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Vapor Lock ???

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  • Cool/Heat: Vapor Lock ???

    Obviously a well discussed topic here. Why will some cars from all over the country suffer from this malady, while others (mine) never do have this problem.... ? For you old timers: did brand new cars and trucks vapor lock when new in 1940 ? Or does there have to be other issues with the engine to do so.....IMWTK

  • #2
    I never had vapor lock before this ethanol crap gas came around.
    Even in my 52 Land Cruiser with the fuel pump mounted up so high, and driving in the hot El Paso desert, it never had a fuel problem.

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    • #3
      Good question, with a lot of right and wrong answers. Yes it did happen in 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, disappearing as fuel injection appeared, with pressurized fuel delivery, recirculating fuel, pressurization of fuel storage, etc. Why it happened to one vehicle and not to the exact same one next to it? Not so easy to answer. Did the guy who had it, buy his gas at a different gas station? Did a "mechanic" move a fuel line when the rebuilt the carb? Is the spring tension on the fuel pump return lever the same, did the diaphragm on one move more times and thus is less efficient. Did one guys notice his car stalls when it shouldn't when the next one thought it was his clutch actuation, or having stopped too fast, and ignored it? Under the right circumstances, older carbureted, mechanical fuel pumped cars will all suffer it to one degree or another. That's why so many "cures" have been devised over the years. It can, and did, occur in brand spanking new cars, just a fact of life at that time, like the constantly dead batteries, need to push start cars when the starter wouldn't get it going.

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      • #4
        Just around the same time fuel injection became standard, also water cooled intake manifolds became standard as well. From what I understand the liquid cooled manifolds were introduced to stop the vapor lock problems.

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        • #5
          Studebaker addressed it in a Service Bulletin in 1957, for supercharged cars. It said to drain the coolant and use 100 percent water in summertime, since water reduces the engine temp by a few degrees. LOL

          Lots of folks say theirs do not vapor lock, but every Stude I have driven in hot water did. A good snapshot of the problem was at the SDC Meet parade in SB a few years ago, when it got unseasonably hot. Far more cars vapor locked than did not, and most that did not had other than OEM mods of one sort or another.

          Lots of remedies out there, everything from fuel return lines to clothes pins to rabbit's foot on the keychain. I found that no one single step would do much to prevent it, but a "package" approach would reduce it substantially: HD fan; HD radiator; fuel return line; electric fuel pump; aluminum shroud between carb and manifold, etc.. The only actual cure I have found to date has been EFI, which both of the GTs now have. Have not experienced vapor lock on either of those cars since the EFI was installed.
          Last edited by JoeHall; 03-09-2017, 07:25 AM.

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          • #6
            ... and just for a laugh... I do recall a gentleman @ a meet telling me he travelled with grapefruits in a cooler. Whenever his car vapor locked...out came 1/2 a grapefruit and wound it around the carb for a few minutes....swore by it...

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            • #7
              I had the problem with both my '61 Champ truck and my '55 President. I purchased some insulated fuel line wrap to put around the fuel line from the fuel pump to the carburetor on both vehicles and it solved the problem completely.
              Ed Sallia
              Dundee, OR

              Sol Lucet Omnibus

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              • #8
                Joe:

                Can you give me a reference about your EFI so that I can research it?

                Thanks.

                Bill L.
                '62 GT
                Bill L.
                1962 GT Hawk

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 56GH View Post
                  Joe:

                  Can you give me a reference about your EFI so that I can research it?

                  Thanks.

                  Bill L.
                  '62 GT
                  I used Bill Hamilton's system from 'Hamilton Fuel Injection'. Bill is a retired Navy electronics guru, who designed his own system for his IH Scout, maybe 20 years ago. He later designed kits for several friends' cars. One thing led to another, and he now makes kits for just about every orphan car on the planet. He could probably design a kit for a moped if someone wanted. He used mostly GM and Mopar parts from the 1980s-90s. I like that repair parts are only as far away as FLAPS.

                  I have chosen not to put a kit on the 56J however because, well it is a 56J. LOL

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                  • #10
                    Putting the same set up on a 64 Hawk. Let you know what I think, but looking forward to trying it

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LovelandJoe View Post
                      Putting the same set up on a 64 Hawk. Let you know what I think, but looking forward to trying it
                      Please do let us know how it works out. If you want no muss-no fuss operation of your car, in any clime and place, with whatever gas is available at the pump, it is the only way to fly. I'll also be interested to know how you deal with all the miscellaneous wires, hoses and stuff under the hood. Mine looks like a snakes' den, but I really don't care. I did see where Joe Rink had installed a similar setup on his Avanti, and it was hardly noticeable. So I know it can be done neatly, if that's important. LOL

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                      • #12
                        Will do Joe. I may have to call Joe Rink.

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                        • #13
                          Efi would be wonderful, but if you want to keep your car or truck closer to stock
                          Two things to try: A cool can This used to be a 2#coffee can with fuel line wound inside and then packed with ice in the center. Oh! Don't forget the drain hole in the bottom. This item can also be purchased through Summit Racing.
                          2) Evans waterless coolant: I saw this on JAY LENO garage. This can be found on You Tube. Looks to be a awesome product ! If Jay runs it in a Duesenberg that has got to say something!

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                          • #14
                            I had this problem on my 1955 Commander. It would vapor lock all the time in the summer. Finally, I bought an Air-Tex E8016S electric fuel pump ($27.00 on Amazon) and spliced it into the fuel line on the frame rail back by the fuel tank. I ran a wire from the pump to under the dash and connected a fuse and switch. This Air-Tex pump is a "flow thru" unit so it didn't interfere with the mechanical pump. I wired it thru the ignition switch so it would turn on and off with the ignition. I always left it on while driving. The car ran beautifully with no more vapor locks. It didn't make noise while driving, the only time you could hear it run was when you first turned the key, you could hear a clicking, which you couldn't hear when the line pressurized while the engine was running. I had converted my car to 12 volts years ago. I don't know if Air-Tex makes a 6 Volt unit. The whole installation was very easy and took less than an hour.

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                            • #15
                              I just purchased a great little book from Randy Rundle at Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts called "The Official Guide to Modern Gasoline and Oil for Antique Cars" You can check his site out at www.fifthaveinternetgarage.com He explains what has happened to gasoline and oils over the last few decades and how it impacts our older cars. Some great tips. For example regarding vapor lock he suggests adding approximately one pint of diesel fuel for every 10 gallons of gasoline. This raises the boiling point of gasoline and also helps to lubricate the gaskets in the carb and helps reduce shrinking and drying out from exposure to alcohol gasoline. A gear driven electric fuel pump is the other major suggestion. As the fuel reaches it's boiling point the mechanical pump simply cannot draw enough pressure to overcome the vapor lock where as a good electric pump can. I have an electric pump on my GT and a good 30 micron filter and have had no issues with vapor lock. I am going to start putting the diesel fuel in as well.

                              According to Randy these problems are occurring again because of what has happened to gasoline, especially the alcohol.

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