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Old 09-17-2021, 02:49 PM   #1
Woodie1
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Default nasty odor

We have 39 sedan that we recently bought. A couple weeks ago we took it for a 3 mile drive to see what needed tweaking if anything. It ran fine. It was a slow speed between 25 & 40 mph. Today we wanted to do the same drive but before we got 1/4 mile down the road we had a bad odor & I almost thought I could see smoke. We took it home. I adjust the brakes a little looser hoping that was it but it wasn't. The engine & radiator are very hot so maybe it's burning engine paint. Obviously overheating. I would think that after a 1 mile drive I could touch the radiator top tank & not find it too hot. Can't do that. I don't have a temp gun, maybe I need to get one. Any ideas on what to check? thanks.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: nasty odor

Just wondering which one of the "We" ate beans before the drive.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: nasty odor

Woodie, we need more information:
Did you check the oil?
Did you warm up the engine before driving?
Nasty odor smelled like what?
Was there steam?
Did you lose any coolant?


A 3 mile drive is not sufficient to prove roadworthiness. I hope you'll soon be able to take a good long drive that includes city traffic and highway speeds.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: nasty odor

Roasted mouse??
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: nasty odor

The oil level is to the full mark. Can't say I warmed up the engine. Just got in & started driving. I can't put my finger on what it smelled like. That's why I thought maybe paint burning off from being too hot. I did not get steam but the previous owner has a 4 lb. pressure cap on the radiator. The coolant is almost to the point of running out the filler hole.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:32 PM   #6
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I'm going to check the thermostats. What rating should I use, 160, 180?
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: nasty odor

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The oil level is to the full mark. Can't say I warmed up the engine. Just got in & started driving. I can't put my finger on what it smelled like. That's why I thought maybe paint burning off from being too hot. I did not get steam but the previous owner has a 4 lb. pressure cap on the radiator. The coolant is almost to the point of running out the filler hole.
Maybe you can post a 'Scratch and Sniff' card
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: nasty odor

My 8BA ran cooler with 180 stats. Have you double checked timing ? Like 38V8 said more info needed.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: nasty odor

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The oil level is to the full mark. Can't say I warmed up the engine. Just got in & started driving. I can't put my finger on what it smelled like. That's why I thought maybe paint burning off from being too hot. I did not get steam but the previous owner has a 4 lb. pressure cap on the radiator. The coolant is almost to the point of running out the filler hole.
With the coolant level that high, there is a good chance that it started blowing some coolant out of the vent tube, which has a good chance of blowing back onto the exhaust manifold. If there is antifreeze in the coolant, that will cause a foul smell. Try lowering the coolant level to about half an inch over the radiator tubes, and try that run again.

Regarding thermostats, this board has advocates for everything from 190 down to "no thermostats". I take the middle road and use 170, with good success so far.
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Old 09-17-2021, 03:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: nasty odor

>>>has a 4 lb. pressure cap on the radiator. The coolant is almost to the point of running out the filler hole.>>>


That's good if there's an expansion tank. Leave the cap on when checking coolant level. Just make sure the coolant level in the tank covers the overflow tube cold.
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Old 09-17-2021, 04:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: nasty odor

You say to have the coolant just covering the overflow tube, is this for a split core radiator as well? I also see mention of checking the timing, how do you do that on a v8? I thought that had to be done on a Ford tester.
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Old 09-17-2021, 04:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: nasty odor

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Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
Just wondering which one of the "We" ate beans before the drive.
My sentiments exactly. That was the first thought that entered my depraved mind. LOL Glad I am not alone in my thoughts. LOL

Jack ENJ: "That's good if there's an expansion tank. Leave the cap on when checking coolant level. Just make sure the coolant level in the tank covers the overflow tube cold."

How do you check coolant level with the cap on? Inquiring minds want to know. Wouldn't it be impossible to cover the overflow tube? The fluid would just keep running out of the tube wouldn't it, making it impossible to cover the tube? Am I missing something here?
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: nasty odor

I just let the car run for a bit so I could see the water flow in the radiator. I'm guessing the coolant is too full. I see coolant in the lower radiator pan so it must be coming out the overflow tube.
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: nasty odor

Woodie,I wouldn't do a thing with it but just get in and drive it.

