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Old 03-08-2018, 07:44 PM   #1
Dennis D 1929
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Default Water or Antifreeze ?

Hello all. I am a new member and eager to get answers to my many questions. I am in the process of acquiring my first model A, a 1929 Coupe. It only took me 68 years but I finally got the car of my dreams. I have no knowledge of Model A's what so ever, so please bear with me. I read on a blog some where about a fellow who said his radiator has only water in it. Thought that was strange, why would you not put antifreeze in ? I live in Michigan and would think antifreeze would be a must. Is there some advantage to only water ? Second question, my top is really in bad shape so I thought of taking it off and making a Roadster out of the car. Are Roadsters and Coupes the same length ? Thought I read some where that the coupe was longer. I know the doors are different but what other problems would I encounter ? Also what is the best Model A magazine to subscribe to. Thanks to all !
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

WELCOME TO THE FORUM. I think it would be a mistake to modify the coupe and make a roadster. You will not really gain anything except a lot of work and expense finding the parts plus lower the value of your A (IMHO). If that is the type A you really want than sell this one and shop for a roadster.

Model A Times is a great magazine as are the bi monthly magazines from the 2 National Clubs, Model A Restorers Club and Model A Ford Club of America. For help with the mechanics get the Les Andrew books especially Model A Mechanics I and II. There also is a book written just on Coupes available.

I'll let the other members of the Forum chime in with answers to your other questions

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Old 03-08-2018, 08:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Welcome Dennis,

Generally, I run just water but then I live in california. I have heard of people using anti freeze and don't really see a problem with it. As far the top goes, if you have a sport coupe I would leave it as is and replace it. I know it will be spendy but I think you will find that the hot summer sun will fry you. Also don't forget about resale value and it may just look really bad. But then again it is your car.

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Old 03-08-2018, 08:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

6 window coupe or (4 window) sport coupe with a soft top like a cabriolet?
Suggest using 50/50 premix antifreeze especially if in freezing climates and to generally prevent internal corrosion, etc. Make sure all hoses and water pump are not leaking because some antifreezes can eat into paint. Also some owners recommend not filling the radiator to the bottom of the filler neck but a little below it to allow for expansion when hot.

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Old 03-08-2018, 08:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Welcome to Ford Barn, Dennis. Where in Michigan are you?

I live in Grand Haven, MI and for me antifreeze (standard 50/50) mix is a must. Just the thought of not catching the change to winter and draining the coolant is scary. I have not noticed any negative effects of using antifreeze year round, but I do change it every few years.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Do not use straight water in a model A. At the very least use a conditioner rust inhibitor with the water. But if you live in Michigan you would be better off using antifreeze. It has all the rust inhibitors built in and will keep you coolant from freezing and probably ruining you block.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:01 PM   #7
Rich in Tucson
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Please use antifreeze. I prefer standard ethylene glycol types that must be diluted with water, they have been used successfully on cast iron engines for many years. I am unaware of any advantages to "extended life" antifreezes for cast iron. I have seen the best rust protection with them and have found separate product anti-corrosion products to be worthless or near so, including soluble oil.

I live in Tucson, AZ where it never freezes, right? That is what most folks here believe however a typical winter has three days of consecutive 20° nights and most A's are stored in unheated garages, carports, or worse. I do not believe that you will find more freeze-cracked blocks anywhere than in Tucson, AZ because many A owners have been encouraged by the local "gurus" (?) to use plain water from a yard hose in their cooling system.... which by the way is full of hardness minerals that precipitate out and clog radiators. If you value your 87 or + year old piece of history, preservation should be foremost in your thoughts whenever you do anything to it.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Antifreeze is a must for every car. As Foxfire said, trying to change a coupe to a roadster would be a huge costly mistake. As often as not projects like that wind up an unfinished pile of parts that rust away or get sold cheap. Coupes are nice, and the new top and wood should be too bad a job to fix.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

I use antifreeze 50/50 ratio and then I throw in some soluble oil (water pump lube & corrosion preventer) About 1/2 of the small bottle you buy at the parts store. Said that, I knew many a Model A owner that only used soluble oil + water for So. Cal climate and it worked and protected their cars just fine.

