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Technical 59A flathead thermostats

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by dwollam, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Some time back I installed thermostats in the 59A engine in my '29 AV8. Recently it has started having what I assumed was stuck thermostat(s) and getting hot rather quickly and pushing water out. I blamed it on cheap thermostats and ordered Stant brand 14157 170 degree units. Installed them yesterday, added new antifreeze 50/50 mix, fired it up and waited for it to get to temp and open the stats and top off the radiator. It took forever and the chrome upper radiator tubes/hoses never got close to warm but the temp gauges went up beyond where they should have been and it started pushing cold coolant out of the filler neck. Let it cool down, went through same procedure with same results. What did I do wrong? Not my 1st flathead by any means. My '40 has a 286 stroker flatty and never had any problem with stats in it. As a kid 47 years ago I put them in backwards in my '39 coupe w/ 59ab. Boy that didn't work! Learned that lesson! I am thinking maybe I need to drill a small hole to act as by-pass until they open as air is trapped below them and won't let the coolant get to the stats? If so, what size hole to drill? Any help would be appreciated guys.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  2. 1/8" hole.Are stats opening? put them in a pan of water,heat till they open.Use a meat or candy thermometer to check temp.Don't tell your wife.
     
  3. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Thanks Texas Webb. No, I didn't pre check them but will when I take them out to drill. Made the mistake of thinking they would "just work" ! That's why one buys new brand name stuff right?

    Dave
     
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 13,081

    alchemy
    Member

    Check them before you drill them, in case you need to take them back to the store.
     
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  5. 4wd1936
    Joined: Mar 16, 2009
    Posts: 702

    4wd1936
    Member
    from NY

    Using washers with varying size holes used to be a way to avoid the worry of thermostat problems. Back in the day thermostats were a bellows type which worked rather well if I remember correctly, not sure if the pellet type today are as dependable.
     
  6. twostickmutt
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 65

    twostickmutt
    Member

    I had to put an 1/8 " hole in mine and they work fine just enough to let the air through but like they said check them in a pan of boiling water first off
     
  7. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Thanks guys for the replies. If it doesn't snow too much tonight and tomorrow I will drain it again and check the stats and if good, will drill them and try it all again.

    Dave
     
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  8. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Crap, snowing like crazy! Not pulling outside today I guess.

    Dave
     
  9. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,071

    BJR
    Member

    When you put the stats back in, make sure the hole is at the highest point so all the air gets out.
     
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  10. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Okay, I couldn't stand not going ahead and fixing this so I got out a big tarp and covered the car and rolled it outside. Drained the coolant, AGAIN, and pulled the upper hoses. Took the stats in the house and heated up some water in a gallon can, avoiding using the wife's pots of course! Both stats started opening at 170 as they should. Cooled until they closed and repeated. Both work perfect. Drilled an 1/8th inch hole in each and reinstalled, being careful to even locate the holes the same both in the stats and in their locations in the head. Filled it back up with coolant, noting that this time it gurgled as it filled telling me the holes were letting the air escape. Ran it for probably an hour or more and never got over 170 degrees and no blow-back through the filler neck! FIXED!

    Thanks again guys for the help. BTW, BJR, the tops of the water outlets on the 59AB are level so no problem with having hole at the highest point.

    While it was running, 3 guys stopped by to check out my lineup of old cars out front. 2 from Walla Walla WA. and the other was from Denmark and I think he said he is Ford29 on the HAMB. Was nice to meet you guys!

    Here are some pics from doing this job today and a couple more from the other day.

    Dave

    20190221_121439.jpg 20190221_121452.jpg 20190213_142603.jpg 20190213_142707.jpg
     
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  11. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,071

    BJR
    Member

    Great to hear the help of the Hamb worked! Happy motoring.:D
     
  12. Old-Soul
    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,421

    Old-Soul
    Member

    I came late to this party but sounds like you did the same song and dance I did with my '49 haha.
    Ran cool every time I drove it after.

    Man, I still just love the hell out of that sedan.
     
  13. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Thanks Old-Soul! So do I. I am very honored to be the current caretaker of it.

    Dave
     
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  14. Glad you got it solved.
     
  15. love the 50 Buick taillights...... had em on my 32 way way back...........
     
  16. twostickmutt
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 65

    twostickmutt
    Member

    Glad it worked. That gurgling was probably a good sound you wanted to hear.
     
  17. Denns1989
    Joined: Aug 6, 2014
    Posts: 464

    Denns1989
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I was late on seeing this post but right away I was thinking it needed the small holes in the thermostat, mine did exactly the same thing ! - glad it's fixed!!
     
  18. Jeff34
    Joined: Jun 2, 2015
    Posts: 396

    Jeff34
    Member

    Did you place the thermostats in the hose at the outlet of the heads???


    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
     
  19. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Thanks Jer!

    Jeff34, yes I did. That's where I always put them. I use another hose clamp just above them to keep them seated.

    Dave
     
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  20. Jeff34
    Joined: Jun 2, 2015
    Posts: 396

    Jeff34
    Member

    Thanks, Dave. Been thinking about adding thermos to my 48 flatty. Just not sure how to keep them from moving around.


    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
     
  21. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 546

    rusty valley
    Member

  22. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,942

    sdluck
    Member

    [​IMG]use 2 of these
     
  23. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 651

    dwollam
    Member

    Jeff, if you look at the picture of my engine you can see the second from the bottom hose clamp just above the cylinder head. That one holds the stats in place.

    Also, I don't advocate putting the thermostats in the upper end of the hose or at the radiator as I think the coolant temp may be a little lower there than at the head. Who knows? Just my guess.

    Dave
     
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