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Thread: L134 Coolant in Oil/Exhaust

  1. #1
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    L134 Coolant in Oil/Exhaust

    Just picked up a '47 CJ2A that the previous owner stated at idle was running on what seemed to be 3 cylinders and just recently started having coolant/water come out the exhaust. Once you got off idle, the engine seemed to smooth out. When I purchased, only ran it long enough to get on the trailer, off the trailer and into the shop. I suspect it is a head gasket, which is probably the best case scenario.

    So far, to diagnose, I've done a compression test with the following results; 95, 90, 90, 90 with all spark plugs removed. Of note, cylinder 3's spark plug had fluid between the ground electrode and electrode tip, also the insulator seemed a little bit cleaner and more of a rust color. Before the compression test, I turned over the engine a couple of times to remove any fluid, which cylinder 3 shot fluid out. This fluid may have been penetrating fluid that was in the spark plug well from before removal though. Also, when compression testing cylinder 3, cylinder 2 shot some fluid out.

    Oil has coolant in it, and after sitting in the shop overnight, the oil pan gasket appears to be leaking with coolant. Radiator has no visible level coolant.

    My next move is to fill the radiator with distilled water, and pressurize to ~10 PSI, visually watch the combustion chamber for signs.

    Any other suggestions BEFORE I pull the head?
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    I think you are on track. The clean plug is classic of a "steam" cleaning that the plug gets when water begins to enter the combustion process. I think it is a head gasket also. It has good compression for cranking and fairly uniform. Typical for a head gasket that is just starting to go. The fluid present in the leak helps make a seal. The way to be totally sure is to put a pressure checker on the cooling system. If you put 10 psi or so on it I bet the water leak will show up. If the head gasket is leaking it will not hold pressure for long. Also when it is running you should see bubbles in the water. Running the motor with the radiator cap removed, look for bubbles in the water flow once the thermostat opens.
    Last edited by bmorgil; 05-21-2021 at 02:04 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Wow - that is a nice looking lil' CJ 2A with the top and roll bar.

    That's good, consistent compression for a cold crank turn-over. I'd bet a Coke on a head gasket too. There is one more possibility that you will eliminate or confirm after you pull the head - a cracked head - yuk..

    One of the L-134's on the truck had a cracked head back in the late 50's. I remember it laying around in the garage- until it wandered off in a pile of scrap metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmorgil View Post
    I think you are on track. The clean plug is classic of a "steam" cleaning that the plug gets when water begins to enter the combustion process. I think it is a head gasket also. It has good compression for cranking and fairly uniform. Typical for a head gasket that is just starting to go. The fluid present in the leak helps make a seal. The way to be totally sure is to put a pressure checker on the cooling system. If you put 10 psi or so on it I bet the water leak will show up. If the head gasket is leaking it will not hold pressure for long. Also when it is running you should see bubbles in the water. Running the motor with the radiator cap removed, look for bubbles in the water flow once the thermostat opens.
    Will have the pressure checker on Sunday, so that'll be my last test before tear down of the head. Don't feel too comfortable letting it run to that point and risk further damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by LarrBeard View Post
    Wow - that is a nice looking lil' CJ 2A with the top and roll bar.

    That's good, consistent compression for a cold crank turn-over. I'd bet a Coke on a head gasket too. There is one more possibility that you will eliminate or confirm after you pull the head - a cracked head - yuk..

    One of the L-134's on the truck had a cracked head back in the late 50's. I remember it laying around in the garage- until it wandered off in a pile of scrap metal.
    I'm hoping its the gasket and clear cut.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    I'm voting for the head gasket itself, rather than a cracked head/block. With the little you've run it, a crack typically will show up more pronounced when warm. When a gasket goes, temp doesn't matter as much.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Take some pictures of the project. Feed our curiosity! Watch out for cheap imported gaskets. Make sure the new gasket is stamped "Made in USA" there are some bad head gaskets about. The bad ones are not marked or are marked made in China. They come from a few "off shore" places.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    I agree with Bmorgil. USA made gaskets are worth the extra money on the front end.

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    Still awaiting for the radiator pressure test kit I ordered to come in (I know local parts house typically loans them for free). Going to wait to order any parts until after tear down, and plan is to swap in new head studs/nuts, felpro head gasket, thermostat/spacer/gasket/hardware, spark plugs, oil pan gasket, oil filter. I'm sure that list may grow, but thats where I'm at now.

    Of note, found some other modifications on the Willys to include 3a windshield, Selecto hubs and a Saginaw steering gear box. Previous owner also installed a new Solex carb, and handed over what was previously installed.

    My long term plans are to install a dual brake master cylinder and all new brake components, replace all wiring, bias ply period correct new tires/wheels. Then use it for what it was designed for.

    Heres a couple photos to feed some of the curiosity. This is 1/6 "Jeeps" we currently have, and may actually top my interest over the '67 Kaiser M715 I had a couple years back. Pretty sure this one is a keeper!

    185291319_497534448261711_6479063601525013817_n.jpg
    186477938_3976896245722519_8760806894875910008_n.jpg
    185049130_2271719549628238_2047534633120419441_n.jpg

  9. #9
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    You noted:

    "Of note, found some other modifications on the Willys to include 3a windshield, Selecto hubs and a Saginaw steering gear box. Previous owner also installed a new Solex carb, and handed over what was previously installed."

    Not that we have any strong preferences, but I hope you have the one good Solex carb they built in the last ten or so years. There are numerous accounts over many Forums about issues with Solex carbs; idle, mixture, rough running and poor fuel economy.

    The best recommendation I have heard is to take off the Solex - and after dark some night throw it as far out the shop door as you can. Then the next morning, have a friend go out and find it, then bury it and forget where he dug the hole.

    Then go and rebuild the original Carter carburetor.

    It looks nice - the 12-volt conversion was nicely done. And, your plan forward is solid.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Looking like a goal is in mind! I agree with Larry on the Solex, keep your ear to the ground for a Carter original.

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