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Won't keep it's cool, time to talk to the real experts.


ZondaC12
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Well Im sure everyone here has heard me brag about how well my '38 has run since she first hit the road a year and about 3 months ago. Particularly in the area of heat control. Well that all came to an end a few weeks ago at a show maybe a half hour or a little more away from me.

On the way home, the car overheated for the first time. It was slow. About 3/4 of the way home I noticed the gauge creeping up above where it should have been, and as I pulled up in front of my house it hit 212 and came out the burp tube, all over the pavement.

So obviously Ive tried this and that to troubleshoot. The two big things being flushing the block and radiator several times with the garden hose, even trying this Prestone "Super Cleaner" filling the radiator with it and water (out of the car) and letting it sit overnight, then washing it out. I have not been able to get one chunk of crud to come out, or even to see brown water! I know there has to be SOMETHING in there.

Ive read a little through some old threads, and it sounds like I should try yanking the freeze-plugs and scooping out what I can get at. Thoughts? Is there a really nasty caustic/smelly/..uh..radioactive (hehe)/whatever chemical out there that just eats away at everything...but not the metals of the cooling system? Im guessing not. But just putting the idea out there?

Next thing--thermostat. I got one from NAPA. They had me bring the original and they matched the size. They said they couldnt specifically look up one for a 38 buick. Not surprising.

Next thing--water pump. I pulled it out, and even brought it to a local cruise night, and had all the people I regularly hang out with look at (and touch) it. Each of them said my impeller looked good, and they all yanked nice and hard on the shaft and couldnt move it at all so they said the bearing was fine. It turns smooth. A slight resistance, almost as if it was lubricated with molasses or something, but you cant feel any grinding or anything of that sort. There is NO leaking from it whatsoever. However at cold startup there is a squeaking...I guess...from that area, that goes away once the car is warmed up. No idea if the water pump is doing this or the generator. Would the generator be failing electrically by now if it was the culprit? Ive just always heard that it will squeak-n-leak when its going. Mine does only the former, so what does this mean?

I FINALLY (dont know why I keep putting it off) checked the spark plugs and compression today. Not great news. Remember my other bragging point? 105 psi on all cylinders? Now, the front 4 are good, but (from the back, 1 being the cyl nearest the firewall) cyl 1 == 72 psi, cyl 2 == 80, and cyl 4 == 85 psi. Cylinder 3 is good, at 102 i think. Putting about a 1/3 ounce of marvel mys. oil in 1,2, and 4 caused the compression to jump to 120 exactly on the lower two, and to like 105 on the 85 psi cylinder. Several others thought I might have a bad head gasket, and this test I would think says no. Any thoughts? I still dont see ANY blue smoke out my tailpipe. I would figure with bad rings on that 1st one, Id be seeing some? No?

I took the radiator to a local well-known radiator shop, Albabny Auto Radiator, which is very reputable, and was told that new environmental regulations, he cant boil-out radiators anymore. I didnt think to ask about rodding-out. Is this still common? I have to give him a call and check.

Basically, with all the info I've provided, I need a general procedure of what to try/test/replace/have something done to by some shop or professional. Classes start this Monday, so its not likely that mom will want me working on this heap at all until my 4-week winter break. So, I want to use the long time between then and now to get some ideas, maybe even quick tests I could convince her to let me perform, one weekend I might happen to be home, after all my schoolwork is done wink.gif.

Fortunately I had a GREAT summer and a great old-car summer. I spent so much time at cruise nights I almost feel bad about not keeping in touch with my peers that much, instead hanging out til late into the night at some parking lot with mostly people twice my age or older. But you cant get the stories and humor and atmosphere anywhere else! Thank God the car lasted until almost the end of the season. It was sure a good one.

EDIT---woops forgot to expand upon the spark plugs i mentioned--the middle four plugs (so cyls 3, 4, 5, & 6) were black and sooty (but not THICKLY buried in soot, just black on about every bit of the surface) while the two plugs on either end were healthy-looking, tan/brown on just about every surface, the white middle insulator was tanned, and maybe a couple spots of black on the bent electrode but thats it. Would this indicate the middle ones are running cool while the outer cylinders are running hot for whatever reason?

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I just had my 40 worked on by a guy who has been restoring cars since the mid 50's. We talked about future work on my radiator. He said that he did not think boiling out was sufficient,there will always be some stuff left. He felt that only replacing the core will fix things. FYI.

