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Rebuilt 179 HP motor spewing water from the radiator & blowing white smoke :(

Hey fellas. I'd recently just rebuilt my old holden 179 motor, and I'm using a brand new commodore copper radiator. I start the motor up dead cold with the water level full and cap off. It'll seem ok for like 2-3 minutes and literally spews out water like a bloody fire hydrant had been hit from the side of the road with a car. It does this and loses about 4-5 litres literally within seconds. There seems to be what looks like white smoke out of the exhaust. There's no water in the oil, however. The head itself has been heavilly worked and I did notice oil around the bosses in the intake ports. The head is a 9-port head with mass porting done. It has also had head crack repair at some stage. Is it a likelyhood that the head is stuffed? Or should I be looking somewhere else. I did swap carbies over to my testbench one and I'm still getting the white smoke. No change there whatsoever. Any ideas on this one would be appreciated! It just hasn't been my year so far....

Thanks In Advance!

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Also, the white smoke is consistent, and increases with increased throttle, decreases with decreased throttle but even at idle the white smoke is evident.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

I would suspect the crack repair has failed. Pressure test the cooling system cold and see if one or more bores fills with water. Any chance the head gasket was put on upside down and back to front?

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Regards Blue

Thanks for your reply aussieblue. I don't have any special gear to pressure test, but I've got an idea that it's head related. Not much chance of me putting the head gasket around the wrong way, as I'd done the rebuild myself but I guess stranger things have happened in my life. I've got another red head I can bolt on, but will need to come up with a new head gasket to see if that makes a difference.

Thanks Blue.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

I'm thinking maybe the outlet where the cap sits is lower than the original cap and you have air trapped in the head when you fill it up.
If this is the problem, you might get around it by putting a blue/black motor thermostat housing on and bleeding it through the pollution fitting on the top of the housing. (if the pollution motors had a fitting there)
How are the welch plugs in the side of the head behind the manifolds?
David

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Old is good.

You might be right too David. Certainly wouldn't hurt to change the thermostat housing back to the VK commodore one and see what happens. It is using the vk commodore type radiator, and using the vk commodore top radiator hose, which is different from the old red one. But the white smoke? Any ideas what could be going on there?

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Another thing I had noticed is that there is oil weeping around the intake ports on the inside of the head. Seems to be weeping from around where the bosses have been inserted, as it's a modified yella-terra spec red head. Could this be the cause of the white smoke by chance?

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

White smoke is usually from trans fluid (Assuming it's smoke and not steam) Does the car have a Trimatic? Might have a faulty modulator, to check it disconnect the vacuum hose from the modulator and if fluid comes out the modulator is faulty.

In regards to the cooling system issue you haven't mention if it is getting hot at the same time. Have you checked the spark plugs to see if there is any evidence of water/coolant in any of the cylinders?

In the absence of a pressure tester try running it for as long as you can without it spewing coolant then shut it off and remove the plugs. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so with the plugs out then get someone to crank the engine (don't let anyone stand on the plug side of the engine) If there is an internal leak bad enough to pressurise the cooling system you will see a stream of coolant shoot out the affected cylinder/s

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Cheers
David

aka hq308belmont

My Archived Shed

Hi hq308,
I forgot to mention the car runs a manual transmission. Used to run a 4 speed opel gearbox, but changed over to the toyota 5 speed manual. a much better gearbox. Also, the motor runs no anti-pollution gear whatsoever so is just a real basic engine setup. And for the moment, all the vacuum lines are blocked off on the single barrel stromberg that I'm currently running. I did have twin SU's on there yesterday, but switched over to see if that'd make any difference, but it hasn't made any whatsoever. I'll take your advice and run it, then pull the plugs out and see what it does and get back to you.

Thanks for your advise.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

So attached is a pic of my running gear. Single-barrel stromberg carbie "late model", on a basic manifold. Engine has 186 standardbore flat top pistons, on a fresh re-bore and running a crow 35667 cam and new jp helical gears. It's also running HEI distributor and coil. I since changed over the top radiator hose to an earlier one to suit the thermostat housing. I ran it for half hour with a clean light rag behind it for a little while and no oil at all. Just getting white smoke and I'm sure it's water vapor. Was running it with the radiator cap off and it'd surge water to begin with then settle down. If I filled it with water, it'd spew out a good few litres then run fine again. I kinda get the feeling there's a crack in the head somewhere and it's maybe pushing exhaust gasses through the cooling system?

AttachmentSize
Image icon VK With Running Gear 02.jpg2.91 MB
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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

If I can get a bit of a break in the weather tomorrow, I'll remove the head and change it over with another one I've got and keep you all updated. Thanks fellas!

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

are you using a thermostat in it ?
i always check they work before installing them in a pot of boiling water
what your describing with the water gushing out is a bad thermostat

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Ok I've pulled out the thermostat and tested it. It doesn't even open with boiling hot water from the kettle sitting in a pot. I've got the original one from the old vk motor and that's running fine. I'm sure that's solved one problem. I think I might be onto the other problem stupidly enough. Or maybe? I checked the dipstick and realised that I'm probably a bigger one than the one in the car. lol. For whatever reason there's way too much oil in there. Noticed engine oil all though the piston bores and even in the intake ports when I took the head off. I'm gonna have to drain a few litres and I'll put the head back on with a new gasket and see if there's any resolve.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Is it possible that too much oil in the engine would somehow force it into the engine bores and burn out the exhaust?

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

yea overfilling it with oil will cause it to smoke
never trust the thermostats always test them first

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I'll dump out the excess oil this afternoon, and see how we go from there. thermostat's been changed over with one that's tested and now appears fine. I've just gotta re-fit the head now and see what happens.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Looks like I had about 2 litres too much in the old girl. I changed over the thermostat put the head back on with a new head gasket and have ran it for around an hour. No more temp issues. Took the cap off with the motor still running and all was fine. Wasn't over pressurised or anything. all's good on that end. Doesn't seem quite as smokey there now, but with the wind here and chill factor I can't quite tell. Will keep you all updated as I go along. Next trick is to figure out where the ignition timing needs to be? I'm assuming around 8 degrees, but how do I tell where 8 degrees is on the timing cover, as it looks like it's the original eh one and is different from any other timing cover that I have on my other holden motors?

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Managed to find what the timing case marks mean. Bloody oath this is a good resource! http://holdenpaedia....

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Today's update. Got engine smoking out the exhaust sorted. Looks like somehow the carbie was getting way too much fuel and was flooding something chronic. Noticed the engine was stumbling, so checked under the bonnet and there was loads of fuel around the outside of the carbie. Took the top off it and there was fuel well above the the float. was to the top of the float bowl. tested the float and that seems fine. Replaced the needle and seat from another one and changed the fuel pump over " as that was suspect". Ran the old girl for over an hour so far without a single drop of smoke from the exhaust. seems to have made quite the difference. Carbie's still running a little off beat, and the car will stall out occasionally and hunt a little on the rev's, but I'll swap it over with an other one shortly and see if it clears that issue.

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I'd rather drive my old holden than a new ford!

Do you have a new fuel filter in there? After taking the top off my carby a couple of times, checking float levels,etc, I found my filter partially clogged, and giving all sorts of strange symptoms.

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"If your car has quarter vents, a diff at the back, and was available with wind-down windows, you may talk to me.
Otherwise I am not interested. Amen."

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