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1924 4cyl overheats?


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My 24-35 is really overheating. I had the water pump rebuilt by Arthur Gould ( so good it l had to replace a collapsed hose), timing is perfect, and have flow through the engine and radiator. I also installed a six bladed fan with a shroud. Tomorrow I will check the volumn of flow coming out of the engine and also check the radiator. Does anyone know what is sufficient through the radiator or are their any ideas?:confused::(

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Tried rag test, it took at least 12 seconds to empty the radiator. Much too slow so I put in some Prestone radiator flush and let it sit overnight. Still very slow to flush. I am now soaking the radiator with Pine-Sol in case some of the crap from the engine got jammed in the tubes. Next I'll try vinegar and if that doesn't work my choices are to try to rod out this radiator or have a new one made. I'm worried that rodding may damage and possibly destroy this old radiator so I'm starting to look for a shop that builds new radiators, anybody know of one they would recommend?

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Be very careful on applying any pressure to back flush the radiator (yours should be a square core, in my 1925-25 it is honeycomb). I tried to use a "flusher" to backflush my spare radiator I bought from a friend and ended up ruining it. $100 shot. So I had it recored with a modern heavy duty core @$900! The local shop sent it out to Pittsburgh. Now I have over $1000 in this radiator. I have still been using the original one that came with my car. I thought the overheating problems were over but when I tried to drive to our Mason-Dixon car show 2 weeks ago. The old problems came back. So I am considering finally installing the new one. Larry

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I think I know what your problem is. Have seen this several times before on other Buicks and a 1925 4-cylinder Chevrolet Roadster many, many years ago. I have a friend over in the UK who has a Buick Touring that he uses for weddings, social gatherings, and whenever someone wants the use of an open antique automobile. A couple of years ago he sent me an email saying that the car would overheat after running about 5 minutes. He listed all of the things that had been done to the engine. The engine had been totally gone through. The cylinder block had gone through a hot tank to clean the water jacket. Came out clean as a whistle. The water pump was rebuilt. Pumped water like a fire truck. The radiator core was flushed and back flushed and the water just fell through it. My friend was really starting to get concerned about what was going on with this engine. The first thing that I suggested to him was to have the mechanic double check the timing. Just a degree or two off will cause an engine to run hotter than a biscuit. He got back with me a few days later and told me that the mechanic said the timing was spot on to what it should be. OK, now what he asks. I remembered the guy in my home town with the '25 Chevy Roadster - he had the same identical problem. I then told my friend that his problem was the coolant was passing through the radiator too fast. On the Chevrolet there was a restrictor washer on the radiator intake tube that was about the size of a quarter. It had a hole in the center about the size of a dime. This slowed the water down going into the top of the radiator long enough for the radiator to do its job. The guy at the radiator shop did not know what this was for and took it out. The overheating problems began immediately. I told my friend about this and he almost couldn't believe it. He put a little restrictor washer in the top tank inlet tube and the problem was solved. I would be willing to bet that this is your problem. A whole lot easier fix than a new radiator core. Think about it. Water running too fast through a radiator doesn't have a chance to give up its heat. Let us know how things work out for you. Terry Wiegand Doo Dah America

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12 seconds is way too long. With these old radiators, it is important to backflush as the passageways are very small and grit get lodged in the openings. On my 32 Buick with a honeycomb core, I turned the radiator upside down over a plastic 5 gallon bucket and I rigged up a low pressure pump to circulate radiator flush and HOT water in to the bottom hose connection and pumped out of the bucket. I flushed for 12 hours. I got over a 1/4 cup of fine sand like material out of the bucket. Radiator drains in under 2 second now. Many times the problem is the outer portion of the core and the center is doing most of the work. An infrared heat gun will identify the hot spots when running. You need to pump a fairly high volume of water at less then 10 pounds pressure to get flow in the outer tubes. The pump I used was from a jacuzzi hot tub.

Most of these old radiators can't be rodded because the passageways are too small and on the honeycomb the passageway is a zigzag.

Bob Engle

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rwolf,

Do a search on the forums regarding my CLR flush proceedure.

Drain all the antifreeze, and fill with pure water.

Add one full bottle of CLR and run till good and hot.

Drain hot solution.

Repeat with second bottle of CLR, and run for about 10 minutes then drain hot.

Flush system with garden hose while running block and rad drains open.

Fill with 50/50 antifreese, and motor on............

Cured my overheating.

Mike in Colorado

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rwolf,

Do a search on the forums regarding my CLR flush proceedure.

Drain all the antifreeze, and fill with pure water.

Add one full bottle of CLR and run till good and hot.

Drain hot solution.

Repeat with second bottle of CLR, and run for about 10 minutes then drain hot.

Flush system with garden hose while running block and rad drains open.

