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
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.
Just clutching at straws....
It is close to the oil filter - any chance the oil filter bust on a cold
I have felt as best I could it isnt oviously burst. I will take it off in a
bit and see
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.
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
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.
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 ?
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.
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 !
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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...
Do you want polite or do you want sincere?
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