Checking and Filling 1959 Buick Engine Cooling System

The coolant level should be checked only when the 1959 Buick engine is cold and only enough coolant should be added to bring the level to the line marked “Filling Level Cold” stamped about 1 1/4.” below top of head tank.

It is unnecessary and undesirable to remove the 1959 Buick radiator cap and check the coolant level whenever the car stops at a filling station for gasoline or oil, since the engine is usually hot at such times. The coolant level may be considered correct so long as the temperature gauge stays within the operating range marked on dial face.

CAUTION: Never remove the radiator cap quickly when 1959 Buick engine is HOT. Sudden release of cooling system pressure may cause the coolant to boil and some of it may be ejected from the radiator filler neck, resulting in injury to persons or damage to the car finish.

If it is necessary at any time to remove the radiator cap when engine is hot, rotate the cap counterclockwise until a stop is reached. Leave cap in this position until all pressure in cooling system has been released, then turn cap forcibly past the stop and remove it.

Draining, Flushing, Conditioning 1959 Buick Cooling System

It is advisable to drain and flush the 1959 Buick engine cooling system twice a year. This should be done when the anti-freeze solution is added in the fall and again when it is removed in the spring.

To drain the 1959 Buick cooling system remove radiator cap, then fully open the drain cocks at bottom of radiator core and on both sides of cylinder block (3 cocks). If car heater is installed, open the heater control valve to the “HIGH” position.

After the 1959 Buick cooling system is drained and all cocks are closed, fill the cooling system with clean water. Run the engine long enough to open the thermostat for complete circulation through the system, then completely drain the cooling system before sediment has a chance to settle.

Conditioning the 1959 Buick Cooling System

“Rust Inhibitor & Stop Leak,” listed under Group 8.800 is recommended for use in the cooling system, particularly when preparing for installation of anti-freeze solution. This material stops small seepage leaks, has rust preventive properties and its soluble oil is effective in eliminating a squealing noise which sometimes develops at the water pump seal washer. Instructions for its applications are printed on the conditioner bottle.

It is very important to make certain that the cooling system is properly prepared before an anti-freeze solution is installed; otherwise, loss of solution through leakage may occur or seepage may result in damage to the 1959 Buick engine. The cooling system should be drained and flushed as described above (subpar. b.), all joints should be checked for leakage and corrected, and the conditioner described above should be added with the anti-freeze solution.

Inspect the 1959 Buick water pump, radiator core, heater and defroster cores, drain cocks, water jacket plugs, and edge of cylinder head gaskets for evidence of water leaks. Tighten all hose clamps in the cooling and heating systems and replace any deteriorated hoses.

Using and Testing Anti-Freeze Solutions

Volatile (alcohol) type anti-freeze solutions up to 50% may be used with the standard 170° radiator thermostat. If a non-volatile (ethylene glycol) type solution is used, the higher limit 180° radiator thermostat may be used to improve car heater performance.

The practice of mixing alcohol type antifreeze with ethylene glycol type anti-freeze is not recommended. Although anti-freeze protection may be afforded, the level of protection is impossible to check with a specific gravity type of instrument due to the difference in weight of the two types of anti-freeze.

Every anti-freeze solution must be used in accordance with the instruction and in proportions specified by the anti-freeze manufacturer. The proportions must be selected as specified for the lowest temperature at which protection against freezing will be required.

The following solutions have been found to be unsatisfactory for use in automobile cooling systems: Salt solutions such as calcium or magnesium chloride, sodium silicate, etc.; honey, glucose, sugar solutions, oils or kerosene, untreated glycerine, untreated ethylene glycol.

It is advisable to test the anti-freeze solution at intervals during the winter to make certain that the solution has not been weakened by evaporation or leakage. Use only hydrometers which are calibrated to read both the specific gravity and the temperature, and have a table or other means of converting the freezing point at various temperatures of the solution. Disregarding the temperature of the solution when making the test may cause an error as large as 30° F. Care must be exercised to use the correct float or table for the particular type of antifreeze being tested.



A tight fan belt will cause rapid wear of the generator and water pump bearings. A loose belt will slip and wear excessively and will cause noise, engine overheating, and unsteady generator output. A fan belt which is cracked or frayed, or which is worn so that it bottoms in the pulleys should be replaced.

The 1959 Buick fan belt may be replaced by loosening the generator brace at both ends, slightly loosening the generator mounting bolts and moving generator inward to provide maximum slack in the belt. On a car equipped with power steering, it is also necessary to remove the oil pump drive belt after loosening the pump mounting bolts to provide maximum slack in this belt.

The 1959 Buick generator must be moved sidewise to adjust the fan belt. After the generator brace and mounting bolts are securely tightened, the fan belt tension should be checked by torque wrench at the generator pulley nut. A properly tensioned new belt will require 15-20 ft. lbs. torque to slip the generator pulley. A used belt will require 15 ft. lbs. See figure 2-37.

1959 Buick Belt Tension Chart

1959 Buick Belt Tension Chart

If the power steering oil pump belt is removed it should be adjusted to torque specified in paragraph 8-12 (d).

If the 1959 Buick Air Conditioner compressor belt is removed it should be adjusted as specified in par. 11-8.



A sticking radiator thermostat will prevent the cooling system from functioning properly. If the thermostat sticks in the open position, the 1959 Buick engine will warm up very slowly. If the thermostat sticks in the closed position, overheating will result.

