Disaster !!!

I am not using my firebird over the winter. So every couple of weeks I am starting it up and runing it for a few minutes.
Today I started it, the oil light didnt go out, so I switched it off.
I ran it for about 10 second and in that time it dumped th oil out all over the drive and pressure built up in the cooling system and that was leaking too.
It looks like the oil is coming from the head gasket one side.
Is this probable ? or is there a common failure point I should be looking for ? Its a 73 350 pontiac block.
The only thing I can think of is that it has no antifreeze in and froze ? I didnt get round to that yet. We only had a couple of nights of approx -2 centigrade then it warmed up again.
Where should I look `1st. Any advice muchly appreciated.
Rich
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Just clutching at straws....
It is close to the oil filter - any chance the oil filter bust on a cold start ?
I have felt as best I could it isnt oviously burst. I will take it off in a bit and see
Rich

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On Sun, 4 Dec 2005 13:41:26 +0000 (UTC), "tricky"

If you only blew a head gasket, you are lucky. You may have a cracked head and/or block. So, you should probably be looking for a place to buy a new engine.
It doesn't take much freezing to crack a head or block. Near freezing temps with a little wind quickly results in a below zero wind index which will start the freezing process. A couple of nights of below zero temps would be enough to complete the process. Around here, they start worrying about bridges and overpasses freezing when the temp drops to 2 or 3.
Next time, run anti-freeze in it year around! Anti-freeze not only lowers the freeze point, it raises the boiling point so there is less chance of boil over in the summer.
Tom S
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tricky wrote:

    0C = 32F, -2C = 28.4F. 32F is the Freezing point for water. Any American made vehicle Should have eityher a 50/50 mix of water & anti-freeze/cooliant or a 70/30 mix, with the 30 being water.
    If your lucky you just wasted the Cylinder Heads. Over Pressurized cooling system comes from Compressed Air/Fuel mixture entering the cooliant gallies. Charles
I have ran my cars in -20F (-28.9C) and in 110F (43.3C) weather with out ever changing from a 70 percent cooliant, 30 percent water mix. Never over heated, never froze up.
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Couldn't get the oil filter off. Will try again tomorrow when its light.
I tried with an oil filter wrench and it squished the filter.
Tomorrow will be the tryed and trusted way of poking a scewdriver through the filter and turning !
Are there any oil lines that run that side that may have burst ?
Rich

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tricky wrote:

No, you either cracked a head or the block. There are several reasons for running anti-freeze all the time. Just one of them is to prevent this, one other is that it protects the cooling system from corrosion. Sounds like your looking for a new engine.
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I am only guessing the antifreeze needs adding. I bought the car in october and havent put any in.
The water looks more bvrown that green so I would guess it needs some.
Also it still has plenty of water in - wouldnt it drain out if it froze and cracked something ?
All my other cars are air cooled - so I forget to put it on my check list !
Rich

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Rich,
Get youself a Prestone antifreeze tester or the cheapo dollar ones and test it. (Googled one in the UK for you...8 quid? That's almost 16 bucks !!! They HAVE to be cheaper than that!)
If you're SURE it's only water, empty that block. Pull off the bottom radiator hose if you don't have the time, whatever. But you CAN'T leave water enclosed in a cast iron block if temp drops below 0 centigrade, unless you're gonna keep the engine running or keep it in a heated garage.
I've got a 1969 350 Pontiac block ( 69 Custom S ) and I knew the mix wasn't 50/50 but I tested it anyway to be sure, as temps around here (NY City) dropped recently and snow is on the way. I added enough to give me protection to about -18F degrees but I WILL be changing the whole mess and drop in a 50/50 mix of prestone (or any ethylene glycol antifreeze) and distilled water which is good to about -37 centigrade.
tricky wrote:

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Thanks Jimmy.
I had just bought myself a gallon of antifreeze . The short frost spell reminded me ! We haven't got frost forecast for a while so I hadn't gotten around to it.
Looking closer yesterday the water looked greener that I had previously thought, so I am hoping it had enough in not to freeze.
I will empty all the coolant out and fill it with fresh . Maybe even today !
Rich

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tricky wrote:

Sounds like you were lucky. Make sure to change it at least once a year, and I personally stick with 50/50 mix myself. Also make sure that you don't end up with the oil filter overtightened, as that will cause them to almost weld themselves to the block and can cause them to fail. I think the instructions on those are to take them flush and then another 3/4 turn. Check what is recommended and don't go beyond, I have seem people go as much as 3 turns, and always have to go though hell to get them off the next time. In reality they just need to be tight enough to not leak, or work loose. Any tighter than that will likely cause problems later.
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Cy Welch wrote:

    99 out of 100 times, I can remove the filters on my cars with just my hand. I go a turn to a turn and a half past inintial seating. Depending on the engine, filter brand, ect. Charles
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Remember to run a little oil on the gasket. Dip your finger into oil and rub it on. Two dips will do ya. It keeps the filter from sticking. Had my local dealer do it to this year, a mistake. Cost me another other change to get it off. I have a 95 Trans Am.
And yes, change the coolent. Runing water rust the block and causes overheating as H20 does not absorb as much heat as 50/50 mix will. Consider the last generation F-Bodies can normally run 200 to 220 degress F.
By the way, got you beat on cold. Harrisburg PA, its 13 F and expect to be 0 F by morning. That is on top of seven inches of snow. Yes, winter is here. Take care.
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My understanding is that pure water will absorb more heat than any mix of water/coolant or even pure coolant. The specific heat capacity of pure ethylene glycol is well below 1 at all temperatures a car will ever experience.
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On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 23:01:37 GMT, "Bruce Chang"

From what I heard, the water heats the most near the metal parts and ends up boiling. The result is you have boiling water where you should have a cooling fluid, and that results in overheating. The coolant resists the boiling and is more efficient at cooling... -- lab~rat >:-) Do you want polite or do you want sincere?
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Good news (I hope )
Just got the oil filter off. And it has split where the can part is pressed into the flat part that mates to the engine.
Cant get a new one today, will keep you posted
Rich

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Put a new oil filter on today and went for a drive. All seems ok :-)
Rich

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