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We took the buggy to town this evening and the first sign of trouble was at a stop sign and the radiator over ran and covered the windshield with antifreeze (it was real windy). Every time we stopped or slowed the engine quickly it spit out antifreeze. The temp gauge showed the engine temperature was normal. Once home I looked in the radiator and it is really foamy. I checked the oil and it is clear. The engine is running fine. I did flush a week or so ago but ran with pure water for awhile after that. Any ideas? 

Edited by keninman (see edit history)

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Modern antifreeze is designed for newer cars with pressurized cooling systems.  You should not use large amounts of antifreeze in a non pressurized cooling systems like your Studebaker.   To prevent rust and to lubricate your water pump add a small amount of antifreeze and water soluble oil to your radiator.   If you use to much antifreeze you will experience the issue of foaming.  Also, the antifreeze when foaming and blowing back on your hood and fenders will damage the paint.  

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7 hours ago, Mark Huston said:

If you use to much antifreeze you will experience the issue of foaming. 

 

What is the mechanism of that? I have not seen it but I am only a youngster and a shade tree mechanic. Any particular antifreeze you are thinking of?

 

It might be an idea to check the compression to make sure the head gasket is intact. Also, with the engine idling, are there any bubbles in the radiator? Bubbles = head gasket leak.

 

 

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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7 hours ago, Mark Huston said:

Modern antifreeze is designed for newer cars with pressurized cooling systems.

 

Yes, with lots of aluminium in the engine. Aluminium is at the top of the galvanic series so corrodes first if in electrical contact with metals further down the series. Thus the anti-corrosion products have a harder job in these engines then in our cast iron wonders.

 

So is there a problem using these anti-freezes in non-pressurised systems?

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Personally, I use the best heat transfer fluid ever made in my 1923....water. I add No-Rosion. I have cast iron, brass,  copper, steel, rubber and aluminum (head) parts in my open system. I pulled a sample after two years into a glass jar. Looks like the day I put it in. Just using the original graphite packing seal design on the water pump shafts and tighten just enough not to drip. I've been happy with the results. I don't drive in the freezing months and keep it in the heat so this solution works for me, otherwise I would probably switch to IAT EG antifreeze between seasons.

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A lot of times foaming is caused by the water pump on an engine sucking air into the system.  If your car has a grease fitting or cup that lubricates the water pump shaft, make sure there's grease there, and also make sure that it's grease designed for use on a water pump (water resistant).  If your car just has packing around the shaft, make sure it's in good condition and the packing nut is snug....

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Thanks for the idea folks, I did recently drain the system, I used a rust remover, Evapo-Rust Thermocure, and installed new hoses and thermostat. I ran it first with water only then I switched back to antifreeze water 50/50 mix. It was warmer than normal here and warmer than it has been. I did notice there is more leaked antifreeze between the water pump and generator than usual. I also wondered if having a working thermostat might have something to do with it. There isn't a bypass system unless it is internal. 

 

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5 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

 

What is the mechanism of that? I have not seen it but I am only a youngster and a shade tree mechanic. Any particular antifreeze you are thinking of?

 

It might be an idea to check the compression to make sure the head gasket is intact. Also, with the engine idling, are there any bubbles in the radiator? Bubbles = head gasket leak.

 

 

 

I don't have a source for my observation.   However, my first car was a 1929 Commander which I acquired in 1974.   Being young I drained the cooling system and filled it with 50/50 antifreeze.  The first time I drove it after adding the antifreeze I experienced the same problem the OP did.  Also, I had damage to the paint from the antifreeze foam.  

 

Trimacar make an an interesting comment that the problem could be a combination of the water pump packing allowing air in making the antifreeze foam.  My 1929 Commander had a very leaky water pump packing nut.   

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If your water pump is leaking fluid, then it's also sucking air in through the pump when running.  Dollar to a doughnut that's your issue, had the same thing happen on my 31 Pierce, correct water pump grease solved issue....

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I drained the antifreeze and there was no sign of oil in it. My oil level is still full and no sign of water in it. I tried tightening the packing nut and it overheated the nut and shaft quickly. I backed both nuts off and they were pretty dry of grease. Since the only lube I have not is wheel bearing grease I used it for now. I took her for a drive. She did run slightly cooler and no foaming but then again no antifreeze. I am still leaking at the nut though not quite as bad. There are bubbles at the top of the radiator but since the upper hose shoots the water out onto a metal plate you can't tell if the bubbles are from the engine or caused as it cascades off the plate. Apparently Castrol still makes a classic water pump grease. I wonder what the proper packing is for her? There is not much room for it so it must be small diameter stuff.

 

Also, since the rubber in my radiator cap is shot I took some cotton tee shirt material rolled it up and stuffed it in the cap. The cap fits much tighter now without pressurizing the system. I looked up Indianapolis's weather and found the last time it got much below zero here was 2004 when it made it to -11. I looked at a mix chart and at 40% antifreeze will protect to -12 so I won't mix for colder than that. 

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I have found that after emptying and refilling coolant in my 1930 Dodge 8, it will burp sometime later. There must be a pocket of air trapped in it somewhere. If there is no tiny hole in the thermostat air can be trapped under that too, but the first time the thermostat opens the air can escape. There is no bypass on the thermostat, other than in the water pump housing end of the block.

 

I am using a PTFE packing rope in the gland nut. It is a square braided type, 1/4" square. It takes 3 rings to do the job. "Lead" gland packing rope works too. Remember to put it in greasy!

 

If your gland leaks, how is the shaft? You cannot seal on a rusty or rough shaft. It will leak and quickly abrade the packing away, increasing the leak.

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The thermostat is the old spring butterfly type nothing like a modern one, it cannot get a good seal no matter what, it can only impede part of the water I would say under full pump pressure it will open slightly anyway. I also have it set to open really low until winter hits. I tested it on the stove using a temp probe and it works pretty well. The shaft looks rough at the edge of the nut. I might have to try and smooth that up. I will order some packing and grease and see if I cannot get the leak to stop, it does not leak that much so far. 

 

 

NOS-DOLE-BUTTERFLY-THERMOSTAT-B-65-A-M531

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Packing nuts need to leak a little! It should be extremely minimal, maybe just a drop every couple of minutes or even less. No leakage at all will be harmful to both the packing and the shaft.

 

Water pump grease is special stuff. Reading on the Internet, you will get many opinions about what it's properties should be. Traditional water pump grease is still made by Penrite, and is available in the US from Restoration Supply in California. Someone else also still makes water pump grease, probably Lubriplate. In any event it is not like chassis grease.

 

Restoration supply have packing material, however you can probably get it locally at an industrial pump repair shop. If you don't know who that is in your area, ask at an electric motor shop. They will know.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I think I got the PTFE rope at an engineering supplies outfit. Or perhaps an automotive parts outlet. It was a while ago so memory is hazy.

 

The shaft should be polished for best results.

 

Have a look at this old thread re water pump grease.

 

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On 10/14/2017 at 10:31 PM, Mark Huston said:

Modern antifreeze is designed for newer cars with pressurized cooling systems.  You should not use large amounts of antifreeze in a non pressurized cooling systems like your Studebaker.   To prevent rust and to lubricate your water pump add a small amount of antifreeze and water soluble oil to your radiator.   If you use to much antifreeze you will experience the issue of foaming.  Also, the antifreeze when foaming and blowing back on your hood and fenders will damage the paint.  

 

So how much antifreeze and water soluble oil should be used? And what kind of water soluble oil do you recommend.

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Well, I don't need to worry about damaging my paint, it is already shot. The car had been running fine with plain old antifreeze until the trip into town. I have water in it now and no problem. I have some Texaco water pump grease that has arrived and 1/4" graphite packing on the way. I will see about repacking and greasing the water pump as soon as I am able. It is usually mid November before we get much of a freeze risk in the Indianapolis area. I also have another problem in that my radiator cap gasket is shot. I have a stop gap measure of using cotton material to fill the extra space, it won't create a pressure seal but should prevent any foaming from spilling onto the hood. I noticed that it did it worst when I let off the gas and hit the brakes. I also plan to mix no stronger than 60/40. If I calculate right this is 1.5 gal water to 1 gal antifreeze. Since we seldom get colder than -10 in Indianapolis, and it hasn't been that cold since 2004 I should be good to go. If I have a foaming issue again I will dig deeper. 

 

One thing I did learn from studying is that under no circumstances should you put Dex-Cool in any car that does not specifically call for it and especially not older vehicles because it damages the soldered radiators. 

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2 hours ago, kclark said:

So how much antifreeze and water soluble oil should be used? And what kind of water soluble oil do you recommend.

For unpressurized systems, use the least amount of antifreeze you can for your climate and storage conditions, and some other anti-corrosion compound.  Search for my posts on Pencool 2000 or 3000 within the last couple of weeks.  I bought my 1922 Paige from a gent who was a soluble oil obsessive, and it took me days of Better Living Through Chemistry (multiple flushes, multiple flushing agents) to remove the mud/sludge it forms with small debris particles (use a stocking toe in top tank, better than Gano--see my other posts on that).  Beyond that, soluble oil coats the outside cylinder walls and inhibits heat transfer.

 

Trimicar is very correct about water pump air leaks causing foaming, BUT 50% EG antifreeze in my then-newly-acquired 1934 Pierce (an unpressurized system) equipped with modern seals rather than packing blew out 1.5 gallons of coolant at 55 mph every 90 minutes.  Now, using only water and Pencool 2000 ( my climate doesn't require antifreeze), I top off with 1.0 to 1.5 qts (26 qt system) every 600-700 miles.  I have the same results with my 1930 roadster, which also has the modern-seal pump. 

