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Old 05-22-2020, 01:09 AM   #1
Rfd456
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Default white steam from breather and water tailpipe

hey guys, I have a fresh Flathead big bore in a 32 roadster. it has less than 70 miles on it. I noticed right after changing the oil that I'm getting white steam from the breather, especially after I shut the motor off. Antifreeze is also pushing out the overflow more than I would expect. There is little to no smoke from the exhaust,. But today an awful lot of water came out the right side tailpipe after I started it hot (I had just driven it for about 15 minutes.). I ran the test in the radiator to check for combustion. IT was clean. Edelbrock heads are toqued at 55 lbs. Everyone I know keeps telling me I'm just paranoid. But is seems like something is going on. Im at a total loss here.
any help is appreciated.
thanks in advance
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Maybe a 60 or 80 over would have been better? Block was pressure tested?
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Pull the plugs and check for moisture . Are you sure its steam and not just oil vapor ?
Have you retorqued your heads , usually 3 hot cold cycles .
More info , your location , motor specs , who built the motor, when , type of gaskets , radiator should find its own level and stay , dontkeep refilling , check temp it runs at , vacuum gauge reading , is it steady ? Sorry , no coffee yet .
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:11 AM   #4
richard crow
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

re torque the heads
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

I retorqued the heads after 3 heat cycles. Car runs teady at 165 while driving. I will climb to 185 at idle. I used copper head gaskets. Let’s face it. I’m scared shirtless there is a crack in the block. But again, there is NO combustion gases in the radiator
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

copper gaskets on aluminum heads?? do as Ggmac stated and see which one is leaking. are the head gaskets made for big bore?
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Short drives can lead to moisture buildup. Drive it long enough to heat things up to evaporate any moisture. It doesn't sound like you really have a problem. You've read too many tales of woe.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:21 AM   #8
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

This sounds exactly like the combustion/compression leak that I had last year on my way to Auburn, Indiana, driving my '35 fordor sedan. After dealing with this problem while in Indiana for the EFV-8 Club's CNM, and then driving back home to Maryland, I had to stop to add about a gallon of coolant every 75-100 miles. We later found the problem to be caused by a blown head gasket at #5 cylinder. Coolent was getting into that cylinder on the down stroke, super heated on the compression stroke, and forced out between the head and deck of block at the front of left side head as steam. This was apparent by seeing an area on the block and head that had been steam cleaned to a bare cast iron surface.
After removing the head, cleaning the deck, and mating surface of head, we used a Best Co. composition head gasket and bolted everything back together. I've put over 100 miles on the car since then, and all is now doing well. No coolant is being pushed out of the radiator overflow, and the engine is running much cooler at idle and when driving at normal highway speeds.

Last edited by JM 35 Sedan; 05-24-2020 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

I've never had problems with Best brand composite head gaskets. I have 2 cars with Edelbrock heads, 1 car with stock aluminum heads, and 2 with stock iron heads.

You may be putting too much water in the radiator and the excess is getting pushed out.

Antifreeze coming out the tailpipe is not a good sign. Are your head gaskets correct for the bore? How big is your "big bore"?
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

You say antifreeze is coming out the over flow, but is the liquid coming out the tailpipe antifreeze?
Touch your finger to the liquid and see if it is sweet.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

UPDATE...last plug on passenger side appears oil soaked
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

I’d post a pic but have no idea how
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Here is the plug. I hope it goes though
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File Type: jpeg 11AF24FE-A618-4A39-A867-A83C340EF772.jpeg (23.9 KB, 146 views)
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

E132551D-C962-4F49-8397-E78B7F7B0E0A.jpegHere is my oil. It is champion, which is normally blue in color. Just the top of the bowl is blue now. The rest is green
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

well it is not that cylinder, water will wash off all the carbon. we had a 40 engine which the owner insisted on changing to aluminum heads, had leak problems on one side-we used best gaskets and used them again but torqued to a higher number and then we had no problems
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

do tell us the year of the engine and your general location
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Could be miss firing plug loading with unburned fuel.
Did you check to see if the liquid coming out of the tailpipe is antifreeze?
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rfd456 View Post
hey guys, I have a fresh Flathead big bore in a 32 roadster. it has less than 70 miles on it. I noticed right after changing the oil that I'm getting white steam from the breather, especially after I shut the motor off. Antifreeze is also pushing out the overflow more than I would expect. There is little to no smoke from the exhaust,. But today an awful lot of water came out the right side tailpipe after I started it hot (I had just driven it for about 15 minutes.). I ran the test in the radiator to check for combustion. IT was clean. Edelbrock heads are toqued at 55 lbs. Everyone I know keeps telling me I'm just paranoid. But is seems like something is going on. Im at a total loss here.
any help is appreciated.
thanks in advance
If you have a compressor , rig up a tool made from a old gutted spark plug to an air line ( or use the hose from a compression tester ) add air to the cyl and listen in the oil galley , intake and tailpipe . To test tailpipe and intake both valves need to be closed . I usually add 80 lbs , but start low . Dont forget to look in the rad and have its cap off .
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:29 PM   #19
Rfd456
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Sorry. I’m from upstate NY. The engine is a 51 8BA.
I did a compression test. All cylinders are at about 185 lb. I put new oil in it. Started it for like 5 minutes and oil is getting milky. Also antifreeze came out of right tail pipe
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: white steam from breather and water tailpipe

Just had to replace both head gaskets on my '51 8BA. Had a smaller problem than what it sounds like you're seeing. My first sign was foaming coolant, and it would always push a bit of foam out after a pretty hard run. But it never ran hot, and never saw any signs at the tailpipe. Did the "bubble test"... disconnected fan belts so water pumps weren't turning and filled the radiator to the neck. Started and revved up a bit and saw a number of large bubbles, indicating combustion gases getting to coolant. I had read that the analyzer system that looks for hydrocarbons in the antifreeze is not reliable, so I skipped that test. Found about two areas per side that looked like the sources of leaks. Also saw 3 cracks from water passages to bolt holes... ignored them. Fortunately, no other cracks worthy of concern. New gaskets and all is great. Hope you're fix is without further headaches!
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