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Old 09-15-2020, 07:50 PM   #1
Ketronj281989
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Default 1936 Overheating Problem

Overheating, one of the major issues my 1936 has been plagued with for what would seem like at least several "decades". I say decades as someone installed a plastic overflow tank back in the 1970s or 1980s before the cars was stored away for the next 30+ years. Upon previous owner take out of storage, the overflow tank was still on the car. Since my purchase and now possession of the car I plan to take everything back to a stock outfit as it was brand new off the line. I have since removed the plastic overflow tank and have started my trouble-shoot of the cooling system in this car.

Notes: After flushing the oil and cooling system I deemed the car safe for driveway idle and movement confined to the drive way area at the house. Regarding the cooling system I flushed two times, second time with a mild rust remover. Bits of rusty iron (size of crumbs) as well as brown murky coolant came out on 1st and 2nd flush after I drained the initial green Prestone the previous owner added 2 years ago. I used distilled water as a flush agent between and after each chemical flush. No acid in chemical flush. This engine has never been pulled and likely the water jackets inside the block have plenty of rust and contaminants present.

I figure it will take several flushes to remedy the rust issue (it will always be present to some degree since the engine has not been rebuilt). I will complete several more flushes in the near future to help with that issue. Stock original water pumps are on the car, never pulled or re-built, stock original radiator, never pulled or serviced, radiator hoses 30+ years old, fan belt 30+ years old, thermostats missing (they were in a box inside the trunk upon my purchase) Looks like they were pulled many years ago, likely back in the 1980's as an attempt to try and remedy the overheating issued that was had back then before I purchased the car.

The cooling system will need a tune-up.

WHY I KNOW I HAVE AN OVERHEATING PROBLEM: Two separate occasions under different outside temperature days I let the car idle in the driveway under no load. Day one the temperature was 80 degrees F (afternoon). Day two day the temperature was 58 degrees F (early morning). Constant factors: Coolant 1 inch above radiator tubes and car stopped-throttle at idle. I used distilled water as the coolant+water wetter. Fill up 1 inch above radiator tubes allowed space for expansion of coolant upon heat up. On both days after about 20 min of idle the car overflow tube on front of radiator let steam and water droplets out the bottom. Upon both occasions of steam and water droplets, my temperature hand gun showed 220 degree F on each head near water pump inlet (on cast iron head side) as well as 220 degree F on top end of radiator. Bottom end of radiator showed 190-200 degree F. Car dash temperature gauge level showed halfway mark between the bottom of the tube and first line on the dash gauge metal face. Temp gauge did not max out, fluid in tube moved to halfway mark (temp gauge appears to be factory original).

From research and intense study of Ford service books circa 1936 to 1940, I kind of realize what I will need to do to service the cooling system. I want to complete a process of elimination first before I decide to take off the radiator for a re-core or factory reproduction replacement exact to the original. Pulling the radiator will be a job for this winter when I plan to service several other items that sit behind the radiator (including dropping the oil pan for the first time).

Several questions:

How should I proceed with the water pumps? - Both on my car appear to be factory originals and look to have never been taken off or re-build, never. I have discovered Drakes as well as Third Gen sell rebuilt "improved impeller" water pumps that are identical to the original style and type. What are your recommendations? I want to keep this car as original as possible and realize I will have to do something with the water pumps. They could be part of the overheating issue.

What are your thoughts on radiator servicing? - Likely a major culprit regarding my overheating issue. The tubes and catacombs could be clogged. I could have the radiator "re-cored" or purchase a brand new perfect reproduction to stock original. Would it be wise to start fresh regarding the radiator in order to eliminate trouble-shooting guesswork after other cooling parts are addressed?

Fan belt, how do I know the proper tension? The shop manual states perfect adjustment is obtained once the belt can be moved in and out 1 inch. What is meant by this? This is my first Pre-war car purchase and experience. Is there a "best" belt to purchase. I noticed Drake and Third Gen both offer belts.

Appreciate any help!

Jon
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:47 PM   #2
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

drain the coolant down enough to see the top of the radiator core, look at the tops of the tubes, see how many have something obstructing them, also look for tubes that still have liquid in them ---those are clogged tubes, ---a radiator shop said mine flowed good, but 25% of the tubes I can see are clogged
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Fill the cooling system with caustic soda and run it. The hotter it gets, the better it'll clean. you'll be surprised at what comes out! Do not do this if you're running aluminum heads; it'll gobble them up!
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

35-6 are prone to over heat issues. Ford added modifications to several items such as louvers to the inner fender panels of 36 to improve cooling but they work best when the car is moving. IMO I would check out the Ford Service Bulletins since they list the possible overlooked source of overheat issues such as ignition timing. Skip Haney in Fla. also rebuilds water pumps with the improved impellers. If you want bone stock configuration the 35 and 36 water pumps are different so know what your looking at before having it rebuilt. The V8 Club has an excellent book dealing with the 35 and 36 Fords
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

There is a good chance your block has a lot of rust and casting sand in bottom of water jackets, mostly in the back. This will not be removed by flushing alone, you need to get something down there to dislodge it and then flush. You may be able to reach it with pumps off but will be easier to clean by removing heads.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

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I would check timing using vacuum gauge.
Adjust distributor to optimize vacuum reading.
(I think the attachment is for gauge readings, if not search on Ford Barn)
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry,OH View Post
Skip Haney in Fla. also rebuilds water pumps with the improved impellers.
This is definitely true for the later 37 - 48 pumps, but I'm not sure he has new and improved impellers for the early in-head mounted pumps?

