FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

This forum is for the Fordson New Major, including the Super Major and the Power Major.
Post Reply
Thrad68
Not Quite Blue Yet
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:58 am
Location: Great Lakes State

FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Thrad68 »

I had a bad day yesterday with the Power Major. After just fitting the front plow blade on the day before, I went out to warm the engine and make some final adjustments to the plow. I came back five minutes later and coolant was pouring from the front of the tractor - all the hoses are on as well as the cap - I was unable to see the exact source of the leak. At the same time, I saw that oil was spurting out of the crankcase breather. I shut it down and coolant continued to flow for a while. There is no sign of oil in the coolant or vice versa. Hope I'm not looking at a head gasket or cylinder sleeve seals...but interested in hearing from anyone who has seen this before.

Billy26F5
True Blue
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:01 am
Location: On Billy

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Billy26F5 »

Oil out of the breather can mean the slinger on the auxiliary shaft is missing or worn bores.
As for the coolant leak check all hoses first, if they're all fine look under the water pump seal, if that's fine too you'll probably need a radiator overhaul. Make sure you see exactly where the leak is from.
Sandy
ImageImageImage

Thrad68
Not Quite Blue Yet
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:58 am
Location: Great Lakes State

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Thrad68 »

I had to locate the "auxiliary shaft oil slinger" in the service manual. Will spend some time reading up on the timing gears before tearing into this. I would not be surprised if the cylinder bores are worn, however; this tractor was well-used for many years. Looks like I will probably have an additional winter project to look forward to...

oehrick
Site Governance Team
Site Governance Team
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:41 am
Location: Norfolk Broads UK

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by oehrick »

Oil and particularly emulsion sludge from the breather generally indicates positive pressure in the crankcase, usual cause for this is the small pipe between air cleaner and rocker cover becoming restricted or blocked, give this a good clearout (use a wire, just blowing air through will not last long)
If this does not work then you are probably looking at excess compression loss through valve guides, past piston rings etc.

As for coolant loss, suspect head gasket or liner O rings. I find handsoap grated and dissolved in hot water added to the coolant will often seal up a weeping seal or rad, make sure you are not using a pressurising rad cap as this can wreak havoc on jellyfying O rings, a pinhole in the head gasket fire ring can let a lot of pressure into the coolant - I put an extra length of rubber tube on the rad overflow and tie a bottle onto the siderail so at least antifreeze is not wasted while diagnosing the problem
Best regards
Rick - Bogside on Bure


1958 Diesel E1A Mk2 s/n 1470165 - still in working clothes

Billy26F5
True Blue
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:01 am
Location: On Billy

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Billy26F5 »

It's not an o-ring and if it's the head gasket it will be from the cooling area to outside.
Sandy
ImageImageImage

oehrick
Site Governance Team
Site Governance Team
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:41 am
Location: Norfolk Broads UK

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by oehrick »

Bottom line, if oil is exiting the crankcase breather in volume you have excess pressure in the crankcase / rocker box which the breather pipe is designed to suck out into the air intake, if it is oil rather than oily 'mayonnaise' emulsion then little chance of coolant getting into the lubrication system.

This excess pressure may well leak past a defective liner O ring but would expect to see some trace in the coolant, as there doesn't appear to be you should be OK.

If you remove the rad cap while water is widdling out is there a release of pressure ? if not most likely is something simple like a pump gland, hose or rad leak. If it tries to empty the rad through the filler then a compression leak or a push rod - coolant passage leak cannot be ignored, mine was so slow that until the engine wouldn't turn due to a hydraulic lock after a 9 month standstill I'd not even considered it, the corroded fore ring gap was less than a 32nd !

I cannot see how adding the plough blade could prompt either fault unless something engine side has been disturbed in the process, as Sandy says you need to find where it is actually coming out...

Happy hunting
Best regards
Rick - Bogside on Bure


1958 Diesel E1A Mk2 s/n 1470165 - still in working clothes

Billy26F5
True Blue
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:01 am
Location: On Billy

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Billy26F5 »

Oil can't be forced out the breather by a coolant leak, the problem is most likely to be a missing slinger, or worn bores.
Coolant pouring from the front suggests an external leak (hoses, pump seal or radiator), which might well have nothing to do with the other problem, especially if there's no water in oil.
Sandy
ImageImageImage

oehrick
Site Governance Team
Site Governance Team
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:41 am
Location: Norfolk Broads UK

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by oehrick »

Couldn't agree more Sandy, that's why I explained that crank case pressurisation is causing this and the vital part played by having a clean breather pipe between Rocker cover and air intake so that the partial vacuum there can scavenge this and prevent or reduce what would otherwise exit via the breather, oil slinger or not if the crankcase is not above atmospheric pressure the contents will stay there.

