1958 Buick Special Radiator
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1958 Buick Special Radiator

This is all about my radiator. Can't you just feel the excitement? It was getting old, tired, leaky and would simply not work when I added AC to the car - so I'm having it re-cored, made beefier, and adding a custom outlet tube to the overflow so I can add an overflow tank and make it a modern closed system. (No more coolant loss over time - what a concept!) The trouble is that the current overflow outlet is right next to the battery on the driver's side of the radiator - no space for an overflow tank there. So I needed to figure out a way to get the outlet hose to the passengers side of the radiator without having an ugly tube running across the top. So, here's some pictures of the radiator core support, some with the driver's side bracket bolted in place so I can figure this out.

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The final decision was to run the tube from the neck and across to the top of the drivers side of the radiator just like the factory did. Then, it wraps down and forward and runs right along the edge where the radiator top tank and the core meets, then out on the passengers side of the radiator. With the way the front sheet metal folds around in that area, it's nearly invisible and required no modifications to the car.

Speaking of modifications to the car, the radiator core itself was a lot thicker than the original and extended a good bit further forward. Due to that it bumped into the surrounding sheet metal near the lower passengers side corner - a few carefully placed whacks with a body hammer to the lip of the sheet metal folded the lip slightly forward and gave me 1/8" of clearance. You can see the area where this was done a couple of the pictures below - look for the spot of gray primer.

Re-assembly

The radiator was completed and returned to it's home at the front of my 1958 Buick. Amazingly, the car started with minimal coaxing (fresh battery, prime the carb with gas, shoot some starting fluid down the carb) and ran pretty well. The bummer was that something had rotted away inside the fuel pump while the car was in storage, so it leaked while the car is running. Oh well. A new one was promptly ordered and installed to solve that. The other item was expected since the car has sat not running for 5+ years - it leaks oil when running. All of the seals have dried up and shrunk enough that stuff leaks. This typically goes away after the car has been run and driven a bit, so for now I'm not too worried about this. The driveway is sealed so the drips will clean up easily enough...

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What's Left?

The new radiator does look mighty pretty though - nice enough to make me want to go clean and paint a lot more stuff around it. I also need to find a suitable overflow bottle/container and mount it to the passengers side inner fender or the passengers side of the radiator core support. For now, the overflow tube is just hanging out in space.


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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM