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1956 Buick Cooling System Issues


NickG
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Hi everyone,

 

Changed the coolant in the car the other day and have run into some trouble. A leak has appeared from the stem at the top of the water pump; it would appear that the coolant crossover manifold sits atop this stem. I assume there is some seal in this stem; is there a gasket kit available to stop the leak? Or is this indicative of a crack in the manifold? I've attached of a photo for reference. 

 

Also, I am considering changing the water pump. The pumps offered for sale have what appears to be an outlet cast into the body for a hose to be clamped on to; the issue is, the pump on the car does not have this outlet. There is, however, an outlet on the thermostat housing, which runs off to the heater core, but, as I said, no outlet on the water pump.  Was there a design change which either added or removed this outlet? Or are there a few different types of pumps? 

 

Cheers,

Nick 

Crossover Manifold.jpg

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There is a rubber O ring where the cross over meets the top of the pump. You could find what you need in an assortment of rubber O rings package or maybe oldbuickparts.com.  

 

Kanter I believe offers new pumps with the correct heater hose ports for your Buick. The new pump probably will have the O ring for the crossover. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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The port cast into a water pump is for the heater core return line but the 56 has the heater return line port in the lower tank of the radiator. You can use a cap as found on a Help Board at the parts store. I believe it will be a 3/4 diameter cap. 

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On 2/7/2022 at 1:14 AM, avgwarhawk said:

There is a rubber O ring where the cross over meets the top of the pump. You could find what you need in an assortment of rubber O rings package or maybe oldbuickparts.com.  

 

Kanter I believe offers new pumps with the correct heater hose ports for your Buick. The new pump probably will have the O ring for the crossover. 

Thanks, avgwarhawk, for the information. I'll be sure to check out Kanter and go from there. I've found a kit for the two outlet ports for the crossover and the O-ring for where it meets the pump as well. It's interesting, however, that the leak only occurred after changing the coolant in the car. 

 

16 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

The port cast into a water pump is for the heater core return line but the 56 has the heater return line port in the lower tank of the radiator. You can use a cap as found on a Help Board at the parts store. I believe it will be a 3/4 diameter cap. 

That's what I thought too, JohnD1956. It's a mystery as to why these pumps are being cast with the port where there isn't a use for it. Looking at images of a 1955 Buick water pump, it does not have the port cast and looks like it will fit a 1956 engine. 

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@NickGThe 55 cooling system incorporates a remote trans cooler at the transmission, a heater under the front seat and a heater/defroster in the area where our 56's have their heater/ defroster.  I never really looked at the 55's water pumps or coolant flow, but since the water pump provides for both pressurized delivery and suction, I imagine one port has to send the cooler coolant to the trans cooler, while the other port may provide suction to draw hot water into the under-seat heater.  However, in a bid to minimize costs I suspect that while the pumps may align with the form on the timing chain cover, the 56 won't need either of those functions, and caps are available to dead end those extra ports, so one pump fits all. For a non-show car that's all that is needed.  But if you are going for "show as an original", then I suggest either have your pump rebuilt, or consider a new pump from one of the Buick vendors, which to me looks to be a better quality build, and have the correct number of ports.

 

I ran with those new aluminum pumps for many years.  Then in 2008 I found a NOS pump at a Buick Club National meet and I haven't looked back yet. The original pumps had a sturdy cast iron body.  

 

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17 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

@NickGThe 55 cooling system incorporates a remote trans cooler at the transmission, a heater under the front seat and a heater/defroster in the area where our 56's have their heater/ defroster.  I never really looked at the 55's water pumps or coolant flow, but since the water pump provides for both pressurized delivery and suction, I imagine one port has to send the cooler coolant to the trans cooler, while the other port may provide suction to draw hot water into the under-seat heater.  However, in a bid to minimize costs I suspect that while the pumps may align with the form on the timing chain cover, the 56 won't need either of those functions, and caps are available to dead end those extra ports, so one pump fits all. For a non-show car that's all that is needed.  But if you are going for "show as an original", then I suggest either have your pump rebuilt, or consider a new pump from one of the Buick vendors, which to me looks to be a better quality build, and have the correct number of ports.