He rebuilt a couple sets of 32 pumps for me - the impellers were no different than stock.

Maybe he has new/better impellers now (for the early pumps) - anybody happen to know?

PS: Skip does great work . . . I'd contact him and send him your original pumps - that way you'll get back the correct ones (assuming they are original).
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Horror story's many were ran past WWII imagine after the war the car was only 9 yrs old
the boys came back from service all were broke as well as farmers and such. My fathers
shop not only Ford but everything suffered from running hot. story's of everything form eggs sawdust yeast? was stuffed in the radiator along with Zerone alcohol which steamed
at about 160*. All I can say all our rebuilds the block goes to a builder and gets thermo
cleaned and it comes back pure cast iron. (thank heaven the builder is a mile away)
A air water back flush may help a little but I have found in the back of the block oh boy
with drill speedometer cable long wires the sludge is deep. I write in stone these ran fine
when new BUT in my case father bought new 50 F6 now its steaming burping and why
because he been dumping stop leak in the thing cause of top tank leaking. I bought new radiator but damage done block may have 30 lbs of stop leek . I just say, I rebuilt
my car 59AB thermo cleaned new every thing now I have cardboard infront of radiator.
Love car but wimpy heat. so I'm just saying clean block radiator ' problem solved sam

I am going for a VW gasoline heater ya six volts too..................
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
This is definitely true for the later 37 - 48 pumps, but I'm not sure he has new and improved impellers for the early in-head mounted pumps?

He rebuilt a couple sets of 32 pumps for me - the impellers were no different than stock.

Maybe he has new/better impellers now (for the early pumps) - anybody happen to know?

PS: Skip does great work . . . I'd contact him and send him your original pumps - that way you'll get back the correct ones (assuming they are original).
Skip Makes new impellers for the 32 to 36 pumps. They are a little
larger in diameter, The fins are longer. The pump has to be bored
out a little which gives more coolant flow. G.M.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

All of the above is good advice but premature IMHO. You say, right off that you let the car idle for 20 minutes and you got steam etc out of the overflow tube st the bottom of the radiator. You have a flathead son and ANY flathead is going to do that after sitting at idle for 20 minutes, mild temperature or not. Take it out and drive it and see what it does,. It could even run at normal temperature. Do this FIRST, before spending mega bucks to correct some problem that may not even exist. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My 2. Keep us posted.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

First, ditto Lawson Cox; the 36 flathead fan does not move much air at idle. I bet it will cool right down if you drive it. The radiator is working pretty well, as it is dropping the water temp by 20 - 30 degrees from top to bottom. But it may be lacking enough cooling area due to blocked tubes on the inside and/or bent-over fins on the outside. Bent fins can be straightened up using a metal nail file. Buy or borrow a video borescope to get inside the top tank to look for crud, or tubes that do not drain when the radiator is drained.

Retarded timing will aggravate overheating. Be sure the points are set perfectly, then advance the timing until it pings when accelerating hard in second gear; then back off one mark.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

If your trying to flush the block with the radiator hoses connected, the crud your seeing can be further clogging your radiator. If you want to idle it in your driveway put a large fan in front of the grille. There are allot of threads on here about block- radiator flushing....Mark
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

I fit a shroud on my 39 and that cured overheating at prolonged idle. When it did get hot, just driving a few blocks would cool it right down.
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Hi Everyone. Jon, I like the suggestion of just driving the car a while. Keep some coolant of your choice with you and check it and top off each time you stop for a few months of driving. You'll get an idea of what the car does and likes. For example speeds below 55 effect my cars differently than above 55 where I see more frequent coolant loss. If she steams, pull over and lift both hood sides.

You might find having the fluid 1 inch above the tubes is too high for what your car wants. One of my cars likes it like that (36 with big top tank, more expansion space), the other one wants the fluid barely above the tubes when cold but the level comes up after getting to temperature (35 with small tank).

The '35 I took on a 2K mile trip from DC area to Indiana and back last summer, and it never boiled over, just got all red gauge for a few minutes when I got stuck in a construction zone in West Virginia near the end of the trip and was stupid and didn't turn it off while waiting to get through. Every construction hold-up the rest of that day I just shut it off and waited.

Idling is not typically moving enough air through the radiator to get an idea of what is going on. My temp will always climb while I'm idling and then come down as soon as I get rolling. These cars usually do not like parades either. They need RPM's to push some water and air to cool it.

