39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

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jim/KB1MCV
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39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:03 pm

I am re-commissioning a '39 Super Eight that has been in inside storage for about three years.
It starts and runs well but is loosing anti-freeze through the exhaust- massive amounts of white (steam?) from the tailpipe.
I did a compression test after maybe 15 min. of low-speed running, compression is between 80 and 90 pounds on all eight cylinders with coolant traces from #2 cylinder.
I re torqued the head studs to 65 ft.lbs. and found all the studs were only tightened to maybe 45 to 55 ft. lbs.
The condition remained unchanged after re-torque.
I have another head gasket coming and have the head off for inspection, will be cleaning the head and block tomorrow. I'll check the head for warps with a straightedge, really don't expect to find any distortion. History of the engine is a little hazy but extensive receipts in my documentation indicate the block and head were surfaced and new studs installed in the early 2000s along with major overhaul. No idea of mileage or history since. The gentleman who had the work done passed away at 99 years of age about three years ago.
Am I quite safe in assuming the leak or leaks are from the under torqued head or should I be looking for possible cracks in the block or head?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

flackmaster
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Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by flackmaster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:41 pm

I'll await further information before speculating as to the coolant loss...these heads are usually good...but??? I'm not even going to think about a cracked block...
One comment, please pay close attention to making sure you get the correct head gasket....39 Super 8 is a one year only unique gasket...earlier gaskets are NOT the same.

jim/KB1MCV
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Location: southern Maine

Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Tue May 01, 2018 2:59 am

The head gasket I have on order is from Kanter. Do you think I can rely on them to supply the correct head gasket? I've had no problems in the past with their listings for other cars.
The old gasket is a McCord 6049. Are the '39 head differences enough that the gasket wouldn't fit or is the difference more subtle?
Thanks for the tip.
Should the gasket go on dry or is there a sealer that would be appropriate? The McCord gasket had no sealer.

Dave Czirr
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Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue May 01, 2018 3:25 am

Kanter's are reliable and knowledgeable suppliers to the hobby. But errors can happen with any supplier so check the gasket against the block surface before using.

Most important for head gasket installation is to use the correct pattern for tightening the head stud nuts, tightening to torque in 2 or 3 steps, and again retorqueing after perhaps 30 minutes of running, again after perhaps 5-15 hours, and one last time at the end of the season or beginning of the next. Most people use a gasket sealant, see the attached if you haven't already read it.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=863
Attachments
Cylinder head sequence.JPG

jim/KB1MCV
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:56 pm
Location: southern Maine

Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Tue May 01, 2018 4:06 am

Thanks for the link, it will help.
Going to a cleaning and inspection mode this morning.
I guess the two extra studs on the valve side of the block on the '35 to '49 standard engines is an indication there may have been a problem sealing the '39 Super Eights.
Thanks again.

Dave Czirr
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Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue May 01, 2018 4:10 am

guess the two extra studs on the valve side of the block on the '35 to '49 standard engines is an indication there may have been a problem sealing the '39 Super Eights.

I would not conclude that, it's an entirely different family of engines with an entirely different configuration of water jacketing. Your 1939 Super Eight is the last derivation of a design initiated in 1924 with the First Series Single Eight and head gasket sealing issues were never associated with that design.

jim/KB1MCV
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Location: southern Maine

Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Tue May 01, 2018 8:35 am

Mr. Czirr
PM sent

jim/KB1MCV
Posts: 17
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Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Wed May 02, 2018 7:02 am

Just an update:
FSCN0008.JPG
Here's what I found
[img]
Well the head seems to be fine, but there was leakage at #2 cylinder. This repair is at #2 cylinder.
At this point I really can't tell if this repair is leaking, but it isn't a very elegant repair.
I'm waiting for a new head gasket at this point. I wasn't looking for an extended project at this time but I guess it found me.
Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Frankly finding an engine replacement is looking better all the time but I am aware of the problems that can cause with originality. On the other hand the car isn't going to be a concours contestant.

Adam
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Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by Adam » Thu May 03, 2018 10:47 am

Well that looks unusual, a welded repair in the combustion chamber. I like the tack weld holding the valve seat in place too!

That repair in the cylinder should not necessarily be detrimental, although I suspect it goes through to the water jacket, but can you tell if water has been leaking through there? If it is, it may well still be recoverable, more easily than finding, and then rebuilding a replacement engine probably.

It would be good to see how it looks with the valves removed and possibly those valve seat inserts too.

Do have the head refaced before reinstalling. The job of the head gasket is far easier with at least one flat surface and the long heads do warp a bit.

Sorry that you have that challenge so early in your ownership.
"Do not underestimate the English cousin.....they are not as stupid as they look!" - Signor Altabani in The Italian Job.

jim/KB1MCV
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:56 pm
Location: southern Maine

Re: 39 Super Eight internal coolant leak

Post by jim/KB1MCV » Wed May 23, 2018 7:13 am

Here is another update on the engine project.
Any comments will be appreciated.
My experience with similar (non- Packard) cast-iron repairs hasn't been positive as far as repairing failed repairs.
Here is a better picture of the #2 cylinder. Leakage extends under the intake and exhaust valve seats. I agree the seat needs to come out to better see whats happening. Kind of a cobbled looking job, isn't it?
#2 cyl A.JPG
This is the #6 cylinder, not as radical as #2 but leaking and blowing bubbles.
#6 cyl A.JPG
And another leak at #7.
#7 cyl A.JPG
The casting was tested at ~23 psi air pressure, the water passages are sealed and plugged and the water pump removed, its cavity blanked with a 3/8" steel plate.
The major question I have at this point is is the casting is salvageable?
If it may be repairable, who would you recommend to do the work?
If not repairable, options and opinions on replacement.
I suspect a '39 Super Eight block is going to be hard to find. What later engines (Packard engines that is, I have no interest in building a restrorod) will bolt up? There is already an R-11 o.d. transmission in the car which is locked (haywired) out and the o.d. auxiliary items, relay and cable not present.
Thanks for any comments.
Jim

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