Ed

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Try this simple (oldtimers) radiator test:

Remove the radiator and plug the bottom outlet with a rag.

Fill the radiator above the core and leave the cap off.

Hold it upright on the lawn at a 45 degree angle with the outlet facing up.

Remove the rag and watch how far the water shoots.

If it shoots more that two feet, your core is probably OK.

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Hey; ZondaC12; Check for possible collapsed hose, verify that you have the proper thermostat, and check your timing. They all contribute to heat generation. On the other hand, you might check for water flow into the radiator with cap off. This although just a visual check and not actually scientific, at least tells you that water is infact moving, and from idle, to higher speed, you should see a surge if everything is working properly. Good luck; regards; oldiron

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Hi ZondaC12, A few ideas on overheating: (1) Pure water is a much better coolant than the ethylene glycol antifreeze. Your 1938's cooling system was not designed for this type of antifreeze. Since using pure water is not a option in NY: (2) Use a 1950-52 Roadmaster five bladed fan - will bolt up. (3) Install a Gano in-line coolant filter to keep the rust out of the radiator. (4) Make sure your carb. heat damper is in the no-heat position. (5) Make sure the water pump by-pass valve is working correctly. (6) Make sure the car's heater is off. (7) Use a smaller diameter water pump pulley. (8) Clean and/or re-core your radiator. If you do this, a Gano filter is a must. (9) It has been suggested to me that the engine cooling is better when all of the engine splash pans are installed. (10) As suggested by another person, check the timing. (11) If all of the above fail, it's time to dig around inside of the water jacket to remove any rust, mostly in the back of the block and head. Grandpa

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Speaking of that bypass valve, what exactly is that for? I got a rough idea from my shop manual, but I dont really understand why it is needed there. I did notice it and pushed it manually with a screwdriver, and it moved smoothly, and sprung right back when I released it. = working correctly?

@ Mr. Shaw -- REALLY? Isnt the radiator itself only like 2 feet tall, maybe a little more? The outlet the lower hose attaches to is maybe 1.25" wide, I just cant fathom nothing more than the weight of the full radiator pushing a geyser that tall from that big a hole! But I will certainly try that, when I can get the radiator out of the car again.

re: a collapsed hose--ive replaced the upper and lower, and they are both universal-type ones, so they have a spring in them. ive also observed them with different amounts of throttle and the lower does not collapse, nor is it bent so much that the hose is collapsed because of that.

re: timing--i tried to run a timing light on it, and couldnt see any markings on the flywheel while it was running. ill have to turn it over by hand and watch for a mark. probably because its stamped in? the harmonic balancer on my 87 cougar is the same way, and i took white out and filled in the stampings and you see them very well.

but related to that, there is actually a pointer on the dist. that points to a set of stamped markings, ten of them i think, and one extreme is marked 10 degrees. i have it all the way to the right (turning the dist. counter clockwise). even right in the middle (im guessing thats no advacnce/retarding, right at TDC) the starter has a tough time cranking the engine over, and a good deal of missing can be heard from the tailpipe. where i have it is the only spot it doesnt miss at all, runs very smooth, and cranks and starts the best (cranks MAYBE a full second most of the time, and always fires up easy). dont know what to make of that, but maybe the timing is too retarded.

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The octane selector timing adjustment at the distributor is supposed to allow +/-10 degrees adjustment to allow for lower or higher octane. The "0" center point should be the nominal base initial timing which I believe is 4 degrees BTDC for the '38 special.

So set the distributer to the "0" position and with a timing light set the initial timing at 4 degrees at the inspection cover in flywheel housing. Yes the marks are etched into the flywheel and should be filled with chalk to see them.

Since the octane of today's regular is much higher than premium in 1938, I actually run the octane selector about 8 degrees advanced (12 deg. total) with no hot starting problems.

You can run modern antifreeze and run cool if the system is pressurized. I have a new radiator core, water pump, and a 7 pound pressure cap with 50/50 mix of Dexcool/water and Water Wetter and except for idling in traffic on hot days never run above 180 degrees. Without pressure it runs hotter and sometimes foams because of the lower surface tension of the antifreeze. Water Wetter helps in this regard.

Steve D

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Paul,

Yes, it is a simple test to determine if you need to take it to a radiator shop. If it is not clogged it really will shoot about that far. You can decide if you need to rework the core by how far it shoots. If it's clogged, you will know immediately.

You're getting some good advice from others here. These are all good things to check before you pull the radiator.

Always try the easy & cheaper ones first.

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Hi ZondaC12,

Bypass Valve: The radiator bypass valve allows water to circulate in the block when the thermostat is closed, preventing localized hot spots in the water jacket. Make sure that the valve moves freely and seats well. If there is leakage around the valve, over heating can result. Some replacement water pumps have a full time bypass passage, which is a bad plan when your car runs on the hot side.

Hose Spring: A spring is only needed in the lower radiator hose, as this hose is on the suction side of the water pump.

Antifreeze: A 50-50 mixture of water and modern antifreeze has a specific heat of about 0.85 at 200F. This means that a 50-50 mixture transfers heat 85% as good as water. Or, since your car wasn't designed for this type of coolant, the cooling system capacity has to be increased by about 20% to run modern antifreeze full time. As suggested, a water wetting agent will help. However, these wetting agents work best in pure water.

Grandpa

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It seems to me that all of suggestions listed here have a lot of validity! The only one that they missed that I can see is the fact of what causes corrosion in the cooling system. Iron + oxygen = rust! Rust + time + some other ingredients is what causes the gunk in your radiator! It has probably occurred to you that the reason that newer cars have overflow tanks and pressure caps is to keep oxygen out of the cooling system. This is why the newer cars have semi-sealed cooling system. It can’t be completely sealed because of cost and the difficulty of achieving the completely sealed cooled system.

Also if you build a good system to achieve this you can see the bubbles raise in the bottle if the cylinder block or cylinder head is cracked.

I learned this on an old Buick Straight Eight in 1950.

Also go to; http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showthreaded/Number/441805#Post441805

http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showthreaded/Number/372139

http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showthreaded/Number/389562#Post389562

http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showthreaded/Number/384634

Yours, M.L. Anderson

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Paul, it may help everyone to know that earlier this summer you took the car for a 2 hr ride at 55-60 MPH ( to Rhinebeck) and did not overheat. Thus this is a recent development and that should be considered in the diagnosis.

What, if anything, did you do to the engine between Rhinebeck and the night it overheated? Back up to that point and undo whatever you may have done. Did you change spark plugs? Did you change any settings, Did you remove any parts for cleaning or replacement.

It would also help to consider the ambient temp on the night it "burped". It's been in the 90's with high humidity and this probably happened on one of those days.

Have you tried to look though the cooling fins of the radiator ( from front to back)? Is it clogged with bugs and debris? Is it leaking or showing signs of decay?

I would venture to say that this problem is directly related to the radiator being clogged from either the front or the top. If the cooling fins of the radiator are merely deteriorating from the age of the part however, you really have no choice but to have the thing re cored.

JD

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Oh, and one more thing.

Check your manual for setting the idle mixture screw on the carb. Too much gas or too little can definitely affect the way the engine runs and how the spark plugs burn. Inefficient burning may lead to carbon buildup and that can impact cooling.

JD

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I question whether your overheating problem is truly cooling system related. Could be, but I going to pick at some other possibilities.

You mentioned some squealing from either the water pump or generator. This could simply be a loose or aged belt. A belt if it gets really hot from slipping will glaze up get very smooth, further reducing its ability to grip/ spin the pulleys it is driving.

There is a drain cock for coolant on the engine, located on the right side of cylinder water jacket at the rear. If coolant drains readily from here, and has no crud in it. I'd say your system is fine, and requires no further flushing.

The fact you have no brown water, suggests to me that your system is quite clean.

Spark Plugs rich lean:

This one is very straight forward. CARBURETOR. The carb has 2 barrels, one feeds cyl 1,2,7,8 and the other 3,4,5,6. One side of the carb is flooding out. I know from experience that the car will run surprisingly well, even with a river of fuel in the intake manifold. Your carb needs some attention.

Just don't become too narrow focused on your running hot, being the cooling system. (it may be) But stay open minded, and look for all other possible causes.

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Hi ZondaC12,

One of the primary causes of water jacket corrosion is using water from the city. The water from most cities is treated by adding a little chorine (to kill the bad little bugs). The cooling water then becomes a weak hydrochloric acid, which over time, will cause corrorion. Using city water is a very bad plan for modern cars that have an aluminum radiator. I use only purified water (not distilled water) in my vintage Buick. It's not the minerals in the water that cause the damage, but the chorine in a cooling system at 200F.