Fill with 50/50 antifreese, and motor on............

Cured my overheating.

Mike in Colorado

I vote for this fix

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Terry, the problem with thinking that the water goes too fast through the radiator to cool off is that, if that's true, it also goes too fast through the engine to heat up. The problem is ultimately, the radiator is not doing it's job. The restrictor is just a Band-Aid that lets the radiator "catch up" while the water still in the engine absorbs more heat. At some point, the flow will be so slow that the water in the engine can accept no more heat and will begin to boil.

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Jerry Van, I really think you are missing my point here. With all due respect, your logic is like that old dog that won't hunt. I will be the first to admit that if the radiator core is clogged or partially stopped up then there will be heating problems. My friend in the UK had an engine block, water pump, and radiator core that was as clean as a whistle, and he had heating problems. The problem with what you are saying just doesn't add up right. In an automobile cooling system the radiator core does not generate heat, but, the engine block does. How do you get rid of the building up heat? The radiator core of course. Just keep circulating the water back through the block and it is going to do nothing but continue to get hotter. It was mentioned earlier that a radiator core full to the cap should empty in 2 seconds. I'm not from Missouri, but I'm gonna hafta be shown that. I just ain't buyin' that in any way, shape, or form. The bottom tank connection would have to be the size of a gallon paint can to do that. If you have a 'clean' cooling system and there are overheating problems, then the logical thing to do is slow down the circulation a little bit so that the radiator can do its job. What other reasonable answer is there? Terry Wiegand Doo Dah America

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Terry:

I wish it were so, but the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics say no. Let me see if I can come up with a thought experiment here:

Let's say you have 2 one meter pipes. One of the pipes perfectly adds in heat, and one perfectly subtracts it. They are connected in a closed loop by 2 pipes that are perfectly insulated and have a pump that adds no heat to the system. Further, let's say that you have a slug of water that just fills one of the pipes, and the remainder of the fluid is completely non-conductive and inert - i.e. cannot absorb or give off heat (let's call it unobtanium).

OK, so we start the system and set the speed of the water and fluid heat pipe so it takes 1 second for the water slug to pass thru the pipe and during that time adds 100k Joules for each pass. We set the cooling pipe so it takes away 100k Joules for each 1 sec pass, and voila, we are at equilibrium with the same put in and removed at each pass. So far, so good.

Now, let's speed up the pump fluid/water so it goes thru at 2 m/sec (i.e. will only be in the pipe for 0.5 sec). The cooling pipe will only take away 50k Joules per pass now, but the heat pipe will only put in 50k J for the same pass, so we are still at equilibrium. If we slow the pump down to 0.5 m/sec, the same as putting in a restrictor, the cooling pipe will take out 200k J per pass, but, the the heat pipe now puts in 200k J per pass as well. So what we gain on one side gets removed at the other. Still in equilibrium.

Looking at it another way - let's say Grant wants the perfect cooling pipe for his lovely '39 so he takes away 1/2 of it and reconnects the loop to the remaining piece, so it is now only 0.5 meter long in the loop. At the original 1 m/sec flow there will now only be 50k Joules removed for every 100k J put in, so the loop will get hotter and hotter. If we slow the pump down so that it flows at 0.5 m/sec (i.e. it takes the water slug 1 sec to pass thru the cooling pipe) now 100k J will be removed per pass. But, since the speed is slowed to 0.5 m/sec, it takes long to go thru the heat pipe so now you are adding 200k J per pass. Still overheating.

So you basically have conservation of energy. The only way to change this at a given speed thru the pipes is by 1) reducing the amount of heat added in the heat pipe of 2) increasing the amount of heat removed in the cooling pipe.

Applying this to automobiles, reducing the amount of heat added at normal load profiles is pretty difficult - timing, improving efficiency of cooling by cleaning the block, etc have been mentioned, but the reduction will be marginal considering the heat added as our engines are pushing us down the road thru all of that air resistance at 60 mph. Our best shot is increasing the amount of heat removed by the radiator by utilizing a more efficient core, more air passed thru, etc.