I've used Rust-911 as a rad flush in the 35 with a radiator that got removed when I did an engine swap in the spring before the trip, and does a nice job but this is probably not going to be a one-thing-fixes-it kind of project. I even jury rigged something to try to back-flush that radiator with water from the bottom going to the top that didn't help much.

A lot of systems could be and are affecting your cooling.

These blocks are frequently found with obstructions like wire and sand still in the water jackets from manufacture and the only way to get that out is attack it while the block is stripped. The bottom rear of them are a place where we've seen it collect. But you've gotta be fighting the battle for a while to get to that stage!

Thermostats... I run them. But I'd probably leave them out until you get a little further into the troubleshooting. Don't change more than one thing at a time without figuring if that change helped or hurt or made no difference. A close-to-original replacement is made by a fella named Schewman who advertises in the V-8 Times.

Skip Haney refurbed water pumps are a no-brainer to me, you can't go wrong with his experience, service, support, and great products. But even then you're just throwing $250-ish at it and hoping for the best. (If you do send him your pumps, get one of his 3# check valves for the overflow tube, some have found them just the ticket. And send your coil for rebuild and condenser for testing too!) Skip's info is in post #5 of this recent thread: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=287241

One last thing, Jon, I don't assume any car of this period has original anything especially a bolt-on like water pumps, but even the engine block. Engine exchanges were a thing that Ford dealers did a whole lot of back in the day.

Third Gen Auto has always been a go-to source and has been great to me so buy with confidence from Michael and Jane. They know a about '36's.

Hope some of this helps you to work out your issues. Just know you're a member of a pretty big crowd of old Ford guys working on cooling systems.



Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1935 1936 Stock Fan Belt.jpg (32.3 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg Thermostat source.jpg (54.5 KB, 133 views)
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Last edited by VeryTangled; 09-17-2020 at 01:08 PM. Reason: add Picture of fan belt I use. Picture of source for thermostats.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Jon, There are four expansion plugs in the oil pan gasket surface of the block. They are two on each side, where the bulges in the block casting are. These should be changed when you drop the oil pan. Removing these will also allow you to clean out a lot of the crud in the bottom of the block.
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

As stated above . But only a 20 degree drop tells me rad is not doing its job , but then you wernot moving . Stick a 110 house fan infront of it and retest . The fan should show a larger drop in temp , rad should be doing its job .
Unless you owned this car since new , i doubt you could depend on all the stuff being untouched . Ten thousand miles was a lot back then to expect a water pump to last when using well, pond water . Oil wasnt refined as today , rings were usually going south at 40-50 thousand miles . Maintence was key to getting even these numbers but with the depression , war and roads available , cars were neglected.
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Old Today, 03:32 PM   #17
Ketronj281989
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Thanks guys for all the comments and suggestions.

Several things I have since completed since your postings:

I was able to check what tubes were visible on the top of the interior of the radiator. Appears most of the visible tubes appear to have small pebble looking objects wedged inside (likely sediment/rust?).

I did purchase 3 lbs. of caustic soda to run through the cooling system. Right now the radiator is out of the car for further inspection, may leave this chemical on the shelf for the time being. The 1940 Ford "Page" book also mentioned this method for cleaning. I do not have aluminum heads so should be ok to perform this test if desired.

I have the water pumps out of the car and will be sending to Skip post November.

I have been thinking about the rust in the block, this will likely stay an issue unless I pull the motor and have the blocked cleaned (aka rebuilt). This item will remain on the list, although an engine rebuild will likely not occur unless my compression test results are poor (have yet to perform this test at this time)

There was mention of engine timing. Someone has been into the car prior and replaced the stock unit with a post 1937 unit. They did not properly time the unit either. will be replacing with a period stock 1936 early distributor/coil unit soon and re-adjust post installation.

I would had previously taken the car for a drive to troubleshoot the cooling system. The issue is the car reliability, it's not really road worthy just yet after a 30+ year storage and dangerous to drive down the road at this time. A 10 min outing showed the car overheating having to pull off the side of the road and let cool down again.

There was mention of putting a large box fan in front of the grille while idle. I did this and the car did not overheat sitting in the drive way after 40 min. Instead the car died as I am too having carb. issues. (now removed and will be replaced in the coming months).

Moving forward once the car is road-worthy, I will perform cooling tests while driving with the car under load moving down the road with increased air flow under normal driving conditions.

Will be sure to check those 4 expansion plugs once the pan is dropped this winter!! Thanks for the tip.
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Old Today, 03:39 PM   #18
Ketronj281989
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Default Re: 1936 Overheating Problem

Several items I will be performing to further address the cooling system:


Send out water pumps to Skip for rebuild

Pull radiator from car and have it inspected at a professional shop

Will replace all radiator hoses/clamps with proper reproduction stock parts

Will see about purchasing thermostat's from R. Shewman. I have heard a lot of great things about the services he provides to the community.

Will flush out engine block with professional circa 1940 flushing tool I have since acquired. Tool uses combination compressed air and water.

I have since purchased a brand new fan belt for the car.

Will be back with updates soon! Thanks for all the help thus far!

Jon
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