11-1 RADIO

For 1958, the Sonomatic and Wonderbar radio operation remains unchanged from 1957.

Improvements in tone control provide high fidelity (true tone) at the mid-position of the tone control range. In the bass position high notes are partially eliminated, and in the treble range, low notes are partially eliminated. Thus, greater tonal control is possible for the owner.

Also, improvements have been made in construction which will provide longer, trouble-free life of the radio. In addition, internal construction advances have been made which allow easier servicing of the unit.



General Description

To give improved rear seat heating, Buick has added a Radiant Heater under the front seat for 1958. Other improvements have been made in temperature control and air flow. Except for the changes described below, the operation, control, and air flow remain the same as 1957. See Figure 11-1.

1958 Buick Heater and Defroster Installation

1958 Buick Heater and Defroster Installation

Under Seat Heater

The Radiant Heater raises the temperature of the air flowing from the center lower outlet under the front seat, increasing the rear floor temperature. The rear floor average temperature is higher than the front floor average temperature. The unit warms the rear seat passenger’s feet, even when the heater motor blower switch is on “Low” position. See Figure 11-2.

1958 Buick Under Seat Heater Installation

1958 Buick Under Seat Heater Installation

Hot water from the engine water manifold passes through the Radiant Heater to the temperature control valve, on to the dash heater core, and back to the suction side of the engine water pump. This improves heater warm-up and allows the heater hose to be located away from the front suspension.

Removal and Installation of Under Seat Heater

  1. From under car, disconnect inlet and outlet heater hoses from under seat heater.
  2. Remove front seat assembly.
  3. Remove five screws that hold heater to floor pan, two screws from each end and one at center.
  4. Carefully disengage heater from floor pan.
  5. To install, reverse procedure.

Temperature Control Valve (Ranco Valve)

The position of the temperature control valve has been moved to the right cowl side panel where it will be housed under the heater inner housing, and the capillary tube is extended across the heater core. See Figure 11-3.

1958 Buick Temperature Control Valve

1958 Buick Temperature Control Valve

This location gives improved temperature control due to the fact that the entire valve assembly is surrounded by discharged air from the heater core instead of just the capillary tube as was previously done.

Removal and Installation of Temperature Control Valve

  1. Disconnect heater hose from heater core inlet.

IMPORTANT: Steps 2 through 6 must be performed from the driver compartment.

  1. Remove button from inner heater housing and disconnect control cable from temperature control valve. Remove cable from housing.
  2. Remove inner heater housing retaining screws and move housing away from opening in side panel.
  3. Remove three screws retaining heater core outer housing and slide assembly away and down from opening in side panel.
  4. Reaching through opening in side panel, disconnect heater inlet and outlet hoses from temperature control valve.
  5. Disconnect and carefully disengage temperature control valve from cowl side panel.
  6. To install, reverse procedure.

Air Distribution

Air flow has been improved by increasing the size of the opening in the inner housing, the center heater duct, and the air hose connecting the two.



General Description

In 1958 improvements have been made to the air conditioner unit to increase the cooling capacity. Low speed efficiency of the unit has been greatly increased by a redesigned compressor, condenser, evaporator, and blower and a 25% increase in air distribution. With the exception of the changes described below, air flow, etc., are similar to those of the 1957 air conditioner.

Component Changes

  1. Condenser

The frontal area has been increased 7.7 % , thus giving better condensing capacity.

  1. Compressor

A new higher capacity axial compressor is used with displacement increased 31% and with increased volumetric efficiency which results in a 40 % gain in capacity at low speeds. The head is no longer bolted to the compressor body and the bearings, crankshaft and pistons are completely redesigned to reduce compressor weight and noise. Due to the redesigned compressor body, it will no longer be possible to service the compressor reed valves as in past model axial compressors. See Figure 11-4.

1958 Buick Compressor Exploded View

1958 Buick Compressor Exploded View

  1. Evaporator and Blower

The evaporator frontal area has been increased 26 % to take advantage of the increased capacity of the compressor. Blower air output has been increased by an improved blower wheel and increased efficiency of the blower motor, the latter being accomplished by venting cooled air through the motor, thereby lowering the operating temperature.

The motor has also been re-wound to pro­ vide maximum output at the voltage available under extreme operating conditions (primarily at low speed operation).

  1. Refrigerant Lines

The liquid and suction lines are equipped with shut-off valves located at point of connection to the compressor. These valves permit removal of the compressor without loss of the Freon in the system. Also, the liquid and suction lines have been relocated for more efficient operation and easier service. The connections have O-rings with compression fittings which provide a leak-proof connection with much less torque than was required for flared lines and fittings.

  1. Receiver Dehydrator

A new material called “molecular sieve” is used in the dehydrator. This material has more dehydrating ability and provides more usable volume in the receiver.

  1. Controls

The controls have been redesigned so that the blower is automatically turned on “Low” speed when the clutch is engaged.

Interior Outlets

The outboard outlets have been restyled with horizontal bars instead of vertical. The air hoses and the center instrument panel outlet have been enlarged to accommodate the in­ crease in air flow. The increase of area of these items reduces the restriction in the system, thus providing more cool air to the car interior.

Removal and Installation of Air Conditioning Compressor

The procedure for removal and installation of the 1958 compressor is the same as used in 1956, except when a new compressor is in­ stalled. New 1958 compressors will be shipped to dealers charged with Freon, and the procedure listed below must be followed when the compressor is installed.

Remove shipping plate from compressor head just before connecting liquid and suction lines to compressor. It is important that this plate be removed very slowly to prevent the oil from being ‘lost by being forced out of the compressor with escaping Freon.

CAUTION: Shut-off valve s must be fully opened before compressor is started .



The operation of the 1958 windshield washer is identical to that of 1957. However, the washer jar location has been moved from the right front fender skirt to the left cowl. Thus, the routing of hoses has also been changed.