new here with a '73 Custom Cruiser

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by jaunty75, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Thanks for asking. It's been so cold that I just haven't had the urge to go down in the garage to work on it. Yes, the garage is attached, and yes it has some heat, but when it's 15 degrees outside, it's still not much more than about 35 in the garage, and it's just not comfortable to work. This has been a very unsual winter for us in the length of time it's been so cold and how long we've had snow on the ground.

    I've got a laundry list of things I want to do in the very near future, the first of which is to get the engine running again by finishing the job of replacing the coolant. I took the radiator out on what turned out to be the last day, about three weeks ago, where the temperature got above 40. The radiator had a leak, so I took it to a shop, and I've gotten it back, and I have all the hoses and things ready to go. But this is a job for the driveway as I need to start the engine several times as I refill and drain several times to flush the system.

    The real, immediate issue for me with the tailgate was getting it closed, and I've been able to do that, so the car is closed up and can be washed as soon as the temperature gets decently above freezing. So the job of figuring out why there's no power getting to the motor is not really on a back burner, but it's kind of on an intermediate burner. I need to figure out why it doesn't work and why the tailights keep blowing a fuse. The brake lights and turn signal lights work, but not the tailights, and it's not just that they don't work, but they actually blow the fuse, so I've got to look for a short.

    The other thing I want to do is the get the front bumper back on. I've got that ready to go, too, but, again, I'd like to do it out in the driveway where I've got the room to maneuver it around as it's big and heavy, and that needs a warmer day, too. But I'd like to wash the car before putting the bumper on or doing anything else because, with all the dust on it from being stored for the last five years, any time you bump into it walking past or whatever, there's the chance of a scratch. But washing it requires warmer weather, too.

    Unfortunately, the two days we have coming up with above 40 temperatures, tomorrow and Monday, are also days in which they're calling for steady rain. After that we're back to lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s for as long as the forecast goes. Annoying!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  2. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Here's a question.

    I have changed coolant in car engines many times over the years, but one of the things I have never been able to find are the plugs ON THE BLOCK that you can remove to aid in draining the coolant. I've only ever done it by removing the hoses and letting the coolant drain out, but that doesn't ever seem to get it all out, and it makes it difficult to get the right mix of coolant and water back in.

    The service manual always just says "remove the drain plugs on the block" without giving any photo or diagram showing where they are or what they look like as though anyone with half a brain would know this. Well, I have only 1/4 of a brain!

    Anyone know exactly where on a '73 Olds 455 engine the drain plugs are?
     
  3. jeffreyalman

    jeffreyalman New Member

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    pardon my ignorance but it seems to me that you could run the engine with a garden hose in the radiator and the drain open, wouldn't this flush the engine completely? then you could drain a bucket (or some kind of pre-determined measured amount out) and add the appropriate amount of coolant

    what is wrong with my logic? not distilled water, does anyone do that?
     
  4. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    This is what I've always done, but, as you say, it only flushes the engine, not drain it. So when you stop and turn off the motor, you've now got plain water still in the system. You've got to take the volume of that water into account when setting up the dilution of the new coolant to make sure you end up with the correct 50/50 mixture.

    It would be much easier and more satisfying to be able to completely drain the engine. It's not required, but it would be nice.
     
  5. wixom61

    wixom61 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where the drain plug is on the engine, but this is what I did to my Buick's system last month.

    I drained my radiator of all coolant, by removing the lower radiator hose, because the petcock wouldn't open. Make sure your cap is off.

    Then I removed the upper radiator hose at the radiator, with it still attached to the engine, REMOVED THE THERMOSTAT, and then ran the garden hose to the upper hose flushing the engine of old coolant.

    I bought the premixed antifreeze, a 50/50 mix, and a long funnel.

    I reattached the bottom hose to the radiator, and put the long funnel in the upper radiator hose still attached to the engine, and poured the coolant mix into it.

    This allows the proper mix of coolant to flow completely through the engine, and into the radiator. Reattach the hose, REINSTALL THE THERMOSTAT, top off the radiator, and put the cap on and you are set!

    The entire system is flushed, all old coolant is gone, a fresh proper mix is completely through the whole system. :2_thumbs_up_-_anima

    David :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  6. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    That's what I do too. When I get to the last gallon, I test with the coolant tester. Here, you can crack a block in the winter, if its too weak.
     
  7. wixom61

    wixom61 Well-Known Member

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    Jaunty, today I will take pics of the bare floors of my wagon to give you an idea where the wiring harnesses run from front to back. They should be basically the same from make to make.

    David :)
     
  8. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Thanks for the advice, but here's the problem I've run into.

    I remove the lower radiator hose (and open the cap) and drain coolant out until no more comes out. But I never get all of it. My car, in this case, is supposed to hold 22.5 quarts of coolant. That's almost six gallons. I collected what came out when I drained it, and there is no way that that much came out. I'm not sure even half that much came out. But, in any event, there is still some coolant left in the engine. I then reattach the hoses, fill the system with water, and run until the thermostat opens and water is circulating throughout. Then I stop the engine and drain again. I do this several times until what runs out of the lower radiator hose connection point is clean water.

    Now I'm ready to refill for the last time with fresh coolant. If my cooling system is fully drained, there are two ways I could do this. I could dilute the pure, new coolant with water to a 50/50 mixture, pour 22.5 quarts of this into the system, and I'm done. Or, I could pour pure coolant into the radiator until I've put in 11.25 quarts and then fill the rest of the way with water, ending up again with a 50-50 mixture, but this time the mixing took place in the engine.

