Jump to content

Motor issue with 1929 Lasalle


Fredricksoncr
 Share

Recommended Posts

Good morning all!

 

Im having a heck of a time with my Lasalle. I recently purchased it about a month or two ago, and I have been diligently working on it. I replaced the blown head gasket on the drivers side, everything was great, drove it to get tires put on, drove it back, and then it wouldnt stay running. So I decided to do the passenger side. I had the head milled and checked for cracks, i scrubbed and got every impurity off the block and head, i re-tooled all the threads on the studs. Replaced the broken or stretched studs with exact matching size bolts. I got a new gasket from olsen gaskets, lightly sprayed it with copper, put the gasket on, torqued to specs, starting light and increasing with each round. Followed the clockwise torque pattern. And she is still not wanting to stay started.

 

If i keep my hand on the throttle ever so lightly she runs, she isnt miss firing, theres no compression escaping around the bolts (put oil around each bolt to look for tell tale leaks). Radiator isnt over heating and fluid isnt over pressurized so i dont think compression is leaking in to the radiator. 

 

I checked the points and cleaned them, i checked the rotor, and cap as well. I checked and replaced the fuel line. (this car was converted to an electric fuel pump before me). I verified fuel is going in, spark is there, and theres nothing blocking the air intake. 

 

Here are my symptoms. Car will start with out issue, but wont stay started unless i give it a little push on the gas. Slight unburnt fuel smell out the exhaust and occasionally fuel drips out the over flow at the bottom of the motor. Runs a little rough when trying to idle but has no issue when RPM is increased. Doesnt seem to have an issue with driving or acceleration  (mind i have only driven it up and down the street, no long haul drive). Not really any smoke coming from exhaust nor is there any sweet smell indicative or antifreeze in the exhaust. Car is staying a steady 140-160 temp. 

 

Im at a loss. I have noticed a few people on here who are way smarter than I. any help will be appreciated. I have seen @edinmassposting alot about this stuff in the forums and seems extremely familiar with these vehicles. 

 

The car:

1929 Lasalle 328

Original 328 motor

electric fuel pump.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's your pressure on the electric fuel pump and what kind of regulator are you using? Ed will tell you to get rid of the electric pump and replace it with a correct vacuum tank, and that's good advice with which I agree. That said, do as I say and not as I do; I ran my '29 Cadillac on an electric pump for years without issue, but I also used an expensive regulator with the output turned down to 1 PSI or so. If you're using one of those little disc-type regulators, that might be your problem. It's overwhelming the float and running pig rich. The carburetors on these cars are not particularly well designed and are very sensitive to fuel pressure and volume without much adjustment as on a later carb. My guess is that you're pushing way too much gas into it.

 

That's where I'd start, anyway.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im not exactly sure. Im not unfamiliar with engines and cars, but i will say this is my first pre-war so im not terribly knowledgeable. 

 

Where would i purchase a regulator? and what do you recommend. 

 

Actually i just realized. I met you at the fathers day car show at stan hwyet! small world! I live about 15 minutes from your business. 

 

My worry is have a compression leak still or the block it self might be warped. I had Michaels Auto parts and machine shop in northfield check the head and do the machining. They said it should be good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also vote to get rid of the electric fuel pump as a primary method of fuel supply.  Get an original tank on the car and you should be good to go if it is repaired to new status. 

 

Remember that you can not beat gravity.  Gravity always wins.  The electric fuel pump might be used in a vapor lock situation that in somewhat common on cars from the change to fuel pumps in about the late 20's to fuel injection in the 80's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only parts that you need are a functioning vacuum tank and maybe a couple of pieces of tubing.  Is the old vacuum tank still on the car?  regulators that go down to one pound pressure are available but I wouldn't recommend this if you have a positive displacement electric fuel pump.  If you have a vane type pump a regulator would be fine.  Vacuum tanks don't even have one pound of pressure built up.  Your carburetor is designed for the float to only retard the flow of gas very slightly when it is full.  Your current electric fuel pump is probably overpowering the very slight pressure that the float needle has when closed.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok all! @edinmass

I got a block tester today and tested the radiator fluid. First i had both sides of the v8 running. block tester found exhaust in the fluid. So then i took all the plugs off the passenger side of the v8 from the distributor. Tested again. Mildly green (turns yellow from blue if exhaust is present) but that could be easily explained as residual from the first test. swapped sides and took the connection off the drivers side. Instant yellow. Massive exhaust leak and the car ran terribly. 

