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flathead gurus: what the hell is this?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 1pickup, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 842


    '53 Merc flatty. Ran hot in 2 cars, so out with the old & in with the Bickle built 59A!
    Anyway, last time I tried everything except pulling engine completely apart. Since I put aluminum heads on, I put the "aluminum head saver" in an upper radiator hose. Supposed to eat away at that, not the heads. When I took it out, and this is only after a few short runs ('case it gets hot), this is what I found.
    it looks like sand/small rocks/crystallized something. Is there core sand still in the passageways?

    Here's the car (my 1st, owned since 1976), & the old & new engines:
  2. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,670


    Looks like it has a tail!!
  3. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 842


    Yeah, that's the part that hooks on the radiator hose. I started as a piece of metal (looks like aluminum, but might be zinc?), & now looks like it survived Chernobyl
  4. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,113

    from Nicasio Ca

    Looks like my wife's cooking. In other words, I have no idea what it is.
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  5. Fishing boats often have a piece of zinc attached to their hull or rudder to act as a sacrifice piece. In other words the electrolytic action attacks the piece of zinc instead of the metal pieces on the boat. I have seen them after use and they look similar to what you have. It looks like it was doing it's job and saving your heads although it usually takes a lot longer for the corrosion to be that far advanced. Makes sure you are using aluminum compatible antifreeze in the radiator.
  6. SilverJimmy
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 28


    I would check your negative ground cable, it looks like a bad case of galvanic corrosion. Boats in the local marina that have a bad ground will eat themselves in a few weeks.
  7. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,935

    dan c

    if that piece is corroding, isn't that what it's supposed to do? you put that in there so aluminum parts on the engine won't get all pitted.
  8. There's a way to check for stray voltage. Put the negative probe of your volt meter in the cooling fluid and touch the positive on different parts of the chassis, engine, etc, looking for any indication on the meter. Or reverse the leads, can't remember which goes where.
    If you get a reading, start looking for the offender by pulling one fuse at a time until it goes away, then try extra grounding or why the component is leaking.
  9. butch27
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 2,805


    I had one of those in my shop truck. It's an sacrificial anode used because someone discovered there IS electrical current in the cooling system. This saves the radiator .??That one is too far gone.
  10. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    you using tap water by chance ??? that will killoff the silicates in the a/f in 5-6 months , only use distilled in cooling systems , the anode did what it was supposed to do and thats normal , the one on our IH Cub loboy looked like that when I got it because the P.O. used well water with antifreeze and the well water had high iron in it and it killed the radiator ( no aluminum but copper and brass) ate it up like it was acid . farmer putt he anodes in them to prevent that with tap water . I would flush the radiator real good and get a aluminum safe a/f and distilled water for the new motor or buy it premixed as they use D/I water which is better Peak is real good , so is Subarus Oem stuff , its made for FE/Al motors and its made In the USA ( Illinois )
  11. Fleetliner
    Joined: Aug 4, 2006
    Posts: 103

    from Oregon

    Check and/or add some grounds, flush cooling system well, use good coolant and distilled water. Just in case and to monitor the results, put in a new sacrificial rod.
  12. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,788


    Mmmmmmmmmmmm, Gorgonzola!
  13. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,528


    As others said it is called a "sacrificial anode" and is supposed to dissolve instead of expensive parts. In the Navy almost anything that touches a ships hull or the water has the "Zincs" attached and we had to check and replace them when they dissolved to a certain point. The ones bolted to the hull have a warning cast into them saying "do not paint".
    Most outboard motors have them bolted to the lower units so they dissolve instead of the expensive castings.
    Yours should have lasted longer so I would suspect a bad ground connection somewhere.
  14. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 842


    I do have well water, & that is what I used. So, I suppose that's possible. It looks to me like it has "attracted" the crap on it, rather than "dissolved". It seems bigger than it was before. And, there was a bunch of that stuff sitting on top of the thermostat too. I don't want to have a problem with the new engine, so keep suggestions coming
  15. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,496


    Do you have copper head gaskets? They act like a battery when used on aluminum heads. I had sever corrosion with them.
  16. charlieb66
    Joined: Apr 18, 2011
    Posts: 549


    I lived in a house a few years ago with well water which had a high calcium content. I would have to clean the deposits, which looked like your pic, from the hot water heater and replace the heating elements and anode rod about once a year. Check your coffee maker high calcium water will leave spots on the glass pot and deposits the heating element. Its heating the water that causes the calcium to separate from the water.

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