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Old 02-08-2021, 12:02 PM   #1
bmwillia
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Default Fumes in the cabin

Guys,

I got my 33 on the road back in October and after working out a few bugs she is running great. I have a 35 flathead in it that was rebuilt sometime in the 90's I believe, but had no miles on it until I started driving it in Oct.

When I am driving the car, fumes are entering the cabin. The smell is sort of "sweet" smelling and not like the exhaust coming out of the tail pipe. I have a set of Reds headers with the exhaust running straight out the back.

The fumes are pretty strong, especially with the windows up. After a while I start to get a headache and I have to change clothes when I get home because of the smell. The worst part(some of you might think this is the best part. ) is that my wife doesn't like to ride with me much because of the smell.

I have read a little about PCV valves being installed on these older flatheads. Is that what I need? Can someone provide a resource for how to install it?

Thanks!
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

"The smell is sort of "sweet" smelling and not like the exhaust coming out of the tail pipe."

Anti-freeze?
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Check your oil and maybe retorque the heads. If the oil is milky you might have blown head gasket(s) or crack. You could also do a compression check.
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Had the same problem. Turned out to be anti-freeze. Leak in the heater core.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

There is nothing in the oil and the head gaskets are newly installed.

I also do not have a heater core.

I'm thinking I mislead you with my mention of the smell being sweet. Its not an antifreeze smell, Its a petroleum type smell but not like straight gasoline or straight exhaust. I was thinking it was blow by since I can see some smoke occasionally coming from the Oil Filler tube after long drives.

Brad
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

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I agree with all that anti-freeze has a "sweet" odor to it when it leaks in the cabin. However, I have never heard or experienced headaches from smelling antifreeze. You should get a battery powered carbon monoxide detector for around $20 to test for that colorless, odorless deadly gas.

Last edited by Zeke3; 02-08-2021 at 01:34 PM. Reason: added more info.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Brad, you may be smelling the blow by since you mention the smoke from the filler tube. My wore out engine has a lot of blow by. And I smell like the truck after a drive as well. I'll install a PCV system whenever I get to rebuild my engine.

There are quite a few threads on the PCV install and I'm sure the experts will be along with advice. Hopefully that's all it is. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Not anti freeze not exhaust just for kicks take you shop vac hose and put in on the oil
fill pipe just let it hang under the car then take off, better or the same? you sure that
somebody didn't built a nest in the block where the breather is? then blow air from the
shop vac into oil fill tube air should be blowing out of front right side of the block beside the crankcase.. All I can think of .
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

I agree with most people here sounds like anti freeze ft
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwillia View Post
I have read a little about PCV valves being installed on these older flatheads. Is that what I need? Can someone provide a resource for how to install it? Thanks!
A PCV system does not work well if your engine is a 35. The early flatheads do not have a modern type rear crankshaft seal and it allows air to move in and out of the crankcase. A PCV creates a vacuum in the crankcase and will pull air in around the rear seal area. This can pull clutch and road dust into the engine.

Interesting you are getting so much blow-by, would guess the rings were never properly seated.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Check to see if you have a vent on your oil pan. I don't know if the 35 engine block was vented in the front pass side or not. My 59ab has a vent there and was using a 34 pan with no vent in that area and building blow by pressure making oil leaks. I changed the pan to the correct one so it would vent. I did not have any smell coming in. I think also paint can smell sweet when it burns. Ken
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

JSeery,

Is there a remedy to the rings not properly seated other than a rebuild? Will they eventually break in and seat if this is a rebuild with very few miles? I have about 750 miles on the engine.

Ken,

Thanks for the reply.

I'll check the oil pan again, but I do not remember seeing a vent.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

"I was thinking it was blow by since I can see some smoke occasionally coming from the Oil Filler tube after long drives."

That does not seem to be excessive blow by. I get steady smoke wafting up from the filler tube when hot at idle. But the road draft pulls it out when driving. Never had a complaint from wife/kids about smell in the cabin. Maybe check out the road draft system as mentioned above.

Last edited by JayChicago; 02-08-2021 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

How hard has the engine been driven? It really needs a load on it and needs to be driven fairly hard. People tend to baby these engines and that is not a good procedure to get everything broken in on a new engine.

There was a produce on the market a few years ago, don't remember the name, something about ring sealing. Anyway, used it in a older (mid-60s) pickup and it seemed to help. But, first you need to do a little checking to be sure the correct parts are on the engine to allow it to vent properly, and get some good hard miles on it.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwillia View Post
Guys,

I got my 33 on the road back in October and after working out a few bugs she is running great. I have a 35 flathead in it that was rebuilt sometime in the 90's I believe, but had no miles on it until I started driving it in Oct.

When I am driving the car, fumes are entering the cabin. The smell is sort of "sweet" smelling and not like the exhaust coming out of the tail pipe. I have a set of Reds headers with the exhaust running straight out the back.

The fumes are pretty strong, especially with the windows up. After a while I start to get a headache and I have to change clothes when I get home because of the smell. The worst part(some of you might think this is the best part. ) is that my wife doesn't like to ride with me much because of the smell.




I have read a little about PCV valves being installed on these older flatheads. Is that what I need? Can someone provide a resource for how to install it?

Thanks!
Check to see if the baffle tube is in place under the fuel pump stand. When they are left out you will get a lot of smoke out of the oil filler.
When left out it defeats the ventilation system.

Bill
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

I've been driving it hard at times and not so hard at others.

Does anyone have pictures of what the venting looks like on the oil pan and what the baffle tube looks like under the fuel pump stand?
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:17 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

crankcase vent.jpg
I used this period aftermarket piece I found on ebay to recirculate my blowby. I think Its from an A model but still captures the fumes. I have since disconnected it from the breather and run the fog through a hose which dumps out back by the rear diff.
When I put my new french motor in, it will have a proper PCV setup but this keeps the stank away from the cockpit in the meantime
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwillia View Post
I've been driving it hard at times and not so hard at others.

Does anyone have pictures of what the venting looks like on the oil pan and what the baffle tube looks like under the fuel pump stand?
The oil pan vent looks like the "tear drop" shaped thing sticking-up at the front of pan on the RIGHT side. The second picture shows the corresponding "tear drop" hole visible on the inside of pan at top right. I'm not sure if a '35 block had the provision for this vent or not. The transition to this vent was ABOUT 1935-ish. Someone more knowledgeable will chime-in. DD




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Old 02-08-2021, 04:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

when you run a rebuilt eng you must seat the rings. with the car in third speed slow down to about 10 mph now put the pedal to the floor to 25 mph. do this three or four times .if you used crome rings there are a bitch to seat. years ago when the rings refused to seat we would put bon amae if the cylinders & start the eng . today you modern mech. will think i am nuts
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:34 PM   #20
Jack E/NJ
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Default Re: Fumes in the cabin

johndee138>>> this keeps the stank away from the cockpit in the meantime>>>


With an original pan vent plus this type of carb air cleaner entrainment system, this is all the crankcase ventilation old flatheads probably need imo. I'm still using a similar crankcase gas entrainment for 11 years now even though the rings are seated. Jack E/NJ


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