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Coolant in my oil!!!

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  • Coolant in my oil!!!

    Hi folks,

    I'm a lurker here in need of some help. I just went to change the oil in my 55 Champion sedan last night only to see some lovely green fluid come pooring out of the pan before the old oil joined it. It has not been started since I put it away in October. I went to change the oil before I started it up again. New oil is now in, but where do I begin to suspect/inspect before fireing it up now?
    It has 29000 original miles on it but it sat inside from 1974 until we restored it back to the road in 1990. We did everything but the drivetrain. The motor has never been touched. I know this as it was my fathers car. I restored it and gave it back to him for his 89th birthday. As of last summer compression was pretty even and no signs of smoking. Any help appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    I hope you don't regret adding the new oil........ the block or heads may have cracked over the winter and let your Prestone leak out. The oil would have floated on the water. If you had started the engine, the oil would have been milky looking from having the two fluids mixed by the churning crank & rods. Checked the coolant level in the radiator yet?
    The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers


    • #3
      I don't think I would have put new oil in it until I found how the coolant was getting into the oil. I would not start it now since there is most likely coolant in the fresh oil.

      Most likely cause would be a failed head gasket. Other than that, cracked head or cracked block. I'd start by pulling the head and examining the head gasket for signs of failure. If it is the head gasket, have both the block top surface and the head checked for straightness before reassembly.

      Good luck!

      Dick Steinkamp
      Bellingham, WA


      • #4
        Best to do a leak down test on it,when you get to the cylinder that has the bad gasket on it you will get both bubbling in the water of the radiator and if you use a mechanics scope you will hear it in the raidator or pan or both.


        • #5
          Thanks for the input fella's. Yes the rad is down and there is no sign of fluid on the ground under the car. I know putting new oil in was a waste but oil is cheap and I felt better trickling some lub down through it rather than leaving it dry until I figure out how too proceed from here.

          Alan-can you expand on "leak down test" for me? How do I go about doing it?

          1955 Champion Deluxe 2dr.


          • #6
            Bubbling in the radiator can indicate a head gasket leak. A friend of mine owns a shop and has a test kit that replaces the radiator cap with a vial of chemical that reactes to exhaust gases in the coolant.
            I didn't have a gasket leak. My temp sending unit was leaking voltage to the coolant. This is obviously not the problem with yours, but I thought it a curious diagnoses, and a test like his could confirm the problem before pulling the heads.
            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
            sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


            • #7
              A leak down test uses shop air pressure to put 100 lbs of air to the cylinder the first guage reads the line pressure there is a .032 hole to the next guage that reads leakage by percent. The tool is screwed into the spark plug hole just like a compression tester.If you have bad exhaust valves you hear it in the exhaust pipe , bad intake valves you hear it in the carb, leaky head gasket you hear it in the pan or bubbles in the water. At least you will know the cylinder to go to rather than go the shot gun approach. Summit has them for $69.95 SUM-900010.


              • #8
                Let's hope the problem's with the head gasket or the head. Anything else is gonna be costly!

                Miscreant at large.

                1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                1960 Larkvertible V8
                1958 Provincial wagon
                1953 Commander coupe
                1957 President 2-dr
                1955 President State
                1951 Champion Biz cpe
                1963 Daytona project FS
                No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


                • #9
                  There is a Lubriplate product, GL 75, that removes all traces of coolant from your engine. It is added to the oil run for a while then removed. Cheaper than motors. Used it for years in a fleet application, works good. Another product is Butylseptesolv. Works even better but is very hard to get.

                  where there's foo there's fire