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Newbie with 1922 Buick Model 35 Touring car


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On 12/26/2019 at 11:51 AM, RatFink255 said:

To give a description it looks like one of those Micky Mouse hats that the kids get when they go to Disney Land.

Read again folks - the reference was only to describe the way it looks to us today. No one at any point claimed that’s how it was described in 1922.

This however, is the AACA Forum — and these inane little p*****g matches are more suited to a local bar room. 

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  • 5 months later...
Posted (edited)

Trying to find out about radiator repair on our old cars, mine being the 1922 Buick Touring car 4 cyl. I doped mine off at the radiator shop this morning and as he was looking at it said it could need to be re-cored (but wont know until he cleans it up and tests it). He said that it would not look like what the original would be and showed me one that looked ok but defiantly not the unique pattern that the old ones have. So I told him lets clean it up and test then decide after that.  He did see that there is a a couple spots at the bottom base where core is attached to the base that showed signs of it leaking but did not really see anything in the core itself at the moment.

 

So to get to the question does anyone know of a shop that would re-core the old cars radiators like the original or are we kind of SOL and just have to go the new close style. His quote was about the same as others had mentioned re-coring one $1000 so be that as it may will have to decide that when time comes.

 

Edited by RatFink255 (see edit history)
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These are my radiator notes if it helps you.   Sorry for the long read.    Hugh

Radiator and Shell Restoration       1925 Buick                 Hugh Leidlein         6-11-19   C

The original honeycomb radiator core was silver colored because the front and back side were solder.  Black cores started when the cores were made using the fin and tube process.  The original copper or brass honeycomb core was made from punched metal strips 2 to 3 inches wide and assembled as a core.  The core pieces were fluxed and then the core as a unit was dipped in a pan of molten solder on the front and the back.  The core was then soldered to the top and bottom header tanks.  If you take a honeycomb radiator to a shop for repairs, be sure to tell them Do not paint the radiator.  They will do this out of habit.   

The fill nozzle on the top of the radiator that projects thru the shell was Nickel plated in 1925.  This nozzle is soldered to the top header tank.

I used several methods to clean up the solder faces on my radiator core.  Please note that my radiator had what looked to be baked on caliche (calcium build up on the front exterior) likely from all the dirt roads it lived on and the radiator heat baked it on.  

1)    I purchased a black rectangular plastic mortar mixing tub (~36x24x10) at Home Depot.  I was able to lay the radiator in this flat and cover the front and back with liquid to soak. 

a.     I used a bath of CLR (Calcium/Lime/Rust) remover and water.  28 fl oz bottle and several gallons of water.  I let this soak for 3 hours.  I did a little light brushing in the tub using a gun cleaning round wire brush.  DO NOT LEAVE THIS IN THE BATH TOO LONG.  This could attack the solder after long exposure.  Be sure to rinse it well inside and out when done.

b.     I used a bath of 12 fl oz of simple green, and the rest water.  This is basically a detergent wash.  The back side had some oil and gunk built up on it.

2)    I had good success but not great success with the above due to the severity of what was baked onto my radiator.  Note that the following is a great “long term, I am staying indoors” project.  I honestly spent about a month cleaning my radiator using a large sewing needle with the end wrapped in tape.  I had a bright light on a stand.  I scratched the surface of each honeycomb and I just kept working the rows.  At $1,000 to $3000 for a recored honeycomb, I felt I could spend some time on mine.  It came out factory fresh.  It does not really take that long if the stuff on the radiator is not imbedded and heavily baked on.  I was able to go pretty fast on the top rows of the radiator where it was not as baked on. 

3)    I did also use a pressure washer, but I kept it about one to 2 inches away from the face of the honeycomb.  You do have to be very careful with a pressure washer.

I painted the top and bottom header tanks after all repairs with silver engine paint after masking off the fill nozzle and the core.   Again, I did not paint the core. 

Flow Testing the Radiator

Use two pieces of 1 ¼” ID radiator hose, two 1” PVC pipe plugs, and two hose clamps. 

Plug the inlet and outlet nozzles.  The bottom nozzle can be a push on fit and a little loose.

Fill the radiator with water by a garden hose in the cap area.  Cut back the water flow when full, and cut the water back until it just keeps up with the water leaking past the lower nozzle seepage.  Pull the bottom hose and time the water flow.  Normal is 6 sec and then the water flow makes a step change as the water has passed the core.  Final flow stops in 18 seconds.  I believe this is for a good radiator.  This seemed to be OK for my car.  

Core Repairs

These are zero pressure radiators.  Be sure to check that the overflow tube is not plugged.  I have seen these plugged from dirt dobbers and rust.  You can rod them out with a wire.  My radiator person says that he will pinch some core leaks closed, but he is afraid of using solder for fear of opening other holes and then chasing the leak.  He fixes any serious leaks and then he gave me some powder called “Barbee brand GL40 green lightning.”  He said mix the powder with some antifreeze, then add it to the radiator. 

