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1927 Buick Coupe, Overheating issue, leak on the top


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Hi guys,

i just acquired a basically nice 1927 Buick country club coupe from the states and its now here in Germany.

i got it now running, but after heating up, the radiator is heavily leaking at the top.

The radiator cap is very loose (there is just a flipping cap with the gauge) and it’s absolutely not really sealed. The gasket inside is very old and just cracked when removed. But I doubt, the even when new it could really seal the cap.

if you check the pictures, you will understand.

Does anyone know, where I can get the correct gasket between radiator top and the flipping cap ?

 

Then I checked the thermostat, but after removing the cover, I found, that no thermostat is installed.. not good. I really don’t know, why anybody is doing this..

 

Then I checked the water pump and opened the cover there, too. Here it looks fine. But I would appreciate your feedback here, too. Obviously the complete system ran without any good cooling fluid for a long time and just with water…

 

It’s my understanding, that I have here a cooling system, that does not work with pressure, correct ? 
Where can I get a new thermostat?
 

I understand, that maybe my radiator itself may need a rebuild, but at first I want to understand, if this is really necessary. 
Do you know any source for a new radiator shell ? I don’t think so.., but I just want to ask anyhow.

 

Thanks for any advice,

Steffen

 

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0ACCBD1B-1324-4D8C-9B07-44054A9EE83E.jpeg

B4B7CCD4-FA07-486B-922C-C291F978304C.jpeg

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My first thought is are we distantly related?  Ha. 
 

My expertise ends at 1923 but there are others here who are very knowledgeable. 

 

My only suggestion while you are waiting is to backwards flush the radiator and also backwards flush the block and see what comes out.  Do the flushing separately so you don’t send gunk from one to the other.  Here in the US we use a garden hose. Assume you have the same available?
 

Once both are flushed and hopefully you get lots of gunk out and before you reconnect the hoses.  Plug the bottom radiator outlet with a rag and fill the radiator with water to the top.  Leave the cap off.  
 

Remove the plugging rag.  You should get a very large exit stream as big as the outlet and maybe a 1/4 meter long flowing out.  If so, this would suggest the radiator is not plugged up and all the tubes in it or at least most are flowing.  A good thing. 
 

Please keep us posted. 
 

 

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Bobs Automobelia 3352 El Pomar rd. Templeton California 805 434 2963 has many of the parts for the older Buicks.  He was able to help me with my 1928 Standard and had many of the parts not listed in his catalog.

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The radiator systems on these early Buicks are a non pressure open system.  First check the tube that you see looking down into the radiator cap.  water should readily flow out this tube and leak onto the ground.  When the system is cold, you should have the water level just above the top of the radiator core.  I prefer to add additional water knowing that as it heats up excess water will flow out the tube mentioned above.  

 

With respect to the thermostat, I would not be concerned unless you plan to drive the car in very  cold conditions.  

 

with respect to the thermometer, I have found them to be vey unreliable.  I like to use a hand held infrared beam thermometer.  With the engine warm and running, I check the temperature across the radiator core.  I check the inlet and outlet at the water pump.  If you do not find temperatures above 180 degrees  Farenheit,  You do not not have any serious engine cooling problems.  

 

From what I see from the photos posted, You need to replace the water pump impellor.  At the same time you will want to check the shaft and packing for the water pump.

 

You can easily make a cork gasket for the cap, but it is more to prevent the cap from rattling.  At the thermostat housing, I would just make a gasket for now.  

 

Do not worry about the radiator core unless you experience overheating or leaking from the core.  

 

I suspect your only immediate issue is the water pump.  Get that rebuilt and use the thermometer  to see that the system is operating in a range below 180 Degrees.

 

I'm sure you will get other suggestions,  but I believe in starting simple and only go further if you have some real overheating issues.

 

Welcome to the world of old Buicks

 

Bob Engle

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Thanks guys.. for the warm welcome and the great advices for now !

 

@Brian: another Mr. Heil ! Great ! :)
 

i will check the radiator flow next time when I have some time to work on the car. It does not leak anywhere and a rebuild is expensive, so this might be a really last step only.

 

I think, Bob is right, that I should do a rebuild of the water pump. The impeller is really rusty and maybe the flow and the power is restricted due to this. I saw that a rebuild kit is available from bobsautomobilia.com.