The 1959 Buick thermostat may be removed for inspection and test by partially draining the cooling system and disconnecting the water outlet and hose from the water manifold, in which the thermostat is located.

If the 1959 Buick thermostat valve does not fully close when cold, replace the thermostat. If the valve will fully close when cold, test the thermostat for correct opening temperature by immersing the unit and a thermometer in a container of water over a heater. While heating the water do not rest either the thermometer or thermostat on bottom of container as this will cause them to be at higher temperature than the water. Agitate the water to insure uniform temperature of water, thermostat and thermometer.

The standard thermostat (170°) valve should start to open at a temperature of 167° F. to 172° F., and should be fully open at a temperature not in excess of 192° F. On the high temperature (180° ) thermostat which may be installed to improve car heater performance, the valve should start to open at a temperature of 177° F. to 182° F., and should be fully open at a temperature not in excess of 202° F. If thermostat does not operate at specified temperatures it should be replaced as it cannot be adjusted.



The 1959 Buick water pump cover is die cast aluminum into which the water pump bearings are shrunk fit. For this reason the cover, shaft bearings and hub are not serviceable. The shaft seal and impeller are the only replaceable parts of the 1959 Buick water pump.


  1. Drain cooling system being sure to drain into a clean container if anti-freeze solution is to be saved.
  2. Loosen belt or belts, then remove fan blade, spacer and pulley or pulleys from hub on water pump shaft. Remove belt or belts.
  3. Disconnect hose from water pump inlet and heater hose from nipple. Remove bolts then remove pump assembly and gasket from timing chain cover.
  4. Check pump shaft bearings for end play or roughness in operation. If bearings are not in serviceable condition, the assembly must be replaced.

Disassembly for Seal Replacement

  1. Pull impeller from pump shaft using care to avoid any end thrust on bearings. See figure 2-38.
1959 Buick Pulling Water Pump Impeller

1959 Buick Pulling Water Pump Impeller

  • Remove carbon washer rubber bellows and spring from the brass sleeve that is pressed into the pump housing. It is not necessary to remove the brass sleeve if it is in good condition. If necessary to remove brass sleeve, drive out with punch inserted through vent hole in pump body.
  • Clean pump cover to remove scale, old gasket, etc. Do not use cleaning solvent as solvent may leak into bearings and destroy the lubricant.
  • If the old brass seal sleeve was removed from pump body, carefully press new seal assembly into body, using thick walled tube of suitable diameter.
  • If old sleeve was not removed, separate the new seal sleeve from seal bellows by soaking in hot water to soften cement used to hold seal parts together for ease of handling. Install the carbon washer bellows and spring in the old sleeve being careful to engage notches of washer with driving dents of brass sleeve.

    1. Coat face of carbon washer and impeller hub with rust preventative or Seco Oil; then press impeller on shaft until rear face of impeller hub is flush with end of shaft.

    CAUTION: Avoid any pressing technique that is likely to impose thrust loads on water pump bearings. Pump must be supported on forward end of shaft only while pressing on impeller. See figure 2-15.


    1. Make sure the gasket surfaces on pump and timing chain covers are clean. Install pump assembly with new gasket. Bolts with lock washers must be tightened uniformly.
    2. Connect radiator hose to pump inlet and heater hose to nipple, then fill cooling system and check for leaks at pump and hose joints.
    3. Install fan pulley or pulleys, spacer and fan blade, tighten attaching bolts securely. Install belt or belts and adjust for proper tension. (Par. 2-21).



    When a 1959 Buick oil pump is removed for repairs the following procedure must be used to inspect parts and assemble pump in order to insure adequate oil pressure when the work is completed.

    1. Remove screen and screen housing. Remove gasket, pipe and cover from pump body. Remove gears. See figure 2-39.
    1959 Buick Oil Pump Exploded View

    1959 Buick Oil Pump Exploded View

  • Remove hex cap, spring and ball valve from pump body.
  • Thoroughly clean the parts in solvent and blow dry with air hose.
  • Check spring to see that it is not worn on its side or collapsed.
  • Check ball to see that it is not worn or scored and check pump body to see that the ball fits its seat properly.
  • Inspect body, cover, gears and shaft for evidence of wear, scoring, etc. Replace any unserviceable parts.
  • Install gear and shaft and idler gear in pump body with chamfered end of idler gear teeth inward away from cover.
  • Check for clearance between gears and cover by using a steel straight edge as shown in Figure 2-40.
  • 1959 Buick Checking Clearance of Gears at Cover

    1959 Buick Checking Clearance of Gears at Cover

  • The clearance between gears and straight edge should be not more than .005″ or less than .0005″.
  • Lubricate and assemble parts to pump body by reversing sequence given in Steps 1 and 2.
  • After all screws are tightened , turn shaft by hand. The shaft should turn freely and have slight end play (.0005″ to .005″).

    1. Before installation of oil pump, check crankcase for dirt or burrs which might tilt the pump and cause binding.
    2. Install oil pump with a new gasket, tightening attaching bolts a little at a time while turning pump shaft back and forth through gear lash.

    If pump shaft tends to bind when bolts are tightened, it may be freed up by rapping body lightly with a plastic mallet. Pump shaft must be free of bind when bolts are tightened.