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55 Caribbean Over Heating
Just popping in
Joined:
2019/7/21 10:46
From Magnolia, TX
Posts: 8
Recently acquired a '55 Caribbean. The car has overheated and vapor locked since day one. I have helped the vapor lock issue by insulating the gas lines and adding an electric gas pump back at the tank. The engine over heating continues. I had the radiator serviced, used a cooling system flush, changed the thermostat and cap. I removed the water pump and water distribution manifold to view the condition of the water ports. The ports were in good condition. The water pump looked ok, no leaking. Considered installing a flex fan, but only have 1 3/4" clearance from fan hub to the radiator. I would appreciate any new ideas before pulling the heads to check for blocked water passages. Thanks, JC

Posted on: 8/6 15:40:26
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Forum Ambassador
Joined:
2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 16175
I'm really surprised to read your post, the V8 Packards are as a group generally quite immune to overheating and vapor lock. You make no mention of checking some of the classic contributors to overheating, have you checked for retarded ignition timing, lean mixture, failed distributor advance, undersize or restricted exhaust system, dragging brakes, etc?

EDIT, have the radiator tested for flow rate.

Posted on: 8/6 16:11:06
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15937
I remember a 56 Patrician a few years ago where the owner had similar overheating issues and had done just about everything you have done and then some. He was able to install a flex fan but no improvement. His problem finally turned out to be a previous owner had a repair made or a replacement radiator installed which was way too small. As I recall the poster said the radiator had a core with only a couple of working rows instead of the normal 3 or 4. You might check or verify with the radiator shop the size of the core.

Posted on: 8/6 16:19:55
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Home away from home
Joined:
2018/10/28 16:42
From Bruce, MI
Posts: 160
Several issues could be causing your hot issue.

Do you know your water pump is actually pumping water?(impeller working, bearings good)

What is the percentage of Antifreeze to water? (check with antifreeze tester)

Is you radiator working correctly? (no blocked or bypassed tubes) Some repair shops will bypass spots in the radiator that are leaking. Any abnormally hot/cool spots when you start your cold motor?

Radiator hoses ok? (no sharp bends or kinks)

Heat core working correctly (not plugged/damaged)

Oil pressure, type, and quantity correct (oil reduces heat and friction. If you are down 1 qt it can cause your engine to run 10-20% hotter)

Exhaust ports and exhaust system good? (too much back-pressure will keep heat in the engine)

Water pump belt is the correct belt and is tight.

After you flushed and drained your radiator, how much fluid and distilled water did you back? Was it the same amount as the manual indicated? (Usually you need to flush the system three or four times with out the thermostat and ensure the heater core is getting flushed as well)

Is there a specific way the manufacturers recommends to refill your radiator? (they may do this to reduce air bubbles which would stop coolant from moving thru the engine correctly)

You should also check to ensure your carb is working correctly. Not too lean or rich.

Is your timing correct? (late timing can cause a slight overheat condition, then added to a bent hose, low oil pressure, etc can cause a significant issue)

Finally, verify that you are not adding any fluid and have no leaks. If you add fluid but do not have leaks it could be the head gasket leaking.

Posted on: 8/6 16:39:55
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 721
Quote:

JCH wrote:
Recently acquired a '55 Caribbean. The car has overheated and vapor locked since day one. I have helped the vapor lock issue by insulating the gas lines and adding an electric gas pump back at the tank. The engine over heating continues. I had the radiator serviced, used a cooling system flush, changed the thermostat and cap. I removed the water pump and water distribution manifold to view the condition of the water ports. The ports were in good condition. The water pump looked ok, no leaking. Considered installing a flex fan, but only have 1 3/4" clearance from fan hub to the radiator. I would appreciate any new ideas before pulling the heads to check for blocked water passages. Thanks, JC


A few things NOT mentioned here, but important nonetheless:

There are system checkers today that can be connected to your cooling system to analyze if you have a head gasket failing or leaking. Check this!

The transmission coolers for Ultramatic (located on the left front of the engine) for 1955 sometimes failed (especially in old age). Nobody thinks to check them (the cooler affects BOTH the transmission and the engine). Some so-called transmission and engine rebuilders leave the whole durned thing off and then wonder why the trans burns up! The design of the transmission cooler was enlarged and improved for 1956, but those fail too, especially after all these years). I have seen 1955 coolers clogged plumb full of rust flakes and other debris). They don't always clean out with a regular radiator flush. Do a reverse flush too! Internal fluid tubing also rusts through and allows coolant and trans fluid to mix! Check this!

In places like Texas and the southwest, you need nothing less than Desert Cooler-style 4-row radiator core in FULL size. AND the proper type and size thermostat. Your engine should run quite cool if the correct specs on cooling are met. Check this!

Posted on: 8/6 17:21:10
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2013/6/15 12:16
From Torrance, Ca
Posts: 70
I did not see it mentioned I might have missed it
but a "bad' head gasket could be the cause.

Posted on: 8/7 6:01:05
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/3/21 18:20
Posts: 2287
I'd put the car up on a lift, pull the starter and then pound out the freeze plugs. Put on a rain jacket and pressure wash the block out. You'll likely be shocked what all is in there.

As Owen mentioned, the V-8s are not prone to overheating so something quite fundamental is awry.

Posted on: 8/7 6:03:48
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/7 19:30
From Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 2075
At one of the tech sessions at the Texas Packard Meet, there was a discussion on cleaning out the block using vinegar. This man drained the water, and then filled it up with vinegar. He would start the engine and get it warm then shut it off. He did this for about a week. He then drained the vinegar out, took out the freeze plugs, water distribution tube and flushed out the block. His engine was in a 53 Caribbean, and where he got the car from the water built up calcium deposits.

I would be interested in hearing what the problem was, and how you fixed the problem.

Posted on: 8/7 12:07:51
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Just popping in
Joined:
2019/7/21 10:46
From Magnolia, TX
Posts: 8
Thanks to all of you for your ideas and suggestions. I made a check list from your info and will let you the end result when I get there. Stay well and safe, JC

Posted on: 8/9 12:31:01
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Re: 55 Caribbean Over Heating
Just popping in
Joined:
2019/7/21 10:46
From Magnolia, TX
Posts: 8
Hi guys, here is an update. Still working on our '55 checking out all of your appreciated inputs. Hoping not to go into the engine, but had to do so this week. Thinking we had a blown head gasket on the right bank. I have attached three photos of what we found after removing the heads. It appears the gasket that was used completely blocked three water passages and partially blocked eight others. Ordered new gaskets and received the same gaskets that would block the water jackets, same as the old ones. Has anyone had this problem or know of this issue? Does anyone know where I can get the correct gaskets allowing the water to move through the head and into the block? At this point, I believe it is a head gasket issue and I need to find the proper gasket. Photos will show you where the water was restricted by the gasket or blocked. Does anybody have any input on this?

Attach file:



jpg  Headgasket 1.jpg (91.82 KB)
199003_5f55280440b07.jpg 1080X608 px

jpg  HDgasket 2.jpg (121.38 KB)
199003_5f552814571e1.jpg 1080X608 px

jpg  HDgasket 3.jpg (92.02 KB)
199003_5f55281face8f.jpg 1080X608 px

Posted on: 9/6 11:19:33
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