 

Afterwards I will check again with new gaskets on the top of the Radiator and i will come back to you with the results. Basically it could also be a defective head gasket, but let’s keep the fingers crossed…

 

Steffen

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A good way to test the effectiveness of your radiator is to use the infrared thermometer that Robert mentioned, and after the car had warmed up completely, compare the temperature of the top of the radiator to the bottom. Hot water comes in the top tank and trickles down the honeycomb and cools, the IR temperature should be much cooler at the bottom of the radiator than the top.

When you get time, remove the radiator, turn it upside down, and run water through it until it comes out clean. 

 

Leaking at the the radiator cap macht nichts in zero pressure systems.

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The temperature differential between the top of the radiator (inlet area) and the bottom of the radiator should be about 20 degrees.  If less than that, problem with the radiator.  If that or more, then engine problem.  Also the radiator can flow correctly, but the radiator can still be bad.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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As Bob Stated, looks like the waterpump could use help.

It looks like that radiator cap business is an aftermarket unit. They had a screw on cap that sealed pretty well. so you will have to make a gasket.

When putting coolant in the radiator. only JUST cover the tubes. If you fill it full it will definitely spit coolant all over the place.

I've never actually seen a 27 with a thermostat in that housing. some recommend making a restrictor plate with about a 20mm hole as the pump pushes a lot of water, If running fast on the highway.

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Thanks for all the great advice, guys !
I will rebuild the water pump (parts are already ordered) and will check the radiator flow and will measure the temperature gap between top and lower part of the radiator.

I also will make a new gasket for the radiator top.. if it leaks, it should only come out through the usual pipe.

 

Afterwards I will come back to you with the results.

 

P.S.: on my engine, the spark plug cover is missing… anyone knows someone, who sells this ?

 

Thanks again,

Steffen

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Hello

My 1929 Buick does not have a pressurized cooling system. I tend to run my coolant level to where it just covers the top of the radiator tubes. The coolant expands with heat and can overflow if too full. The owners before me had discarded the original thermostat. I can assure you that they are next to impossible to find in good working condition. I added a 1-1/2" inline thermostat from Restoration Supply in Escondido California to my top radiator hose. The reason that I added is to prevent the coolant from "foaming" out of the top of the radiator. If my car is operated without a thermostat, this will occur due to the unrestricted and violent flow of coolant at higher engine speeds. My car stopped the foaming immediately after adding the thermostat.

Good Luck

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9 hours ago, SteffenHeil said:

Thanks for all the great advice, guys !
I will rebuild the water pump (parts are already ordered) and will check the radiator flow and will measure the temperature gap between top and lower part of the radiator.

I also will make a new gasket for the radiator top.. if it leaks, it should only come out through the usual pipe.

 

Afterwards I will come back to you with the results.

 

P.S.: on my engine, the spark plug cover is missing… anyone knows someone, who sells this ?

 

Thanks again,

Steffen

Spark plug cover is usually missing because you can't get the shorty spark plugs needed to put it on.  

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Steffen,  Welcome to the Pre War Buick Forum.   You don,t say wether you have a Standard or a Master 1927.  But there is a restored 1926-27  Standard water pump for sale with a new teflon seal for sale on Gumtree Australia.  Can you post some photo,s of your car.  We all like to see photo,s..

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

i just want to give you a short update.

After rebuilding the water pump, now it seems that my issue is solved.

I just did a small test run and drive (car is not licensed yet) there was no overheating anymore.

i got a perfect rubber gasket on the radiator top and no leaks anywhere.

Anyhow, I will flush and clean the cooling system again (and will use correct antifreeze, too).

 

Now I need to sort out some other small things (door key is missing, speedometer needs some help, I might need to fine tune the carb etc.), but this was a good step forward.

 

Thanks again for the help, for sure I will come back in the future with some more questions.

 

Attached some pictures. All comments are welcome.

Steffen

08760DF8-F051-4D22-A07D-C634BC66D614.jpeg

8F83AB6D-17AC-45FF-AF36-2579F81A0628.jpeg

9D7DDC55-8E41-41CB-9530-89E467DCB49C.jpeg

8624E7BC-89CA-4A52-9BE7-AFA2075ECF8E.jpeg

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I see the Buick spent many years in California!    One thing I might mention.  Were you warned to not overtighten the front packing nut on the waterpump?   It is better to let the waterpump weep a bit of water rather than over tighten the packing nut.     The reason is that an over tightened packing nut puts an extra load on the shaft going to the generator and to the shaft driving the generator and the water pump.   This then put a heavier load on the cam gear.   The cam gear is Fibre and Old.    If this old fibre gear strips you have a miserable task ahead of you in both finding a new gear and then changing it.

