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View Full Version : Flathead six - oil getting into my coolant



DilloCrafter
02-25-2006, 11:49 PM
I mentioned recently that the flathead six motor I bought and sent to be rebuilt has had a major mishap (fall from a forklift on its face) while in the care of the freight company (company name withheld until we see how the claim works out). Since it will probably be several months before that engine, or another one like it, gets rebuilt again and into my truck, I want to focus my efforts on the tired old (105k miles) motor that's in the truck now - a 185 cu. in. flathead six.

When I got the truck I noticed the radiator coolant looked muddy brown in color, so I had it flushed for an hour and refilled by a local garage. Now it has fresh green coolant, but after driving it 50 miles I can see little beads of oil in the coolant when I remove the radiator cap.

Someone said there are no oil passages in the flathead's head, so they didn't think the problem is a bad head gasket (besides, there is not that telltale "frothy milk shake" appearance to the oil on the dipstick). We have oil in coolant, but apparently no coolant in the crankcase oil.

Does anyone have ideas where the oil can be seeping into the coolant in this motor?

http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter


1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon

DilloCrafter
02-26-2006, 12:27 AM
I've spent the last 45 minutes scouring the web for the search terms, "oil in coolant" along with the word "flathead". Some old Ford tractor motors were flatheads, and I read suggestions that the head gasket could be leaking, or the head is warped or not torqued properly all around. Also, some have said that oil can get in the water by way of worn out parts in a water pump.

Does any of the above seem applicable to a Champion Six? If so, I probably could use a new water pump anyway, to be safe. And replacing a head gasket shouldn't be that difficult or expensive.

What say ye?

http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter


1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon

gordr
02-26-2006, 06:52 AM
quote:Originally posted by DilloCrafter

I've spent the last 45 minutes scouring the web for the search terms, "oil in coolant" along with the word "flathead". Some old Ford tractor motors were flatheads, and I read suggestions that the head gasket could be leaking, or the head is warped or not torqued properly all around. Also, some have said that oil can get in the water by way of worn out parts in a water pump.

Does any of the above seem applicable to a Champion Six? If so, I probably could use a new water pump anyway, to be safe. And replacing a head gasket shouldn't be that difficult or expensive.

What say ye?

http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter


1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon


The Stude water pump contains no oil, and there is no connection to the engine's oiling system. Probably not the cause.

I'd be thinking about the possibility of a crack or blowhole in the block casting allowing a little engine oil to seep into the water jacket. But the most likely scenario is that you have either a blown head gasket or a cracked valve seat, and combustion gases are getting into the water jacket. Some oil will condense out of those gases.

I'd get a cooling system pressure tester, pump it up to about 4 psi, and run the engine. See if the gage moves. A compression leak should make the gage ramp up quickly. Try the same test on a warm engine, provided the first test was done cold.

There are also chemical test kits you can get to test for the presence of combustion products in the coolant. I expect a shop that does a lot of big Diesel truck work could perform such a test for you.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

DilloCrafter
02-26-2006, 09:50 PM
Gordon,

Thanks once again for a detailed and helpful answer. The head gasket seems the most likely (besides, I like it because it would be the simplest and least expensive to repair).

There is a bit of oil that oozes down from the head/block intersection, in one five inch long area at the left front of the block. I'm thinking the gasket is bad there, and maybe bad in other places, so that oil that gets into the top of the cylinder past the rings, and gets blown through cracks or tears in the head gasket, and then condenses into the coolant via some of the coolant holes in the head. I'll get one of those cooling system pressure testers soon. It will be good to have, to test before and after replacing the head gasket, should that appear to be the cause of the problem.


http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter


1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon

jackb
02-28-2006, 05:36 PM
Just a thought.....If someone added some "Stop-Leak" or it's equivalent, you could simply have that gunk in your radiator. Have you checked to find coolant in the oil pan ??

DilloCrafter
02-28-2006, 09:18 PM
I drained the oil, and it looked just like old, dark, dirty oil. Since the one hour radiator flush and refill by local shop, and new oil I added, all I see is some beads of oil showing up in the coolant after 50 miles of driving.



http://rocketdillo.com/studebaker/misc/images/Current_Avacar.gif[/img=left] - DilloCrafter


1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
[i]The Red-Headed Amazon

CHAMP
03-01-2006, 08:09 AM
I WOULD CHECK HEAD WITH A STRAIGHT EDGE AFTER YOU GET THE HEAD OFF. CHAMP[8D]

curt
03-01-2006, 07:30 PM
Sounds like a bad head gasket or a crack in the block. I'm not much more than a shade tree mechanic.