 

I ran with those new aluminum pumps for many years.  Then in 2008 I found a NOS pump at a Buick Club National meet and I haven't looked back yet. The original pumps had a sturdy cast iron body.  

 

Thanks for the information, John. I was aware of the differences in the '55's cooling system, but didn't relate that to the pump's inlets and outlets. 

You're right; they may align on the timing chain cover, but yes, on a '56 those ports would be redundant and may look unsightly if plugged with caps. 

I'd like to keep it as close to original as possible, so, I think I'll go for the '56 pump. Do you have a particular vendor from which to purchase a pump? 

You're lucky to have found a NOS pump; that would be ideal here, but I doubt that is going to happen. 

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I cannot vouch for a particular vendor. I believe Cars Inc, Kanters, Bobs Automobelia, and Fusicks are all worth a call for a new one. But there are vendors who can rebuild yours if you still have an original style unit on the engine. I don't have experience with any of those either so I can't recommend one over the other. Hopefully some others with experience will add to this.

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I bought a pump from CARS LLC and mine fit and works beautifully.  It looks just like the original but, I have less than 100 miles on it so, no longevity test.

 

I should also mention that it came with a nice block off fitting that blocks off the outlet with a flush mounted allen head fitting.  It looks really nice.

Edited by usnavystgc (see edit history)
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Flying Dutchman rebuilt my originals.  No issues, happy with work each time.  Last I had done was 2018, can’t speak for how the shop is faring post Covid if you choose rebuild route.  You’ve got multiple options.

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On 2/10/2022 at 1:59 AM, JohnD1956 said:

I cannot vouch for a particular vendor. I believe Cars Inc, Kanters, Bobs Automobelia, and Fusicks are all worth a call for a new one. But there are vendors who can rebuild yours if you still have an original style unit on the engine. I don't have experience with any of those either so I can't recommend one over the other. Hopefully some others with experience will add to this.

Thanks for the sources. I'll be sure to check them out. It would be nice to have the one on the car rebuilt, but I believe it will be less trouble to replace it completely. 

 

On 2/10/2022 at 3:56 AM, old-tank said:

There are differences in 55 vs 56 pumps since the gaskets are different.

Thanks for the confirmation, old-tank. Yet another year-only part! 

 

On 2/10/2022 at 3:58 AM, usnavystgc said:

I bought a pump from CARS LLC and mine fit and works beautifully.  It looks just like the original but, I have less than 100 miles on it so, no longevity test.

 

I should also mention that it came with a nice block off fitting that blocks off the outlet with a flush mounted allen head fitting.  It looks really nice.

Great to hear. It's looking promising so far, so let's hope it keeps going. Thanks for the info about the blocking plate too. 

 

On 2/10/2022 at 3:32 PM, KAD36 said:

Flying Dutchman rebuilt my originals.  No issues, happy with work each time.  Last I had done was 2018, can’t speak for how the shop is faring post Covid if you choose rebuild route.  You’ve got multiple options.

I've checked out their site and they look like professionals who know their trade. Unfortunately, being in Australia makes it economically and financially unviable to do so. 

 

On 2/12/2022 at 12:03 AM, lancemb said:

There are also occasionally new old rebuilds of OEM on Ebay.  May want to look there.

Of course; I also keep a look out for all sorts of parts. Not that it is important to the longevity of the car, but an NOS tissue dispenser came up. A nice little piece to have. But yes, you're right, eBay is a great place for NOS and OEM parts. 

 

10 hours ago, buickbrothers said:

Oldbuickparts.com has the 56 water pump:

 

image.png.64b29186ecf677ef4a2080cf824a23bd.png

Thanks for the information. I know it's to suit the 1956 year, but it looks completely different to mine. To my eye, it looks to have an outlet that doesn't exist on the current one. 

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