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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

Can I increase to a larger than 4lb Radiator cap?

 
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:52 AM
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Can I increase to a larger than 4lb Radiator cap?

Ethyl the Tool Truck....1955 C600 Y block----previously like last year looked at block numbers and think its a 272, Two barrel Carb. Stock...Carries almost 16,000 lbs everyday
. Normally I take the thorough .route . With that said I did a knee jerk move that I am questioning now. I guess Ill find out if I win on not in like 2 hours.No compression test done. No leak down test done. Only a coolant pressure test done and a look at the spark plugs.

I have been having to add coolant to the radiator for a quite some time now...like a year. About 7 months ago I added a slick 32 oz aluminum overflow because I knew I was losing coolant through the overflow tube. That seemed to slow the frequency of adding the gallon of coolant I was adding every 6 weeks or so...Bottom line is the last 3 weeks I have started to add a gallon and a half every other day traveling like 70 miles per day. Mild San Diego Temps....60-70 degrees///. I see it wet in the radiator core support still from the coolant overflowing the tank I added. I did a pressure test and it takes about 10 minutes to loose the 4 lbs I pressurized the system to. I dont see any obvious leaks outside the engine other than the wet area below the radiator in the support from where the overflow bottle allowed it. The engine runs well. It does not overheat. The gage runs at 190 all the time unless I am getting low and then it will climb to as much as 200 and I know I need to add coolant... All the spark plugs were new 2 months ago. They all show slight signs of rust color. The engine has the power to pull long grades and maintain speed and not move the temp gage as long as the radiator has the proper level of fluid. I have seen the gage go above 210 and that was once about 2 weeks ago for a few minutes when I took longer than I normally do to add to the radiator..

I spent the day yesterday removing everything to pull the heads. The heads are currently still on top of the block with all the head bolts etc out waiting for me to lift them off. I stopped last night at 11pm and did want to injure myself removing them. When I come in all the coolant should be on the floor. It was leaking when I left last night. This morning there will be a younger stronger person available to lift them off in like an 2 hours. I plan to bring these very clean under the valve cover heads to a machine shop for pressure testing etc. I think I might have head gasket problems ONLY....I guess we will see. I didnt do a leak down test...I dont have EASY access to compressed air where I park the truck in the building.. I didnt run a compression test. This engine starts on 1/2 turn of the starter 1st thing each morning without touching the gas pedal. After it hits 190 sometimes it needs a few turns of the starter during the day. I start and stop the engine 10 times per day. It does not sit iding..Same power it always has had. no driveability issues other than having to add coolant very often now.

The 47 year old cocky guy that shares the building with all of us builds race cars for himself and his buddies talked me into tearing it apart without those tests. His main gig is working for the owner of the building who likes to buy stuff to collect and flip. ...Everytime I listen to him I regret it. HE says I should get a bigger pressure radiator cap to eliminate the overflow situation...".THEY didnt know they could pressurize the engine to 10 or 15 lbs 60 years ago" he says...He can be an opinionated challenge...most of the time....but he does build fast cars.....he also says stupid stuff like I should just put an LS motor in this truck.This was said to me last night at 8pm when he left...I never was for sure about his contempt for old technology until last night when he was clear I hope I didnt blow it by listening to him here and not do those tests I dont want to be chasing my tail fixing this coolant use situation. ...is running a larger than 4 lb radiator cap something I can and should do???.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:57 AM
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No, because the radiator itself, and the heater core are not up to the challenge. It will likely burst with a modern radiator cap.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Tedster9 View Post
No, because the radiator itself, and the heater core are not up to the challenge. It will likely burst with a modern radiator cap.
If they are the originals, this is true. Less so for the heater core, it's mostly the big upper tank on the radiator that can't handle it.

Is there a shroud on the radiator fan?

I wouldn't be upset about the temps going to 200 or even 210, but the loss of coolant is a concern. Do you see coolant in the oil? Are you sure the coolant on the fins isn't from a leak?

I'd also make sure the radiator cap is performing properly, and that it is correct for the filler neck on the radiator. If the radiator isn't stock, the stock cap may not be correct for it.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:50 AM
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Wow, Gary. What is with that guy? Anyway, yes you can bump up the pressure a couple of pounds safely but that won't solve the issue. In retrospect, I would have performed a simple "Block Check" first before pulling the heads Did you pressure test the radiator cap? Is the cap seal ok? Many don't realize there are two pressure forces at work in the cooling system; 1) The thermal expansion which the 4 psi cap protects, and 2) the pressure created by the coolant pump. Example - here you see a cooling system with a 14 psi "radiator" cap.



Block tester here.

