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Engine Cooling Problem - 31 Lincoln

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My 31 Lincoln has a V8 engine. The cooling system is mostly straight water, with a little EG. Thermostatically-controlled shutters, no heater. Engine water temperature sensor on the return line to the radiator. My problem is as follows:

  1. Engine starts easily. Running about 1000 rpm to build up heat. Fan is running OK and no undue water pump noise. After 2 minutes or so, the temperature indicator comes off the bottom and goes straight up to over 200F with no hesitation. I then have to shut off the engine.
  2. I drained off the original coolant and replaced it. Original coolant was water, ran clear - no rust, no scale. Recovered slightly over 7 gallons of 8 gallon capacity. Replaced with water and water wetter. Reran test - same result.
  3. Checked shutters - both sets fully open after warm-up.
  4. I'm looking for ideas - water pump? Engine water jacket blockage?

Suggestions for diagnosing the problem would be appreciated.

Thanks,

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My 31 Lincoln has a V8 engine. The cooling system is mostly straight water, with a little EG. Thermostatically-controlled shutters, no heater. Engine water temperature sensor on the return line to the radiator. My problem is as follows:

  1. Engine starts easily. Running about 1000 rpm to build up heat. Fan is running OK and no undue water pump noise. After 2 minutes or so, the temperature indicator comes off the bottom and goes straight up to over 200F with no hesitation. I then have to shut off the engine.
  2. I drained off the original coolant and replaced it. Original coolant was water, ran clear - no rust, no scale. Recovered slightly over 7 gallons of 8 gallon capacity. Replaced with water and water wetter. Reran test - same result.
  3. Checked shutters - both sets fully open after warm-up.
  4. I'm looking for ideas - water pump? Engine water jacket blockage?

Suggestions for diagnosing the problem would be appreciated.

Thanks,

After just two minutes it hits 200F? I'm assuming it is a mechanical gauge? If it isn't, your sending unit is bad. If it is a mechanical gauge, I would remove the sender and probe through the hole with a heavy wire - ie coat hanger and see it there is casting sand or rust build up which may be causing water cavitation or an air pocket.

Terry

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The very first thing I'd do is after 2 minutes when the gauge reads 200 deg. F, remove the radiator cap and check the REAL temperature of the coolant in the top radiator tank with a decent quality thermometer. It's almost beyond comprehension that 2 minutes of running can bring 32 quarts of coolant to 200 deg. F.!

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If the thermostat did not open, there will be no hot water in the radiator. You will need to check the temperature with an infrared temp gun or contact probe behind the thermostat on the water manifold. Or substitute a known good guage while you have the thermostat out to test, With the thermostat out, system could be refilled and then the water pump flow could be observed in the radiator tank. All this is assuming that your engine has a thermostat

If the engine has no thermostat, the guage is incorrect or the water is not flowing(water pump). I have seen cases of air lock from compression leaks into the engine cooling system, if that were the problem you should notice that there is bubbling in the top tank with the cap off.

Edited by TexasJohn55 (see edit history)

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Owen Dyneto/TexasJohn55 - There isn't a thermostat on the water line - it's on the air side and opens the shutters. Good idea on checking the sensor - I'll do that when I get the car back from the restorer. Also, I will remove the inspection cover on the water pump to see if the shaft is turning - I didn't want to leave the car on because of the high temperature indication. I have some kitchen thermometers I can use to check the return water temperature in the radiator. I DO get a lot of overflow at the high temperatures but whether that is bubbling from gas intrusion or just normal overflow as the hot water expands, I don't know. The Lincoln is built with a condenser that is supposed to catch the overflow, but it isn't hooked up.

What about the possibility that the water is boiling in the engine jacket so that what the temperature sensor sees is mainly steam? I'm guessing that that would be due to either complete blockage or bad water pump.

Dictator27 - My Owner's Manual does not state what type of "heat indicator" the Lincoln has - does someone out there know?

I would MUCH rather it be a bad sensor than a bad water pump.

Thanks for all the good input.

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Owen Dyneto/TexasJohn55 - There isn't a thermostat on the water line - it's on the air side and opens the shutters. Good idea on checking the sensor - I'll do that when I get the car back from the restorer. Also, I will remove the inspection cover on the water pump to see if the shaft is turning - I didn't want to leave the car on because of the high temperature indication. I have some kitchen thermometers I can use to check the return water temperature in the radiator. I DO get a lot of overflow at the high temperatures but whether that is bubbling from gas intrusion or just normal overflow as the hot water expands, I don't know. The Lincoln is built with a condenser that is supposed to catch the overflow, but it isn't hooked up.

What about the possibility that the water is boiling in the engine jacket so that what the temperature sensor sees is mainly steam? I'm guessing that that would be due to either complete blockage or bad water pump.

Dictator27 - My Owner's Manual does not state what type of "heat indicator" the Lincoln has - does someone out there know?

I would MUCH rather it be a bad sensor than a bad water pump.

Thanks for all the good input.

Most cars of this period have mechanical temperature gauges which use a bulb filled with a small amount of ether which is connected to the dash gauge by a flexible tube. As the water heats up, the ether expands. The expanding gas moves the needle on the dash gauge. The only way I can see amechanical gauge reacting that quickly is if the bulb is being subjected directly to steam or the bulb is touching metal. I don't think a bad water pump is going to make the temperature climb that quickly.