 

So I took the head off off the passenger side, first thing I noticed was the head slide off wayyyy to easily. No suction at all. Second thing I noticed was the gasket was loose in the studs. Again no seal. I then examined the head and saw the minor amount of copper spray i did only really stuck to the head and not the block. Also unburnt fuel in the cylinders (all 4), and radiator fluid under the gasket. 

 

Long story short, the gasket didn't stick. 

 

Now when I installed that gasket, i cleaned the head and had it machined. made sure the block was clean and nothing sticking up. Cleaned both  with naphtha and ensured there was no finger prints or other contaminates. Applied a light coating of copper spray to the gasket. put the gasket on, put on the head and torqued. I was advised by Olsen gaskets to torque the head to 75lbs torque but the shop manual for the car says 55lbs as well as several other collectors who own this model car. I torqued to 65lbs. I was also told to torque in a clockwise pattern spiraling out from the center. 

 

Here's my question now. I have a big show on Sunday that is really important to my younger brother in law (getting in to the car collector scene for pre-war cars at 14). Can I scrub the head, clean the gasket and the block and try again? Secondly, I noticed that some of the studs are actually bolts where the old studs were removed. I checked the make sure the bolts weren't bottoming out, and that they were able to be torqued. Should i instead go to the hardware store, pick up some coarse thread 7/16 studs and nuts to replace them? Does it torque better not using a bolt? Should I replace all the studs on the off chance they have stretched? Should I use Loctite when putting the studs back in and let them sit to dry before putting the head back on? The original studs varied in length and had coarse thread on one side and fine on the other. Does it make a difference?

 

Thank you all so much! also I'm looking in to the regulator now, and I'm going to try to find a vacuum tank in the near future and return it to original. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Head gaskets won’t and shouldn’t stick. You really didn’t give us any information on why you changed it the first time. The carburetor problem is related to the choke and the free throttle arm along with some other issues. The carburetor on you car is terrible and difficult at best to set up correctly. Did you clean out the block and check for rust? How are the freeze plugs? Your trying to do way too much, and you have a bunch of problems that need to be addressed before you try and drive it again. You need to sort one system at a time, make sure each is functioning as new, and move on to the next. It’s not a 350 Chevy. With everything perfect, performance on that car is middle of the road at best. I recommend you give up on any driving plans for a while. Timing, points synchronization, plug heat range, carburetor issues, fuel issues, head gaskets leaking......your trying to patch and drive......bad idea. Not trying to be negative.......but you need to get to a baseline, and get stuff fixed. Your car is extremely difficult to set up correctly, with everything stock, in place, and functional. Been there, done that. You float cork? Brass? Does it have the progressive hinge or was it removed? Needle and seat modern or factory? Float height? Fuel pressure? We are just getting started. Are the heat tubes blocked off to the intake manifold ? 
 

Step back, catch your breath, get the correct parts on the car. Your car is exactly what I would use for an example NOT to buy for a first early car.........they can be excessively hard to get correct.......without budget considerations. First off, I would figure out the head gasket leak. Then I would do a compression test.....before ANYTHING else. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not blocked off the tubes to the intake manifold yet. I was going to cut a piece of steal and slip it in place of the gasket for that. 

 

The freeze plugs are solid. 

 

The reason why the head gasket blew was the previous owner replaced the head gasket but didnt torque anything down. I could literally take off each nut with out any force. 

 

I have had a professional who has rebuilt a 328 motor look at the timing, points, plugs, and distributor and lined those up properly, sadly he left to go back home 6 states away and i cant call on his assistance.

 

I know i need to rebuild  my starter, and block the intake tube. I know the motor about 7 years (1000 miles) ago had all its bearings, seals, and other functions replaced by a professional machine shop. What i do know is the previous owner never used radiator fluid, let the car over heat once, and then tried to replace the head gasket on his own. He did not have the heads machined, or the torqued properly. I have had both heads machined, and before the passenger side blew after i replaced the drivers side the car was running fantastically, easily accelerating to 50-55 mph and climbing hills. When the passenger side went is when i decided to really dig in to everything.

