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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. Thank you for stopping to look at my thread.

To begin, I have a simple question, if someone could answer, I'd be thrilled.

For a little bit of intro, I own a 1997 dodge neon base sohc, and a 1986 Plymouth Gran fury police interceptor 318 with an edelbrock 600.

I found a car sort of locally to me (about 2 hours away) and went to purchase it today.
It's a 1951 Dodge Coronet sedan.

I drove it and enjoyed it, the outside is very decent, and the interior is really not that bad. It has what one could assume are original miles. right under 60k . However, we stopped for a little bit and let it sit idling. When we went to drive again, it has spilled A LOT of coolant, and read hot. But when we drove back to point of origin, it had cooled down substantially. It was an instant no sale because it seemed like a really really bad thing for a car to do. So I passed on it. The guy has contacted me since and says he talked to some car people including two mechanics, and his grandfather who owns a couple this-era vehicles. Apparently, if you let them idle for too long, coolant will leak like that..?
Other than the coolant thing, I really really liked the car. So my question to you guys is, is this really a problem old cars have? Or just a BS line to get me to buy it?

If it really is a thing, I want to purchase it. It's a good price and a seemingly nice guy. But, if it is just BS, I want to stick to my original decision to pass..

Thanks to anyone who can lend a hand.

Adam

I can offer whatever other info would help.
 

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First off, welcome to the forum. There are a couple reasons for doing this, being the normal lack of cooling while idling, radiator cap or thermostat not good, poor circulation through the radiator itself, and no catch can to keep the fluids from belching all over the place, or the engine/radiator needing a good cleaning.

What color was the fluid on the ground? Was it fresh looking antifreeze, red mud, or clear water/combo of these things?

These engines are pretty tough when it comes to overheating, to which I would think, if you are into working on cars and all that, figure the cost of a new water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, catch can, and the time and money to flush the block and radiator, have him knock a good portion of that cost off the price and call it a day, if you want the car that badly.
 
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Use it to your advantage to knock the price down some. If you like the car and the price is right, do it and enjoy. Even if you have to work on it for a few days to get her right. You'll be glad you did.
Two weeks ago, I bought a 1947 Chrysler that had been sitting for a few years and wasn't running. Worked on getting it started (changed gas, new wheel cylinders, etc.) and took it out for it's first ride last night. Great feeling.
I think what dana44 said is right, go for it and let us know.
 

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The flathead 6 had few overheating issues. One would be a clogged radiator. Second would be a blown head gasket or cracked block. Third was they had a "coolant distribution" tube inside the block to direct the coolant correctly. Clogged radiator can be checked by pulling the bottom hose and running water through it with a hose OR you can feel for cool spots on the radiator caused by clogged tubes with the engine running. A cracked block or head gasket issue will give you bubbles seen at the top of the radiator (may have to fill the tank more than normal (Normal is about two inches down). Distribution tube requires some disassembly and it probably is worn out after all these years.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok. Thank you guys for the info so far. The liquid coming out looked like coolant, no red or anything.

the radiator on the car is almost brand new, as well as the hoses for it. I was reading into the catch can thing, and that really sounds like it could be a potential fix for this issue. All of the coolant seemed to come out of a seemingly manufactured hole in the radiator frame. I'm going to talk with the guy and see if I can get him down on the price.

As far as that goes, I think what he's asking is fair, but I'm curious what you guys think something like this is worth, I don't have a lot of experience with older car values.

Thanks again
Adam
 

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That all depends on what you are willing to pay actually. I feel a person usually knows what a car is worth to them, unless they watch the new line of car flipping shows and feel their car is worth more than it really is. Nothing worse than looking at the prices of cars and see the price for a basket case is double what it was five years ago. With that in mind, if the guy is talking a fair price, and you figure the stuff you have to replace or fix is minimal at best, a running streetworthy car from the early 50s doesn't usually bring that much money to begin with, so if you feel the price is reasonable, be fair to the guy and offer a couple hundred under his asking price. Hard to say what the car is really worth without actually inspecting or seeing pictures.

One man's trash is another man's treasure type thing.
 

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Amedbery said:
Ok. Thank you guys for the info so far. The liquid coming out looked like coolant, no red or anything.

the radiator on the car is almost brand new, as well as the hoses for it. I was reading into the catch can thing, and that really sounds like it could be a potential fix for this issue. All of the coolant seemed to come out of a seemingly manufactured hole in the radiator frame. I'm going to talk with the guy and see if I can get him down on the price.

As far as that goes, I think what he's asking is fair, but I'm curious what you guys think something like this is worth, I don't have a lot of experience with older car values.

