Oil in the Radiator (Tornado 230)


Bigger Hammer
Feb 27, 2011
Springfield, Vermont
First Name
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1960
I knew something would show up to burst my bubble. A nice thick coating of oil on top of the coolant in the radiator. On the plus side the insides have a nice anti-rust coating.
GreenMtnMan said:
I knew something would show up to burst my bubble. A nice thick coating of oil on top of the coolant in the radiator. On the plus side the insides have a nice anti-rust coating.

Bummer... sounds like one of two things, head gasket or cracked block... lets hope it's the gasket!

mmmmmmmmmm....that sucks! I hate it for you....bright side is you saw it...and I doubt you are discouraged to sell her.... it still is a great Wagon!!!!
Well Mike, from what I think I know, the 230 Tornado's are not prone to block cracking as the 226's are, so my money is on the head gasket and worn valve guides. I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya.

That sucks. On the upside though the rest of the wagon is in great shape, so ya gotta do a little mechanical inspection and repairs (hoping just head gasket) and you should be up and running pretty quick compared to the rest of us.

Let us know what ya find.

I always look for the simple things first. The first thing I'm going to do is change the oil and flush the radiator. Hard to believe but I have heard of folks putting oil in the radiator.
That's the best thing you could have possibly said, Mike. Starting simple is always the smart thing. I applaud you. :thumbup:
Hurry up though! My fingers are still crossed and knuckles are turning white!! :lol:
Keep us posted.
Was talking to Dad about your post. Pap had a Wagoneer with the 230 in it and he had headgasket problems and cracked pistons in it. From the way Dad talks it was a common problem with those motors. (Sorry to rain on your parade :( Hope it's nothing like that. )
Aw Geeeeeeeze, now I'm depressed. :cry: Somebody got an umbrella?? ;)
fingers still crossed,,,hope its something relatively simple. If you pull the head make sure to inspect the water passages for rust.
You are correct, sir. Progress will be slow. My biggest enemies now are the clock and weather. I work very long days and when I get a day off I have to play catch-up. Plus it seems like every day off I get it's either snowing or raining. On the plus side it does run and I have all the tune-up parts. We also have some good engine mechanics in town here as well as several machine shops. I have every intent on getting this rig going. It's not much fun unless you can drive it! O.K. it's fun working on it too!!
Sunday I was able to spend some quality time with the old girl. Flushed the radiator out good, got to scope things out underneath really good for the first time. Gave her a good lube job, some of the fittings hadn't seen grease in awhile. Not much, but some progress.

Changed the plugs today, also points, condenser, rotor and cap. Plugs 1 and 2 were soaked with gas, rest black with carbon. Points were cooked. Runs ALOT better now.
Most of the time it's coolant in the oil.....Did you recently buy this truck? If so,maybe the previous owner used his oil drain bucket to add coolant,or something like that. Combustion gases in the coolant because of a blown head gasket will leave a greasy dark residue in the radiator or recovery tank.Your local repair shop should be able to test for combustion gas in the coolant for less than 75 bucks.Do it yourself kits are also available I believe.
If it runs good and doesn't heat up I suppose you can drain and flush the cooling system,add straight water or with the minimum needed antifreeze for this time of year.Drive it around for awhile and see what happens.
adding oil to coolant will NOT lube waterpump. i rebuild obsolete waterpumps. the bearing has no contact with coolant. also running with no coolant can damage the seal. oil and water will not mix. on these motors there is an oil line going to the back of the cylinder head. might be getting oil for cam into coolant.