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  #1  
Old 07-17-2004, 02:59 PM
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Default Cooling System Care and Feeding?

hi!
I am in the process of almost totally overhauling my
cooling system. Once I get it back together, I am interested in
the best possible ways to:

1) put the best possible coolant in it
2) maintain it

It will have a recored radiator and heater, new water pump,
and hoses and thermostat. While I am sure some rust is still
lurking in the block, its about as clean as it's gonna get.

Coolant mix: is there a best antifreeze for cast iron block
motors (prone to rust formation)? Should I mix it with distilled
water so as to avoid minerals in my tap water?

Maintenance: how often should you flush the sytem? With what? How do
you get it all out once you have done it?

Any thoughts or valuable experiences appreciated. I hate cars that
overheat and I am seriously interested in taking care of this one
as well as possible.

thanks!

John
58 Hardtop
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2004, 06:02 PM
Travlin Travlin is offline
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

JohnG said:

>It will have a recored radiator and heater, new water pump,
>and hoses and thermostat. While I am sure some rust is still
>lurking in the block, its about as clean as it's gonna get.[/i][/font]

I hope that recored radiator is the biggest you can get. Believe me, more is better. The coolant also has to get rid of the heat it soaks up while passing through the block and heads. So the radiator must be capable of doing its job, which may require the help of an efficient cooling fan at slow speeds.

You may want to look into an electric fan depending on what type of electrical system you have. If you've converted to an alternator, go for the electric. DO NOT use one with a generator; adding a shroud will help tremendously with the stock fan.

Recommend that before you add the antifreeze to do a good flushing to remove the rust or scale that's in the block. There are several commercial products available to do this. They'll usually contain muriatic acid, so handle with care and dispose of properly. Once the flush is complete, you can usually just remove the lower radiator hose and drain the system (once it's cooled down). You'll prolly have to refill with straight water, allow the engine to come up to operating temp and drain it again. Prestone makes an engine flush kit that allows you to connect a garden hose into the cooling system via one of the heater hoses, but the valve they provide will need to stay installed once completed. (If you're not concerned with everything being "proper," this may be the way to go.

This'll pretty much get all the engine flush out and if a little bit is still in the system, it won't hurt anything.

Make sure your thermostat is the right temp. Engines run best when hot, especially those made before 1970, and 195/200 degrees is about right for that 352. An overcooled engine won't properly burn the fuel mixture resulting in poor performance and excessive emissions.
[font color="blue"]>
>Coolant mix: is there a best antifreeze for cast iron block
>motors (prone to rust formation)? Should I mix it with
>distilled water so as to avoid minerals in my tap water?
[/font]

Pretty much all of the major brands are good -- Use a 50/50 mix with water (will protect to about -30/-35). Tap water is ok if you're not using well water/high iron content -- Some of the "exotic engines" (aluminum blocks/heads) virtually require using distilled however. For our Birds this really isn't necessary, though local water mineral content may dictate otherwise.

Also recommend you use a phosphate free antifreeze -- It's a little better for the engine and much better for the environment.

[font color="blue"]>
>Maintenance: how often should you flush the system? With
>what? How do you get it all out once you have done it?
[/font]

Coolant should be changed at every two years or 30,000 miles or it will lose its effectiveness, and the mixture of antifreeze and water should always be 50/50. A mixture with more than 50 percent antifreeze will cause the coolant to not perform properly, and with less than 50 percent, the engine can freeze and crack. Also, the system needs to be flushed when the coolant is changed.

[font color="blue"]>
>Any thoughts or valuable experiences appreciated. I hate
>cars that overheat and I am seriously interested in taking care of
>this one as well as possible.
[/font]

Make sure when you refill it, that you get ALL the trapped air out of the system before you call it filled. This may require you to loosen a heater hose to allow trapped air to escape. Another way is to run the engine after filling until the thermostat opens (you'll see some water flow movement in the expansion tank). Once that happens ... continue to run the engine and add antifreeze as necessary to ensure the system is full.

I would also recommend a new radiator cap. That 50/50 mix boils around 235 degrees, but under 15 lbs of pressure that number goes up to around 265 (think about how a pressure cooker works). A properly pressurized cooling system is important for the engine to run correctly and efficiently.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2004, 10:09 PM
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

thanks for all the great information!

Questions it raises:

* Ford lists a 185 degree thermostat...so it sounds like
you would go with that?

* what do you use, specifically, for a flush? All the auto
parts stores I go in have a "10 minute flush" which I doubt
would get the stain out of my coffee mug.

* interesting about using more that 50% antifreeze. I have
a neighbor who says "why bother using water at all?" so he
just puts all antifreeze in. (we are in New England so
not freezing in the winter is important but I believe a 50-50
mix puts you good to about 50 Below, which we will never see).

I did get the biggest possible core. The car cooled marginally
well before (did not get over 190 degrees) but the old core
was in poor shape due to both crap in it and 3 or 4 rows having
been cut off by some enterprising solder-jockey back in its
life.

