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  • Engine: Smoking engine

    I replaced a cracked head on my 1950 Commander 4.0L engine. Now the engine blows A LOT of "smoke" after driving the car and parking for a period of time. After installed the new head, I did find the head bolts needed to be re-torqued. But I drove the car again yesterday and it smoked a lot after I parked it. When I got home I checked the headbolts and they did not require torquing. I actually increased the torque to 90 ft-lbs. Still, the engine smokes after I drive the car and park it. Oil looks good. Does not look like chocolate milk. Really feels like the coolant is still bleeding into the cylinders but don't know what to do now that the head bolts are tight.
    Chuck

    1950 Commander Starlight Regal Deluxe
    1954 Ford Custom Coupe
    1969 Datsun Roadster 2000

  • #2
    I would guess that it is not "smoking", but rather steaming from coolant getting into the cylinders.
    Did you have the block and head trued or at least checked them before mating them?
    If the head was not properly torqued when you first ran it, the gasket may be damaged to the point of needing to be replaced. I ASSUME that you used a new head gasket.
    Coolant can get into the cylinders and leave via steam out the exhaust without much getting into the oil.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

    Comment


    • #3
      What color is the exhaust? An oil burner has bluish white and a distinct oil smell. Antifreeze has a sweet smell and white exhaust.

      I like copper head gaskets and spray Copper Coat on both sides. I always do the fist torque in at least 3 stages, about 1/3 of the final torque, then 2/3 of final torque, then full torque, then recheck the torque after running for an hour or two.

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      • #4
        You have to use Perfect Seal (or equivalent) when installing a new head gasket. If you did not, here is certainly your trouble.
        Nice day to all.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          We don't have enough information to confirm a diagnosis. A compression test and a leak-down test will go a long way to identifying a head gasket leak. If there is a gasket area leak:

          1. Have the head milled by a machine shop. If there were such a thing as a new Commander head, after 60 years on the shelf, I'd still have it milled.
          2. Clean all the threads on the head bolts.
          3. Lightly coat a bottoming tap with grease and run it down each head bolt hole. Clean, regrease between each hole. Amazing how much crud is in there.

          If the compression/leakdown tests do not identify a gasket area leak, well, yes, most old flatheads do smoke a lot.

          jack vines
          PackardV8

          Comment


          • #6
            I did use a new gasket and the copper gasket product. Tightened using the correct pattern. I'll perform a leak down test using my air compressor. But if there are not special tricks for this engine, I will pull the head and install another new gasket. The original head did not have this issue and if not for the crack, I certainly wouldn't have messed with it.
            Chuck

            1950 Commander Starlight Regal Deluxe
            1954 Ford Custom Coupe
            1969 Datsun Roadster 2000

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by chlenz62 View Post
              I did use a new gasket and the copper gasket product. Tightened using the correct pattern. I'll perform a leak down test using my air compressor. But if there are not special tricks for this engine, I will pull the head and install another new gasket. The original head did not have this issue and if not for the crack, I certainly wouldn't have messed with it.
              If you end up pulling the head, check the flatness of the "new" head and the block. Also, clean the threads that the head bolts go into (and the bolts if not using new ones).
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                You can do a low tec test by devising an air hose attached to a spark plug and pressurize each cylinder and look and listen in the radiator for air or bubbles. Also listen down the oil filler for escaping air, you don't need high pressure maybe 20 - 30 lbs. With each piston on top dead center and the transmission in gear to avoid the piston from going down.

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                • #9
                  SI has a pallet 0f 245 heads.

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                  • #10
                    My 49 Commander's head was off when it became my shop queen. Like an idiot I bought a new head gasket and bolted it down. Leaked like a seive! Took it off, took it to the shop . It was warped. They trued it up for $30. The gasket I wasted was $50! Sometimes shortcuts aren't so short (or cheap) Have shop check head even if new. They can maniflux it too to find cracks you can't see. You should not be seeing oil smoke with a change of head so coolant is likely. This is hugely not good. Coolant in the crankcase is a major overhaul; ,glycol is cleverly designed to eat bearings. If you spring for an SI head, take it to shop before bolting it on.

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                    • #11
                      I pulled the head and it's now at a machine shop. I should have pulled spark plugs and shoved my camera down the holes to see how much water was in the cylinders. But I also know the spark plugs are not centered over the cylinders and I may not have seen anything. At any rate, it will be interesting to learn if the head is warped. Is there a better product for me to use when I re-install the head? I'm planning on using the copper spray product again.
                      Chuck

                      1950 Commander Starlight Regal Deluxe
                      1954 Ford Custom Coupe
                      1969 Datsun Roadster 2000

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Always had good luck with K-W Coppercoat. Apply several coats. Good Luck and Happy New Year!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chlenz62 View Post
                          I pulled the head and it's now at a machine shop. I should have pulled spark plugs and shoved my camera down the holes to see how much water was in the cylinders. But I also know the spark plugs are not centered over the cylinders and I may not have seen anything. At any rate, it will be interesting to learn if the head is warped. Is there a better product for me to use when I re-install the head? I'm planning on using the copper spray product again.
                          Be sure to also check the block - at least with a steel straight edge.
                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          SDC member since 1968
                          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sometimes bores with lots of miles wear in a pattern that changes when heads are taken off and replaced. The rings may have been mated to the older bore and won't seal. That may cause smoke,

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                            • #15
                              Appreciate all the valuable feedback. The engine is rebuilt with just a few miles on it. It doesn't smoke at all when running. But my coolant level is dropping so I'm fairly certain this is a head gasket leak.
                              Chuck

                              1950 Commander Starlight Regal Deluxe
                              1954 Ford Custom Coupe
                              1969 Datsun Roadster 2000

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