Grandpa

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Hmm interesting point about the watrer. at one point recently i did try to run just water (the whole better heat conductivity thing). I'll keep that in mind.

Ill definitely check the carb too. I laughed when I read that one barrel supplies the middle and the other the outr four. I have played around with the screws before, because of the stumble when rolling on the throttle (not a hard stab) found out that was the accel. pump being 70 years old, not the mixture screws. So they could be out of whack. YES I need to rebuild it LOL. I was gonna this year, maybe over the winter or something. Ive dragged my feet because it ran well, not gonna lie. I get lazy like that....

Will check on the brakes, for the hell of it.

Radiator is not clogged externally. I could see through prety well, but I sprayed water through the fins and even compressed air. A haze of dust, if you could call it that. I was kinda disappointed, but...the fins are clear.

I checked the belt. It is old, and a bit tattered on the outside. No cracks or gashes on the inside though. I loosened the generator and rotated it to tighten up the belt. If you pull it towards you on the drivers side of the car, you can slip the fan, but its not *real* easy. The other way, forget it, grips tight.

It was definitely pretty hot that day. Actually, I was hangin out with the guy around here that has the California Hwy Patrol '72 polara his "black and white" with the radio antenna etc, and we came down rt 50, me behind him, and we went right at the end, and down a few miles to this big park/field where he said these guys would be doing model airplanes. Too windy so they werent doing anything. But we were chatting with the guy he knows, he left the polara idling, so did I, and I was watching my temp gauge going up above 180, closer to 212. I figured it would be worse if I shut it off but it still seemed a little unusual. Then we left, I got over the Scotia bridge, onto 890 back toward curry rd, and like 3/4 of the way there, on 890, it got on its way up and wouldnt stop climbing. I got home, in front of my house it started burping, I shut it off and probably a half gallon or more was on the road. BIG puddle.

I really dont think I've done anything to it after Rhinebeck. I havent needed to. Just routine every two weeks oil changes (hehe maybe i shoulda stuck with ND 30), grease it up just as frequently (which has paid off finally this summer the front loosened up and is almost as easy to push down as the rear end), etc etc.

Im pretty sure I was driving the car the day before the show, in fact I know I was because I just looked it up and the fateful day was Aug 4, Saturday. So Latham Greens cruise-in was Friday night as usual. Nobody there probably cause the show was the next day but I went up anyway, and fortunately a couple die-hards were there too. It was fine that night.

EDIT-----

This was perhaps the strangest thing. At one point I got a little brash, and I removed the thermostat. I then changed over to 100% distilled water, and some water wetter my dad must have bought at some point. I took it out that night, for a good half hour around town, varying speeds from 30 mph to 40 even 50 on rt 20 for a few minutes. It ran COOL. As in 160 all the time, no matter what happened. Then I thought oh maybe I should have water pump lubricant, I remeber someone mentioning dont just use distilled water theres no pump lube. So the next day I went up to another show, and just before leaving, I dumped some carquest never opened pump lube we also happened to have in the garage. Bottle looked a few years old. And that day was worse than ever. As I pulled in it shot up violently and coming back I barely made it home. Had to stop at a grocery store and get like 6 gallons of water, half to refill it, half to dump on the radiator to cool it down. Made 4 stops on the way home over probably 10 miles. And of course being straight water it boiled.

I havent flushed the heater core. I was thinking of it. Does the water flow through that then the radiator, and thats the only route? Draining out the water usually looks nice, but worth mentioning is when I dump out the bucket, I see quite a few black specs on the inside of the bucket, usually tiny but some almost 1/8" big. And a large though thin and hazy swirl of very tiny particles at the bottom of the bucket. Equivalent to maybe having a little sand in your shoe and emptying it in my bucket, maybe. Not sure, maybe its enough to tell a tale. All I know is I did see some solid particles, and not just one or 2.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. This will be very useful when I can actually put them into use. I'll be sure to report back.

Pauly

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ahhh gotta love pictures especially with to little light. there are tiny rust spots, like zits i guess you could call em, on the roof, covering most of it, and some on other spots of the car. theyre a light brown, they almost look like dirt. one time i tried to scratch a couple off with my fingernail, kinda did, dust came up from it, but ill bet they are rust spots. kinda weird. ive never seen a car look like that before. but other than that yes the paint really is pretty good. i cant believe it. theres no fading or lightening. the spots where there are none of those specks, it actually looks very nice

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Haha, I'll get pictures up of this later maybe.

