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Big Buick running warm, either, or ???


FLYER15015
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O. K. so here's the deal.

She is a '40 series 90 with a 320cid strt 8.

She lives at 8500 ft. where the air is thin, and on the long uphill pulls and slow moving parades, she runs a bit too warm for me.

She has a 180 degree thermostat, and a big pancake fan on a toggle switch in front of the radiator, which helps quite a bit.

 

I have done the "CLR" flush and had the radiator boiled and pressure tested and it is fine, per the local shop.

 

1. For my spring project I am thinking about doing an "Evapo-rust" flush, which as I understand it, is to put in a gallon of the stuff, along with distilled water, drive her around for a couple of days, to get it warm and well circulated, and then drain it back into it's container. Reflush with water, and then just add the standard 50/50 antifreeze mix.

 

OR................

 

2. Pull the 2 freeze plugs from under the exhaust manifold, (which I don't think needs to be removed, and I need clarification on this) and route her out with a coat hanger wire and 1/4" copper tube "jet" hooked up to a garden hose. Then maybe do the above too, to try and get out the stuff in the back I could not reach.

 

What do you guys think ?   Been there, done that ? If so, please chime in.

 

Mike in Colorado

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When I bought it, my '36 International overheated to where it was undrivable. I flushed out the radiator several times. No effect.

I popped out the freeze plugs and spent a day visualizing where all the passages were and snaking a wire around. I got it least 1 qt. of rust and stuff. If I were to do it again, I would come up with a motorized wire bottle brush.

 

From that day forward, the truck never went above 150 even when the outside temperature topped 100!

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Motorized bottle brush ?

 

Maybe I can solder a small, (one inch diameter) wire brush onto a length of speedometer cable, slip it into a length of soft copper tube, and plug it into my Dremel tool.

Then I could bend it around the rear jugs thru the freeze plug hole.

 

Thanks Dwight. A good idea !!!

 

Mike in Colorado

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I've used, with great success, what I call "wiggly wire," a section of twisted fence wire resembling very heavy duty chicken wire in pattern.  Cut to desired length, bend as necessary with HD pliers on one end, and chuck into a 3/8 corded drill.  It's plenty stiff for this purpose. 

 

Not sure how well your soldered connection will hold up against being banged against the cylinder jugs.

 

Or use a bore brush for a rifle.  Screw it into a sacrificial bore cleaning extension rod which you can bend to suit in a vise.  I'd use some anaerobic sealer on the threads to keep it screwed together.

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 Mike, I am an OLD fart! The first thing I do with an old car, or a newer on if it overheats, is have the radiator rodded out. IF some of the tubes are plugged, flushing may not get through them.  Money well spent, in my opinion. To do this, the shop will remove the tanks and run a rod through EACH tube. Dollar to a donut that will work. The block cleaning may help the engine run cooler, but the radiator is the key.

 

  Ben

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To me it seems like if you have a radiator rodded or a new core installed 95% of the time the engine will run cool enough to be good. That's all I ever did when I was younger when these old cars were just affordable transportation, The fact is though that if a radiator was in need of being rodded the block is also probably in need of the same thing. Although the temp gauge reads 180 after a new radiator is installed there is a good chance of isolated hot spots in the block because of rust build up. There isn't any easy way to know wether the block is truly clean other than to take a wire and clean it. I used CLR and some other similar products along with days of reverse flushing and my temperature gauge readings are fine. Maybe my radiator and block are just fine but in reality I don't know how "just fine" they really are. The only way to know that they are as best as they can be would be a new radiator or rodded radiator and to remove the freeze plugs and mechanically route out the rust around the water jackets. I'm happy if the temp gauge stays at or under 180 or an occasional 190 in hot weather but that still doesn't mean the cooling system is as good as new. If the car starts to run hotter than what I think it should be depending on the outside air temperature and the driving conditions then the next time I'll wire rod the block and rebuild the radiator.  

Edited by LAS VEGAS DAVE (see edit history)
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OK, I don't think you will find one silver bullet. I bought a 40 Roadmaster early this year. It was restored 15-20 years ago and used very little. I always go thru the new (old)  Buick when I get it. I change oil, brake fluid and coolant ASAP. When I went to drain the block very little came out. After removing the drain cock fitting, and pocking around for a while with wire I was amazed how much rust, junk and sludge cam out. Then went on to a few strong chemical flushes and air power back flush until clean. I would strongly recommend starting with the block first. If it is one of the rare ones that is very clean and no sludge I would want to know before servicing the  radiator. We have had to pull several re-cored radiators in customers cars for cleaning because the junk in the block plugged half the tubes, again. 

Just takes a little time and effort- not very difficult.

Steve

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Before either pursuing Better Living Through Chemistry or mechanical solutions (poking rust loose), I strongly urge that you protect  the radiator from loosened debris by using a coolant filter.  The best and cheapest I've found is the toe of a woman's nylon stocking, with the closed end inserted into the top tank of the radiator through the upper hose neck. Fold the selvage over the outside of the neck and reinstall the upper hose.

 

Check after 300 miles.  You'll be amazed at the debris you've prevented from entering the core.  Remove stocking tap and wash out under a faucet then reinstall.

 

Even without cooling system service procedures, normal heating and cooling cycles allow all kinds of chunks to break loose.  The stocking prevents this junk from reaching and clogging the radiator core.

 

The short ankle-high stockings usually worn with slacks are heavier gauge and last longer.

 

If using chemicals to flush, replace the stocking after the flush process even if it's new, and the chemicals may have weakened the nylon.

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Bottom line, if the block isnt clean the heat will not get into the water. If the block is cruddy, no radiator in the world is going to help. 

