Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

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dobro1956
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Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by dobro1956 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:45 pm

Instead of starting a new thread about the crankcase and head gasket leaks I just added to this thread.....

Well I got the radiator all cleaned out, pressure tested and installed. No leaks so it was time for a longer test run. The engine started easily, settled down to a nice idle, and things were really looking good. Then all hell broke loose. I noticed an oil leak near the passenger side crankcase arm. It is leaking between the two hogs head bolts at the front and rear of the arm. Not a little leak but a stream the size of a pencil lead. Not a drip drip type of thing but a steady stream. Then I noticed oil leaking out the threads of #1 spark plug. And about that time The front two head bolts started bubbling water... And then the %^$#@ rebuilt starter (I will not say what vendor it came from other than it was not Lang's) started pouring oil out the front of the starter. So it looks like I have a blown head gasket, and I will have to remove the engine to remove the crankcase and see what's wrong with the gasket ??. The crankcase was straightened on a pan jig so I do not have a clue how I could have that bad of a leak. Im not really sure if the oil at #1 plug is oil or oily water. I did every precaution when installing the head gasket and used guide pins to lower the head into place, so that is another "I do not have a clue what could have went wrong.

The bad thing is removing the engine requires removing the steering column, and raising the front of the body as well as all the normal things.

Tomorrow, I plan on running the engine one more time to let it warm up again and give everything one more chance to settle in. That way I will at least have about 15 minutes run time on the engine. Then while I have it open again I can look for any other issues that may have shown up... After that I will drain the water, gas, and oil and make sure every thing is good to set till this fall. I have ran out of time for this year. Its garden and farming time.

On a good note, the engine sounded real good. It starts very easy, and a lot of the time consuming things are already done , So when I do get back to it, I will not have to build and figure out a lot of things. The fan and belt sizes are restored and figured out. The original accessory radiator I wanted to use seems to be working well. , All the intake and exhaust problems are solved, and so on.

I did notice that there is going to be no way in %$#@ to keep the engine clean. That overhead rocker assembly is going to be one oily mess making machine ..... :)

So I guess Ill move into year #7 this fall and see if this thing will ever get finished ..... to be continued ......
Last edited by dobro1956 on Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Poppie
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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by Poppie » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:05 pm

Check out for a split hogs head Donnie,, Been there...Easy fix for a pro welder. ...N
Reliable progressing slowly .N.


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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by Dan McEachern » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:08 pm

Donnie- is there a mag field ring in this engine? If not, and there are no bolts in he lower corners, often times these holes broke thru the front side of the casting, right in the corner where the hogs head meets the block. Often times just a small hole, and not a problem if a mag field is installed but. . . .

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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by dobro1956 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:55 pm

Dan ,There is no mag ring, but the oil leak is on the side of the hogs head. Its leaking between the hogs head and crankcase directly below the bolt that goes thru the frame, crankcase arm, and wooden block. I think it is the paper gasket and not a cracked hogs head. Everything was cleaned and inspected very well. The crankcase was straightened on my KR WIlson pan jig and then tested on 2 more KR WIlson pan jigs to test the accuracy of my pan jig, since this was the first pan straightened on my pan jig. It tested good on all 3 pan jigs. It may be the paper gasket just split or blew out.
The head gasket leaking is a ?????? . The block was surfaced, the head was surfaced, and I had a good quality copper head gasket with proper fire rings . Not one of the new repro's without complete fire rings. The head gasket was sealed with copper spray coat. Bolt holes cleaned and length of bolts checked. I also made supports for the head gasket at the intake ports where the push rods pass thru. Everything was done by proper step by step procedures, So the head gasket leaking is what really bothers me. I have one more copper/asbestos head gasket and 2 more of the solid copper gaskets made by Les awhile back. I may try a solid copper next time.

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Post by dobro1956 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:55 pm

double post removed

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by Henry K. Lee » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:44 am

Don't feel bad Donnie, been there many times. It will be great when done!