I was coming home from a party yesterday, and somehow the thought came into my head "if only I could add-in another radiator". The second that thought popped up I remembered the 1 foot by 7 inches maybe, heatercore sitting in my basement. Long story why I bought it from NAPA a few years ago, but Ill leave it at this: it did NOT end up in a '76 Impala or Caprice!

Anyway this thing's sittin under my workbench, all brand new and stuff. So.....you guessed it, I threw it in! Spliced it into the return line for the heater, naturally. Though this heatercore sits vertically on top of the battery/lip of the side hood panel, right in the path of air coming off the fan.

I did this last night, no joke, because I wanted so bad to bring it to the unofficial saturday night hangout over at a Wendy's right across from a larger Kohls parking lot that everyone got kicked out of because the stupid ricer kids couldnt't stop pinsitriping the pavement and acting like the place was a race course.

It was a cool night, I got there a little after 9, left the place at like 1:30 am. I really couldn't believe the difference. Going there it ran maybe 160. I had the heater on just for a *little* extra protection, since that blower fan isnt really muscular. On the way back it struggled to keep that gauge any more than 140! When I first arrived there and shut it down, it also did NOT heat up to more than 180 just sitting there, off. Amazing

This was with the side panels off. Today I threw em back on and went for a drive, actually to the store. Got there and it was right at 180, starting to creep up. Shut it down and it overflowed, but did not quite make it to 212, and after I came out of the store, it was back down to maybe 190-195. Filled it back up, dumped a little water on the radiator, got going, it came down to 180 in a hurry and stayed there exactly the whole 15 minutes home.

Going there I had the heater off. Coming back I turned it on, good move right? grin.gif

So, as much of a bandage as this is, I think it's a good one, in terms of it being driveable with extra ventilation. But it also says to me that, for sure, the radiator is clogged. I FINALLY warmed it up, pulled the fan belt and popped the cap. No bubbling at all, or the level surging up and down or over the top or anything, so my headgasket must be okay.

Just thought I'd mention a little spritz of creativity that really made a difference, for obvious reasons, and netted me something I wanted very much, to hang out with everyone, with a car that fit in! (well not really everything there was late 60s and up, *some* import tuners, and a couple new-age muscle. Good time, NO shenanigans. But most important of all Im calling back albany radiator and seeing if they will rod it out. If not one of the guys last night told me of a good solid shop about an hour north that will take care of me good.

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Paul

Your radiator probably has been marginal all along and it just took a little more crud to clog it to the point of overheating.

Call an old tractor dealer and ask where they take the old radiators. Farmers tend to hang on to very old tractors and trucks with radiators constructed like yours. Ask the radiator shop to be careful and to take off both tanks. This should cost less than $100.

Do not run straight water unless you have a pressurized sytem otherwise some coolant is necessay. All engines develope hot spots and with plain water a pocket of steam forms that leads to that sick chugging "percolator" sound...when that happens all you can do is shut it off and let it puke all over the ground. Some times that is all it takes to crack some engines like a Ford flathead 8. Even a normal system will dump the excess if filled too high. Don't worry about the temp after you shut down; it should soon return to normal after starting. Prolonged idling of most of these old cars is an invitation to trouble, especially after a long run in hot weather. If stuck in traffic it is best to shut down and restart when it clears; otherwise put it in neutral and run the engine at 1500 rpm to increase air flow. It is good that you know how to look at your gauges and that heater is a neat trick.

Enjoy

Willie

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Hi ZondaC12,

Regarding the heater in prewar Buicks: If your car runs hot, keep the heater valve closed. If the heater valve is open in hot weather, the car will overheat. The heater's electric fan will not transfer heat as well as the car's radiator. In prewar Buicks, the heater circuit is a radiator by-pass.

When flushing the system, open the heater valve. I made adaptor fittings from PVC and a garden hose adaptor. I flush my prewar Buick's cooling system for at least 30 minutes and they drain it before adding purified water and a water wetting agent. With a 7 psig cap on my Buick, the boiling temperature of the water is about 215F per the charts.

Radiator shops in my area charge about $75 to remove the radiator tanks and push rods through each tube to remove any rust and debis. That sounds like the next step.

If radiator shop reports that the radiator has very little rust in it, then you will have to disassemble the engine to clean out the water jacket. Don't expect the hot tanking process to totally clean out the water jacket. You will have to get some old screwdrivers and start digging.

