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Old 03-02-2021, 08:24 PM   #1
dwertz2000
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Default Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Is adding a coolant overflow tank a good idea for my 1950 8ba?
Iíve noticed some coolant overflow loss on cold start upís.
Appreciate any thoughts on this from the group
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:57 PM   #2
woodiewagon46
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

I have one on my '32 and one on my '46. It certainly can't hurt to install one on your 1950.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Water expands with heat ,Most flatheads will dump about a quret or so ,its a low pressure system . Once the water temperature rises excess water will need to go out a expansion tank will capture the water then as it cools it will suck it back in,which ever way you go you will be operating with a quart or so of less water .if your radiator is restricted a tank will help to push the water through as it then would be a closed system . the engine could operate hotter and not boil depending on the Thermostat and cap pressure .
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:15 PM   #4
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Have a coolant 'recovery' system on mine that requires the use of a recovery type cap that allows the return of the fluid back to the system.

You can install an "overflow" tank but it will not return overflow to the radiator.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

True ! you need the right cap
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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You should not be loosing coolant when its cold start. When it gets hot ,yes. If you have a 7lb cap,which an 8BA will tolerate,( maybe even more) a recovery tank with a recovery cap will work great.
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Old 03-03-2021, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Just my thoughts they did not need it when new so why now? The old rule do not fill a

model T to the top or you get it in your face when it gets to temperature and thats almost boiling....but then I have a 1950 F6 bought new Ok lately when the thermotats start to open there it goes like a gallon of nasty anti freeze all over. So it got a gallon
jug tie wrapped behind the grille original pressure cap. I bought a new 4 row aluminum radiator same old thing. Why because my father kept dumping stop leak instead of repairing the radiator in the first place since I was in school and that's 55 years ago. So I bet that block has 6 inches of stop leak junk in it. And that was common back then. Engine still runs real good but only for a couple of hours before it pukes up. So someday here spring comes in June and It will get a fresh
EAB 239 then I will have that block therm'o cleaned and a rebuild and put in stock. So Im just saying needing a recovery tank there is something wrong...sam
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

In my mind a coolant recovery tank is a must have item on just about any engine. The problem with the pre 48 engines is that the radiator fill cap generally has no allowance in the fill neck for a pressure cap to seat to therefore any expansion of the coolant spills onto the ground.
The first step to installing a coolant recovery systems is to improve the radiator and modify it with a neck that will seat a pressure cap.
Recovery tanks are very easy to make utilizing 12/18" of black 2" ABS pipe,two caps, one of which is glued on, the other is left loose. Two right angle barb/threaded 'Ell-bows, one of which is threaded into the glued on cap, the other threaded into the plastic tube, about 2" from the top. Attach clear plastic tubing to the bottom fitting, running it to the overflow neck of the radiator. attach a piece of clear tubing to the upper fitting on the ABS tube, extending the tubing down to the frame.
Secure the overflow tank verticilly with plumber tape.

To check the fluid level is very simple by viewing the fluid in the tubing, remove/replace the top cap to add fluid if needed. Once the system stabilizes, air is purged, adding fluid is not an everyday thing.
Of course you can go to the local speed shop, spending about $100. to purchase a nice billet overflow tank.
of course the Rat-Rodders like to use recycled soda, beer, etc., containers.
Coolant recovery systems on vehicles became a standard item in the mid to late '60's,
just as coolant in lieu of water had become a standard practice in the late 50's, early 60's.
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

But that extra water above the heat exchanger isn’t doing anything to help the cooling system. And when up to temp that extra water is riding in the recovery tank where it isn’t doing anything. I don’t buy it. I don’t see how this does anything to help.

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Old 03-03-2021, 02:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Recovery tanks became standard in the fifties when they filled the space available with the finned heat exchanger. Then a remote expansion tank is necessary. Our tall radiators have a built-in expansion tank. A second expansion/recovery tank serves no purpose.

