The good news is that the radiator suprisingly holds water – I was expecting it to leak and now that i have formed some hoses to fit between the non standard water pump and the radiator, the engine now has cooling. Interestingly vintage cars dont have pressurised cooling systems and quite often dont have a water pump either, apparently the engine is cooled purely by convection, the hot water rises and feeds into the radiator and the cool water comes out the bottom. Even today people say they rarely have cooling issues. Mind you they are pretty big radiators.
Some more good news, I fitted a compression tester to the engine and checked the cylinders and all 4 have the same reading as near as dammit 90psi which is well within expected tolerances so the compression is pretty good.
Because the ignition system was pretty ratty – I have now replaced all the leads, spark plugs, connectors etc with period brass fittings and temporarily fitted the oil pressure gauge as i have no idea whether the oil pump is actually doing anything 🙂 If I can get some oil pressure then the engine is possibly in a reasonable running state at least for a while
And the bad news…. although the radiator and hoses etc do not leak….. the side of the engine block DOES and there isn’t supposed to be a hole there. I can see a previous owner has tried to weld up what was probably a split caused by freezing water which was not uncommon in the good ol days. Trouble is – they have not welded it up very well. I will try a temporary repair but I suspect i need to find a company who will stitch weld it properly but to do that the engine needs stripping down and if I do that…. then I may as well rebuild it whilst it is in bits. I dont have any plans to rebuild an engine right now as that is not on the financial calendar.