Grandpa

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"open the heater valve"

just FYI the only thing i do to turn on the heater is turn a light bulb under the dash. its just a small light bulb pointing down, and its socket can be turned to 3 different places, which turned out to be 3 speeds for the fan. so im not controlling a valve, dont know if thats how newer cars work (maybe thats what those big chrome levers that were the heater controls on later cars did?)

good call on the old tractor places!

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Hi ZondaC12,

Re. the heater: The switch under the dash is for the heater blower electric motor. The flow of water through the heater is controlled by a manual valve at the point were the heater hose is connected at the front of the engine. If you are unable to find any manual valves in the heater hose circuit, block off the flow of water with a plug or insert a (closed) small valve. Do not take a short length of heater hose and connect the inlet and outlet connections together.

Grandpa

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well the valve is actually inside part of the pump housing. I cant feasibly hold it closed, and even in the closed position (perhaps this is redundant to you but just making sure we're on the same page) its built so that theres a 1/8" inch gap all around the valve, so water always flows past to some degree. Would I just plug the inlet and outlet of the heater hose connections on the t-stat body?

Reading the shop manual and your earlier post in this thread, (not tryin' to argue or be defiant here) I don't think there <span style="font-style: italic"> </span> is <span style="font-style: italic"> </span> a heater valve. I think what Im talking about here is the radiator bypass valve. I dont think anything is diverting flow away from the radiator and to the heater, because a) the heater does not get extremely hot, and B) the radiator....does. So I know there's plenty of water going there, it seems it's just not getting cooled by it.

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Some cars had a shutoff valve installed either by the dealer or the owner on one of the heater hoses at the water outlet. It was a pipe fitting type on/off valve to shut the heat off in the summer. I think this is what Grandpa is referring to.

Hot water always flows through the heater core and as you have discovered, the dash switch only controls the fan speed. So your legs get heated air even with the heater doors closed and many people installed this shutoff valve for summer comfort.

If anything the extra heat dissipated by the heater core should help cool the engine which is why most mechanics recommend for modern cars that are overheating to shut off the AC and turn on the heat. Do make sure to flush the heater core as well when you do the cooling system.

Boiling temperature increases approx. 2 degrees for each pound of pressure at sea level. So 7 pounds will give about 212 + 14 = 226 degrees to boil. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze boils at about 223 degrees and that with 7 pounds of pressure gives a boiling temp of 237 degrees.

My shop was afraid to rod my radiator since it showed signs of corrosion that might have resulted in damaging the tubes. In that case a simple "boiling out" is not going to remove enough deposits to fully restore the flow. A new core is the answer.

Steve D

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Regarding the quick test to see if your radiator flow is OK. This is exactly what the guy at the old radiator shop said when I quizzed him about my '38 Special radiator! I specifically asked him about the results of his work, because I wanted to know if I found the root cause of my hot running. He said something very vague, so I asked how he knew the flow was OK now. He said, "fill 'er up, then stand 'er on end and see how far the water shoots out!"

By the way, mine was hot (like 205 - 210) when I ran last summer at 50 mph on an 85 F day. I had previously cleaned the block with the freeze plugs out, and flushed the radiator myself. I think the shop had more success with the "boiling" approach, seems better now. Keep checking local shops to find one that can still do this.

Are you really able to run 60 mph comfortably? Everything I read says I should be able to do so, but mine seems really strained at that speed. I once took it to 65, that was about flat out. Believe me, I backed off quickly. Mine runs so well at 35 - 45, that I can't believe I am too far off with timing, carb settings, etc.

Jeff

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define comfortably. do you mean you were at full throttle? i guess the term as its used might be ambiguous. if by chance you were talking about throttle, id imagine im at maybe 1/2 throttle maybe 2/3 throttle, whatever correpsonds to that rpm. it has no problem powerwise, i can feel it, if i accidentally push it down a tiny bit (very easy to push that pedal im sure you know, no kickdown cables or cables of any type for that matter), and i know that if i firewalled it it would keep on going until the valves floated or the rod snapped or whatever nature's little rev-limiter turned out to be!! crazy.gif

but more importantly the chart in my shop manual reveals like 3100 rpm or something at 60, maybe a little more, and it sounds busy. but on that trip i got up to that speed and staying there for maybe 20 minutes it set in and i got used to it, especially with a little music playing from my little battery tape player on the seat next to me.

