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What are these hair-like fiber mats in the radiator?


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Have a 1936 Auburn kit, circa 1976, which was poorly put together by original owner.  After purchase, had entire car taken apart down to the frame.

 

1.       Complete, ground up restoration finished August, 2019.  In the fall, noted occasional sweet smell of burning antifreeze.  Car not driven over winter.  In June 2020, after 1400 mile trip without overheating, coolant level was down one pint.  Added water.

 

2.       During a continuous, 225 mile long high speed (75 mph) run, noted temperature above 210 F.  Coolant level down about 3 pints.  Filled with Prestone antifreeze.

 

3.       Took car in to shop.  Fan controller has two contacts, one found not to work, second one working and would turn fan on occasionally.  Controller was replaced.  Radiator was new installation when restoration done.  Filled with new coolant.

 

4.       Drove car on secondary roads, 40 – 50 mph, for 35 miles.  Car overheated, coolant boiling in overflow tank.  Towed car to garage.

 

5.       Thermostat replaced, fan controller checked and working.  Replaced temperature gauge and sending unit.  Replaced water pump.  Still overheating.  Scope used to inspect radiator; large amount of hair-like fibers and clumps noted.  Radiator removed.  Engine block flushed but no material recovered.   

 

6.        Replaced radiator.  Now car running cool, 160F and up to 165F when sitting in traffic.

 

7.       Old radiator contains large amount of hair like fibers.  Burns when lit with a match.  (See photo)

 

What the hell is this stuff that was clogging up the radiator?  I can see it when a light is shone down the radiator fill neck.  Note - I never added stop leak or other additives.576320044_fibersinradiator.thumb.jpg.b9a7452f3a04368f5500351e1885a49e.jpg

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If cap was left off, it was left off at the shop.

 

Another theory - rag used to plug port or hose, forgotten and then got pushed into radiator.

 

During first visit, when fan controller was replaced, upper radiator hose was cut to install a filler neck and cap since original filler neck on top of radiator is under grill shell with about 2 inches of clearance, making inspection/filling very difficult.

 

I don't see how a mouse would have crawled into a radiator which was filled with coolant.

 

I have the radiator and can cut it open.  Finding a mouse skeleton would certainly prove the mouse nest theory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You said it was a kit poorly put together by previous owner. Is it possible it sat with the coolant drained and the rad cap off one winter? Or that the rad sat around before being installed, with the inlet and outlet open? It doesn't much matter, I was only offering a suggestion. If you choose not to believe it best of luck to you.

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3 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

You said it was a kit poorly put together by previous owner. Is it possible it sat with the coolant drained and the rad cap off one winter? 

 

A brand new radiator was put in during the rebuild.  After that, it never sat with the cap off.

 

3 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 Is it possible ... that the rad sat around before being installed, with the inlet and outlet open?

 

Absolutely possible. 

 

During the initial rebuild, a new radiator was put in.  It could have sat around.  BUT I then put 2000 miles on the car, including a three day, 1400 mile trip, with no problems with overheating whatsoever.

 

The initial overheating problem was minor and apparently due to a faulty fan controller.  During that time in the shop, the upper radiator hose was cut to allow installation of a filler neck.  Radiator could have been open then.

 

After that problem was fixed, overheating problem was much worse.

 

1 hour ago, Rusty_OToole said:

What is the diff where the fibers come from? Take off the rad and flush it to get rid of them.

 

I paid $2400 to fix this problem, with most of that cost coming after the fan controller was replaced.   A brand new radiator was put in.

 

If this was due to someone shoving a rag into the radiator, I think the bill should be adjusted.  If a mouse got in there, it happened at the garage, not while the car was in my possession.