 

the only thing i really need to do is adjust the carb and so far i can only see one adjustment screw near the intake manifold. right next to the choke. For now im going to put a regulator on the fuel and get it to 1lbs to make sure it isnt flooding.

 

I have cleaned the block and checked for rust. I also cleaned all the water jacket holes out. I then flushed the engine 3 times, ran evaporust through it for 2 weeks consistently running the motor to keep it circulating (the fluid came out black after those two weeks). 

 

When i said the gasket should stick, what i truly meant is the head shouldnt be sitting loose on the block, it should have some form of seal i assume.

 

I havent torn the carb apart yet, but up until the compression leak the only issue the car had was the intake tubes and starter. She didnt smoke or have any exhaust issues. Doesnt leak oil. Starts easily, I will say when they set up the timing on the car they didnt not follow the mark on the fly wheel and that took the professional a while to figure out the correct timing. The needle and seat are factory. 

 

As for the challenge of the vehicle. I had a strong idea that this was not going to be an easy car, then again i have never taken the easy road. Greater the difficulty, greater the reward. 

 

I did locate exact replacement studs. Tomorrow i will be picking up all of them with new nuts as well. Im going to remove all the original studs on the off chance they have stretched and are no longer torqueing properly.

 

I think my next biggest challenge will be adjustment of the carb, and fuel pressure. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  The copper spray is not something that they used when the car was new.  It is more something that we use as an aid today.  When you say that the gasket "doesn't seal" I am not sure exactly what you mean.  By putting a head gasket on and torqueing it down it should have sealed.  Are you sure you have the right head gaskets with holes in the right places for the water passages to line up?  You need to find out why there is exhaust getting in to the coolant.  Are you sure their are no cracks in the block?  Do you have a mixture of bolts and studs holding the heads down?  You should be fine replacing studs with grade 8 bolts at the hardware store.  You don't need loctite on the bolts.  Any replacement studs with both coarse and fine threads would be an unknown quantity. 

   I am with everyone else in pushing for an original type vacuum pump.  If you are going to use a regulator, you need to make sure you don't have a positive displacement electric fuel pump.  If you do, a regulator set to one pound will possibly burn it out.  A good vane type pump that you can use is a Carter 7D04AS04 which will only give you 1 to 2 pounds at six volts.  This is probably to much and you will still need a regulator.  You probably have a Johnson carb which is an abomination.  Pay attention to what Ed says as he speaks the truth.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You were typing just as I posted.  I would not recommend that you take the carburetor apart.  Get the heads put on and torqued Bring your pressure down and see what that does.  You are in a little better shape then you first appeared to be.  Don't try to take the carb apart.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AND....although I use, love and recommend Olson's gaskets, it has been my experience that any modern repro gasket using some form of plastic instead of asbestos must be torqued up to SIX times before the job is done.  Do any torquing with the engine cool, preferably overnight.  And 55 lbs is the most that I'd use on a Pierce engine of the period, but go by what @edinmasssays.

 

I agree that vacuum tank, unassisted, is the way to go.  In the meantime, until you have all the vac tank parts, use a Holley #12-804 pressure regulator (1-to-4 psi) dialed down to 1 pound and placed as close to the carb as possible.  Those regulators are often on the shelf at performance parts stores and will set you back $65-70.  The "Purolator" chinesium $20 regulator in blister packs at Wallyworld are a fire waiting to happen.

Edited by Grimy
fixed typo (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a very troublesome 1929 Cadillac. When I got my 29 Cad I thought that the flathead V-8 in it would be as easy to work on as a Ford V-8 (WRONG!) I have a lot of car experience and it brought me to my knees. These are NOT easy to own cars. Ed helped me make it usable. He is an expert about these cars. 

 

Now FIRST: Since you have not clearly stated this so far, and we need a sense of what your experience is with these incredibly difficult cars 

What carburetor and fuel system are you running at this time?

Are you operating the original Johnson updraft carb?

Are you using an electric fuel pump? Do you understand what a vacuum fuel system is? Do you know how a vacuum fuel tank works? 

What changes have been made to the car from stock?