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Yes, the car obviously was running for a long time in California- the black plates are from 1963.

I am aware of the point, that the gland nut needs to be tightened only very low due to the cam gear. But many thanks for the advice.

 

Yesterday I found a locksmith who was able to fabricate a new key for the door lock… step by step it goes forward..

 

Steffen

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 6/21/2021 at 7:21 AM, SteffenHeil said:

Hi guys,

i just acquired a basically nice 1927 Buick country club coupe from the states and its now here in Germany.

i got it now running, but after heating up, the radiator is heavily leaking at the top.

The radiator cap is very loose (there is just a flipping cap with the gauge) and it’s absolutely not really sealed. The gasket inside is very old and just cracked when removed. But I doubt, the even when new it could really seal the cap.

if you check the pictures, you will understand.

Does anyone know, where I can get the correct gasket between radiator top and the flipping cap ?

 

Then I checked the thermostat, but after removing the cover, I found, that no thermostat is installed.. not good. I really don’t know, why anybody is doing this..

 

Then I checked the water pump and opened the cover there, too. Here it looks fine. But I would appreciate your feedback here, too. Obviously the complete system ran without any good cooling fluid for a long time and just with water…

 

It’s my understanding, that I have here a cooling system, that does not work with pressure, correct ? 
Where can I get a new thermostat?
 

I understand, that maybe my radiator itself may need a rebuild, but at first I want to understand, if this is really necessary. 
Do you know any source for a new radiator shell ? I don’t think so.., but I just want to ask anyhow.

 

Thanks for any advice,

Steffen

 

5760B9BB-BF1B-4B63-89E4-F30271B61F18.jpeg

DD1C6E23-32DA-4031-84CB-F5B376E49654.jpeg

0ACCBD1B-1324-4D8C-9B07-44054A9EE83E.jpeg

B4B7CCD4-FA07-486B-922C-C291F978304C.jpeg

By the look the cooling system is very dirty. It needs a decent reverse flush and cleaning agent in the cooling system to get rid of all the scaling. The outside of the radiator looks still OK. Just a good internal cleaning should fix it. No replacement for the thermostat! You have to make one from a modern thermostat mounted on a piece of pipe with a hole in the side. That is what I did with my 1927 master 6 and it works well. Your radiator cap is not a Buick supplied cap. It is an after market model. They need a good seal otherwise it will leak like a sieve. There are still some companies who make honeycomb  radiators but I would say they cost at least 2000 Euro. If your one hasn't got a big hole in it, stick with your one. And believe me the radiator has to be as clean as a whistle to work well! A good quality radiator coolant will keep it clean. I use an oil soluble coolant, it has a higher heat transfer capacity then glycol based coolant. Another hint, connect a piece of hose to you radiator overflow pipe. Have a 4lt container with the hole into the top and put the container under the bonnet under the vaccuum tank. It will collect the water it spits out of the system. If your radiator cap seals of properly it will suck that water back in the engine once it has cooled down. The end of the hose has to sit in the bottom of the container!

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The radiator looks very dirty inside.  Your initial flush with straight water is the first correct move.  On this forum are several threads about using "evaporust" full strength in the cooling system.  You can leave it in for a month as it gets blacker and removes more rust.  It may take more than one flush and another month with the next flush, but it should stop getting darker once all the rust is removed.  Follow that with another water flush, then move on to using 50/50 antifreeze.    

 

Your car is a Standard and a beautiful one.  Thanks for the pictures.  

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Thanks, guys !

I already got evaporust inside now and will flush it twice with it. I was some weeks on vacation and will now restart the work on the car.

 

Actually I have some issue on the carb (does not hold idle stable and dies suddenly) and driving is very difficult, so this needs to be fixed at first.

I have already found several posts for the Marvel carb, that I will use to check everything.

 

But the cooling system seems now already very stable and does the gasket on the top does not leak.

 

Thanks,

Steffen

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