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Keniman,

 

I would recommend you follow the advice given by Grimy.   I know George and he is very knowledgeable and after reading his comment I am going to stop using water soluble oil.  Apparently, I was given bad advice when I started using water soluble oil.  

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As mentioned, water is best, but always with a corrosion inhibitor. If you have to use antifreeze the important thing to remember is not just ethylene glycol but inorganic acid techology (IAT), not organic acid techology (OAT). It's not just a color game anymore, you have to really read the labels. Easy to remember: No OATs.

Scott

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20 hours ago, Grimy said:

Trimicar is very correct about water pump air leaks causing foaming, BUT 50% EG antifreeze in my then-newly-acquired 1934 Pierce (an unpressurized system) equipped with modern seals rather than packing blew out 1.5 gallons of coolant at 55 mph every 90 minutes.  Now, using only water and Pencool 2000 ( my climate doesn't require antifreeze), I top off with 1.0 to 1.5 qts (26 qt system) every 600-700 miles.  I have the same results with my 1930 roadster, which also has the modern-seal pump. 

 

Now that is discouraging....  How much antifreze do you think we CAN get away with? I have a 1913 Studebaker 25 that has a paddle-wheel type water pump with a packing nut. In the 70s, I filled it with antifreze, probably 50-50, and it didn't work out. The main problem was the vapors got all over the windshield and made it impossible to see. I suppose it was foaming, but I didn't realize it at the time. A little did get on the paint, and left light spots. You cant see them today, but that is pretty scary. I always figured I could solve this by plumbing the overflow to the back of the car. I guess not.

 

I use straight water, and drain it after every outing. That is really a pain, and one of several reasons I don't drive it much. It gets cold here, and you  just cant take a chance on forgetting to drain it. it was 18F here for 3 straight weeks last winter, and --20F is not unheard of.

 

I wonder if there is some sort of anti-foaming agent available?

 

Meanwhile, I have a 1936 Pontiac with a packing-nut water pump and an unpressurized system, and it is working fine with 50-50 (or more) antifreze. It is the old-fashioned green stuff. The Pontiac is a little strange in that it has a crossflow radiator, and does not run the core entirely full. Im not sure why it would make a lot of difference, but it works.

 

 

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My good friend and Michigander, member GLong, necessarily uses antifreeze in winter but drains it out every spring (saves for re-use), then runs water + anti-corrosion agent while there's no danger of freezing.  He can skate a little because he was heated floors in his storage building.  Anti-freeze does not lose it anti-freezing properties with age, but the anti-corrosive agents oxidize out with use and time.

 

I've heard, but have not confirmed, that *low silicate* EG anti-freeze will minimize foaming, but may have to be special-ordered.

 

Stude Light, that's an excellent mnemonic "No OATs"!!  Thanks!

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I have been using what I suspect is OAT since 1987 or 88. It was called "phosphate free" back then, and was dyed green like most other coolant. It disappeared from the market at the same time (1995) that DexCool appeared. I have been using DexCool since in basically everything with zero issues. I have not tried it in a non-pressurized system.

 

The nice thing about it is that if you get some little leak it doesn't make a gooey green mess, you just get a trail of white powder.

 

I do not leave it in 5 years. GM suggested that, and had loads of trouble with corrosion. 2 years is about the maximum.

 

I have heard all the warnings recently, and it makes me a little nervous, but 30 years in, I am beginning to think I wont live long enough to see this stuff eat a radiator.

 

 

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I read up on anti-freeze a while ago after all these dire warnings about solder in radiators etc. I think it is untrue (I really want to use a much stronger word for this misinformation).

 

Modern engines are made of aluminium and magnesium, which are at the top of the galvanic series. If they have an electrical connection with any other metal in the presence of moisture (a.k.a. water) they will corrode. Anti-freeze is made accordingly. It is much harder to protect Al and Mg than solder (which is, what, tin and lead?). The problem arose in the 80s or so with a particular chemical attacking certain types of seals in use at that time. Those seals were not used in vehicles made way back when when cork, paper, leather and felt were used.

 

Penrite's OAT anti-freeze contains that chemical and they say on the bottle it is safe with ALL metals. I asked the tech. rep. about it. He didn't answer the question, just avoided it. This is what I was told - note the use of "need":

" For vehicles that date from the 1970s/1980s or much earlier, there is no need to utilize the very latest OAT technology, "

 

Update.

The chemical concerned is 2-EHA and it was central in a case DEX-Cool vs GM and the problem with GM's manifold gasket. This is probably where this myth came from. Penrite's anti-freeze AFAB is based on Glysantin, made by BASF in Germany. Glysantin is tested for swelling of rubber, amoung other things.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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