Cheers, Dave

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Somebody on here is going to have to explain WHY the fellow in the UK put a small restrictor washer in the radiator inlet tube on his car and the overheating problem went away. Somebody should explain WHY the fellow with the 1925 Chevrolet 4-cylinder roadster put the restrictor washer back in his radiator and his overheating problems stopped right there. I just simply want to know WHY this works. I have seen this demonstrated more than once. The automobiles in this time frame used a non-pressurized cooling system and the radiator cores were between 2 - 3 inches thick. My Dad restored 2-cylinder John Deere Tractors and they all used the Thermo-Syphon cooling system (no water pump) and had radiator cores that were upward of 4 - 5 inches thick. Those engines ran really warm and this was a plus for burning distillate fuel. I will argue till those proverbial cows come home that the coolant has to stay long enough in the core to give up the heat it is carrying. I want everyone to understand that I am talking about an absolutely CLEAN cooling system here. There just has to be something going on here that has not been discussed. When I took the radiator core from my 1920 K-46 to the shop to have it flushed and back flushed, I asked the guy about the Black paint he sprayed on the core after he had finished testing the unit. He told me that that paint is designed specially for radiators in that it will dissipate heat. My Buicks run fine with no heating problems. I run a 50/50 mix of the old Green Zerex anti-freeze and that alone will help an engine to run a little cooler. A good rust inhibitor and water pump lubricant on top of it all. I think all of the folks on here would really hate to see a goodly amount of money spent on a new radiator core and that not be needed at all. OH WELL, with my thoughts and 55 cents one can buy a soda at Costco. Good luck. Terry Wiegand Doo Dah America

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Here's the most common explanation for the restrictor in the radiator inlet. The water pump has a higher pump capacity then the radiator has flow capacity. The pump is trying to move more water than can enter the pump due to the restriction in the radiator. The Pump cavitates, low pressure on the suction side, water flashes to steam at the low pressure and additives foam. The steam and foam rise quickly to the cylinderhead where most heat is generated, heat transfer is reduced and the what water does get there gets overheated. Reducing the flow of water with a restrictor to the point where pump flow and radiator flow are in equalibrium balances heat gain from the engine to heat loss in the radiator. This cavitation is usually seen when you look in the top of the radiator. the foam sometimes seeps out around the radiator cap. The restrictor also has the added advantage of increasing the pressure in the engine block which raised the boiling point of water allowing it to transfer more heat.

A loose water pump packing will aggrevate cavitation as air gets sucked in along the shaft. The increased pressure can aggrevate pin hole leaks in the outlet pipes that are rusted.

One other point, water is one of the best heat transfer fluids Antifreeze reduces heat transfer. Rust inhibitor is good as these are open cooling systems, drawing lots of air into the water to cause lots of rust.

paint reduces heat transfer by conduction, but a Black body is the ideal heat transfer by radiation.

There may be other explainations.

Bob Engle

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I can think of another possible explanation for a restrictor washer doing some good to keep an engine cool. A washer would encourage turbulent flow in the coolant which would serve to thoroughly mix the fluid and distribute the heat. It could also sweep away any steam bubbles that were forming and interfering with the heat transfer. The true answer might be a combination of things. Many people will swear that the coolant is passing through the system too fast and that it doesn't have time to transfer heat. This is totally bogus (I have heard this repeated many times) and as previous poster said, a violation of the laws of thermodynamics.

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I think I solved the problem. The six bladed fan can not be used on this car. Even though I mounted it according to the directions with engine side towards the engine it would not pull air through the radiator. Reversing the fan ran the curved side of the fan first and it just pushed air from the engine through the radiator. I put back the original 3 bladed fan and all is well. When I get back from a meet in Va. I will take out the Willys-Knight radiator and put back the original equipment. After all I've tried I know it's clean. By the way does anyone know where I can get those spring metal clips that hold the headlight rims in place?.

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WELL DOG MY CATS!!! Who woulda thunk that the Buick Engineering Department sorta knew what they were doing back then. Glad to hear that things are working out for you. I'm willing to bet that you are really happy about not spending a ton of money on a new core. I really appreciated the explanation given by Mr. Engle about how the Buick cooling system should work. That is the kind of answer that the common guy can understand. Thanks again. I'm still gonna say that I have seen the restrictor washer work in several cooling systems and work mighty well they do. I think we all learned something here. Terry Wiegand Doo Dah America

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rwolf: I had to make some up for my 25 as mine were missing or to rusted. I made some extras. How many do you need ? I can check at the Buick Nationals also. If none are to be found I can send some when I return. Best Regards: Larry

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Always interesting to follow overheating threads. I had a McLaughlin 1922 Model 34 and it too overheated. It was the radiator plugged, I took it to Amsterdam Auto Radiator (Amsterdam NY) he is an old timer that soaks it in a tank for several days. In that instance the integrity of the radiator was such that it leaked in too many places to save. He recored with a modern radiator +/- $600. All worked great. Same story with my Buick 1923 Model 38...ended up recoring. This Sping my 40 pontiac Coupe and my 41 Buick super were overheaters, but each of these responded well to the tank treatment each running 40 degrees cooler on a 90F day. Cost for tanking was $75 each. Since you are in NEW York it is a reasonable drive to see this old guy.

Your problem has other factors to consider..your rebuilt pump may be better than original causing the problems described in Bob Engles good suggestions. Did it overheat before you rebuilt the pump? If not you might want to try the restiction technique. This worked for me on a 17 buick with a getting questionable radiator.

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