Core Replacement

The original core was a honeycomb style.  Typical prices can run above $2,000 at places like “Brass Works” in California.  I did find that www.fillingstation.com services Chevrolets and they may have honeycomb cores in the $1,000 range.   I understand a modern core can be used but it will be in the $600 range.  There is also a company that will do a radiator with a honeycomb veneer.  Not sure if they do front and back or just front. 

Core Flushing – (following note from Bob Engle)

On my 32 Buick, the honeycomb radiator was plugged so there was little flow. The radiator shops said I would have to recore.

I took the radiator home and I rigged up a Jacuzzi hot tub pump to flow from the pump into the bottom hose connection. I propped the radaitor upside down on 5 gallon bucket. The pump suction drew from the bucket. I mixed 3 gallons of 200 degree water with radiator flush. I circulated the mix for 12 hours. I changed the mix and continued doing this for a week.

At the end of the time period, The radiator would flow all the output from the pump with now pressure. I did the old test of plugging the bottom of the radiator, fill it with water, remove the plug and see how long it would take for the radiator to empty. I was under a 1/2 second.

When I drained the 5 gallon bucket, I got about 1/2 cup of grit that looked like sand.

The passages are so small in the honeycombr radiators that small particles can plug up the passageways, starting with the outer edges. With lots of backflushing, with high volume and low pressure you can eventually removed 80 years of crud.

Read this thread too.

 

Nickel Plating   The radiator shell should be Nickel plated for 1925.  The two black painted side supports should be removed prior to plating.  Drill out the rivets.  These supports should be gloss black (Powder Coated is best.  You can reinstall them after plating with "fake rivets" and put nuts on the back side.  A slot was cut into the threaded end of the fake rivet to prevent it from turning so that they can be removed or tightened.   There are 2 sizes of fake rivets that you need to buy to replace all the factory rivets.  www.restorationstuff.com carries the threaded stainless rivets and the lacing for the shell and the cowl.

My radiator shell was nickel plated at Airline Plating in Houston TX.  I would suggest having all rust removed on the back side of the radiator shell prior to the plating process.  Discuss this with the plater to see if they can do this, or if you need to have this process done prior to taking to the nickel plater.  Some platers will Nickel plate without removing all the rust on the back side of the radiator and you will not get a quality job.   

I also painted the lower inside back side of the radiator shell.  Many of these shells show to have rusted from the inside out from radiator fluid or water on the back side of the shell.  This should provide some added protection if water gets between the radiator and the shell.  I painted mine with a silver POR 15 coating. 

The sheet metal radiator support "surround" that holds the radiator to the shell was dipped in solder as well when new.  Perhaps shiny silver when new, then getting a little duller over time as solder would do.  I powder coated this radiator to shell sheetmetal surround in silver. 

 

Other Items

I also installed a “GANO” filter in my upper radiator hose.  This is to catch any rust that is in the radiator system.  You may have to remove it at times to empty it of sediment and rust until it runs clean and any loose scale is removed from the system.    The smallest GANO filter fits my 1 ¼” ID hose.   Bob’s Automobilia sells the Buick Script hoses.

954188324_Radiatorandshell4.thumb.JPG.29440b57755ee234e3e016771f693bf4.JPG

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If all you have are a few pin hole leaks, I would be tempted to us JB Weld to seal them.  They are an open no pressure system.  Before I would spend $2000 I would see if the current radiator can be made useable.  As long as you have good flow through the radiator,  there is no concern about loosing all the fluid.  

 

Bob Engle

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On 10 June 2020 at 12:00 AM, RatFink255 said:
On 10 June 2020 at 12:00 AM, RatFink255 said:

Trying to find out about radiator repair on our old cars, mine being the 1922 Buick Touring car 4 cyl. I doped mine off at the radiator shop this morning and as he was looking at it said it could need to be re-cored (but wont know until he cleans it up and tests it). He said that it would not look like what the original would be and showed me one that looked ok but defiantly not the unique pattern that the old ones have. So I told him lets clean it up and test then decide after that.  He did see that there is a a couple spots at the bottom base where core is attached to the base that showed signs of it leaking but did not really see anything in the core itself at the moment.

 

So to get to the question does anyone know of a shop that would re-core the old cars radiators like the original or are we kind of SOL and just have to go the new close style. His quote was about the same as others had mentioned re-coring one $1000 so be that as it may will have to decide that when time comes.

 

 

Brice , good to see you back On the forum ........norm

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Brice , 

 

Have a look at http://www.vintageradiator.com/radiators.php   a New Zealand firm that hand craft radiators and cores they have a US distributer thefillingstation.com   based in Oregon , 

page 269 of their catalogue mentions a few...

 

With the exchange rate in the your favour  may be an option

 

Regards

 

Norm

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Norm,

 

Thanks for the info. Hope your doing well. Got call from Radiator guy yesterday said there were 3 to 4 leaks in the core area and would be about $686 + taxes to re-core.  I told him wanted to hold off as not in the budget for that much right now maybe month or two. That being said between what everyone else has been suggesting glad I am putting it off at the moment. will look into what you sent me as well as couple other ideas about finding the leaks and just sealing up the square and going on. With a system that is not pressurized (like modern cars) it should not be all that big of a deal for a while then look into re-corning at a later date.

 

Best regards,

 

Brice

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