    Given that, at the end of my fill-drain-fill-drain process of flushing, there is still some pure water in the system, I'm kind of forced to use method #2 above to add the new coolant. If I've got left over water in the system and add a 50/50 dilution, I'll end up with less than 50/50 as the diluted coolant gets diluted further by the water still in the engine.

    So, OK, fine, I'll just add 11.25 quarts of pure coolant and fill the rest of the way with water. But there is one big problem with this, and it gets back to what I referred to at the very top of this post. When I drain the system, I don't get even half of the 22.5 quarts I'm supposed to get. I need to get at least half of this to be sure that I end up with a 50/50 mixture at the end. If I get exactly half, then, at the end of the flush process, I've got 11.25 quarts of pure water. I add 11.25 quarts of pure coolant, and I've got the right mixture. But if there is still, say 15 quarts of water in the system at the end of the flush process, I can get only 7.5 quarts of pure coolant in, and I will not have a 50/50 mixture at the end.

    So this is why I would really like to get all the coolant out and drain the system completely if at all possible.
     
  9. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    I have found this fuse. That's not the problem. The problem is finding out why it's blowing. That could be anywhere in the wiring between the fuse and the rear end of the car. I'm hoping it's somewhere right around the taillight itself, but given that the signal lights and brake lights work, I'm guessing there isn't a problem with the socket or the wiring to it, so I could be tracing wires all over. I have heard that a common point of problems is along the "body by Fisher" molding that you see when you open the doors. These were removed on this car when it was painted, and only two of them have been put back. As I understand it, wiring might run underneath them, and it's possible that when the moldings were put back, a wire was pinched. I'll be taking a look.
     
  10. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Thank you!
     
  11. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Mr. Alman, I saw your posting about the drain plugs from the Buick V-8 forum, although it seems to have been deleted. Anyway, thank you for the link. It appears that those guys, though, are talking about the drain plugs in general on Buick 455s over several years. In some years, there were actual drain plugs. In other years, there was just a "boss" where you could drill and tap your own drain plug, and in still other years there was not even a boss, and the only way to drain the engine was by removing radiator hoses and/or siphoning.

    The service manual for my '73 Olds is unequivocal about this. Step 1 in "Drain and Refill" of the cooling system is "Completely drain the system by opening the drain petcock at the bottom of the radiator and removing the cylinder block plugs on each side of the block." No comments about drilling and tapping yourself a drain plug or anything like that. The wording suggests that the plugs are there and can just be unscrewed.

    By the way, the next sentence in the procedure concerns the Omega only, and it says "The Omega radiator does not have a petcock and will have to be drained using a siphon." Kind of interesting. I wonder why they don't just say to remove the lower radiator hose. I hadn't thought about using a siphon, but if I can't find the block drain plugs or I can't get them loose, I might try it.
     
  12. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Gosh, that's four posts in a row for me. Five if you count this one. I am getting wordy, aren't I?
     
  13. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Do you keep the HOT setting on the heater control open. That's maybe 1/2 a quart of coolant/water too. Also, has your rad ever been replaced with a thinner one than the original (e.g., from 3 rows to two, in the core?) Might explain the difference from the Specifications?

    Just to throw another twist in. If the car was built in Canada, the spec would be wrong, because we use 5 of your quarts to a gallon, more or less. Your US specs wouldn't reflect that, even though the actual volume would. Maybe its a Canadian manual?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  14. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    I've never played with the heater control. Good point. I'll keep it set to full hot.

    About the radiator itself, the radiator shop guy told me it is a 4-row radiator (he even showed me how to tell how many rows it has--I never knew how to tell), which is what it should be given that the car is supposed to have the heavy-duty cooling system.
     
  15. wixom61

    wixom61 Well-Known Member

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    Jaunty,

    Well, since I have been on a picture taking spree, I thought I would go ahead and take some of my tailgate motor wiring.

    These pictures start at the rear switch, and across to the motor regulator, and then head forward down across the floor and to the dash.

    This pic shows the RH key-operated control switch.
    [​IMG]


    These pics shows the wires plugged into the back of the switch. There are two orange wires that are the hot power wires, and a pair of wires for the tailgate (purple & grey), and a pair of wires for the window (baby blue & a pinkish beige).


    [​IMG]

    The wires are wrapped and go down past the window motor, and then up to the recessed channel along the back cargo floor.
    [​IMG]

    This recessed channel is covered with a metal plate. This channel is also for the counterbalance torsion bar (removed for painting)...be careful with this torsion bar! Also, this area is notorious for holding water and rusting.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These wires now head up to the tailgate motor...the purple & grey wires now are out of the bundle, and visible.
    [​IMG]

    This harness plug joins the key/switch lead to the part that goes to the motor and dash. [​IMG]

    This is where the wires go from two wires to four. Two pigtails branch out from the two wires coming from the dash. One plug goes to the motor, and the other goes to the key/switch.

    [​IMG]


    Focus on the purple & grey wires...all of those other wires are for lighting and fuel sender.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is the back of the dash switch...the red hot wire connects here.
    [​IMG]

    The wires from the very back of the car at the key/switch...the two orange and the baby blue & the beige, continue along the same path toward the dash, but they are wrapped in black tape from the factory.

    Jaunty, I hope this helps you out! :2_thumbs_up_-_anima

    If there is anything here you can't figure out what I am referring to (my explanations are clear as mud), feel free to ask.

    David :)
     

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