when im on my own i stick to 50 on the highway *maybe* 55. for that once a year caravan, ill go nuts and push the envelope. but the other 90% of the season, i dont go so far that doing 50 instead of 60 makes the trip way longer. and....you just leave earlier!!! werks fer me!!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

ill get pics of the new setup here tomorrow, ill be home for the weekend. for some reason i never did take any!!!

but quick question---since ive probably spent $30 on coolant during the first couple weeks of this saga, i stopped using it and its there on the shelf, enough for the car but ive been using straight water. kinda got lazy and didnt buy the store stuff and put tap water with prestone super anti-rust. my mom said YES there is quite a bit of chlorine in our water. so its had that mixture in it a couple of weeks now. are the metal surfaces rusting as i type? if its a bad idea this weekend ill drain it, go back to the store and get purified water and then put that with anti rust in.

Paul

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Although this pertains to the 56, it is sort of relevant to this thread.

From my tech service bulletin manual, in response to several complaints about the 56 running hot, the engineers said ( in part) this:

To determine if the system is truly overheating, drive the car 3-4 miles to thoroughly warm it up. Then drive at a steady speed of 30 miles per hour. At this speed, and with an air temp of 80* the temp guage should be at the start of the N on the guage. Under the same conditions except 110* air temp the guage should be at the beginning of the red area ( under the H ). Inbetween air temps the guage should be proportionate.

Further it says the temp guage enters the red area at 205* water temp. Since water boils at 230* with a 7 lb radiator cap, and 243* with a 13 lb radiator cap, the car can operate safely with the guage reading in the red area, unless the guage is at the upper end of the red area.

And it actually says if the car is driven in heavy traffic or stop and go traffic, you should put the car in low to increase air speed and water flow rates.

It also says there is a six bladed fan Group 1.359 Part 1161825 available. Now, wouldn't it be nice to find one of those?

JD

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Bet the head gasket is bad bw cyl 1 & 2. You gotta think about how the pressure was fine then all of a sudden pressure is down in 3 of them. I doubt the rings in 3 dif't cylinders went bad at the same time. How old is the head gasket in there anyways? What are the head bolts torque readings? Are they the same all the way around or are the ones near the firewall at a lower torque? I wouldnt be spending a lot of time on your radiator just because of the change in cyl pressure. Good Luck! Trial & Error will eventually get it fixed every time!

chris

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I went through all of this with a '38 Buick, the first antique car engine I rebuilt. The car would overheat if you drove on the highway for a bit then got off on surface streets (from freeway to stop and go traffic) there was a weird thing happening: two cylinders would go dead, and we would pull the plugs and find that the ground electrodes would be bent--touching the center electrode! Turns out that sections of the piston-top between the top ring groove and the top of the piston were breaking off, dancing around on top of the piston then making their way into the exhust system, where we found some of them. So it was time to rebuild the engine. The first thing we did after dissasembly was to take the block, heads manifolds and pans to Chem-Strip. There was brown, funky crud all through the cooling passenges, in places you could see, and many you couldn't. The rust was such that you could dig the tip of a screwdriver into it. After chem-stripping the cooling passenges (and everything else) was absolutely clean--a bright silver color rather than the blackish-gray color a block and heads are after auto parts store hot tanking. I coated the inside of the cooling passenges with epoxy primer, taped the freeze plug holes shut and sloshed epoxy primer around by rotating the block on the engine stand, and brushed the same primer on all of the outer rough cast surfaces. did a good rebuild on the engine to factory tolerences/clearances, painted the engine the correct color with Bill Hirsh engine paint and put it back in the car. Had the radiator boiled out at a local rad shop that does a lot of BIG truck rad work, and understands old car radiators.

That engine behaved beautifully after that. It would heat up

to 180 degrees (with a 180 degree stat) and STAY there no matter what you did. Fast, slow, heck, it even did parades, the acid test of old car cooling systems. We broke the engine in and drove the car to Hershey from Detroit that year, a great trip, the engine just purred all the way there and back, never overheated again.

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Okay. Sounds good for my 4 week long winter break.

-yank the head and check the gasket

-yank the freeze plugs and see whats really in there

and obviosuly im gonna contact that place again and see if theyd rod out the radiaotr, if not try and find a shop that does...BIG trucks and stuff haha. Never thought of that, thanks for the suggestion.