 
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:15 PM
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In general, water boils at a higher temp when pressurized. If the cooling system is brought to a higher pressure then it should take longer (more heat) to make it boil over. The other option is to fill the system with liquid that boils at a much higher temp than water. Evans Waterless Coolant does not boil until it reaches 375 degrees and its thermal expansion coefficient is so low that it builds less than 3 psi in a closed cooling system. It is rather pricey but it is only a one-time investment (assuming no leaks in your cooling system). You might want to check it out...Jay Leno runs it in all his high-dollar classics and swears by it.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ALBUQ F-1 View Post
If they are the originals, this is true. Less so for the heater core, it's mostly the big upper tank on the radiator that can't handle it.
Right, the radiator would bulge out first, but let's say for the sake of argument a modern high pressure radiator is installed. Then the heater core is now the weak point in the chain isn't it? I don't know, maybe it would be OK, but I wouldn't want to risk it.
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:56 AM
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Rocker area very clean

Radiator expansion tank

Right bank of piston tops

Left bank
Thanks for taking the time Ross...Stock Radiator is in this truck IN VERY GOOD CONDITION----actually Beautiful....clean...no rust no bent fins...nice...There is NO coolant on the FINS....there is coolant in the core support UNDER the bottom of the radiator from where my added expansion tank has let it overflow. Thats why I wanted to add more pressure....There is NO coolant in the oil. Heads are now removed and in a machine shop being pressure tested. some rusty color around the valve chamber on on cylinder 6...no obvious crack seen....EBZ heads....Very clean chambers very clean spring/rocker arm area...very clean lifter valley...P/O was an auction house in Denver who did not have the history on the truck...someone has been here before me...this truck came to me in December 2016....Ive put about 10,000 miles on her and have added coolant the whole time...now its every other day...Thing is this engine runs strong even using up all this coolant..This thing just runs...last year it ran with a broken distributor cap...the coil wire nipple on the cap was broken off and just sitting in place and it drove me up and down the 5 freeway with a miss here and there I was scrathing my head when I saw the light show it produced...here using all this coolant and it runs and starts fine....
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:10 AM
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Hi Bob....Thanks for taking the time....The guy in the shop is someone who should be very nice to me but isnt...met him as a customer. Got him the current gig where several of us share a large building ie a painter contractor, a guy who does kid parties with those bouncy house things, this clown who fixes the building owner's toys and runs his own repair stuff and me....he IS talented but since he's the mechanic on site, his ego is out of check...it doesnt help that he is a former gang banger and convict....neanderthal mentality. yes I checked the cap its great...yup block check whould have been smart....like I said I was more or less bullied into going forward....I usually do what I want...this time I jumped in....opps...hopefully its just a head gasket...the heads are in the machine shop now being tested for cracks etc....
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:19 AM
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Hi there, thanks for the reply....I see you are in EL CAJON.....I service El Cajon........Ill have to go that route...with the Evans....good suggestion....Ill do that once I put everything back together and am sure there are no leaks etc...Heads are currently at Wholesale Automotive Machine on Mission Gorge.....hopefully its just a head gasket...would love to meet you sometime maybe for lunch...Im in El Cajon on Fridays....
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:36 AM
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Thanks for taking the time Ross...Stock Radiator is in this truck IN VERY GOOD CONDITION----actually Beautiful....clean...no rust no bent fins...nice...There is NO coolant on the FINS....there is coolant in the core support at the bottom of the radiator from where my added expansion tank has let it overflow. Thats why I wanted to add more pressure....There is NO coolant in the water. Heads are now removed and in a machine shop being pressure tested. some rusty color around the valve chamber on on cylinder 6...no obvious crack seen....EBZ heads....Very clean chambers very clean spring/rocker arm area...very clean lifter valley...P/O was an auction house in Denver who did not have the history on the truck...someone has been here before me...this truck came to me in December 2016....Ive put about 10,000 miles on her and have added coolant the whole time...now its every other day...I think its a head gasket....
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:37 AM
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It does look like 6 May have had a problem. When mine blew it was really easy to see on the block and head gasket. Mine was puffing white smoke too. Now you have the heads at the machine shop would be a good time to have them rebuilt with new valve seals. The jury’s still out on hardened valve seat but your truck (big with reasonably heavy load) would be a candidate.
 
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:42 AM
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Thank you Mr Mayberry.....this truck just runs like there is no issue....confusing....that no misfire or lack of power or hard start or.....runs great...maybe I should fill up the gas tank with water and see how that works....
 
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:30 AM
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I think you found it. 3rd one back, #6 as BJ says? See how it's all clean? Antifreeze was going in there. You can also see it on the head gasket. I would just make sure the head isn't warped and replace the head gaskets. Neat that you use this old truck for what it was intended.I like it.
 
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:40 AM
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I would for sure take the opportunity to have hardened seats installed if it doesn't already have them.
 
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:08 PM
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I concur with the others. #6 is the bad boy.
So, what you have in effect is an ADI (water injection) system done the wrong way. This is something I would consider installing considering your location.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_injection_(engine)

I love your truck. Did you ever get that big vinyl overlay for the front?

After seeing the coolant passages in your engine, it is begging for a coolant filter.
 

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