 

 

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When I was building Corvettes, we had to pull the intake and front end off an LT1, which has an internally-driven reverse-rotation water pump. That's not relevant. What is relevant is that we put it back together and I had a nightmare and came to work the next day and said to my co-worker, "I think we left the rag in there." We used a scope and sure enough, the rag we had used to keep trash from falling into the outlet was still stuffed in there. We were able to fish it out with no harm done, but had I not remembered it was in there, the water pump would have swallowed it, chewed it up, and spat it into the radiator, where it would have lodged for all eternity.

 

Could that have happened here?

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

"I think we left the rag in there."

 

Did that twice (obviously once wasn't enough) in my 72 Corvette that I have had for many years. Both times left it in the radiator hose when trying to keep the coolant from dripping to much while working on it. I notice it was overheating while warming it up to check for leaks. Luckily the rag only moved a few inches.  

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13 hours ago, kings32 said:

I though I was the only one that did 5hings liker that !  How you doing Ron ,Hope you are staying safe .Howard

 

Work on cars long enough and these things happen, many just don't admit it and post for the world to see. If I were the OP I would check the radiator he removed, flush it out and do a pressure check since it appears to have been losing a small amount of coolant. Val and I are doing fine. Lots of projects, lots of things cancelled. Rented a cabin buy a lake for a week end of August. Taking the Amphicar. Self quarantining at its best. Say hi to the family. Stay safe and hope to see you soon.   

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Not necessarily from the radiator! Could be the mouse built the nest inside the engine if a radiator hose was off during the time the car was stored for years....

 

A friend bought a Ford 429 engine  that had been rebuilt then stored. Now it wouldn't turn a full revolution, so he got it cheap. When the crank stopped turning, it was a soft stop, not a clunk. We took it apart to see what was wrong. Yep, red rag in one cylinder!😲

 

My oops was 2 years ago, changed a 5 ton compressor. Put small rag in inlet fitting to keep dirt out while working. Went to attach pipes (rotolock connectors) and hmmm, where did that rag go? Well, other small rag pieces were laying around compressor. Maybe it fell out. Or, maybe it fell in? Got borescope and started looking inside. Ever seen the inside of a 5 ton compressor? Lots of room in there. Saw no rag, did see the oil in the sump. Guess it is not in there. Probed around with a length of silver solder bent in several directions. Wait, something moved in the oil. Ah HA! the rag! Bent hook on end of solder, dragged rag out. I don't think that compressor would have liked to compress a rag.....😳

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On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2020 at 7:45 AM, Bhigdog said:

Looks like oakum to me especially since it's flammable...................Bob

Same here, or Jute carpet/firewall padding,... that mice love to build nests with.   

 

Worked on a 31 limo after decades of it sitting in a barn. Mice had been building nests in the exhaust system. Over the years their pee had rotted away the bottom half of pipes and muffler all the way up to the engine. Looked like a trade school demo exhaust with the bottom half cutaway for show. Amazing the places where mice can get into.

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, PFitz said:

Same here, or Jute carpet/firewall padding,... that mice love to build nests with.   

 

Worked on a 31 limo after decades of it sitting in a barn. Mice had been building nests in the exhaust system. Over the years their pee had rotted away the bottom half of pipes and muffler all the way up to the engine. Looked like a trade school demo exhaust with the bottom half cutaway for show. Amazing the places where mice can get into.

 

Paul

 

Good point about the padding. What leads me to think it is oakum is the flammable aspect, even after being in water. Carpet material does seem more likely. OTOH all of the padding I've seen is more of a short fibered material and the pictured material is more rope like,  ala oakum...... Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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58 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

 

Good point about the padding. What leads me to think it is oakum is the flammable aspect, even after being in water. Carpet material does seem more likely. OTOH all of the padding I've seen is more of a short fibered material and the pictured material is more rope like,  ala oakum...... Bob

Agreed. I forgot the OP's car is not  from the 1930s. The old jute padding had longer fibers than the newer padding. And yes it reminds me of the oakum I used to caulk wooden boats with back when I worked in boatyards. 

 

Paul

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