Posts Tagged With: Head gasket

Awesome… Wait… Oh Bummmmmmmer

Over the weekend, I installed the new modern water pump, thermostat and brand new rubber hoses on the old Flathead engine.  It all went together quick and painlessly.  The new pump uses a sealed bearing which should in theory be lower maintenance in the long run. And the thermostat brings the engine temp to 180 degrees instead of the previous 160(there are I guess pros and cons for each temperature, but the 180 degree one seemed like the one I should get.

I took her for a quick spin around the block and it sure ran nice.

I then got ballsy and gave it a long drive on Sunday night.  I got really far away from my house too, but still didn’t try out the highways.  But then she completely stalled and I decided that I was finally out of gas. 

Spare gallon of gas in the car and it popped right back to life.  I drove it around for another while and stopped at a gas station to refill the back up tank.  Still driving magnificently.  I drove about two blocks away from Lake Nokomis when it started to miss and ran out of power again.  So I decided to call it a night.

The drive back to my house involved a lot of careful acceleration and clever coasting, but I did completely stall the car a couple more times.  Nothing new to me, I’m still not a professional carb rebuilder(as I think the problems lie in my carb.) nor am I all that great at diagnosing issues that are not always there.  Give me a flat tire and I know it needs air, you know what I mean.

I parked her in the garage where it idled like a champ again and shut it off.

After I drive the car I like to give it a once over, look under the car, check the engine compartment, verify that I still have proper fluids, etc.

I opened the oil cap and found it was covered in foamy white sludge.

Dag nabbit.

I assume the head gasket has gone out on me again, but I cannot say at this point for sure.  It could be related to having the water pump off for a day, and engine internals exposed to the elements, maybe some water just snuck in there.  It could be the head gasket again, it could be something that I’m completely unfamiliar with.

More than likely it is the head gasket though, as I peeked into the radiator and found a tiny layer of oil in the radiator as well.  Shoot.

That urge to rebuild the engine from the top down gets stronger each day.

Oh well, I’ll keep you all posted no matter what.


See ya later old parts, you did a great job.

Image – supplier of gorgeous new parts! Out of pure luck I ordered an additional gasket, the pump came with a broken one.



Here’s the new water pump surrounded by a freshly painted pulley and fan. Wrapped in a nice little bow with fresh rubber hoses.


Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The dodge lives! And leaks. But just a little bit.

The Dodge came to life today.  After an adjustment of the points and a change of motor oil I finally achieved the proper amount of compression and spark and she(he) just woke right up.

It was a fantastic day.

There was this one moment, when I got just the right amount of gas and starter fluid into the carb, it suddenly just took off.  And for the first time since it’s been in my garage, a giant stream of gas flew out of the fuel pump. And a big healthy backfire and there I was.

I reattached the fuel filter line to the carb and repeated what I just did, turned my camera on and just turned it over.  Not even a sweat this time, the car just started right back up.

Now comes the careful balanced juggling of throttle and choke to keep her alive.  I danced with the knobs and pedal for a few moments and let go the accelerator.  Idle.

It was idling.

Now at this point I still don’t have water running through the old engine block, so I shut her off.

That was too exciting.

I let it rest for a little bit while I immediately sent videos to Myrna and a couple friends.  I was beyond excited.  But oh no, I have to get ready for work.  So I let it relax a little bit longer and decided to turn it over one last time.  It didn’t even hesitate to start at this point and it was once again pouring white smoke into the garage, and making that oh so glorious kachug kachug kachug sound.

I work late, so by the time I got home I couldn’t turn her over again, that would cause a panic and a stir and at least annoy the crap out of the neighbors.  So when I got home, I went about reattaching hoses and bits and pieces.

I got everything back where it belonged and started filling the radiator up.  Woops, a leak, no its just a drain plug.  Drain plug fixed, moving on.  Ok, engine is getting closer to full, oh, now my thermostat housing is leaking, ok sort of fixed that.  Moving on. Oh I see all the old hoses are leaking, better buy new rubber.  Worry about that later.  Oh…. shoot.  There is a leak on the outside of the head gasket by the 4th and the 5th Cylinder.  Double shoot.

Nobody ever told me working on this car would be easy, or cheap.  And that’s just the way it’s going to be.  I opened up a few plugs to double check that there was no moisture in the cylinders and was in luck.  So it would appear my leak is just to the outside of the engine.  Relief.

Anyways, I figure I’ll refill her with water tomorrow, show the parents my progress and then proceed to start ripping the engine apart again, this time replacing every gasket in my way.  I also have a carb rebuild in my future and I’m going to take a crack at repairing the brake master cylinder.

I created an unrealistic but still not impossible goal earlier today to get it ‘road worthy’ in two more weeks time.  So lets see how I do.

Just add water.

Just add water.

Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A stich in time saves nine, so why do I only have three?

After an eventful and exciting evening on Saturday, I knew I had to get back into the garage tonight.  The impossible turned very possible and I was sure I could build a sand castle with strawberries.

So, the engine is free, moving like a champ, what is the next obvious course of action? Put it back together and start it up, duh!  That was the plan at least.

As I went to bed Saturday night and reflected upon my day’s worth all sunday – I knew I had a plan.  A simple plan.  Reattach the carb, the head, all bolts related to the manifold, insert gas or other flammable material and start automobile.  Seems do-able.

And it started pretty well too.  I got under the car, and bolted away, putting this one here, don’t need that one anyways, throw that there, don’t put that back on because it’ll get in the way, etc.

I positioned the head gasket, and eased the head back onto the engine.  Found the trusty torque wrench my brother Donald loaned me and started to work, following a repair manual nearly as old as the car itself(also a loaner from Donald, thanks Bro!)  And had things looking pretty respectable.

ImageNow comes that pesky electrical system.  I have to once again get the ignition coil in place, and attach all the various other accessories, and look everything over one more time.  Looks good.

I feel a need to remind everybody that this engine probably hasn’t been operational in 20 years but I only mention that because I often overlook that fact.

Ok, so everything is in place, I already know the starter works great, I already know that I’m going to bypass the fuel tank for now. I’m going to hit this guy head on and dump gas down the carb and let her rip.

The engine turns over with its furious 6 volts of DC power, the engine sounds like it knows what to do, it cranks.  It cranks some more.  I stop.  I give it a little more gas and it cranks again.  Nothing.


This is where 99% of the people out there aren’t even kind of surprised.  Of course it doesn’t start.  This engine needs more love, more time, more TLC.

Time to go into crude not really a car guy but kind of a car guy diagnostic mode.  I add some fuel to a cylinder and try again, nothing.  I check all the wires, Nothing.  I rig up a plug outside the engine to test for spark.  Nothing.  Oh wait, no spark.  That’s not nothing, that’s something.

No spark suddenly puts everything into perspective.  I now know that there may be one hundred things wrong right now, but the first thing I need to do is get spark.

And this is where I’ll leave it for tonight.  I did everything I know how to do with ignition systems(which is pretty lacking).  I hope tomorrow to get some more time under the hood to further diagnose the problem.  Maybe swap a few parts, maybe just let time heal some mechanical wounds.


Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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