I just bought a 52 F-1 with a flathead v-8. I'm new to the flathead world so I'm trying to learn all I can. I think I may have a blown head gasket. I have noticed a large amount of condensation/water coming out of the left side exhaust even after running the engine for a while. It also puffs steam. I pulled the plugs and noticed what appears to be water on one of them. This truck has been sitting for several years without running so theres no telling what could be wrong. The truck runs pretty good but also seems to be missing, probably due to the water. Any suggestions? Does this sound right?
Let me guess The plug with water was #6 or 7, right? Those two are most likely cause of the shared exhaust port they use.
I hope for your sake it's just a head gasket, but your description sounds just like mine did about 4 years ago when an old crack opened up in one cylinder between the cyl wall and the intake valve. (the engine sat for 20+ years and the crack rusted shut until I started using it hard - then 'pop')
Only way to tell will be to pull the head and see what's up. Use an air wrench on the head bolts or they tend to twist off and you'll hate your flatty before you even get to know it. The air wrench distributes the torque evenly around the bolthead. Also it helps to try tightening them first to break the grip the threads have taken, then loosen.
edit: did I forget to mention this is all a lot easier if you remove the engine? At least remove your front end sheetmetal. 12 bolts remove all of it in one unit. 3 on each running board, 1 on each cowl, 1 or 2 on each inner fender and 2 for the radiator mount. grille, fenders and inner fenders and radiator all come off together. two guys can lift it off and move it out of the way.
Good luck - let us know how things go. Stick with it - there's nothing like a flathead V8. All the cracks happened when the castings were new as the iron was settling. It can probably be drilled and plugged or look for a new block. They're actually pretty plentiful. Sorry for the book...........
Thanks everyone for your help. I'm glad I found this place. There is no water in the oil as far as I can tell. Has been several years since it was changed I'm sure. Cylinder #6 has the water in it. I'm going to pull the head this weekend and hope for the best. I've read in a couple of articles that the head gasket should be painted with aluminum paint before installing. Is this correct?
Yessir, aluminum paint works well. As does Copper-coat. Spray both sides and allow to dry to tacky. Short bolts go in the bottom row.
Torque the bolts in three stages. Center top to bottom and out in a circular pattern. confused??? Ist stage 25 ft/lbs, 2nd stage 45 ft/lbs and 3rd stage 65 ft/lbs. After you run it a couple of times re-torque all bolts to 65. And a week later go over them again. They should be stable by that time.
Good luck - hoping for crack-free experience. If there is a crack it will appear as a faint dark hairline. Can be hard to see.
Bad news. I pulled the head and I found two dislodged valve seats and a broken exhaust valve on #7. The valve has been broken and bouncing around in there for so long that it has completely worn away the area where the seat goes and also a big gap in the head. Looks like its been driven many miles like this with a dead cylinder. The other seat is more recent and repairable but the block is shot. There are also huge ridges at the top of the cylinders. Luckily I have already located another good running flatty. Its out of a 1948 F-6 and was just pulled in an upgrade/hotrod project and runs fine. Has anyone ever heard of valve seats coming out like this? What causes this and how can I prevent it on my next engine?
From what I understand the use of unleaded gas can cause the valve and seat to heat up and fuse together.
Interesting - I've never heard that one before. I'm into my 5th year of daily driving my 48 pickup on regular pump gas - 87 octane - with no lead additives. About 20K miles/year and I run it strong keeping up with traffic.
My engine by the way is a 51 merc V8 so it does have intake and exhaust inserts.