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So as I continue my Summer of Exploration on my ’51 Meadowbrook I’m discovering just how much maintenance is lost during long term storage. When I got the car 4 years ago it hadn’t run since 1973. The brakes were gone, the carburetor was tired. The speedometer didn’t work. All the normal stuff you would expect. Since it was my first classic car I learned a lot along the way, including how to replace valves and pumps. This summer I took on my transmission and fluid drive fluids. Before the summer is over I’m taking on the differential gasket and pinion seal. The car has forever fought me on overheating so this year I decided to take the advise of some forum members and put wood bleach in it. The thread is somewhere on here. It seemed to clean it out great, for about 2 months. I had a leaking freeze plug that decided to fly out in the yard when I wasworking on the radiator hose that kept collapsing. So I replaced that with a rubber one and it stopped the leaks on that side of the engine. I read up on Evaporust Thermocure. I put it in earlier this week and drove it around. The fluid turned black, which is the indication that it has reached its life in terms of cleaning the rust out. So I drained it and put more in. Drove it an hour and a half and it’s black again. At $30 a fluid change I’m not happy about constantly replacing it but im thrilled about it cleaning it out so much. Except, with every cleaning you find an issue. Another freeze plug has started leaking. I expected this because it has a lot of rust in it, but why can’t it be an easy to access one? The engine has never run so cool for as long as I have owned it. The needle sits just over the Winter Cool line on the gauge and only raises up a little after a couple miles when on the highway going 65 then goes right back down when I slow down. 

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I used the oxalic acid method. I left it in about a week. It was dirty when it came out and the panty hose foot in the top hose was pretty much clogged. The change water was fairly clean after a couple of changes. But I got far more out when I put a sodium carbonate mix in to neutralise the acid. It took four water changes to get the signs of rusty water out.  I have now pulled four of the five core plugs; the engine was fairly good inside, with a bit of loose sediment in the middle two openings. The problem was the compacted or cemented muck at the very back. I have probably removed about a cup of sediment. Now ready to take it outside and put the flush on before refitting core plugs.

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Core plugs rust from the inside out. I guarantee that if you had one bad one you had best replace all of them. Yes, I know it's difficult but the choice is to have one disintegrate while you are on the road. Many years ago my mom had a car - I think it was a Rambler, that came from Arizona and had never had anything but water in the cooling system. The plugs rotted through... one at the time over a summer or two. I think I had to go out and rescue that car about 4 times, including once in the center of Newport RI during the Tall Ships festival.

Edited by JV Puleo
typo (see edit history)
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JV, if I tried to get my car to Newport it would take 2 days. That’s actually what I’m working towards. I want to take it down along Ocean Drive. That plug that started leaking earlier today started spraying out like a faucet on a quick 5 minute drive tonight. I got it home before the temp rose past the Summer Warm line. I will have to fix it tomorrow so I can drive it around on my birthday. Yesterday I was driving by a car show and while stopped at the res light I heard them yelling over to me. They asked what year it was. They thought ‘52. I’d like to take the old girl to a car show but I don’t know how you get in them. 

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5 minutes ago, Meadowbrook Fleetwood said:

I’d like to take the old girl to a car show but I don’t know how you get in them. 

I am a cheeky Kiwi, so I would drive up and ask if they would like my car in the show!

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I didn't even realize you were in RI! Where are you? I may be able to take a look and be of some help. I live in Smithfield and my workshop is in Woonsocket. I don't do outside work but I'm always willing to help a fellow old car enthusiast if I can.

 

The bad news is that, in order to do it properly, you probably have to lift the engine out. The good news is that it is about the easiest engine in the world to pull and replace. I think there is at least one core plug at the back where it is unreachable with the engine in place. That said, once done, you'll never have to do it again and you can do a very through job of getting the rust scale out of the water passages. It's a dirty job but the result will be very satisfying and you can go ahead fixing other things confident that you won't be stranded on the road leaking coolant. Send me a PM and I'll give you my phone number and real email address.

 

As far as car shows are concerned...just drive in. There is often an entry fee but I don't think any around here are so exclusive that they would want to keep you out.

 

jp

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

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I’m just north of you JV on the Mass border. I pulled the plug out as well as took the thermostat out to flush it and looked inside. I was pretty surprised at how well it worked. The metal seems pretty clean.  

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That does look good but it won't help with the core plugs...it will make them worse because chances are it's the rust that keeping them from leaking.

 

 

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I agree, so far I’ve replaced two including the one that we are looking through in the picture. The car has never run so cool for as long as I’ve had it. One more clean then I’m going to flush it and put coolant in it. 

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And now the humid days are here and for the first time since I bought the car I’m experiencing vapor lock. It’s happened twice this week so I slit the old heater hose and slid it over the fuel line going from the pump to the carburetor. The hose was awful hot when I got home from my 10 minute drive so I’m thinking that should help, assuming the hose will withstand the heat and not break down 

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It was a nice Meadowbrook day. I took it to the post office and around town. I had replaced the fuel line going from the fuel pump to the carburetor and that has seemed to keep the fuel in the bowl from getting so hot. It was hot and humid but the engine temperature didn’t raise very much. It stayed below the Summee Warm line. 

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So now that the weather is getting cooler I think it’s time to fix the smoking issue the car has. It uses about a quart every 50-100 miles, depending upon if I go about 40mph. I can use a quart if I go 55-65 for about 10 minutes. At those speeds I get a faint smoke out of the tail pipe. During deceleration I get it too. I was going to replace the seals but i can’t find any and don’t see them in the book. Does this engine not have seals? I have been told it’s the oil ring on the pistons. I have been told it’s the valve guides. Is there a way to definitively know prior to taking off the head? My dry compression test was around 90 across the board. I didn’t do a wet compression test, mainly because I’m new to a lot of this and didn’t know I was supposed to do it. 

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Back in the 70s my everyday car was a 56 Cranbrook. It also used a lot of oil although it ran incredibly smoothly and quietly. The problem was the rings. I took it apart, had the pistons knurled (I doubt anyone does that any more) and replaced the rings and rod bearings. Everything was fine for about a week when I started getting a new noise. The new rings had increased the compression which, in turn, had pushed the tired old main bearings over the edge. Changing them was extremely easy. In fact, I replaced them after work one day while lying on my back outside the garage bay I worked in. I wondered how I'd replace the top half of the mains without taking the crank out. The gentleman I worked with (who was probably the best mechanic I've ever met) handed me a brass rivet and said just put it in the oil hole and turn the flywheel. Sure enough, it pushed the upper half of the main bearing out. I used the same technique to push it in. The whole job was probably done in an hour. I really miss simple easy to repair cars. If I remember correctly, there was also a braided cord seal at the rear.

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Well JV, if it comes down to replacing the main seals I’ll travel the 15 minutes and come see you. You’ll be able to do it faster than I would. 

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