It is not uncommon for people to overlook the direct path between crankcase and rocker cover through the open passages for the push rods.
Best regards
Rick - Bogside on Bure


1958 Diesel E1A Mk2 s/n 1470165 - still in working clothes

Thrad68
Not Quite Blue Yet
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:58 am
Location: Great Lakes State

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Thrad68 »

I was having trouble connecting the two issues - as in my mind the only thing that might explain both occurrences is a bad head gasket. Even then, I would expect oil/coolant cross-contamination or steam from the exhaust. Since I have none of those things going on, I suppose the two should be unrelated. Unfortunately the tractor was running fine before this and Occam's razor tells us to look for the most probable explanation. I won't have time to do any further diagnosis until I have a day off work. In the meantime I would like to see if I have an adapter that will allow me to check compression on the FPM. I really appreciate the dialog and the suggestions you have both made. I'm sure I should be able to track this down in short order once Thursday rolls around.

oehrick
Site Governance Team
Site Governance Team
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:41 am
Location: Norfolk Broads UK

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by oehrick »

As is often the case with the Occam's razor approach, the 'What has changed to cause this' may well be some random, unconnected factor.
Water leak - you need to trace where first which should lead to why.
Oil breathing - the crankcase scavenging pipe aids by removing the evidence but doesn't diagnose the cause - old Major engines are often 'wet' so preventing the typical 'marking of territory' oil trails on the ground by extracting and burning it.

Centuries of collective experience here, something will trigger the answer for you :)
Best regards
Rick - Bogside on Bure


1958 Diesel E1A Mk2 s/n 1470165 - still in working clothes

shepp
True Blue
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:24 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by shepp »

If the tractor had been running without problems before then it might have been something as simple as a thermostat that failed to open, resulting in the engine overheating and causing issues with the pistons and rings. How long did you leave the engine running for before you came back to it? Had you just topped the coolant up in the radiator? Had you just changed the coolant?

The engine " breather" is in fact an oil bath air INTAKE for the engine, the engine ventilation system works by drawing combustion blow by out of the engine via the tube from the rocker cover to the air cleaner and the fumes are drawn into the engine and burned. At the same time clean filtered air is drawn into the engine through the oil bath breather intake which should have a certain amount of clean oil in it as well as the filter mesh. If the passage from the rocker cover to the air cleaner is obstructed then the system of vacuum evacuation of the engine will not work and the pressure build up in the engine from blow by will find a way out through the breather oil bath and/or the dipstick. Check the tube is fully clear, also the outlet in the rocker cover and the main air cleaner from top to bottom.

It will be a matter of going through every possibility in turn but the thermostat would be a good starting point.
1946 E27N, 1952 Major Diesel, 1959 Power Major, 1962 Dexta, 1962 Super Dexta, 1963 Super Dexta NP, 1964 Super Major NP, 1965 Super Dexta 3000, 1966 Major 4000, 1967 3000 PF, 1994 5640,plus Basildon built NH.

Thrad68
Not Quite Blue Yet
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:58 am
Location: Great Lakes State

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Thrad68 »

I did a little bit of snooping around the FPM. I have the battery out in order to top it off, as when it is cold (as it has been) and the battery isn't at full charge it won't turn over with enough oomph to fire. I didn't plan to restart the engine anyway, until I had a chance to look some things over carefully. I am still not sure of the source of the coolant leak. There are no tel-tale sings without some disassembly - and it took me a couple of hours to get the plow bolted back onto the front end, so I will leave it right where it is until it is proven that it will have to come off again.

I removed the breather tube between the rocker/valve cover and the air cleaner. I was able to blow/suck through it. I shot compressed air through it from my air compressor and nothing came out. I know that this doesn't mean that it's not occluded; like coronary heart disease - you can have significant occlusion and not suffer any symptoms whatsoever. I will run some solvent through it with a bore brush to make sure it is completely clear.

Since I had already planned to check the cylinder compression anyway I started the process of getting to the fuel injectors. I was not impressed with the appearance of the rocker arms, push rods, and related valve train components. Either rust or a grotesque kind of sludge covers everything; maybe a combination of both. I was contemplating removal of the injectors when the sun set and the cool evening air set it so that was it for the day.

The tractor has had no problems before this. On the day it happened the engine had been idling for two or three minutes. It wasn't even fully warmed up yet and as the coolant was topped off, it didn't lose enough to cause any problems with the engine temperature.

I am still leaning in the direction of a head gasket failure. Although I would not need a compression test to identify a head gasket failure, I thought it would be a good diagnostic tool to what kind of shape the cylinders and valve train are in. It occurred to me that most of the compression testers that are now sold here (and abroad too, perhaps) are made with adapters that thread into glow plug ports. Since I doubt I could fit a rubber cone on the end of the gauge and simply hold it in place against the engine's 400+psi(?), I assume there are two possibilities. (1) locate a salvaged injector and fabricate an attachment/fitting to the compression gauge; or (2) locate the precise adapter (length and width) which is held in position with a bracket and the same bolt holes as the injectors use. If any of you have any experience with compression testing the FMD please chime in. If you are aware of the adapter I am seeking, and if you don't mind, please point me in the right direction. ;)

Billy26F5
True Blue
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:01 am
Location: On Billy

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Billy26F5 »

Before you do the compression test, fill the cooling system and find the leak that way, much easier than looking for other evidence. A possible head gasket failure that wouldn't be detected by a compression test is if the coolant manages to get outside through a gap in the gasket or a bit of it breaking off, neither of which are likely.
Sandy
ImageImageImage