John
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2004, 11:02 PM
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

PS I would urge anyone who believes his car runs cool to
make certain their temperature gauge is functioning properly.
There are a number of components (all of which I have had
to deal with) to the system (voltage regulator, gauge,
sending unit, ground) which can succumb to age and can't be
taken for granted. In the final analysis, you can borrow a
thermometer, immerse your sending unit in it and actually see what
temperatures correspond to what areas of your gauge. At that point,
any mystery has been taken out of it and you know what you
are reading thereafter. I have lots of details for anyone
interested.
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2004, 11:39 PM
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

Do not pure Ethylene Glycol in your system if you live a cold climate! Your friend who puts in pure ethylene glycol in his radiator does not understand the concept of freezing point depression.

Potentially a car can overheat in really cold weather with pure ethylene glycol, though the block and radiator will probably not crack as with water which is expands when it freezes.

Look at the chart below. Water and Ethylene Glycol mixes have a lower freezing point than either chemical alone.

Boiling Point

[ul][li]Pure Water 100° C (212° F)

[li]Pure Ethylene Glycol 197.6° C (388° F)

[li]50/50 Ethylene Glycol/Water 106° C (223° F)

[li]70/30 Ethylene Glycol/Water 113° C (235° F)[/ul]



Freezing Point

[ul][li]Pure Water 0° C (32° F)

[li]Pure Ethylene Glycol -13° C (9° F)

[li]50/50 Ethylene Glycol/Water -37° C (-35° F)

[li]70/30 Ethylene Glycol/Water -55° C (-67° F) [/ul]


Alexander
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1960 Golde Top
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2004, 01:48 AM
Travlin Travlin is offline
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

JohnG said:

>thanks for all the great information!
>
>Questions it raises:
>
>* Ford lists a 185 degree thermostat...so it sounds like
>you would go with that? [/i][/font]

I haven't looked in my factory service manual, but if Ford recommends a 185 degree thermostat, then go with it. (In the grand scheme of things 180-200 degrees is about the same for engines built before 1970.) I personally would use a hotter thermostat simply because with these older engines, the extra few degrees help the engine to run better.
[font color="blue"]>
>* what do you use, specifically, for a flush? All the auto
>parts stores I go in have a "10 minute flush" which I doubt
>would get the stain out of my coffee mug.
[/font]

One of those 10 minute flush kits are exactly what you want. It isn't a long drawn out process. Check to see which ones have a higher concentration of Muriatic acid, and use one of them. I've used the Prestone flush with good results.[font color="blue"]
>
>* interesting about using more that 50% antifreeze. I have
>a neighbor who says "why bother using water at all?" so he
>just puts all antifreeze in. (we are in New England so
>not freezing in the winter is important but I believe a
>50-50 mix puts you good to about 50 Below, which we will never
>see).
>
[/font]

Your neighbor is a fool.

A 50/50 mix is good to -35, a 70/30 mix is good to -65 (thereabout).

While in theory using straight antifreeze may make sense, antifreeze alone and by itself does NOT absorb heat well. (Bad theory.) It may have a high boiling point, but at freezing the results can be catastrophic.

Once below zero, straight antifreeze turns to slush. This plays hell with the impeller in a water pump -- It can cause anything from the water pump to break, to the engine to freeze and crack, and a multitude of things in between.

But wait, there’s more. If the coolant gets hot enough to boil, it may cause old hoses or an age-weakened radiator to burst under the increased pressure. Pistons may swell up and scuff or seize in their bores, causing serious engine damage. Exhaust valve stems may stick or scuff in their guides. This, in turn, may cause valves to hang open which can damage pistons, valves and other valve train components. And if coolant gets into the crankcase, you can kiss the bearings and bottom end of the engine goodbye.

NEVER run straight antifreeze -- Ever!

[font color="blue"]>I did get the biggest possible core. The car cooled
>marginally
>well before (did not get over 190 degrees) but the old core
>was in poor shape due to both crap in it and 3 or 4 rows
>having
>been cut off by some enterprising solder-jockey back in its
>life.
>
[/font]
As I said before, you might want to look at putting a fan shroud on the car, for those low speed "keep it cool" instances. A shroud will assist in creating vacuum through the radiator -- Which you want.

I'm sure it'll all turn out just fine!
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2004, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

it might interest you guys to know, given the information
and data about the considerable drawbacks of 100% antifreeze,
that my neighbor had to replace a head gasket in Feb last winter.
While there are many possible causes for head gasket failure,
incorrect cooling is certainly one of them...

The data about the behavior of mixed antifreeze/water is nothing
short of fascinating! I am glad I posted the topic... I had been
going the 50-50 route simply because that was what the label
said (and the hydrometer gave good readings) but knowing a little
of the supporting facts really reinforces it. THANKS!

John
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2004, 10:56 AM
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Default RE: Cooling System Care and Feeding?

Remember those figures I posted are for for boiling points at atmospheric pressure at sea level. Pressurizing the cooling system substantially raises the boiling point over those points. That's why the engines can run at over 200 degrees Farenheit and not boil over.

Alexander
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1960 Golde Top
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