One thing though....right now I still have tap water + a little bit more than one bottle of Prestone Super Anti Rust in there, for extra protection. Is that enough? Or am I beginning to slowly make the problem worse by having tap water in there, even with the anti-rust? My mom said out water does indeed have quite a bit of chlorine in it, so should I drain it and replace it with purified water?

And yes I know it should have coolant in, once the cold arrives Ill probably do that, though this garage almost never goes below 50* F even in the dead of winter, so that helps.

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If you can't make ANY engine run on modern coolant/rust inhibitor 50/50 mix with water you have bigger problems than can be fixed with backyard quick-fixes or miracle-in-a-can products.

You can yank the freeze plugs and see what's in there, but you can't access much surface area of the cooling passenges. Pull one plug and look, they are all going to look the same inside.

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Chlorine will dissipate over time from tap water. For the future, take tap water and let it sit for 24-48 hours to let the chlorine out. It is best if you can have it some place where gunk like dust and dog hair and the like won't get in.

So, if you are worried about the chlorine that is in there, perhaps take off the rad cap whenever you stop the car for a length of time. Of course, you could also sniff it for a chlorine smell, although since you have another additive in there, that might mask it if it has its own odour.

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Well....i know what chlorine smells like, anyone whos been near a pool does, and Ill tell ya the water coming out of the faucets here doesnt have that smell at all. So maybe theres not as much as I thought? Personally I wouldnt even consider drinking water if it smelled like my grandparents' pool. I have no idea what the percentages are but im guessing thats a LOT of cholrine

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I had my (city) tap water analyzed by a testing lab, and the report came back as (drum roll) mostly water!

(we were worried about heavy metal contamination due to a medical situation with my son. Which thankfully is no longer an issue) the amounts of extras are not enough to warrant losing sleep over, especially if you are using a modern coolant with anti-corrosion additives, and you change out that coolant/water 50-50 mix about every 4-5 years. The mix will retain its ability to protect from freezing, but the anti-corrosive protection only lasts about that long. If you are that worried you can use distilled water. I go back to my post about chem-stripping the block as part of a rebuild. The procedure I outlined is what the restoration shop I worked at did for every engine we rebuilt, and we never had an overheating problem after going through that process.

If your Buick engine has never been rebuilt (or hasn't been rebuilt since the 50's-60's) the cooling passenges are now 69 years old (as is the rest of the car) and were used for decades with inferior coolants re: corrosion protection, and may have been run on just water at times. I can almost guarantee what you are going to see inside the cooling passenges, and it's brown, crusty and about 3/16" thick and it's preventing the complete transfer of heat.

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I promise the problem with water quality is the least of your concerns. People have been known to pee in the coolant system as a last resort. I think worrying about water quality might cause analysis paralysis. Man you seem to take as many steps as you can to take care of your auto. Dont worry, if something is wrong with your auto it is NOT because of you not doing a good job. Cars break...thats just part of it & also what makes them so special to us. When we spend the time fixing em up and hearing em run again (its like bringing them back from the dead); it creates a bond with your car that others will NEVER understand. Its what makes us "carguys" seem insane to everyone else. Change your head gasket and it will fix your problem probably (statistically speaking). They just get old after a while. Its easy to do...First go to beer store...next call friends & let them know you got a cooler full of beer in the garage...it will fix itself from there.

good luck

chris

ps does she (your car) have a name yet?

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Haha yup DEAD ON on the whole "bond that no one else understands"

I never thought the water quality contributed to my problem. I just wanted to be sure it's not going to make more rust/scale. Although I guess thats a silly thought given how much is surely already in there.

Kinda like if you were putting out a campfire that got a worryingly big...and the flames are finally gone, you wouldnt want to dump gasoline on....just in case theres still enough heat there....that's all I'm getting at.

I've got actually two headgaskets, each from a gasket set (maybe i mentioned that already?) from the '60s/'70s or something, dad probably bought em when he bought the car or shortly afterward. So Im definitely going to replace that this winter.

Ive still been driving it around these past few weeks, every weekend I've been home, that heatercore is still doin great! HATE that the car has the side panel off on one side and has it on the other!! But it still cant break 160*, and doesnt even hit 180 after being shut off so Im happy to be able to enjoy it...then the weather will turn sour, I cant anymore, and I'll flip on the little electric heater, put on dad's flannel jacket he ALWAYS wore out in the garage, and git 'er dun!!!

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