Thanks again
Adam
The normal drain hole for a radiator made in that time would be a tube coming out of the side of the filler cap area and it would go over to the side an at least part way down with a rubber hose taking it to below the frame. To change over to the coolant reservoir requires that you have a cap with relief pressure setting (probably what you have now), a seal at the top to seal the top of the filler tube and a vacuum relief in the center bottom of the bottom seal. (also probably what you have). Then a reservoir vented to the outside and a bottom connection to go to the tube on the radiator. As far as pricing, we do not have enough info to give you a firm estimate but look all over the web and see what prices are out there. Remember, all those you find will be an asking price, not selling price unless you find a sold price.
 

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I own the same car, and I used to drive one as a daily driver. It is not normal for the car to be overflowing or overheating at idle. The radiator in this car (if it is original style) has a large upper tank allowing for some expansion (so it should not need an overflow container). It might kick some coolant out if the owner had filled it to the top of the radiator when cold, but it should not be overheating on the temp gage at idle in any event. Typically you might lose a small amount via the overflow tube after a hot soak when the engine is shut off. Since you said it has an almost new radiator, the owner may have already tried the simple things to fix an overheating problem like a new radiator cap, flush, replacement radiator core, etc. It could be something simple, but it could also be something serious like a bad cylinder (burnt valve or cracked valve seat) causing the engine to run hotter than normal or an exhaust leak into the coolant jacket via the head gasket. A few other things which can cause it to run hotter than normal (stuck heat riser in exhaust manifold, bad thermostat or wrong temperature thermostat, bad water pump, timing way off, clogged coolant passage, low oil pressure). The block may also be all clogged up and the water distribution tube may need to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok. Again, thanks for the info. I think the price is fair. CHRYNY, your comment has me worried, but the radiator didn't seem to have any sort of reservoir. The other things, I won't know until later. I talked to the guy, and we came to an agreement. So, I'll have it tomorrow.

I will update with more once I know more.

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok! I bought it. I had the guy meet me about an hour away instead of the two hours that I drove initially. I drove it home without any problems whatsoever. I looked a little closer, and the place where coolant had drained was the hose right at the radiator cap, it runs along the side of the radiator, and ends right at the spot where it dumped. The car hasn't had any trouble so far, it drives exceptionally well.
 

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Well congratulations are in order. I would install a catch and recovery can and radiator cap either way, large radiator tops for expansion are nice, but the mess and inconvenience of always worrying whether fluid was spewed and now low is worth the small cost (salvage yards have tons of them), and no mess on the ground.
 

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Congratulations and good luck with the car. Which transmission version is in the car (3 speed manual or 4 speed semi-automatic)? (Fender nameplate says fluid drive or gyro-matic)
 

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Thanks! I'll be going for the catch can set up. It's a Gyro-matic. However, I seem to be having a slight issue with shifting into the high gear. "1st" and "2nd" are just fine, but it seems to bypass "3rd" and just go right into "4th". Which doesn't really bother me, it just takes forever to get up to speed.
 

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Describe your shift pattern. What I believe you have is reverse (to you and up) 1st is straight up and high is down. Correct?
 

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If its a gyromatic, it has neutral, lo range (1-2), drive or hi range (3-4), and reverse. 4th is direct drive. Clutch is only needed for putting it into a particular range, reverse or neutral. It upshifts between 1->2 or 3->4 when you exceed a certain speed and take your foot momentarily off the gas pedal. Typically it can be driven, by just putting it in the (drive or high) range and it will start out in 3rd and upshift to 4th and downshift under certain speed conditions and/or depressed gas pedal. You can use the low range for hills. However, it is rather slow using just drive range most of the time. You can drive it using 1-2-4 with better acceleration. (After it upshifts to 2, get up some speeed and then change ranges and you are in 4th.) Also, if you depress the clutch momemtarily when it is about to make the hydraulic upshift (1->2) or (3->4) you can speed up the upshift operation. Also, a downshift button was an option (installed on some cars on the end of the gearshift) which allowed you to cause a 4->3 downshift by depressing the button instead of having to floor the pedal.
 

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That would be the M6 transmission. There is a page about it under the transmission section. Actually called low range and high range. Each has two speeds. The low range low speed is the lowest followed by high range low speed. Then comes low range high speed and finally direct drive which is high range high speed.
 

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Does this car have a heater in it? The reason I'm asking is because I'm just wondering if the overheating could be the result of a clogged heater core?
 

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Overheating should not be related to the conditon of the heater core. On these cars, the heater core is typically turned off fully (no flow through heater core) via a cable controlled water valve during the summer. If you have overheating problems, you can use the heater core (which is rather larger) to bring down the engine temp by turning up the heat to full on in the winter control setting with the blower motor on high and opening the windows.
 
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