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1930 Commander Overheating - Help!


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Well, I have another question I’m hoping someone will be able to help me with. I’ve finally got my 1930 Commander on the road, and I’m having a lot of trouble with overheating. I had the radiator re-cored, I removed the water gallery cover on the driver’s side of the engine and cleaned the water gallery as well as I could, removed the head and cleaned the water gallery in it as well as I could, and flushed and re-filled the coolant system with clean water (no antifreeze as there’s no danger of freezing temps at the moment and antifreeze has worse thermal conductivity than water). While at idle, the engine will heat up to normal operating temp in around 10 minutes or so, but as soon as I start driving, the temp climbs rapidly until it overheats. Once it is overheated, if I let it sit at idle, the temperature will begin to drop. The water pump seems to be working, as water will come out of the outlet tube on the top of the head when I crank the engine over with the tube removed. There also doesn’t seem to be too much rolling resistance in the wheels or breaks which would cause extra load on the engine when moving. And lastly, the vanes on the Pines-Winterfront radiator shroud are fully open.

Am I missing something? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Duncan

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I had a similar problem with my '32 model 55. It had sat many years with the radiator removed. I decided to reassemble everything and get it running, but it would overheat on warm days. One day I removed the temp probe bulb and was peering into the hole where it was and noticed it was filled with what looked like olives!! Turned out to be acorns, apparently squirrels had filled up the water passages with acorns, using the water neck as an entry point. It ran much cooler when they were removed!!

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Thanks 32mod55, I did clean out the head while I had it off, and there was indeed a lot of junk in there (including acorns). I'm thinking that since the flow rate through the engine and radiator seem to be OK, it must be something else. After reading some other posts on the subject, I'm thinking it may be a timing issue. I thought I had it timed correctly when I re installed the distributor, but maybe not. I'll check it again this weekend.

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Nope. The timing was spot on when I checked it last night. Maybe it is a water flow issue after all. Where exactly are the core/freeze plugs on this engine? And do I need to purchase replacements for when I remove them?

Thanks again!

Duncan

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The core/freeze plugs should be pretty obvious. They are the round metal plugs which are pressed into the block at several locations. They are a single use only item because they are basically destroyed when you remove them. They should be readily available at your local auto parts store. Use brass ones if you can get them.

You won't be able to get a good idea of water flow just turning the engine over with the starter. The best way is to look into the radiator with the engine running and observing the flow of water in the top tank. Water pumps on cars of this vintage really PUMP! Not like the water agitators (aka pumps) that modern cars have.

Terry

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Thanks Terry, I just took a good look around the block, on both sides and I don't see any plugs. Maybe they're buried somewhere at the rear of the block, where I cant really get to? Also, I was suspecting the water pump, so I pulled it off this weekend and took it apart. It looked alright to my untrained eye. The rotor looked intact and solidly attached to the shaft via the sheer pin. Is there anything specific I should be looking for within the pump which may effect it's operation? I also pulled the water jacket cover off again and pressure washed the drivers side of the cylinder bank. I couldn't access the passenger side of the cylinder bank, the space between the cylinders is only about 1/4 inch. After I had everything together again, the overheating continued. I did look into the radiator tank while the car was running, and I couldn't really see any water flow, but I'm not sure if that was due to an obstruction, or the fact that the intake tube enters the top of the tank below the water lever near the cap. Any suggestions? Thanks again!

Edited by Dunc126 (see edit history)
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is it a 6 or 8 cylinder? I'm working on a 8 cyl. Commander and just replaced the metal baffle which is behind the water jacket cover. the original had rusted away to nothing. maybe yours is the same, I found the new baffle on the net, you probably can search google if you can't find it I can go back in my records to find who I bought it from, Fred

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is it a 6 or 8 cylinder? I'm working on a 8 cyl. Commander and just replaced the metal baffle which is behind the water jacket cover. the original had rusted away to nothing. maybe yours is the same, I found the new baffle on the net, you probably can search google if you can't find it I can go back in my records to find who I bought it from, Fred

This could very well be the problem. The engines do not cool well when these water manifolds are rusted away.

Terry

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Thanks guys, i did have to do some "JB" welding on the baffles, but I think I've got it pretty clean. I just pulled the radiator again and I'm hoping I can pop out a hairball or something with some water presure.

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This may be a long shot but do you have a non restrictive muffler installed? I have a 1931 President that came with a repaired cracked exhaust manifold. I had to replace the exhaust gasket every season. The car did not over heat but ran hot and blew the exhaust gasket regularly. I was advised that it might be the muffler. I replaced it with a NOS non-restrictive muffler and the problem was solved. Just an idea that you might consider.

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Thanks Studegard. I'm not sure what exaust i have on it. The last time this car was touched was in 1952 so i'm thinking it's stock. I did blow it out (via starter fluid and a lighter, very cool noise and flames out the back), so i think the exaust is clear.

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Let me add my 2 cents worth. As someone mentioned above, teh water pumps really move a lot of water. Check that the lower hose has a coil spring inside. The wire coil prevents the hose from collapsing due to suction from the pump. I may look fine at idle but at sustained higher RPMs it could collapse and this will shut the water flow off.

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I don't know how similar your 1930 Commander is to my 1928 Commander Big Six but I found a lot of silt accumulated around the rear cylinders in the water cavity with the side plates removed and had to use lots of water flushing to clear it out, I'll bet they scooped their water out of a muddy creek back then.

Another cooling item on mine was the engine fan hub has an internal oil pump driven by small drive gears inside and requires cleaning and then fresh oil so it rotates the fan at fast speeds.

Stude8

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Edited by stude8 (see edit history)
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Thanks everyone. I pulled the radiator over the weekend and couldn't find any obstructions there. The lower tube on my car is actually a length of steel pipe, connected to the pump and lower radiator with short sections of clamped hose, so I don't think collapsing is the issue. Stude8, I did have a lot of silt/rust in the water cavity, but I think I've cleaned it out pretty well. One thing I did notice though, when I had the fan off for repainting, I noticed that the smaller of the gears in the picture above was missing. This was before I even had the engine running, and I didn't think much of it at the time (not knowing if there even was a small gear that was supposed to be there). The fan spins freely so I don't think that's the cause of the overheating, but good to know that I'll need to get a new one soon. I think I've covered pretty much all the bases with the cooling system; is there any way the overheating could be caused by a carburetor setting?

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Thanks everyone. I pulled the radiator over the weekend and couldn't find any obstructions there. The lower tube on my car is actually a length of steel pipe, connected to the pump and lower radiator with short sections of clamped hose, so I don't think collapsing is the issue. Stude8, I did have a lot of silt/rust in the water cavity, but I think I've cleaned it out pretty well. One thing I did notice though, when I had the fan off for repainting, I noticed that the smaller of the gears in the picture above was missing. This was before I even had the engine running, and I didn't think much of it at the time (not knowing if there even was a small gear that was supposed to be there). The fan spins freely so I don't think that's the cause of the overheating, but good to know that I'll need to get a new one soon. I think I've covered pretty much all the bases with the cooling system; is there any way the overheating could be caused by a carburetor setting?

Duncan

When you say the fan spins freely does that mean with the engine shut off? The fan should be held in place by the fan belt so when engine is stopped it should be held in a fixed position. The gear system is mean't to drive the internal oil pump within the fan housing that lubricates the fan bearings. If the fan turns freely with engine off something is defective inside the hub.

Stude8

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Thanks Stude8, no, the fan spun freely while I had the belt off. It is held firmly in place by the fan belt now. I've been keeping the hub filled with gear oil via the filling screw on the side of the hub while I look for a replacement gear.

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