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Technical Flathead water in combustion chamber....

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by OzMerc39, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. After seeing the spark plugs die one after the other in a blaze of blackness & fuel-rich carbon it was time to get inside the motor. Water visibly seeping out of the head stud at No8.

    I have a set of alloy Fenton heads but not sure if the problem is as simple as uneven torque across the head studs. The head may be warped or 'soft' early sings of annealing. The gasket did not appear blown out. There was a large amount of water spitting out the exhaust on startup, definitely not just condensation. Excessive loss of power, particularly on hills.

    There are signs of water entering the bore either as steam and re-condensing when cool or simply as water. The water corrosion marks on the bore are tell-tale.

    • Engine rebuilt by someone else 12 years ago: Specs
    • 239 CID Flathead
    • ?.30 thou oversize
    • 3 journal crank.
    • Fenton Heads & Exhaust headers.
    • Offenhauser manifold with Tri-Power Strombergs on a progressive linkage.
    • .45 jets 65 power valve
    • 6BL NGK plugs
    • Mild cam
    • Vertex magneto w/ MSD leads.
    Advice sought

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  2. acme30
    Joined: Jun 13, 2011
    Posts: 175

    acme30
    Member
    from Australia

    If it was mine I would ditch the copper gaskets, clean up the surfaces and put it back together with composite gaskets.

    Then run some seal up through the radiator just to be sure.

    You will also need to make sure you torque it down multiple times. I would also use the GM stud sealer on the studs.

    When I put mine together in spite of my better judgement I used a big name brand stud sealer (that my parts shop had in stock) they didn't keep the GM sealer because the said it was too expensive and this other stuff was just as good :(

    Cost me a set of head gaskets to find out it wasn't
     
    VANDENPLAS and OzMerc39 like this.
  3. Thank you for the advice acme. You wouldn't happen to have the product code for the GN sealer?

    I have a new set of FelPro gaskets ready to go on. I was thinking something like Loctite 515.
     
  4. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,592

    Slopok
    Member

    Aren't those studs difficult if not impossible to remove without breaking???
    Could turnout to be a real fiasco.
     
    OzMerc39 likes this.

  5. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 263

    hemihotrod66
    Member

    If you can put thread sealer on the studs and like was already mentioned I would get rid of the copper gaskets and go with a good composite one... Ford used composite gaskets on their original aluminum head motors out of the factory....
     
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  6. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,640

    BJR
    Member

    Those bores don't look like the rings are even touching the sides of the bore. If they were there would be vertical marks in the crud on the cylinder walls.
     
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  7. Look at the last pic next to the exhaust valve,,,,,,is that cracked ?
    Or has it had an exhaust seat put in ?
    It must be the angle of the pic,,,,,,that has got to be the edge of a seat insert .
    Sorry man,,,,,not trying to jump the gun here,,,good pics,,,,just hard to make out for me .
    Looks like they all have hardened seats .

    Tommy
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
    OzMerc39 likes this.
  8. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,335

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    I believe the rings are working. That’s not crud. It’s pits and scars from past rust damage.

    OzMerc39,

    I think there’s a lot going on here.

    With that much carbon, It looks like it’s burning oil or it’s way way too rich.

    Oil of course, is rings.

    Those valves are pitiful. One is open and I do not see where it can seal. It may be tricks of the camera but.....I would check out the valves and their seats.
    I would consider a valve adjustment and a lap job.

    Before that though, you have bigger things to Inspect!!!!

    Damage to #8 cylinder bore....
    Those scars and pits look suspect. You might have hole there due to casting flaws and rust damage.
    You need to really scrutinize #8 cylinder for cracks.

    I thought I counted 3 cracks on #8 at the valve seat. What I thought was a crack above the cylinder looks like it may be carbon.

    In the first photo it looks like two cracks above the valve.
    The main suspect is hidden by a bolt shadow in the following photos.

    I would really look that cylinder and those valve seats over really well. You may have cracks there.

    2 questions.......

