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  • scumdog
    Super-Experienced

    • May 12 2006
    • 1528

    302w losing coolant

    My ‘new’ ride is a ‘65 F100 Styleside running three speed manual transmission and 302 Windsor with headers, Edelbrock manifold and 600 Holley.
    Trouble is it’s going through coolant, it’s not leaking from any of the places like radiator, heater core, core plugs etc and isn’t dripping from anywhere.
    But after a 150 mile trip (for example) on checking the coolant after the motor has cooled the coolant could be up to two quarts low.
    I suspect a head gasket (or two?) but there’s always the possibility of a cracked head or block? Any ideas or thoughts welcome!
    (the F100 is going into get some other issues sorted but the main issue to be attended to is the coolant disappearing)
    A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.
  • simplyconnected
    Administrator
    • May 26 2009
    • 8772

    #2
    I would do a pressure test on the cooling system. Take the radiator cap off and charge each cylinder, one at a time, with 100-PSI of compressed air through the spark plug holes to see if any bubbles appear in your radiator. If you have a head gasket problem it will show up.

    SBF engines are exceptional in durability and performance. The only reason Ford changed was to get the cams in the heads for improved valve train performance. The 'new' modular engines are about the same size, 4.6L instead of 5L, performance is about the same with an increase in mileage because they use more aluminum to make the engine lighter. My favorite SBF engine is the 351W but I really like the 390 FE the most. Ford used both engines in all their car and truck lines so parts are readily available. (As an example, SBF water pumps are available with inlets on either side and HO engines have hydraulic roller cams.) - Dave
    Member, Sons of the American Revolution

    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan

    Comment

    • OX1
      Super-Experienced
      • Feb 10 2016
      • 557

      #3
      Hard to believe, using that much antifreeze, you don't have some white exhaust smoke and/or some in the oil.
      59-430-HT

      Comment

      • Eric S
        Super-Experienced

        • Jun 10 2018
        • 1054

        #4
        Dumb things first, are you sure you're not loosing coolant out of the tank's overfilling. Is the cap of the correct pressure and how full is the tank when you say "it's 2 quarts low"?

        Comment

        • scumdog
          Super-Experienced

          • May 12 2006
          • 1528

          #5
          Hi all, thanks for the advice!
          Dave I’m leaving it to my favourite repair shop to test and find where the coolant is going, they have the equipment and expertise.

          OX1 I haven’t noticed any white smoke at all but having said that I’m suspicious about the volume of ‘water’ coming from out of the tailpipes when the motor is first started and before it warms up.

          ERIC S At least once I couldn’t see the coolant ie it was lower than the top tank, it took three litres to top up, other times I could just see the coolant level, then it took roughly two quarts.

          NB: the ‘water/vapour’ seems to eminate from both tailpipes equally.
          A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

          Comment

          • scumdog
            Super-Experienced

            • May 12 2006
            • 1528

            #6
            Update:
            I've fitted (or had fitted!) a new thermostat (it never had one) and new top, bottom and thermostat by-pass hose, had the radiator flushed by a radiator shop as the core was partially clogged, they supplied a 16lb cap but I may replace it with a 10lb cap to ease the load on the original heater core and I've also had the cooling system pressure tested.
            So far I've not taken the truck on a lengthy trip so unable to confirm if the coolant loss problem has been fixed.
            A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

            Comment

            • OX1
              Super-Experienced
              • Feb 10 2016
              • 557

              #7
              Something still not right. Can't lose 2 quarts antifreeze, internally, if it's not going somewhere (which it can't if pressure tests good).
              59-430-HT

              Comment

              • simplyconnected
                Administrator
                • May 26 2009
                • 8772

                #8
                Just a thought... Your intake manifold may be sucking coolant in. You wouldn't notice a small leak. Eventually the engine will overheat. It's a good thing you are on top of it. - Dave
                Member, Sons of the American Revolution

                CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                --Lee Iacocca

                From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                Comment

                • scumdog
                  Super-Experienced

                  • May 12 2006
                  • 1528

                  #9
                  Well still a mystery as to where all the coolant went but I'm just back from a 1000+ miles trip and didn't need to add coolant and even going over a couple of mountain passes the temp never got higher than 175F.
                  Plus I was getting around 22mpg a fair bit of the trip and the oil level never changed.

                  Now I did end up with a coolant leak AFTER I got home - I noticed a small coolant puddle under the truck, a quick look showed the manifold to water pump rubber elbow needed the upper hose clip needed tightening, problem solved! Goodness knows why the leak started after I got home..

                  Thanks for all the advice and suggestions guys.
                  A Thunderbirder from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

                  Comment

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