You're doing right by not warming it up in the driveway.
Any difference in timing wouldn't cause it to smell funny.
Your 4 lb radiator cap will not pressurize for you unless you have a restriction valve at the exit end of the overflow tube.
You're not overheating unless you see and smell steam.
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Old 09-17-2021, 06:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: nasty odor

I think the way I see it, the water is coming out the overflow tube with the cap on. The fluid has to go up with the cap on pushing it out the tube. That's the way I see it. I could be thinking wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: nasty odor

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I think the way I see it, the water is coming out the overflow tube with the cap on. The fluid has to go up with the cap on pushing it out the tube. That's the way I see it. I could be thinking wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

Woodie, you are correct. Your overflow tube is separate from cap location, and must have a restrictor valve at the bottom in order for the 4 lb cap to pressurize. Skip Haney sells one for the purpose, that holds pressure at 3 lbs.


Your coolant does appear to be a pretty strong mix. It may be foaming out the overflow and dumping on the crossover exhaust pipe thereby producing the indescribable smell. Your picture shows a normal coolant level, you can't overfill that design radiator having the fill cap on the side.
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: nasty odor

I'm wondering if I should go back to the non pressure original style cap.
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Old 09-17-2021, 08:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: nasty odor

You can pick up a infrared gun at local hardware stores fairly cheap to check you engine temps.

If the radiator isn't leaking from pressure, I'd stick with the 4lbs cap.

I'm guessing you are smelling a chemical type smell? Not a oil or gas smell.

I'm also guessing that someone painted the motor before selling to give it a fresh look. Possibly the exhaust manifolds also.

I'm also guessing that'll burn of quickly.

Best of luck.




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Old 09-17-2021, 08:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: nasty odor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawson Cox View Post


How do you check coolant level with the cap on? Inquiring minds want to know. Wouldn't it be impossible to cover the overflow tube? The fluid would just keep running out of the tube wouldn't it, making it impossible to cover the tube? Am I missing something here?
Lawson, the overflow tube goes to the bottom of a recovery tank. If the cooling system is properly sealed, coolant is pushed out the overflow tube and discharged into the bottom of the overflow bottle. As the system cools, coolant is drawn back into the radiator. Since the water level rises and falls in the recovery bottle, you can see by the decreased level in the recovery bottle if there has been a loss. Of course, if there is a leak in the system air will be drawn back in instead of water. Diligence is required.
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Old 09-17-2021, 10:51 PM   #20
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Lawson, the overflow tube goes to the bottom of a recovery tank. If the cooling system is properly sealed, coolant is pushed out the overflow tube and discharged into the bottom of the overflow bottle. As the system cools, coolant is drawn back into the radiator. Since the water level rises and falls in the recovery bottle, you can see by the decreased level in the recovery bottle if there has been a loss. Of course, if there is a leak in the system air will be drawn back in instead of water. Diligence is required.
Am I missing out on something. Nobody has mentioned a recovery tank. A 4 lb cap has been mentioned, but no sealed cooling system. Hey, this is a 39 Ford we are talking about isn't it? No pressurized system. We need some clarity here to answer his questions.
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Old 09-17-2021, 11:10 PM   #21
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Default Re: nasty odor

Lawson, the OP doesn't have an overflow tank. See post # 10, I think it prompted your question. He said "if there is an overflow tank."
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:25 AM   #22
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Default Re: nasty odor

Woodie, To be clear, unless you have a restrictor valve on the exit end of the overflow tube, It makes no difference what cap you use, you won't have a pressurized system.



Radiators of the day were not designed to be pressurized, but yours is of a design that will readily accept 3 lbs pressure. Your choices are simple:
1 - leave it as it was built.
2 - Install a Skip Haney 3 lb restrictor on the overflow tube and a pressure cap.
3 - Install a coolant recovery system as has been described above.


To help you make the right decision, remember the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:28 AM   #23
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Default Re: nasty odor

if that smell is similar to a bad curry its coolant [boy its off ]
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Old 09-18-2021, 06:48 PM   #24
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Default Re: nasty odor

I just tried lowering the coolant level to about 1/4" above the fins in the radiator. I didn't notice the odor on a short drive but now the engine quits when I slow down to stop. Coolant level may be too low. I'll put some back in the next time I can play with it again & see if it will idle. At least there wasn't coolant on top of the radiator pan this time.
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Old 09-18-2021, 07:24 PM   #25
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Default Re: nasty odor

Coolant finds it's own level. It pushes it out when it's too much and expands under heat. Fill it, move on to the reason you have a heat issue. You said you have a heat issue? What temps are you running?



You might have a pin hole in the radiator that is also not helped by the 4lb cap (as I mentioned). Coolant on a hot motor will definitionally smell. It's very distinct, as it smells sweet and like coolant. May need to pull the radiator and have it fixed.

