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Vapor or "Smoke" Discharge from Breathers

Posted By Bogner24 Last Month
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Bogner24
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1956 F600 272 2bbl. 51,xxx miles

Questions for you experts:

1.) How much "smoke" or vapor is normal from the breather and or oil filler cap? I'm thinking it's moisture/condensation from sitting for so long but not sure. We only ran it probably 5-7 minutes so it was warm but not hot. It does not stink, but it's a fair amount. Puffs out like a diesel. I ask because I'd like to try to get it up to temp before changing oil.

2.) I have read until my eyes bleed both on this forum and others on the interwebs but I'll pose it again. What weight and brand oil and/or additives WOULD YOU GUYS USE in this old girl? I have a converted oil filter set up, FL1A. 

3.) Is anyone on here on the east coast? I'm in VA about 2 hrs west-ish of  DC. 

Thanks!

Aaron

1956 F600 272
2005 F250 5.4

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I do not claim to be an expert.  From my experience, smoke or vapor "like a diesel" coming out of your breathers is not a normal condition.  If the engine has been sitting for a long time, I can see how condensation could be burning off.  This should diminish in time.   I would pull the plugs and see if they are coated with oil. This should give you some idea of what's going on inside.  I would run a compression test as well.  Excessive blow by is a symptom of possibly more serious problems like worn rings, bad valve guides, seals or all of the above. Do you have a PVC system on this engine? Is it working?

What oil to use is a "tread starter" on this forum.  YBLocks do not require exotic oil.  They are flat tappet engines and as such need Zink additive to keep their cams from wearing out.  Most modern oils no longer have this.  You can buy oil that contains Zink or add it separately.  My preference is to use 10W30 weight oil with Zink already in it. 


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Daniel Jessup
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answers from my perspective, no expert here but some advice ...

1. you should not be getting any smoke or vapor from the oil breather cap - Ford's design on the Y block was for to be taken into the engine through the filtered cap and exhausted through one of three means (this depends on your block, year, and application). Those options were - a. breather canister and downdraft tube on the driver side of the block (the can should have a filter inside - most do not know this and the thing gets clogged up badly) b. vented valley pan at the rear that has a long downdraft tube exiting on passenger side of the bell housing (no filter in this arrangement, just an oil baffle in the pan) and c. vented valley pan that has a line routed to the air intake or carburetor port for PCV valve arrangement. The 56 F series should have option A but who knows here in 2020 what all has been done? smoke or vapor coming out the of the breather cap indicates some serious crankcase pressure caused by either A. blockage or B. ring wear. I would make sure first that you have no blockage and that air can flow freely. Second, if this is water vapor then it does sound excessive for where you live. Five years ago I lived just outside of Winchester, Virginia (about the same area I would think you are describing west of DC) and I never had any issue with moisture in the block. At any rate, I would say bring the engine up to operating temperature just to be sure. 

2. this question causes the most arguments, fights, and squabbles. You might as well ask whether or not people believe God exists, which religion is right, etc (trust me, I know the reactions - I am an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ Tongue)! Most guys are running multi-grade 30 or 40 weight oil with some assurance that the lifters are getting the needed zinc for anti-wear agents. I run a 10w-40 with 1 bottle of Lucas oil supplement. Your issue will be that most probably there are years of sludge built up in your crankcase - some will decry the use of detergent oils in the engine because of concern over a piece of sludge blocking a passage, etc. I tend to disagree - if you already have that much sludge in the crankcase and you keep adding non-detergent oil you are going to block up anyway. Second, if you have that much sludge in the crankcase it is time to disassemble, clean, and rebuild. And now, I have already added to the debate - folks will chime in with other options as some "flame out" over what I have stated.

3. I am in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.





Daniel Jessup

Loveland, Ohio

aka "The Hot Rod Reverend" w00t
check out the 1955 Ford Fairlane build at www.hotrodreverend.com


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Daniel Jessup (6/25/2020)This questions causes the most arguments, fights, and squabbles. You might as well ask whether or not people believe God exists, which religion is right, etc (trust me, I know the reactions - I am an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ Tongue)!


