You spend all winter working on your Rat Rod project, and now the weather is starting to break and the warmer weather is upon us. Here’s the scenario: a beautiful hot day, out cruising in your Rat Rod and pop, the car overheats! This is the last thing you expected. After working on your car all winter, there might have been a couple things you neglected or took for granted. Here are a few ideas
First things first. The obvious. How do all of the hoses and clamps look? Any indication of dry, rotted hoses is a good sign of a problem. Your Rat Rod could run perfect, but will pop old hoses if under pressure. Worn clamps will also not allow your ride to build up pressure, which in turn cause an overheating problem. A normal cooling system runs at about 15 pounds of pressure. So with heat and pressure, this is how these problems begin.
How is your radiator? This is the heart of your cooling system, and your engine! Older copper and brass radiators do not dissipate heat as well as the newer aluminum ones, but will do the job if clean and sized correctly. Make sure all of the fins in the radiator all clean and free of obstructions. Have it pressure tested to make sure your Rat Rod will not leak coolant.
How is your engine? Although this may sound silly, but are your cooling passages clogged or badly rusted? If an engine has been sitting for a while, many things can crawl into it and make a home, in turn clogging vital coolant passages in your Rat Rod’s engine. Pre-pressurizing your engine before adding final clean coolant can eliminate future clogs.
What about your fans? Be it a clutch type fan, or an electric fan, are they working correctly? Having a clutch fan in your Rat Rod and a backup electric fan is the way to go. The clutch fan will pull air as necessary. Have the electric fan in front of your radiator to “push” the air through if heat conditions become excessive. Setting the electric fan on a thermostat will remove any worry about forgetting to turn on the fan before overheating.
Following these simple steps will allow you to enjoy your Rat Rod on the hottest of days. You should be the one to decide if it’s too hot to cruise your Rat Rod, not your ride!