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Is there pressure?


1939 President
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Depends on the manufacturer --  by your name a Studebaker President 8? It looks like they went to a pressurized system in 1941, so a cap with a 3-7 lbs pop-off pressure is required. Even in an unpressurized system there is a modicum of pressure. As your coolant heats up it will expand slightly- the hotter it gets, the more it will expand until it gets hot enough to cause some liquid to separate into a gaseous form (the bubbles in boiling water). Pure water will boil at 100C/212F at atmospheric pressure, but pressurizing the system (and using coolant additives) will raise the boiling point of the coolant, hopefully beyond the operating range of the engine it is attempting to cool! Non pressure radiator caps allow the coolant to escape the upper tank as it expands beyond the height of the neck, a pressurized cap will keep the coolant contained until it hits a pre-determined release pressure.

 

If you want to pressure test a radiator, I probably wouldnt exceed 3 lbs PSI-  use the rubber stopper and plunger pump type tester with integral PSI gauge  or drill an old cap , install a Schrader valve in the hole and give it a few pumps with an old-fashioned tire pump- OR take it to a radiator shop and have them do it  while you watch (they're insured....).

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34 minutes ago, 1939 President said:

Thanks for the input, think I'll go with maybe 1+ lbs of pressure.  You guys are a fountain of knowledge, now can someone direct me to the Fountain of Youth?

I heard it was in Florida....

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Here is a way you can put a little head pressure on it without trying something with air pressure. Plug off the bottom outlet by clamping a short piece of hose on it and something like a pipe cap clamped inside the other end. Have a good sealing cap on top,then with a piece of same size exhaust pipe with a hook in it or put together with PVC pipe clamped on the top inlet,run a standpipe up three or four feet clamped to a post or something so it won't lean over, fill it up with water and watch for wet spots before your eyes and hope there aren't any. Good luck.

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