Thrad68
Not Quite Blue Yet
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:58 am
Location: Great Lakes State

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Thrad68 »

I have good news to report (maybe?)! I took the excellent advise given here and checked a couple of things right off the bat: first off - the oil breather pipe between the rocker cover and the air cleaner. I ran solvent and brushes through it and boy was it filthy! The tube on the top of the valve cover appeared plugged solid. Since I was already into the top of the head to try and figure out how to do a compression check, I went ahead a took a couple of hours to clean everything up a bit. It wasn't hard to improve on what I found:

Before Image
After photo Image

I removed one of the injectors to take measurements so that I can obtain the proper adapter for compression checks. Image

The compression gauge that I obtained locally did not have the proper adapter for the Simms injector. I will continue to look for a set that includes one that will work. Lastly, I topped off the radiator and once everything was back together I fired it up. Things looked pretty good; I had a video but the image site doesn't allow it to upload.

Here is what I learned: the coolant overflowed once again after the engine was warm. It was literally coming from the overflow tube and running out of the bottom, which I was unable to see before because I am half blind, apparently. I had topped the coolant off a couple of days before that and evidently I must have overfilled the radiator. I removed the crankcase breather oil bath. It was filthy and rather than a screen, it had a sponge-like material in the bottom. I will clean it further today with (mineral spirits?) before refilling and replacing it on the engine.

I moved some heavy dirt around just to check out the plow setup and the engine ran great. I plan to add some Marvel Mystery Oil to the crankcase after seeing the sludge and deposits in the top end of the engine. I might even add a couple of ounces to the fuel tank for good measure. At some point down the road I will run the compression test just to see where things are at.

Thanks very much for the useful suggestions - they saved me some time and expense for sure :beer:

Billy26F5
True Blue
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:01 am
Location: On Billy

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Billy26F5 »

Good to hear things are fine. I think you should change the oil and maybe clean the sump. If you do have coolant overflow check no air is coming out too, otherwise, see how much comes out before it settles down, as this might indicate trouble too. You should be able to maintain a visible level and not overflow.
Sandy
ImageImageImage

Old Hywel
True Blue
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:14 am

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by Old Hywel »

The valve gear does look alarmingly rusty. Best check the top end is getting lube when running.

shepp
True Blue
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:24 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: FPM oil from crankcase breather; coolant pouring out

Post by shepp »

You have probably got to the bottom of the problem. The blockages in the rocker cover metal outlet tube and the pipe from the cover to the air cleaner would have prevented the engine breathing system from operating properly, and excess pressure from piston blow by would have escaped via the little oil bath intake breather, forcing any oil/sludge that was in it out at the same time. The oil bath should have a wire mesh filter in it, not a sponge, and in the UK the mesh filter (or a complete oil bath and filter) is available from suppliers such as Agriline. The oil bath should be filled part way up with ordinary engine oil. Regular maintenance and cleaning of this assembly and filling with new oil is outlined in the Operators Handbook, and is often overlooked.

The reason I asked if you had just topped the radiator up was because if that was the case, when the coolant expands as the engine heats up, the excess volume has to go somewhere and that is from the overflow pipe. When the coolant cools down again it leaves an appropriate space in the top of the radiator, that is normal, and the coolant will expand into that space when the engine runs again and heats up.

The reason I asked if you had just changed the coolant was because sometimes the system does not fully bleed air out as the block and radiator fills, and the block is still partially empty when the radiator appears full to the top. When the engine is started the block is not cooled and heats up and the pistons can overheat and "pick up" on the liners and rings can be damaged. This is particularly something to watch out for with modern thermostats that do not have a "jiggle pin", the jiggle pin is there to let air bleed through the thermostat and into the housing and into the radiator top tank so that the block is fully filled. Later heads that used the shrouded thermostat had a bypass tube in the head that let air bleed past, but earlier heads did not have the bypass tube and in my opinion MUST have a thermostat with a jiggle pin fitted, if necessary by drilling a modern thermostat and fitting a loose brass split pin into the hole. In fact I would say every time a thermostat is replaced on any Fordson tractor if it is a modern wax capsule type it should be drilled and fitted with a brass jiggle pin before installation in the engine. A Power Major with original engine will have a head with a bypass tube, it might be possible for the tube to block with corrosion and sludge and it is something to consider.

You can check for a blown head gasket that is pressurising the cooling system by removing the radiator cap, filling up to the top of the inlet with water, start and run the engine and watch for continuous gas bubbles coming from the coolant surface. If this is continuous after say 15 to 20 minutes running then you gave a defective head gasket.

I agree with everyone else, given how dirty the engine innards are treat the engine to an oil and filter change!
1946 E27N, 1952 Major Diesel, 1959 Power Major, 1962 Dexta, 1962 Super Dexta, 1963 Super Dexta NP, 1964 Super Major NP, 1965 Super Dexta 3000, 1966 Major 4000, 1967 3000 PF, 1994 5640,plus Basildon built NH.

Post Reply