View Full Version : Ham's '48; Coming Out of Hibernation

04-13-2018, 08:30 AM
Well, yesterday was one of the first nice days we’ve had in NE Indiana, so I decided to start to wake up the ’48 for the 2018 season.

Back in January I had a thermostat stick, overheat a bit and blow a big burp of coolant out when the pressure cap released. It made a real mess everywhere – mainly because I had added some stop leak stuff to the coolant to control a little weep at the edge of the head gasket. In looking at this through 20-20 hind sight – I shouldn’t have left the stuff in any longer than it needed to stop the leak.

The beast started up on the first or second cylinder, so I backed it out and let it warm up a bit. I drained the gunk out of the system, refilled it and drained again. I let it run a bit to get really warm and – it burped again. A little more mess. That thermostat seemed to be really stuck.

I took off the top hose just so I didn’t have to work around it, took out the three bolts and then I rediscovered Murphy’s Rule of Gaskets.

“Any gasket that is not leaking will have become an integral part of the molecular structure of the two parts it’s sealing. This also applies to the intact parts of leaking gaskets.”

I have a small wood chisel that separates things like that cleanly and with just a little persuasion things came apart. As per Murphy, getting the old gasket off both surfaces was a bit of a task. The old thermostat had a bunch of crud in it that might well have been laying in the 35-year old innards even after the rebuild. A bit of Permatex, and it went back together.

No leaks, job done. Refill the radiator, let it warm up, top off coolant and off we went for a ride. I was heading down my road and I wandered “Why isn’t this truck running today?” It just didn’t want to get up and go. Then I realized I was driving a vehicle with all of the aerodynamic qualities of a brick straight into a 35-mile an hour wind! But – the return trip was really nice.

Of course you always think of things just after you tighten the last bolt. If you have drained the cooling system to replace a thermostat, refill the system up to the thermostat base before you replace the thermostat. Adding coolant to the block makes for a smaller air bubble when you refill the system.

I gave it a good looking over. Nothing but oil on the dipstick (I always worry when have had water problems) and it will get an oil and filter change next. A few things dripped – nothing alarming. There is some oil at the gasket interface of the steering box – I’ll take a turn on the bolts.

It is going to take a day of hard cleaning to get the coolant blow out scrubbed off – and I belive the engine paint is going to have a grey tone to it from now on. Oh well – if you drive them, they get dirty.

Oh yes, 70-degrees today and snow Monday. It’s Indiana.