All the Best,

Hank


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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by Randall strickland » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:48 pm

Donnie like Dan said if you did not put the lower mag ring bolts back in after removing mag ring it will leak like a oil well,I have ran into this two different times ,I cleaned the holes with brake clean and put ultra black silicon and it stopped leak


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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by Jerry Young » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:49 pm

Donnie, I just went through this problem on my 14 touring after an engine rebuild! Couldn't stop the leak any way I tried. Finally, pulled the engine back out and found the top of the pan in the area behind the arm had a lengthwise dent about 2 inches long. There was not enough area on the edge of the pan to seal allowing oil to seep past (the edges of the pan were straight, just the center was dented). I first though the problem was the rivets attaching the arm to the pan were leaking but close inspection showed the oil was seeping over the edge of the pan. Mike Bender and I decided there was not a quick fix so Mike dug out a good pan for me. We didn't throw the pan away (a four dipper) because thought we may come up with a fix in order to save the pan. Installed the replacement pan, no leaks (THANKS MIKE!!!). Mike said this was only the second pan he had seen with this problem, maybe you have the third one!

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Re: Speedster Project Update, Longer run of engine but problems.

Post by dobro1956 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:34 am

Here is a picture of the area of the leak. It was taken just before I put the felt seal on and set the hogs head in place.
zzzzzzzzz.JPG

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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by dobro1956 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:59 pm

I could not stand it. I had to pull the engine and see what went wrong. So after two days of work the engine is out and on the engine stand. I have not pulled the pan yet. I want to leave it alone till I address the head gasket problem.
When I removed the head I did not see anything that looked like a "smoking gun" . Since the front two head bolts were bubbling water, the leak almost has to be in that area between the bolts. I see no cracks or any obvious signs. When I removed the head the copper head casket tore to pieces. Part stayed on the head and part on the block. The area of the block between the front two head bolts appears to be clean and the gasket did not stick at that point. One thing I want to mention is that the block and head have been machined flat and all head bolt holes were chased and checked for length before the head was installed. I could see no flaws in the head gasket itself at the failure point. The head gasket is an old "Fitzgerald" copper/asbestos gasket. The inside of the gasket does appear to be real asbestos. So maybe the gasket was just too old ???? It looked brand new with no defects at all when I installed it, but I have no way of knowing how old it is. I have one more "Fitzgearld" gasket and two solid soft copper gaskets. The solid gaskets are the ones Les recently made and are about a year old. I think I will use a solid copper gasket when I install the head next time.
So my next step was to do a complete "forensic" inspection. The only thing I can come up with is "maybe" the intake valve port plugs I made were too high. Using one of my machinest parallels as a straight edge, placed at each valve plug, and shining a quartz light behind the parallel, I could see that maybe the front plug was a 001 to 002 too high. I set the parallel on the deck surface and could see no light. Then I inserted a .002 shim under one end of the parallel and the light gap looked huge. The light gap was way smaller when the parallel was on top of the intake plug. That is how I came up with the maybe .001 to .002 that the plug may be high. Since then I have removed all the plugs and re-ground them to make sure that the plugs are about a half a thou to .001 low. There only purpose is to support the head gasket at the port area. 4-valve heads are prone to blowing head gaskets at the intake port area, so an old school fix was to make supports from old valve heads. So if that was the problem I have addressed it.