Terry

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The rapid rise in indicated temperature does make the temp indicator suspect, as mentioned above, check the temperature with a known good thermometer or infra-red sensing thermometer 'gun'.

If you confirm that the engine is getting hot, then I suggest the following:

Open the radiator cap and look inside, you should see the water circulating. If it is circulating, it's not the water pump.

The most common cause of over heating in cars of this vintage is an accumulation of rust scale in the top tank of the radiator. The rust scale blocks water flow down the radiator tubes, leaving the cooling capacity of the radiator severely limited.

The easiest way to clear this rust scale out is to remove the radiator and back flush it. It can be back flushed on the car, but it can be a bit awkward and messy.

Once the rust scale is removed, install a 'Gano Filter' in the top radiator hose, or use a 'footie' woman's hose as a filter in the top hose, stuff the toes-dnd of the 'footie' into the top radiator inlet tube, and wrap the open ankle end over the end of the pipe, and slide the upper radiator hose over the pipe, holding the 'footie' in place . Periodicly remove and clean the filter or the 'footie' You will be amazed at how much rust scale is captured.

If the radiator severely clogged, a radiator shop can clean it.

Let us know what you find.

GregL

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Hi Bill, see my reply to you on the LOC site. Checking to see if the shaft is turning is a start but will only tell you that shaft is being driven. I had similar symptoms with my 31, it turned out to be a sheared drive pin on the impeller, a very easy fix, but I had to take it apart to diagnose it..the shaft was spinning merrily away but the impeller wasn't impelling. I also easily diagnosed the lack of circulation by feeling the radiator tanks, the top tank was hot, the bottom not, so no circulation. I then checked the flow of the radiator and engine with a garden hose, this narrowed it down to the pump. Just for the heck of it I also removed the gauge and sender, stuck the business end in a pot of water with a candy thermometer and boiled it to check the calibration, it was spot on 82 years after being manufactured. Email me direct if you need more details, you have my address

Blue skies, Tom

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Hi, Tom... since we have the "same" car, your "drive pin" issue goes up to near the top of my list. I'll let all of you know what the outcome is.

Thanks again to everyone.

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I cant see it,,,,Is that an open drive town car,,,,with a round port hole in the

rear quarter,The top curve looks familiar,If so,,I owned it wey back,,,Cheers,,Ben

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Update for all:

I removed the water pump, got it open, and found 1) the pin that holds the impeller onto the shaft was completely gone - missing - nothing there; 2) the hole in the bronze impeller was hollowed out so that a 1/4" pin won't fit. I bought a 1/4" carbon steel roll pin at the hardware store but then thought - galvanic corrosion (steel on bronze) will eat it in a couple of months. Also, when I inserted the pin in the impeller hole it dropped straight through. Not a good start.

I found a shop and they are going to taper-bore the holes to a larger size and press in a tapered stainless steel pin. Hopefully that will give me enough life that I can get some good driving out of it (at last).

cben09: Here's a better shot of the car (click on photo to expand) - it's a 2-window Berline (formal top, closed rear quarter, divider window) by Judkins.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]217109[/ATTACH]

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Sorry,,it wouldn't open for me,,Thanks for trying,,Ben in Maine

If you want to send me your email I can send you a photo. Or if you log on here I can add it to my gallery. Please let me know.

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I thought I would give you all an update on my Lincoln. I took the impeller and shaft to a local machine shop, whose owner is a car guy too. He had his machinist taper-bore the hole, which was ovaled out (when I cleaned out the corrosion, I was able to drop a 1/4" roll pin right through it, so that wasn't going to work). They then pressed in a stainless taper pin and I took the assembly back home and put the pump back together. I dry-fit the two halves first and then cleaned out some more corrosion in the case so that it turned freely. I put in a 1/32" fiber gasket with gasket cement on both sides, put the two halves together, and re-installed it and filled the system. I pumped the grease fitting full and I think from looking at the grease receptacle from the inside when I took it apart I am going to have to keep it full all the time.

NOTE: I realize that the stainless pin is no longer a shear pin so I will have to keep a close eye on the whole pump from now on so that I can catch it if it starts to bind. Those of you who have this or a similar problem might want to consider installing a brass pin instead, which will shear before tearing up the impeller. I do not think I will drive the car enough to make a difference but for those intending to put some serious miles on their car, the shear pin may be better.

I started the car and set the hand throttle to get the pump rotating and the temperature up. No noise from the pump so it is not binding, and when the needle came off zero it went up to 120ºF and stayed there. OK so far.... Next day I took the car out and ran it around the block several times at about 30 mph, say 10 minutes worth. When I got it back the needle was at 120-130ºF, so it looks like I have a viable system. Also - the overflow piping to the condenser is missing (removed some time before I got the car) so I stuck a finger off a latex glove over it and twist-tied it - there was no overflow on the short test run so it looks like it will hold for now.

Next week I am going to take it out for a "full-load" test, get it up to 50-55 mph for several minutes and see what it does. Wish me luck - if this works out I can get on with the other things on my punch list. I am aiming to have the car tour-ready by next spring.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

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Bill, Sounds like you solved the problem. If it were to go hot it would have done it already. One improvement to consider if the pump has to come out again is installing sealed bearings.

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