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Old 03-29-2020, 04:42 PM   #1
LuckyRabbit4
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**cooling system issue**

So I have a 1966 C10 that I've been restoring for a little while. Winter hit and I had to stop but now I'm back at it.

I finally got the 4.1 250 back together after blowing a head gasket. I replaced all gaskets and seals along the way. Also got a new upgrade to an electric choke from the factory manual choke.

It turned over, let it idle some to see how it would run then turned it off. Today, I filled the antifreeze to in the radiator normal height, replaced some rubber hoses and fuel line that attach to the new carb. New PCV valve line as well.

The truck wouldn't turn over so I went to check that I didn't unhook something. The radiator was bubbling and overflowing down the overflow tube. I knew it would explode if I took the cap off.

What could make this truck cooling system build up so much pressure in the radiator? It never started (battery needs jumped again). Just turned the engine about 15 seconds but no attempt to start up. Also, I'm replacing the heater core in a few days when that part comes in.
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Old 03-29-2020, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: **cooling system issue**

I've replaced thermostat, thermostat sensor, radiator is an aftermarket large 3 row radiator, new radiator hoses. Heater hoses and heater core are this week.

New head gasket, seated valves and timed engine to the best of my ability until I can get it tuned the right way when it's ready. Trying to finish the valve work but need the truck to run safely before I can keep going.
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:41 PM   #3
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Pressure only comes from the combustion chamber.
Cracked head, cracked block or bad head gasket.
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:32 PM   #4
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Angry Re: **cooling system issue**

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Originally Posted by geezer#99 View Post
Pressure only comes from the combustion chamber.
Cracked head, cracked block or bad head gasket.
And I just replaced that and all the other gaskets -__-

The coolant bubbles. I can feel and hear it in the radiator hoses. Even minutes later I can still feel and hear it until I open the radiator cap.
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:34 PM   #5
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Re: **cooling system issue**

"Exhaust gasses getting into the coolant, possibly due to a leaking head gasket."

I found this. So my new head gasket isn't sealing or broke..?
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Or the head is warped.
Did you put a straight edge on the head to check for flatness?
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:39 PM   #7
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Yep. Everything looked great. Torqued everything down to spec so this wouldn't happen. Any chance it just has air in the system? I never ran the radiator even though it's been installed for a year.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:45 PM   #8
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Re: **cooling system issue**

It might just need burping but what you describe is a lot of air.
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Old 03-29-2020, 08:02 PM   #9
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Re: **cooling system issue**

The heater core is now leaking out of the box. Maybe it's getting stopped there and can't circulate?

Or maybe a clogged line somewhere? I'm in denial of the broken head gasket lol.
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Old 03-29-2020, 08:11 PM   #10
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Re: **cooling system issue**

I thought de Nial was a river in North Africa! Lol!
You could pressure check each cylinder with a little pumped air. Make an adaptor from an old spark plug, hook a small compressor to it, put the cylinder at tdc and listen/watch for air or bubbles in the rad.
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Old 03-29-2020, 08:25 PM   #11
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Re: **cooling system issue**

I'll have to do that. Going to check the plugs for antifreeze. I hope it's just something I missed and not the head. I'll probably just save and upgrade to a 350 or something.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:21 PM   #12
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyRabbit4 View Post
The heater core is now leaking out of the box. Maybe it's getting stopped there and can't circulate?
You could bypass the heater to eliminate that. Sometimes they trap air and are hard to burp. May narrow down the problem.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:43 PM   #13
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyRabbit4 View Post
"Exhaust gasses getting into the coolant, possibly due to a leaking head gasket."
If the engine didn't start up and run, there were NOT any exhaust gasses.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #14
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyRabbit4 View Post

It turned over, let it idle some to see how it would run then turned it off. Today, I filled the antifreeze to in the radiator normal height, replaced some rubber hoses and fuel line that attach to the new carb. New PCV valve line as well.

The truck wouldn't turn over so I went to check that I didn't unhook something. The radiator was bubbling and overflowing down the overflow tube. I knew it would explode if I took the cap off.