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The rings may be sticking causing some if not all of the blow by.  Fifteen years of sitting would be the root cause for that but continued running with the engine at temperature is expected to help that assuming the engine is simply just not worn out.  If it’s moisture causing the blow by, you have bigger problems but any excess moisture should be evident on the oil dipstick or in the oil fill tube after running the engine for a short period of time.  If moisture is not evident, this is a good time to consider changing the oil and filter if you haven’t already done so.

Lorena, Texas (South of Waco)


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Good call on changing the oil and filter. But if the smoke does not get any better, the solution may be, does it bother you? I'm running a very worn out 292 in my Model A sedan and it smokes out the breather when sitting still mainly when warmed up. (been like that for over 5 years) as I'm not running a hood it does look a little bad. I'm in the process of building another motor for it but will drive it the rest of the year like it is.
One more thing, are you running a thermostat? keeping the engine temp up will do a lot in keeping moisture out of the motor.
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Great answers, all!

Yes on Tstat.

No evidence of actual water in crankcase.

I'll clean up the breather filter (driver side front off block), change oil and filter (maybe a couple times), & run a compression test. See what happens.

I go back and forth on detergents. I worked on old tractors a long time ago and the debate raged then, too.

As for running as is, oh yeah! We'll run her either way, likely til she dies, then learn how to rebuild a Y block!

Might was well try the easy stuff first!

You guys are great! 👍

1956 F600 272
2005 F250 5.4

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Without an effective PCV system there will be vapors from any internal combustion engine. The more there is the bigger the problem. Most manufacturers used the same type system before PCV’s came along. A road draft tube from some where on the engine was usually the slightly longer than the lowest part of the engine and cut on a 45 degree angle. As you drove the air passing by sucked the vapors out of the engine. The oil filler tube usually had a filtered cap where the air enters the engine mixes with the blowby and goes out the road draft tube. But not at idle. Rings are the usual culprit in excessive blowby.

56 Vic, B'Ville 200 MPH Club Member, So Cal.
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Hopefully you have not found the reason this truck has been parked for awhile.  A cranking compression test can help to isolate exactly which cylinders have problems.  Besides the rings being stuck, other problems with blow-by can be caused by rings being broken and/or the piston ring lands also having issues.

For stuck rings, I have two fixes that do not involve tearing the engines down.  The first is to pull the spark plugs and squirt a couple of ounces of ATF in each cylinder and then apply air pressure to those cylinders with the valves being closed.  The second option is to simply run the engine at fast idle and dribble ATF into the carburetor so that the rings get saturated with the added oil.  Getting the engine up to operating temperature is still a key metric for loosening up the rings if they are stuck.

In regards to engine oil and as a general rule, non-detergent oil is used in those instances where the oil is not full filtered such as is the case with windmills and the Ford Flathead V8.  Contaminates are not held in suspension in non-detergent oil and simply drop out to the bottom of the pan rather than circulate back thru the engine.  On the flip side of this, detergent oil allows the contaminates to stay suspended in the oil so that the oil filter can take them out.  The Ford Y was designed to use detergent oil.  The best way to keep an engine internally clean regardless of the type of oil being used are routine oil changes.


Lorena, Texas (South of Waco)


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WINDMILLS?
Ted (6/26/2020)
Hopefully you have not found the reason this truck has been parked for awhile.  A cranking compression test can help to isolate exactly which cylinders have problems.  Besides the rings being stuck, other problems with blow-by can be caused by rings being broken and/or the piston ring lands also having issues.

For stuck rings, I have two fixes that do not involve tearing the engines down.  The first is to pull the spark plugs and squirt a couple of ounces of ATF in each cylinder and then apply air pressure to those cylinders with the valves being closed.  The second option is to simply run the engine at fast idle and dribble ATF into the carburetor so that the rings get saturated with the added oil.  Getting the engine up to operating temperature is still a key metric for loosening up the rings if they are stuck.

In regards to engine oil and as a general rule, non-detergent oil is used in those instances where the oil is not full filtered such as is the case with windmills and the Ford Flathead V8.  Contaminates are not held in suspension in non-detergent oil and simply drop out to the bottom of the pan rather than circulate back thru the engine.  On the flip side of this, detergent oil allows the contaminates to stay suspended in the oil so that the oil filter can take them out.  The Ford Y was designed to use detergent oil.  The best way to keep an engine internally clean regardless of the type of oil being used are routine oil changes.




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