Buick -57 overheating


New member
Having some problems with my Buick -57.
It's overheating when driving slowly, never on the highway.
The radiator has been restored and I have replaced the thermostate.
Also bought an electric fan with no results.

Maybe you guys know how to solve this problem?
(From sweden so my english can be a little bad..)


Sounds as though you're not moving enough air and or water through the system at low speed. Having had 2 bad thermostats brand new off the shelf, I would remove the thermostat and test drive the car.

I also had a nailhead with a very worn timing set (gears and chain) it ran hot.

Make sure you're running 50/50 coolant to distilled water.
Fan shrouds always help low speed cooling.
Buick had problems with calibration of the temperature gauges on the early '57 cars. Here is the dealer service bulletin issued that year.


Based on Todd's post regarding temperature gauge issue on 57 cars. Does the car have an aftermarket temperature gauge? Does the radiator 'spit' coolant? What symptoms is the car having?


Active member
By overheating what exactly do you mean ... Is water coming out of the overflow and/or are you just looking at the temp gauge position ? Where exactly is the needle position when you observe your overheating. As noted above the service bulletin stated the new mid model year temperature gauge face plate change simply extended the distance between Cool and Hot on the gauge face plate from first off earlier jobs nothing else was changed. Connect an external gauge up and run it through the fire wall into the cabin and see what readings you get and compare them to the factory specs. Then go from there.
You could try confirming gauge readings with an info red thermometer.
The only good reason I can think of for the car to overheat at slow low speed conditions when it has a new radiator is inadequate water flow. At higher speeds, there is enough water circulating to keep the block cool, but at low speed there is no. Probably a bad water pump. Could be a blockage. I have heard of coolant hoses separating and plugging off.


Active member
I had a local well known shop hook both my 1960's up with re-coring the radiator w/ additional row of fins, custom built & powder coated shrouds
(my Buicks came with a simple finger saver flap over the top of the radiator, no shroud) and a six blade fan instead of the factory 4 blade fan. At the latest Woodward Dream Cruise we drove 4 hours solid almost all of it bumper to bumper slow go and no problems with over heating. Good luck, sooner or later you'll nail down the cause. All classic car owners know that we are never really done working on our cars, right?


Yep it's just what OZ40 said,get your radiator recored and they can put the cores closer and another row so you get 3 row instead of the original 2 rows and the down tubes are closer together so you get more fluid as well.I got mine done and installed an electric fan on a separate switch to use in heavy traffic - I found the thermostat type switch to unreliable so went with manual switch.Also I fitted a plastic "Flexi" fan which bends and grips more air under load.Mine gets up to 200 deg if I let it in heavy traffic but stays at 180 deg with fan switched on.No more worrying in city traffic.