 

The discussion about the head gaskets is serious BUT you seem to have also stated that a prior owner operated it WITHOUT ANY COOLANT??!!  Is this correct? If so how long was it run that way? (hot engines can crack blocks) 

 

Ed is correct that you are trying to solve many problems at the same time. Doing so, is not going to fix any of them. Slow down and focus on one problem at a a time. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fred........thanks for the detailed update. I will assume the car was in drivable condition and you are chasing a head gasket issue. I have owned a bunch of these cars......and worked on many more. I consider it a “non issue” head gasket vehicle. I have never had one leak ever. I have never had one fail, ever. Makes me suspicious that there is something you are not seeing. Don’t adjust or change anything else. Sounds like you have a decent understanding of what’s going on. I would pull the head, strip the paint with a chemical stripper.....not sand blast or glass bead........and take it to a shop with a Magna flux machine. You need to start eliminating things. Thinking things are ok isn’t going to help, you need to know they are ok. You can pressure check the head gasket by putting air pressure in the plug hole by using a compression tester hooked up to shop air. Check each individual cylinder........it will pinpoint the problem area. My bet is you have multiple areas leaking.........all the studs should be removed, checked for length and thread condition, and the reinstalled and sealed. It’s been a long time since I did an early V-8 head..........new head gaskets seldom leak as bad as you are describing.........I’m thinking crack..........where? I have no idea as those blocks and heads are not known to crack. Rust....yes, rot internally..........absolutely. Your going to need to get creative to figure it out. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The car was in drivable condition before the head gasket let go. It is the original carb which i have been told is trouble. 

 

When i had the heads machined i had them magnafluxed as well. They came up clear with no cracks. I feel its really unlikely the block is cracked. 

 

Im going to pick up new studs today and nuts, then im going to strip the head with naphtha and then lacquer thinner to ensure there is nothing on. 

 

When i pressure check the drivers head it stays at a consistent  70psi for each cylinder 

 

My thoughts are the car didnt have all the original studs, and it seemed to leak the most by the aftermarket bolts. i think that if i had studs again that are new it would torque better and give me a better seal.

 

Heres to nothing, ill update later today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fred.....all that makes sense. New studs and nuts probably will cure your issues. Sounds like you have done everything you should have........which is rare today. Once you get the gasket to seal, we can talk on the phone and I will help you get the carb set up right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@edinmass That would be amazing to have a conversation with you. 

 

I did on saturday take a long shot. I Bought as many studs as napa had (which turns out to be 11 out of 21) and replaced every nut. Then i reused the gasket after scrubbing the head, the block and the gasket with naphtha and then rubbing alcohol. I also lightly sanded both the block and the head to make sure no issues were there. 

 

Put the new studs in the block with locktite and let it sit most of the day. After i cleaned the block again and put it together. 

 

Im guessing i didnt either a) tighten the studs enough, or b) give the locktite enough time to set, as when i went to do the final torque 3 of the studs started to loosen. 

 

So my next step is going to be to take the head back off. order a new gasket, and try to ascertain why the studs started spinning. Worst case scenario would be to have to drill and sleeve the stud holes that are not tightening, and best case scenario is to take the studs out, clean the holes, put locktite on the studs, put them back in, crank them down, and let it sit for 24 hours. 

 

I also verified that the head was straight by doing the flash light and straight bar test (aka using a straight piece of metal, run it down over the head and block with a flash light behind it, if i see light its warped)

 

The car would start easier after i did this but still wouldnt idle for more than a few seconds. So the leak must be getting smaller. Im also slightly concerned about one freeze plug in the block with has a very very slow drip leak when the car is running but that could be caused by the added pressure of the compression leak. 

 

The last thing i really need help with that i think will lower the temperature of the car is a new belt. The belt on the car is the original leather wrapped with canvas and while its working, i dont trust it to really tighten it up and spin the fan faster. Any ideas where i can get a belt? I called gates who originally made the belt and they were no help. None of the autoparts stores helped. The belt is 7/8 inch wide and 31 inches long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Fredricksoncr said:

Any ideas where i can get a belt?

Yes, look for industrial belt suppliers not auto parts. I searched by size and found one on line.  

I will look for the numbers and supplier I used tonight. 

 

However remember that the belt only spins the fan to move air. The water pump is driven from the timing chain. To simulate proper operation, you can put a big house fan in front of the radiator. 

 

1929, make sure that your fan hub is filled with oil. Unless it has been modified with some modern bearing. 

 

I am also making the assumption that your shutter thermostat is opening completely. 

 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cadillac’s and LaSalles had pressure feed fan hubs.............from 1929-1931. After that I can’t remember.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...