I’m open to hear ideas to explain why it helps the cooling system.
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

I have a small container at the end of my overflow tube, just to catch overflow so it doesn't end up all over the underside of the car, not a recovery tank. It only overflows when hot at higher speeds, and only if I have accidentally overfilled the radiator. The water level of my radiator is just below the top of the tubes the the car runs between 160 and 180 all the time.
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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Recovery tanks became standard in the fifties when they filled the space available with the finned heat exchanger. Then a remote expansion tank is necessary. Our tall radiators have a built-in expansion tank. A second expansion/recovery tank serves no purpose.

I’m open to hear ideas to explain why it helps the cooling system.

So you are saying that you never had to add fluid to the radiator or never had any come out of the overflow tube?
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Old 03-03-2021, 06:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

'48 F!. I used to lose coolant. Got a small recovery tank from a S10 brand x. Ran a hose from the overflow tube to the tank. My radiator cap had two seals. One at the top of the tank and one below it at the top of the radiator. Removed the bottom seal so it could transfer coolant to and from the tank. Not running any pressure and don't need to. Radiator runs full all the time. Never overheats or loses coolant.
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Old 03-03-2021, 07:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Not worth making. I ordered mine at NAPA for like $12. I mounted it inside the fender. Advance Auto Parts used to sell em even cheaper, but only on-line.
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Old 03-03-2021, 07:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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So you are saying that you never had to add fluid to the radiator or never had any come out of the overflow tube?
I check and add at the beginning of the year. Full point is above the tubes, but at least an inch below the filler opening to leave room for expansion. Then when hot will spit out some to get rid of any excess from me over-filling it. Does this on the road while driving, no mess. May check it again during the year, but so far never found it low, never had to add any.

Never overheats. Good stock radiator in this car.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

Thanks everyone, great feedback. Still thinking iíll add the coolant thank.
Also meant to say once the thermostats opened thatís when iíd get some water out of the overflow.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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Originally Posted by JayChicago View Post
....

I’m open to hear ideas to explain why it helps the cooling system.
It keeps air out of the system, reduces corrosion.

On my truck, there is a horizontal "tab" under the cap. That is the cold fill level, about an inch below the filler neck. Anything more than that ends up on the ground.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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It keeps air out of the system, reduces corrosion.
X100.


Also it's about capacity. That extra quart on the ground
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:46 AM   #19
JayChicago
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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It keeps air out of the system, reduces corrosion.
Ok, that makes sense. But with the corrosion inhibiters in modern antifreeze, I wonder how much difference it would make.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:54 AM   #20
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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X100.

Also it's about capacity. That extra quart on the ground
Yeah, you can fill to the top of the filler and put an extra quart in the system. But when up to temp that extra quart is just riding along in the recovery tank. The capacity added is the tank itself. And coolant in the tank is not doing anything to help cooling.

Last edited by JayChicago; 03-04-2021 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:07 PM   #21
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

If the level in the top tank is below the input to the radiator from the engine, there will be aeration from the splash. If the bubbles make it to the water pumps, I don't know. If they do, the pumps will push them into the water jackets. We know that is not a good scenario.
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Old 03-04-2021, 02:27 PM   #22
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

OK, don't confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up.
It is a fact of life the heat expands, cold contracts.. Air intrainment in the coolant is not a good thing, the cooling effect of the coolant, regardless of what it is, is reduced with air in the system. After several recycles of the coolant via a recovery tank the air in the system is purged.
The volume contained in the recovery tank does not add anything in the way of cooling, it just minimizes unnecessary coolant loss and removes air from the system.
It is a fact that inexpensive plastic recovery tanks can be purchased from any major auto parts store, however, in many cases the space for a tank is limited, therefore a small 2" vertical tank is very desirable.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:49 PM   #23
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Default Re: Adding a Coolant Overflow Tank

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The volume contained in the recovery tank does not add anything in the way of cooling, it just minimizes unnecessary coolant loss and removes air from the system.
Bill, now I can agree with that.
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