    1. Do you lose water?
    2. Does it smell like gasoline or coolant in the radiator?
     
  9. Copper & aluminium.....you are asking for trouble...........always use steel or composite head gasket with an alloy head.
     
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  10. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,378

    Model A Gomez
    Member

    I've used copper gaskets on several flatheads with aluminum heads with no problems. Always sprayed them with aluminum paint to stop the electrolysis, a throw back from what I was told in the 60's. The modern antifreezes are supposed to have additives to stop corrosion between different metals.
     
  11. That sure looks like a crack hiding in the shadow. How long have those copper head gaskets been against the aluminum heads? That is a sure recipe for corrosion between those two dissimilar metals.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Well spotted.
     
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  13. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 167

    TCTND
    Member

    it looks like an adjacent crack has already been welded.
     
  14. acme30
    Joined: Jun 13, 2011
    Posts: 175

    acme30
    Member
    from Australia

    the GM sealer is listed on oz ebay as HEAD STUD SEALANT GM 3835215 GENUINE HOLDEN BOLT GASKET SEALANT AC DELCO 250ML

    Loctite 567 was what my local parts store recommended and was what I used first time around

    Bad news if the eagle eyes have picked up cracks though
     
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  15. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,209

    Torana68
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Australia

    It seems you have a leaking head gasket letting water in and just starting to blow between two cylinders. There is too much oil and carbon in the combustion chamber, it needs rings or rebore. As mentioned some crack checking also .
     

    Attached Files:

    OzMerc39 and j hansen like this.
  16. The answer to both of those questions is yes. Water loss... I felt primarily through the exhaust stroke and out the tailpipe.

    Secondly, the small aeration of the radiator water which smelt 'slightly' gasoline-like.
     

  17. Thank you warhorse... I'll be looking at that area closer now!!!
     
    warhorseracing likes this.
  18. Hey mate... cheers for that... I am going to be sure and get myself some good sealant before I start reassembly.
     
  19. Hey Torana68 ... thanks for that astute observation. Sometimes you just have to know what to look for.
    This weekend will be all about the inspection and further diagnosis... :)
     
    warhorseracing likes this.
  20. good luck.........
     
    OzMerc39 likes this.
  21. A day of cleaning and inspecting the heads as well as the block. Once it is all clean I will be able to have a good ..unobstructed view.. of the general condition of the bores and the deck, especially around the valves.

    Some more photos to upload perhaps tomorrow.
     
  22. waxhead
    Joined: May 11, 2013
    Posts: 1,171

    waxhead
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from West Oz

    Good luck, fingers crossed that it is all OK.
     
  23. GM part no 12346004 Bolt sealer, best stuff on the market
     
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  24. 20200621_154207.jpg 20200621_153828.jpg 20200621_151157.jpg 20200621_151120.jpg

    Heads checked out ok and cleaned up reasonably well
    Radiator complete cleaned and pressure checked.
    Felpro gasket kit arrived.
    Have good gasket sealant.
    Waiting on GM AC Delco head stud sealant.
    Getting closer to reassembly now that deck and valve train is almost finished cleaning.

    20200610_172625.jpg 20200621_151705.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Desoto291Hemi and waxhead like this.

  25. Hey Carl... I certainly hope so as I just ordered some. Should arrive in a few days.
     
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  26. waxhead
    Joined: May 11, 2013
    Posts: 1,171

    waxhead
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from West Oz

    Everything looks to have cleaned up OK. Good luck on re-assembly and everything running trouble free.
     
    OzMerc39 likes this.
  27. What about the block?
     
  28. Yes. Especially the areas we pointed out. Were there cracks after you got it cleaned and did you just look or mag or dye chem them?
     
  29. So I made the decision that it was all head studs out, order new studs. The gaskets were the wrong size (not for an oversize bore), correct gaskets will go in. Plenty of sealant around the water jackets. Cleaned up heads will go back on.


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  30. I hope the golden rule " Don't use a regular tap in a Ford block" doesn't bite you.

    Maybe (hopefully) this won't be a problem with the studs you are using.
     
    OzMerc39 likes this.

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