But....whatever you do, Do not ever use straight 100% antifreeze AND always use distilled water so you do not put minerals like calcium into your radiator. The calcium will love to clog up your cores in the radiator!
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

I have two coupes and a roadster. Guess which is the most comfortable year round. The roadster sits in the garage most all winter while both coupes get out almost daily. All three run antifreeze, 50-50 and no problems. Fill a bit low until you are sure the radiator and water pump cooperate in keeping the car cool without any eruptions of coolant. If one occurs clean it off as quickly as possible and discover the cause. I keep mine filled to the point where I just see coolant when I look into the filler neck. I belong to both National Clubs (MARC and MAFCA) and enjoy both magazines as well as John La Voy's Model A Times.ur local club is a Chapter of MAFCA so we do most things with them in mind. This June our club will run the repair facility in Reno. If you get to that meet, look me up, I'll give you one of my books. http://bit.ly/FromtheShadows It is just a fun read.



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Old 03-08-2018, 11:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Pictures, please.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:46 PM   #12
Dennis D 1929
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

You guys have been so helpful. Thank you very, very much. I will post pictures when I pick up the car from the UP in May. Motor runs very well as far as I can tell, bad news is the body is a train wreck. Sub rails gone, all tin floors gone, fenders dented and split, etc. Hope I didn't over pay at 4200. It has 6 windows, what is it called ??
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:16 AM   #13
Benson
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Look at it this way ...

Water rusts engine from inside.

If it freezes a rebuilt engine is $3500 to $5000... more if you have to buy 8 or 10 used blocks before you find a rebuildable one that is not cracked due to freezing.

The rust particles in the water get into the seals of a Leakless water pump and destroy the seal.

THe use of antifreeze prevents many problems.

If you are lucky and remember that the engine block might freeze ... the first thing to freeze is radiator and they are only $600 to $700. Your call ...

Last edited by Benson; 03-12-2018 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 03-09-2018, 04:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Told so many times : only water in a cars cooling system is begging for rust !
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Something you need to be aware of if you are using antifreeze. Antifreeze will seek out tiny internal leaks in these old engines that water won't. Eventually it will find its way to your babbitt bearings and erode them. I don't know the scientific reason why this is, been told that antifreeze has less surface tension than water. I can, however speak from experience that my engine was okay with water, never needed to add any. When I tried using antifreeze, it started showing up in the oil. One day after a hard drive, there was a nice puddle of it on the garage floor. I run distilled water with a water pump lubricant added to the water. I understand the inconvenience of having to drain it in cold weather.
I live in a cold climate too.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:31 PM   #16
Dennis D 1929
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

I think Goodcar guy nailed it Thanks !!I will try water and a lubricant this summer. ( I knew there was a technical answer. )
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

I live in the UP, where about are you getting the car from?
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:45 PM   #18
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis D 1929 View Post
Hello all. I am a new member and eager to get answers to my many questions. I am in the process of acquiring my first model A, a 1929 Coupe. It only took me 68 years but I finally got the car of my dreams. I have no knowledge of Model A's what so ever, so please bear with me. I read on a blog some where about a fellow who said his radiator has only water in it. Thought that was strange, why would you not put antifreeze in ? I live in Michigan and would think antifreeze would be a must. Is there some advantage to only water ? Second question, my top is really in bad shape so I thought of taking it off and making a Roadster out of the car. Are Roadsters and Coupes the same length ? Thought I read some where that the coupe was longer. I know the doors are different but what other problems would I encounter ? Also what is the best Model A magazine to subscribe to. Thanks to all !
I think what you are talking about removing the top is creating a "coupster". Do a search in the archives here and on HAMB (https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/). To make it look good is an extremely big project and you would be better to start with a roadster body. In my opinion of about 100 "coupsters" you will find about 2 that turned out good (and in those cases it probably would have been less expensive to start with a roadster body).

Charlie Stephens

Last edited by Charlie Stephens; 03-09-2018 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:07 PM   #19
3.6rs
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis D 1929 View Post
I think Goodcar guy nailed it Thanks !!I will try water and a lubricant this summer. ( I knew there was a technical answer. )
That was not a technical answer to me
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Old 03-09-2018, 02:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Water or Antifreeze ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3.6rs View Post
That was not a technical answer to me
Didn't intend it as a technical answer, was just relating what my experience was and what some others have also experienced. Go ahead, use the antifreeze but just be aware of what could happen and monitor the oil and water levels. If the water level starts dropping and the oil level starts rising, then there's a serious problem.
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