 cyl exhaust valve down into the cylinder wall. We have rebuilt the head, starter, generator, carb etc. and have already replaced the water pump and fuel pump, so would like to keep it original if possible to reuse the good parts. Anyone have an old motor kicking around? Thanks Rubin
  5. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Hi all So, it's been a busy couple weeks. I pulled the head and had it blasted, fluxed and machined. It was .0014 out, not terrible for a 70 year old head. I managed, with a lot of hammering and even more cursing, to pull the freeze plugs out, and we made up an adapter for our shop vac with a bit of clear pvc hose, and ran a bunch of water through the block and cleaned it out. Between that and a stiff piece of wire to loosen up all the snot, we got the worst of it all out and rinsed clean. Then we wire brushed the top of the block, and, at the suggestion of the machinist, did a block sand. Then I cleaned it all off carefully and... found a crack in the block. The crack runs from the exhaust valve seat, between the valves, and down into the cylinder wall. overall I'd estimate it to be around during 3" in total length. So, how screwed are we here? My gut says the motor is toast and we're now in the market for a replacement, and would appreciate any insight you all may have (or if you know of a flathead 6 for a 47 torpedo for sale). Obviously we're super bummed: We've done a lot of work on this old girl and this is not the outcome we were hoping for. In the meantime, I'm very tempted just to button it all back up: We've solved the overheating issue by cleaning up the block and she was running like a top before. I figure the engine isn't going to be any more wrecked if I reassemble it and run it a bit than it already is. Am I correct in that thinking? Thanks again for all your guidance, Rubin Edit: I think the reason we weren't seeing bubbles in the radiator while the car was running is that the cooling system was *so* clogged up that bubbles weren't making it that far. Or (perhaps wishful thinking) the *massive* amount of stopleak and other crud in the block actually stopped up the crack, and the compression loss was only due to the snot in the valve seats. Yeah, I know... :^(
  6. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Because we know you're all on the edge of your seats about this... Today Justin and I pulled the head off the torpedo, and in doing so found that #3 plug was wet. It didn't smell like gas, and I'm pretty sure it was coolant. The coolant ports were all packed with crusty crap, so we'll clean that all out with wire brushes and have the head reconditioned at the machine shop this week. The head bolts were brutal to loosen up! I'm pretty sturdy, and it took almost everything I had to loosen them. One question I have is whether the head bolts are reusable, or single use on this rig? Here's hoping we've gotten to the end of the cooling issue for good, we'll report back again when we've reassembled it.
  7. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Thanks 1940torpedo, I'll definitely do that. I did a wet compression test moments ago when I got home from work and it didn't change the compression a bit, so it looks like the rings are good (or equally bad, as the case may be). I suspect there's a valve that's stuck, which would explain the tapping sound (which didn't sound sinister, until I realized I have a stuck valve). We'll not run it anymore until the head's been done, so we don't mushroom the valve stem.
  8. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Following up to my own post... We just did a compression test, and got some interesting results (cylinders are listed from the front of the car to the back): 1. 85psi 2. 85psi 3. 20psi (!!) 4. 70psi 5. 75psi 6. 75psi At this point our plan is to order a head gasket and pull the head. We'll send the head off to the machine shop and have them check it all out and remanufacture it. While the head is off, we'll inspect check out the valves, because IIRC a single low reading indicates a bad valve seal or sticking valve, and clean out all the piece of the block that are accessible with the head off. I'm a fan of living better through chemistry, but if I need to pull the head to figure out the bad reading anyway, it seems logical to do some manual snot removal while we have it apart. Thanks again for all your good advice! Rubin and Justin
  9. justinsdad

    1947 Pontiac Torpedo boiling over

    Hi folks Justin's dad here Thanks for all your helpful replies! So the update du-jour is that I was able to pull the radiator and flush it thoroughly. We also took off the water pump, and were able to pull the water distribution tube (intact, even!), and clean out all the snot that was packed into it (nasty but not as bad as I thought it might be). The radiator had a bunch of gumpf in it that we flushed out, and it appears to be clean now (clean water in the top comes out clean at the bottom). I cleaned the hoses and used a wire to clean out the inside of the block where the water tube goes. Scrubbed the water tube thoroughly (it was in near-perfect shape), and reassembled everything. The car fires right up and runs smoothly, but after about 20-25minutes at high idle it did finally overheat. After it overheated, I read this thread (that I didn't know existed until I was doing my own Googling... small world even online apparently!). For the first bit there were bubbles in the top of the radiator, but that smoothed out once the water circulated through the engine. It started bubbling again as the engine got hotter, and the water level would go down in the radiator if I pulled the throttle and rise up again (quickly) when I let off. My next task will be to compression test the cylinders and see what that shows. I'll also pull the entire petcock from the side of the block and see if I can clear that area out at all - water still only slowly dribbles out of that port, even fully open. That's obviously an issue, but I don't know how serious. I'm wondering if the thing just needs a radiator shroud to make the rad work a little more efficiently. Is that just wishful thinking? For what it's worth, I've observed no sweet smell in the exhaust at any time - the only antifreeze smell is coming from the front when it boils over. When we bought the car the radiator and water pump were new in boxes - they were not installed in the car. It seemed the previous owner had an overheating issue and bought the replacement parts, but never installed them and lost interest in the car. It hadn't been run for at least 5 years before we got it, and we've had her since 2010. Thanks again for all your helpful replies and input, and one of us will report back with the results from the compression test. Rubin