When I redid my '38 Roadmaster, I got a half of a 5 gallon bucket of crap out of the block. I also had the radiator rodded. The engine never runs over the 160° thermostat temperature.

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Wow !

Thanks to all for your stories.

I did have the radiator "boiled" last spring, and I watched them perform a "flow test", and she empty's out in about 5 seconds.

It looks like I am headed for the wire brush solution for the block, so the remaining question is............

Have you guys pulled the freeze plugs our of a 320cid WITHOUT pulling the manifolds ?

And did you have any issues putting the new ones in?

Mike in Colorado

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I just cleaned the block on my 32 Nash using Evapo Rust from Harbor Freight. works like a charm. I had the engine out at the time but I would not hesitate to put in a filter in the upper hose and add two containers of Evapo Rust and run the car, let it get up to temp and then let is sit for a day. Do the same the next day. Look at the color of the liquid, if it is nice and black it is working. dump it and do it again if you get a lot of sludge out of it. This is far easier than pulling freeze plugs and it costs about 25 bucks for 2.5 gallons. Cheapest starting point I know of. 

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I also used Evapo Rust along with CLR and one or two other products. I spent several days using the chemicals and driving the car and reverse flushing and then repeating the process. I did this a couple of more times even after everything seemed to be a good already.  In my "minds eye" the inside of my block and radiator is like new. Probably not but thats what I picture. The car runs at thermostat temperature right now but the real test comes when the 100 degree weather is once again here in Vegas. 

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I can tell you what I did with my '15 truck that I had a problem with it over heating.

 

An old time mechanic told me of this fix.

 

Drain all of the coolant / water from the system and flush it with water to remove any coolant,, etc.

 

Fill the system with plain household bleach.  In my case it took 4 gallons.

 

Drive the vehicle until it gets up to temp or overheats and them stop an let it cool.

Repeat this 4 or 5 times.

 

Then drain and flush the system with water till clear.

 

Fill with coolant.

 

I did this and it fixed my overheating problem.  I was amazed.

 

I also tried the commercial cooling system cleaner in the yellow bottle and it did not do anything.  Waste of money.

 

Nice thing is this is an inexpensive fix.  Bleach is $1.00/gallon at the dollar store.

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Larry,

Interesting idea, but I think we need to know the "chemistry" behind using bleach to dissolve rust.

Then using your math, 4 gallons at a dollar a gallon X 5 cycles = $20.00 for this exercise.

OR about what a gallon of Evaporust would cost if it is used at 25% solution.

Still trying to get someone on this thread that has knocked out their plugs with the engine in the car.

I REALLY do not want to pull the manifolds of unless it is absolutely necessary.

Mike in Colorado

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Mike:

 

Yeah, I did pull a plug (rearmost) with the engine in and with the manifolds on with my 248. It wasn't easy. Following advice on this forum, I drilled a roughly 3/8" hole near one edge and tried to pry out but no go, that danged thing was about welded in there.

 

So I got a hole saw nearest to the correct size and started in. Had to take it easy due to the heating on the drill but it finally broke thru. I was then able to get at the plug remainders and pry out with vise grips. Needless to say I now have the expandable rubber plug replacement which works fine and I can pull it easily at any time.

 

BTW working "underneath" the manifold is not fun but is doable.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Larry,

Interesting idea, but I think we need to know the "chemistry" behind using bleach to dissolve rust.

Then using your math, 4 gallons at a dollar a gallon X 5 cycles = $20.00 for this exercise.

OR about what a gallon of Evaporust would cost if it is used at 25% solution.

Still trying to get someone on this thread that has knocked out their plugs with the engine in the car.

I REALLY do not want to pull the manifolds of unless it is absolutely necessary.

Mike in Colorado

 

Mike,

 

Not needed to replace the bleach each time.  Can leave the original in for the four or five cycles.

 

Just drain and flush when done..

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Hi Dave,

Yes, I read about your trials and tribulations with the plug in another thread.

I also watched several youtube skits regarding freeze plugs.

Some are for serious discussions and some are some real "redneck engineering".

My apologies Mr. Earl !

I just know he's lurking out there. Probably busy in the barn too, which reminds me, what ever happened to "Terry" ?

Havn't seen her lately in "girls on Buicks". Still waiting for that Tango dress shoot.

Back to business.

Still waiting for someone w/a 320 to tell me if they pulled the plugs while in the car and manifolds intact.

Mike in Colorado

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 I'm a bit late to this party, but I'll give you my few cents worth. I finished restoring a '41 Roadmaster about 3 and a half years ago, and one of the last things I did was the cooling system.

I flushed it with a commercial one from NAPA, several times, with lots of flushing each time, and when it was cleaner, the lower part of the rad was like a sieve, so a recored rad was needed. I went for a higher density modern type of core. Not so authentic, but the plan is to drive this car. The down side is that the smaller passages can clog up easier, but I have done this on other old cars, and I'm a believer.

 The block was another matter. By this time I had the manifolds and head off, and things looked good from the top, but then I knocked out the frost plugs and was amazed that after all the work I did flushing it, the amount of crap in the back of the block was unbelievable. I, like others, made up some wire to get as much out from the back of the block as possible, and then I put a garden hose into the water jacket and blew out a ton more crud. So, I think that there is no way to clean out the block properly without taking those frost plugs out!

 Arm and Hammer washing Soda is what I'm using of late as a flushing agent, and it seems to work well.

 It now has run cool for me in any driving situation, with a 180 thermostat, though I do give it a flush every year or so. I have now put just over 5,000 miles on the car since I put it on the road in 2012.

 Keith

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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