So now on to my next issue. When I removed the head # 2, 3 and 4 cylinders were very oily. #1 cylinder was not as oily but it had some water in it. So maybe the water/steam washed it clean. ?? The cylinder walls, and combustion chamber, had a thick oil film on them, as well as the plugs being oily. There was no sign of a head gasket leak at the rear 3 cylinders. When I rebuilt the engine last fall/winter I squirted some oil in the cylinders, as well as the pistons being soaked in oil when I installed them. The engine started easily, I have even hand cranked it a couple times. The first run of about 1 minute or less, the engine smoked very much. But that is to be expected. I have a total of less than 5 minutes run time on the engine. There was still some smoke coming from the engine, but not bad. So my question is "could the oily cylinder walls be the last of the oil I squirted into the cylinders. ?? I know it is hard to burn oil off something even with a torch, so has the oil in the cylinders just not had time to be totally gone. ?? I think So, but this is the first engine I have rebuilt that I had to re-open with less than 5 minutes run time. When I tore down the engine for the rebuild, the bearings were good and had plenty of shims left, the cylinder walls were almost perfect and still showed some cross hatch marks from the previous owners rebuild. The pistons were great and I very lightly honed the cylinder walls and reused the pistons and rings. The rings fit the ring groove as they should be. So am I worrying about nothing.. ?? There is one thing I did that has me concerned about the possible "oil pumping" . I installed a deep sump oil pan under the stock inspection/dipper pan. I also raised the oil level of the stock dipper pan about 3/16 inch by installing an oil dam at the rear of the crankcase. So I do have a little more "splash" going on in the pan. But that is a old school trick that has been used many times in the past by others. Any thoughts as to possible "oil pumping/excess splash"

I will post some pictures of the head gasket area. Maybe someone will see something I did not see. The weird thing is the "burnt oil" trail at the exhaust valves ??? But again, maybe it is just the remaining assembly oil trying to burn out. ?? Any help or input is appreciated.
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Last edited by dobro1956 on Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by dobro1956 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:00 pm

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dobro1956
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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by dobro1956 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:01 pm

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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by Allan » Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:07 am

Donnie, if the head and the block surfaces were trued, there must be a gasket problem. It is not hard to lose material from between the two gasket faces at the front and back between the end pair of bolts. Occasionally I have had to insert some brass shimstock between the gasket surface and its packing, not to replace lost packing, but to make allowance for the outside of the block water jacket being a little low. You have ruled out the low spots, so the gasket may be at fault.

Allan from down under.


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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by Dan McEachern » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:26 am

A few comments- you never said if you got the engine warm enough to retorque the head gasket. If not, there might have been anything wrong other than the lack of retorquing the head a few times after heat cycling.

On your upper end oiling issue- it might be the pictures, but I see no evidence of any hone crosshatch pattern on the cylinder walls- they appear to be shiney.

If you go with a solid copper head gasket, make sure it has been annealed dead soft. I've had the best luck with using several coats of Spray Coppercoat on the gasket and letting it dry.

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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by dobro1956 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:50 pm

Dan, I ran the engine about 30 to 45 seconds for the first and second startup before I installed the radiator. With the radiator in place I ran it maybe 3 minutes. The water was hot but not very hot. I could still lay my hands on the head. probably too hot to keep my hand there long but would not burn. The paint on the exhaust manifold was just starting to smoke. You may be right. I should have checked the torque again. I think I originally torqued to 55 lbs. What torque does everyone recommend for a solid copper head gasket. The solid copper head gaskets I have were made by Les Shubert, and I believe they are "dead soft" copper. Less recommended Hylomar Blue for the gaskets when he had them for sale. I will either use hylomar blue or copper coat. Re-torquing the 4 valve head is going to be a pain in the rear. I have to remove the rocker arm assembly each time I re-torque. There is a head bolt under each rocker arm tower. But it will have to be done. As to the cross hatch marks. They are barely visable. Not deep enough to show up because of the glare.

I probably should have re-torqued first, :( Oh well Ill never know now. But the engine really needed to come out so I could check the crankcase/hogshead leak. I may have been able to just remove the hogs head, but it is really tight inside that speedster body ....

Thanks for all the input


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Re: Speedster Project Update, pulled engine addressing oil and water leaks

Post by Kingsford-Smith » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:38 am

Donnie, I have a 4 valve still to be fitted and am curious to know how you secured the inlet valves in the block.Does the guy who made the solid copper head gaskets still do them as would like to purchase one.I have been following your post and find it most interesting

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