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Old 11-22-2020, 08:18 AM   #1
eddie48
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Default 34 pickup, finally back together but....

I have been working on getting the 34 back on the road for about 2-1/2 years, now. Finally have most all of the body work done and a first coat of paint. Started it (factory rebuilt tag on engine) for the first time in almost 50 years and it runs great!! However, I notice a small coolant leak which seems to build up on the outside of the oil pan gasket and drip down off of the oil pan bolt. Can't find the source. New gasket (took the pan off to clean out the gunk). Worse yet, the oil shows signs of coolant contamination (grey foam).

No smell of coolant in the exhaust and no white smoke. I tried changing the oil, again after running for a few minutes but the new oil got foamy in just about 15 minutes of running. The coolant level in the radiator is dropping, slowly but no sign of blow-back through the radiator.

It's probably been about 50 years since I had a flathead apart ( think I may be getting too old for this stuff) and I don't remember or never knew what the water jacket looks like, but I assume there must be a crack right near the gasket surface at the bottom of the block. How else can I be getting coolant both inside and outside the block?

By the way, the leak appears to be located near the rear of the engine, drivers side about where the bulge in the block is.

Any thoughts? Should I try adding a sealant? The radiator is newly re-cored.

Thanks,
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:54 AM   #2
OhioRick
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Default Re: 34 pickup, finally back together but....

One bad condition could be a badly rusted water jacket wall seeping through. Try a cylinder pressure and compression test and check for pressure entering the radiator.
I lost a rebuilt engine this way.

Last edited by OhioRick; 11-22-2020 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:46 AM   #3
Brian
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Default Re: 34 pickup, finally back together but....

Pan rail plug rusted out?
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:20 AM   #4
Bored&Stroked
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Default Re: 34 pickup, finally back together but....

As I'm not sure what vintage flathead you're running - it may or may not have "soft plugs" in the oil pan rail (in the gasket mounting surface where the pan bolts up). If the engine has them, then you'll see "bulges" on the outside of the block - down at the pan rail. Since you mentioned changing the oil-pan gasket, my guess is that you would seen the soft plugs - if they were there. Did you notice them??? They are about the size of a penny.

The other most common cause (and this one is usually fatal) is if the block froze at one point (water in it, without anti-freeze) and then it caused the pan-rail to crack/split the casting. I've seen countless blocks with this issue - and it makes you sick to find it. Flatheads don't have "soft plugs" like modern engines, so when you freeze them, bad things happen.

If the block froze at one point, this is the most common type of crack. Sometimes these cracks can be fixed, though many of us consider the block as scrap iron when we find them. I will not build an engine that has these cracks - I consider them to be fatal.

It is also possible for a freeze crack to be in other places (like on the outside of the block), but since you mentioned water leaks on both the inside and outside of the pan area - I'm hoping it is a "soft plug" issue and not a freeze crack.

Best of luck!
B&S
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:06 PM   #5
eddie48
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Default Re: 34 pickup, finally back together but....

Wow!! You guys are great! It seems to me that the likely culprit is the soft plug. It fits the observations very well. Right at the bulge in the block. I'll drop the pan again and check it out. BTW, B&S, this is an early v8. Orig to the 34. Fingers crossed. I'll let you know what I find.

Are the plugs easily obtained? I haven't checked, yet.

Ed
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:11 PM   #6
eddie48
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Default Re: 34 pickup, finally back together but....

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Took down the oil pan and found the 4 plugs in the bottom of the engine casting along the oil pan mating surface. One was definitely leaking..took about 2 minutes to see a drip forming from the center of the plug. Removed all of them. They were very rusted and thin. Ordered new ones from Third Gen. They should be here today or tomorrow. Will coat them with some sealant and re-install. Should be all better soon.

Thanks, again for your help.

Ed
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