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Technical FLATHEAD MOTOR WITH OIL IN COOLANT

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kustom Fabricator, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Finally got my 39 on the road after sitting on blocks since 1980, and had its first long drive, about an hour yesterday. Been driving around my neighborhood about 5 gallons worth sorting out the brakes, carb, ignition and everything has been fine. After the long drive yesterday found lots of oil in the radiator. No smoke out of the exhaust, no coolant in the oil. Just nasty oily residue in the coolant. Motor has even compression and still runs normal. Planning on replacing the head gaskets since it’s a simple job but is there anything else I should look for or does anybody have any ideas how much oil could get into the coolant.

    Now the car was put on jack stands back in the late 70s because of a coolant problem. One water pump was seized so I replaced both with sealed bearing ones, new hoses, gaskets and radiator.

    Thanks for any suggestions... IMG_2297.JPG IMG_2298.JPG
     
  2. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Are you losing oil ?
    Could be left over in the radiator and block from a previous issue
     
    porknbeaner likes this.
  3. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Doesn’t hurt to the torque the heads and intake either. I had an intake losen up after a build once
     
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  4. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Has not looked like it has lost any oil...but I cant see there being any more then a pint in the radiator. I'm was hoping it was old sludge that was loosened since I drove it for such a long time. I guess I could flush it first and then see if the problem comes back..
     
    anthony myrick likes this.

  5. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,457

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    Sure it's oil? Did you lose any oil? Could be loosened gunk that was left over after sitting for that long. Flush the block well and then refill your coolant.
     
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  6. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    I was looking for posts in the hamb and old ford barn,couldn't find one, is it common for oil to get into the coolant system when the head gaskets start to go on a flathead? I will re-torque also....
     
  7. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    It has taken me a lot of mistakes to look for the simplest solution first. I would definitely flush it. I use cascade dish washing tablets with the thermostat removed.
     
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  8. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,951

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Don't know about the bigger flatties but on my 60 the water pumps have seals between the water passages and the oil passages.

    No oil going to the heads on flatties is there?
     
  9. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,643

    anthony myrick
    Member

    A leak down check might help also
     
  10. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Not sure it is oil, I agree it could be stuff in the block, just didn't know how common flatty's did that?
     
  11. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Big Flattie motors have sealed oil pump bearings/bushings. And you are correct there is no oil in the heads.
     
  12. flatjack
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 941

    flatjack
    Member

    No way for oil to get in water from head gasket problem.
     
  13. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,242

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I think the only place the oil could get into the coolant is at the water pumps, but you already replaced them with sealed bearing kind. Any oil because of the head gasket would have to make its way past the piston rings first. I'm stumped.
     
  14. gary terhaar
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 656

    gary terhaar
    Member
    from oakdale ny

    Cracks along the pan rail will let coolent mix with water. Not uncommon
     
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,242

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If a core plug or a crack in the pan rail was leaking, don't you think the coolant would be in the oil, not the other way around? The coolant has more pressure than the oil pan.
     
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  16. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,071

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Condensation in the valve galley will cause the whole system to gunk up similar to what you have. The non detergent oil will cause this and plug your vents.
    Did you notice this gunk in the old pumps?
    I’d clean the coolant system with straight vinegar and keep running it.
    If it continues pull the oil pan and heads. You may have a cracked block. Yes try a leak down test before disassembling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  17. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,874

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Flush it if it bothers you. It's sat for 4 decades so expect some contamination. Flush it out....run it. If it's a major problem it will eventually show itself.
    Most likely.....
    it's no big deal.
     
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  18. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,772

    J'st Wandering
    Member

    I would make sure that I had a sizable amount of oil in the coolant before I pulled anything apart. A little oil in the coolant goes a long ways. If it is running well, run it some more until the problem is obvious.

    For me, blowing coolant out the radiator or finding coolant in the oil is more of a problem.
     
    warhorseracing likes this.
  19. I agree 100% here. If everything is fine, I could remove the radiator cap with the engine running and it did not turn into a fire boat I would give it a good flushing first off and replace the coolant afterward. if I get oil in it again I would suspect the head gaskets.
     
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  20. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,951

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    No oil in flathead heads...

     
  21. Care to explain this one.
     
  22. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,092

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I second flushing with the Cascade. Cat puts a box in the kit when you buy a new oil cooler. If it will clean out the oil after a cooler failure on a Cat engine, it will do the same for that flatty.
    I’ve also used it to clean rusty cooling systems. May not get it all the first time but will for sure make an improvement.
     
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  23. piker
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 220

    piker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had a similar problem a year ago. I replaced my old flathead in my 40 with a rebuilt motor. At that time I switched to another radiator(swap meet). I got a lot of foam in system that looked like a root beer float. I flushed and replaced with previous radiator and the problem went away! Looks like the replaced radiator (swap meet)needs to be boiled out.
     
  24. Nope you are correct. Or yes you are correct. I always get that one backward. Ah hell you have known me long enough to figure out what I am saying.

    But if there was oil in the cylinder. Blah Blah I can't dig myself out of this one I was just wrong. OK?

    @piker a few years back I mixed antifreeze in a jug I had in my garage. I had used the jug or drain oil and thought I had it clean enough. Nope, didn't take but a little bit of oil to make the coolant in my rad look real bad. I didn't sweat it because I was not selling he car but if I had been it would have been a very costly mistake.
     
  25. gary terhaar
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 656

    gary terhaar
    Member
    from oakdale ny

    . The oil pump on a flathead bolts to the rear pan rail area,oil pressure is pushed up a large cavity. Water is near the pan rail where it bolts on. Water freezes at 32 degrees cracks the paan rail area oil pressure pushes oil in coolent when hot. Good enough for you?
     
  26. patsurf
    Joined: Jan 18, 2018
    Posts: 488

    patsurf

    !yeah!
     
  27. This what I was referring to:! coolent mix with water.
     
  28. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Thanks for all the info hambers. I flushed the engine/Radiator multiple times. I got some more junk out of it but it looks like it’s cleaning up. Drove it back and forth from work today and looks a lot better. Before I flushed it I used a magnet and dipped it in the junk. Most of the stuff had metal particles in it so I’m assuming it’s just rust mixed with old oil from years ago. So far so good and thanks for all the comments. If I continue to have issues I will get the motor out and do the necessary checking many of you have suggested.
     
    warhorseracing likes this.
  29. Kustom Fabricator
    Joined: Jul 4, 2010
    Posts: 93

    Kustom Fabricator
    Member

    Two Hambers contacted me on the oil in the coolant issue that this Thread was talking about. After driving through 5 tanks of gas I flushed the system once more and that was last summer. Since then I have been driving it weekly back and forth to work and to car functions. So far there has been no issues with the oily residue in the coolant. Detergent flush was really helpful and I have recommended doing this to several fellow Hot rodders now with similar problems with great results.
    Thanks again all who responded.
     
  30. Thanks for the follow up!
     

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