What could make this truck cooling system build up so much pressure in the radiator? It never started (battery needs jumped again). Just turned the engine about 15 seconds but no attempt to start up. Also, I'm replacing the heater core in a few days when that part comes in.

If the engine never started, the coolant never got hot (so no boiling, no thermal expansion) and no exhaust gasses to leak into the coolant even if you did have a defective head gasket. It would therefore be impossible to have pressure in your radiator. Any bubbling and overflowing would just be air pockets working their way to the highest point of the system.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:50 PM   #15
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Re: **cooling system issue**

I'm wondering if your radiator is plugged with a wasp's nest or something. IF your engine never fired, the only way to build pressure in the system is if the water pump is pumping (when you were turning the engine over with the starter) but the radiator is plugged tight.

I'd check the heater core and radiator both for being plugged.

But I'm trying to think this through - when the engine is cool and the thermostat is closed, coolant circulates without ever going through the radiator - I just can't imagine how you are building pressure if the engine doesn't fire.

Last edited by MikeN; 03-30-2020 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:07 PM   #16
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Re: **cooling system issue**

If you’ve got a path for the unburned air/fuel to flow into when both valves are closed then that air/fuel will pressure up the coolant system.
If you keep cranking it over trying to start it you’ll get some air/fuel in the coolant passages and the majority will exit when the exhaust valve opens.
It’ll only be a small amount at each revolution but it’ll definetly flow there. Cranking compression could be 150 psi exiting into a near zero pressure.
Air is just like electricity. It will follow the path of least resistance.
Do you catch my drift on this.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:27 PM   #17
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Re: **cooling system issue**

agree with geezer, do a cylinder leak down and compression test on all cylinders and report back

otherwise you're just chasing your tail
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:40 PM   #18
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Re: **cooling system issue**

For the guys saying if the engine never fired, there's no exhaust gases so it couldn't get into the coolant system through a crack, etc. etc.
No, but there IS compression in the cylinders, and if there's a cracked or warped head, or blown head gasket, that compression wold absolutely still get into the coolant passages, exhaust gas or no.

Check your oil and see if there's any coolant in it.
Quicker than a compression test, do a leak-down test. This pressurizes the coolant system, and it'll tell you if there's any coolant going into the cylinders (which is the problem you have, but the other direction)
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Old 04-05-2020, 03:43 PM   #19
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Re: **cooling system issue**

Leak down test is to determine leakage inside the combustion chamber and not used to pressurize the coolant system.
Two different systems. Two different tests.
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:17 PM   #20
LuckyRabbit4
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Re: **cooling system issue**

UPDATE**

So I got the truck running again and starts right away. FINALLY

Now... it still smokes like a freight train. I'm hoping maybe it's just burning off oil and everything from when the engine blew but I have a feeling something else has happened.

Stupid question but I'm asking anyway.... the intake manifold gasket has a small leak around the 2 and 3 piston. Would this cause the smoking? I don't think I tightened down the manifold bolts enough because I was afraid of doing too much to start. Going to run a compression test on the pistons this weekend and try to fix the manifold in hopes this is the cause and not something worse.
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:51 PM   #21
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Re: **cooling system issue**

A leak between the intake manifold and cylinder head will definitely cause heavy smoke. Oil is sucked into the combustion chambers.
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:10 PM   #22
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Re: **cooling system issue**

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A leak between the intake manifold and cylinder head will definitely cause heavy smoke. Oil is sucked into the combustion chambers.
Not on the six banger he has.
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:44 PM   #23
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Re: **cooling system issue**

What color is the smoke?
Light gray/white is coolant, blue and black is oil.
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:50 PM   #24
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Re: **cooling system issue**

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What color is the smoke?
Light gray/white is coolant, blue and black is oil.
It's antifreeze color. White/ grey like it was when the gasket was blown. The intake/exhaust gasket wouldn't cause that with the leak it has?
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Old 04-10-2020, 11:36 PM   #25
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Re: **cooling system issue**

If it is running smoothly and not overheating, it just may be coolant in the exhaust. Run it until it clears up. That may take awhile. I had it happen on a car of mine and I drove it about 30 miles before the water vapor calmed down.
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