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Old 09-18-2021, 08:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
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I just tried lowering the coolant level to about 1/4" above the fins in the radiator. I didn't notice the odor on a short drive but now the engine quits when I slow down to stop. Coolant level may be too low. I'll put some back in the next time I can play with it again & see if it will idle. At least there wasn't coolant on top of the radiator pan this time.
Coolant level has nothing to do with the engine stopping when you slow down.
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:26 PM   #27
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Default Re: nasty odor

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I just tried lowering the coolant level to about 1/4" above the fins in the radiator. I didn't notice the odor on a short drive but now the engine quits when I slow down to stop. Coolant level may be too low. I'll put some back in the next time I can play with it again & see if it will idle. At least there wasn't coolant on top of the radiator pan this time.
I am guessing that lowering the coolant level fixed the overflow and smell problem. Stalling is not related to the coolant level. Leave the coolant where it is for now.

Does it start right back up and idle normally when it dies coming to a stop? Or is it hard to restart. Maybe the idle is set too low. Maybe the idle jets are set too lean. What carburetor so you have on your engine?
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:32 PM   #28
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It does take some cranking to get it to restart but if you don't give it gas it dies again. I did bump the idle up yesterday because it was close to dying it was so slow. The carb is the 91-99. I'll have to get back at it in a couple of days.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:54 PM   #29
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Things just seem to go south with this car. I'm turning up the idle so I can check for vacuum leaks & I have to have the throttle pulled out about 1/4 - 3/8" in order for the car to stay running. Then before I can try anything it looks like she may be over heating again. I'm thinking maybe fuel pump bad?
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:58 PM   #30
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Default Re: nasty odor

If the engine continues to run long enough for it to overheat, it ain't the fuel pump.

What symptoms do you notice that leads you to believe it is overheating?

Did you get an infrared thermometer as suggested? What is the thermometer reading?
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:50 PM   #31
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I have not had time to get the thermometer yet. I have found part of the problem though. I wasn't sure how tight the fan belt should be so I tried to tighten it a little more. Then I thought to check & see if the water pumps were turning. To my surprise the passenger side pump was froze solid. I'm thinking it's best to replace it rather than try to loosen it up. The other pump seems free enough. I want to get a pair done by Skip. Not sure on turn around these days. We don't have a lot of driving time left here before it gets too cold to want to drive without a heater.
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:00 PM   #32
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I have not had time to get the thermometer yet. I have found part of the problem though. I wasn't sure how tight the fan belt should be so I tried to tighten it a little more. Then I thought to check & see if the water pumps were turning. To my surprise the passenger side pump was froze solid. I'm thinking it's best to replace it rather than try to loosen it up. The other pump seems free enough. I want to get a pair done by Skip. Not sure on turn around these days. We don't have a lot of driving time left here before it gets too cold to want to drive without a heater.
You should be able to push the fan belt down about one inch between the pumps and fan. Over tighten and wear out a pump real fast.

The smell was probably coming from the fan belt slipping on the frozen w/p pulley. That would also at least contribute to the engine stalling.

Keep us posted.
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:12 PM   #33
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Default Re: nasty odor




Coolant Level is Woodie1's 1939 Ford
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:23 AM   #34
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I will keep that 1 inch deflection of the fan belt logged in my memory bank. Hopefully I will find it when needed.
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Old 09-21-2021, 12:24 PM   #35
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Default Re: nasty odor

I was taught to only tighten or loosen to 1/2 " deflection on the fan belt. 1" is pretty loose.
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Old 09-21-2021, 12:44 PM   #36
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Default Re: nasty odor

My 50 used to bubble over when i first got it so nothing wrong with overheating problem so i installed 160 t stats 4 lb cap set level at just above the core then installed a stainless overflow tank problem solved good for 24 years i think i got it from speedway motors good luck
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Old 09-21-2021, 12:50 PM   #37
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speedway motors overflow tank part # 91102213
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Old 09-21-2021, 05:28 PM   #38
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I went out tonight & loosened the generator so I could remove the fan belt from the problem water pump pulley. I then rapped the end of the pump pulley with a block of hard wood over it . Not much room to move a hammer but after a couple of times it was free enough to turn the pulley by hand easily. Started the car & the pulley was turning. Went for a short half mile ride & checked the pulley when I got home. It was still turning. I don't think the radiator feels as hot. I will do some more short idles first to make sure it doesn't freeze up again. I did send a set of pumps out to Skip today for rebuild. I did notice some gas around the throttle linkage on the lower end. I don't think that should be there. At least it runs.
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:27 PM   #39
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Well that should get you through the driving season I hope.


Might have a loose throttle shaft and a flooding issue.

It might be a good way to judge the heat of a motor with your hand but I might suggest finding another way to figure that out.




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