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babychadwick

She lives. Is this normal operating?

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So as you know or may not know I have a '38 sedan that was my grandfathers with an unknown engine status (it was believed to be a cracked block).  This past weekend I took her for a trial run, something more than the short trips I have been on.  By longer trip about 300 miles on the turnpike in South FL heat and sun.  Running 10-30 I saw an oil pressure of 30psi at speed and an engine temp of 170-180 (prolonged at 60mph, occasional faster bursts if needed) where she sat steady.  There was one accident where she was starting to overheat (stopped with an occasional move for about an hour) and I had to shut off to keep her cool most of the time we were stopped.  Once rolling the temp came right down, I have modern mechanical gauges hooked up for diagnosis right now.  I feel an electric fan will prevent that in the future. 

 

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It's normal. Convert your radiator to a pressure system by adding one of the pressure relief valves from Skip Haney. It simply attaches to the overflow tube on the radiator via a hose and clamp . The electric fan is gonna put a big pull on your electrical system . A generator doesn't put out at idle.  How hot are you calling hot? If it's not boiling the water out its fine.  

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like a healthy engine and cooling system to me. I don't know if these cars were ever designed to sit for an hour in Florida heat in a traffic jam, so heating up in that situation isn't terribly concerning. An electric fan might help, but your generator probably only puts out 25 amps at full tilt, and as Ken pointed out, a generator makes 0 amps at idle, so the fan will run slowly. Instead of worrying about overheating, now you'll be worried about running out of electricity instead. Sometimes you can simply use the throttle to bump up the idle speed up a bit to increase fan speed when it starts to get hot like that--a little more RPM will make a considerable difference in air flow, although nothing is as good as running at speed. The increased airflow should more than offset the slight increase in temperatures from the increased idle speed. Or, as you did, simply shut it off if you're going to be stuck for a while and you can trust it to start after a hot soak.

 

In fact, if you were able to sit in traffic until it got hot enough to make you worry, then shut it off, then re-start it shortly thereafter without issues, I'd say your engine and state of tune is VERY healthy. Hot starts, particularly for Ford flatheads (including the V12s) can be a real challenge with today's fuels. If you're not having that particular problem, go have a beer and celebrate!

 

I wouldn't sweat it. Keep testing and tuning and seeing what's normal so you have a baseline for the future. But leave the electric fan off, I honestly don't think you have a temperature issue.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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No problem with the electrical system, that was the first bit I tackled.  I rewired the entire making a new harness and converted to 12v negative ground, with rebuilt 12v coils.  While at it I dropped in bright LED lights so I can see at night as well as wired turn signals in the rear like a trailer.  My thoughts with the fan is it just sits there unless I want to do a parade or something where Im going to be stopped.  As far as running hot the temp was getting 210ish when I would shut down and then start hot which she was doing without any problems. 

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 Starting up hot!!  That's 12volts for you. An alternator would handle fan current draw off, even at idle. 

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