Heater core availability for a '54,'55, or '56

Started by Cadman-iac, January 14, 2020, 04:49:43 PM

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Cadman-iac

I got lucky I guess when I finally took them out of my car  and parts cars. I have 3 sets of them. 2 sets from a '56, the other from a '55.
Before I took them out though,  I had tried to find out if any were even available.  I couldn't find any anywhere. I didn't know if mine were going to be good or not, and given the age I assumed that they were shot anyway.
I was wrong.  At least 1/3 of the time anyhow.
I got lucky, the ones in the '55 had been replaced back in '68 or '69 by the tags still on them.
The ones in my Sedan parts car were also  good original ones.
Neither of these cars did I expect to find a good core in.
The one car I thought would have good cores, my coupe, had sprinklers instead.
So at least I've got this covered.  But my question is this,  what does someone do today if you need a heater core for a '54 to '56 Cadillac?
Where would you even begin.  I tried all the aftermarket makers with no luck.
The way the original ones were made, it's a real skill to repair them and most shops won't even try.

Has anyone found a source for these?
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

J. Gomez

Quote from: Cadman-iac on January 14, 2020, 04:49:43 PM

Has anyone found a source for these?

I do not believe anyone has replacement for them only alternative is to re-core yours radiator shops should have no problem re-coring them, even if you find them on eBay they go fast and sometime for the price of gold in questionable condition.

Don’t even ask or look for the radio antenna one would need to cash their 401k to buy one.  :o
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Jeff Wilk

Cap-a-radiator In Farmingdale NY can recore if needed. They do great work too.
"Impossible Only Describes The Degree Of Difficulty" 

Southern New Jersey

1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
1975 Eldorado Convertible (#12 made)
1976 Cadillac Mirage (factory authorized Pick-Up)
1933 Phaeton Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"
1933 Master Sedan Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"

SOLD
1958 Cadillac Sixty-Special
1958 Cadillac Sixty-Special
1958 Cadillac Sedan
1958 Cadillac Coupe Deville

Cadman-iac

Thank you for the replies. I don't need one at the moment, but now I know that I can at least find one when I do.
After my own search I began to think that they were as plentiful as Henry's teeth.

Let me ask you this though.  When a shop today recores one, do they,  or rather, can they,  match the original style core, or does it look more like a miniature radiator? You know the type with tubes and fins instead of the formed passage style like the original one that's soldered across the ends or sides depending on how you look at it. 
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

Jeff Wilk

Yes........both......the OEM way is still done but you will pay more for it for sure and it really depends on how bad the original is. The AACA and VCCA magazines frequently run vendor ads for folks who handle the older OEM style rebuilds as well.
"Impossible Only Describes The Degree Of Difficulty" 

Southern New Jersey

1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
1975 Eldorado Convertible (#12 made)
1976 Cadillac Mirage (factory authorized Pick-Up)
1933 Phaeton Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"
1933 Master Sedan Chevrolet - "Baby Cadillac"

SOLD
1958 Cadillac Sixty-Special
1958 Cadillac Sixty-Special
1958 Cadillac Sedan
1958 Cadillac Coupe Deville

Cadman-iac

Quote from: Jeff Wilk on January 14, 2020, 10:48:19 PM
Yes........both......the OEM way is still done but you will pay more for it for sure and it really depends on how bad the original is. The AACA and VCCA magazines frequently run vendor ads for folks who handle the older OEM style rebuilds as well.

Thank you Jeff,  that's good to know.  I appreciate the info.
Rick
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

fishnjim

One of the most obvious places where originality makes little difference.   
Who's going to see your heat core?   (except U, service tech, or mice?) 
I haven't seen any judges with bore scopes peering down heater ducts, but I don't want to give any ideas.   Appearances and BS go a long way in this "sport".

I'm sure there's some out there, since you, like most owners, have a few, but finding them is the issue.  Or the tell tale "U" for the heater hoses.   Southern heater?
When you're in a narrow market like this, supply and demand is not going to prevail.   It's what will the market bear.   And only going to get worse with time/scarcity, so hoarding/reluctance to let go, becomes worse.   Like anyone reading this post will start thinking about getting one...

The early stuff was much heavier than what came in the '60s on when they started to cut cost, light weight, improve efficiency, etc.   I can recall more than I wanted episodes of antifreeze on the front carpet back then and replacing the heat core of the family car.   They only lasted so long.   And if you store them, make sure they're clean and kept dry.   {Solder will creep or whisker if it has no antimony.]  And check your anti-freeze between changed for corrosion additive.
Recores are not likely to have the same core material but makes little difference.   I know the '58 radiator style core material are no longer made.   And the tanks are not either.   So you get a newer style core on your old tanks.   So after that, I bought a spare and kept the orig parts.   So too guilty of "hoarding".   
Repair is also a "dying" art as machines do what people used to.   So preservation becomes more important.   
The plumbophobic EPA has all but killed lead, and even soldier is not the same.  So who we kidding with original?   And they made boiling solutions so hard to dispose its not done.  Hence move to aluminum.  We have no lead mines in US, and only one battery recycler left in existence, so your tar top battery too is marching on.   Part of why so many old repro parts are coming from China, as they still do things the old fashion ways, but that too is changing.
* - sensitive to scrap prices.   Copper/brass have had periods of shortage over the decades.   Fairly stable now.

Cadman-iac

#7
More good points.  I agree with you on all of this.
One reason I was concerned about a "replacement" core was whether or not it would work as well as the original ones did. Not that it's even an issue since there's none out there anyway.
I mainly wanted to know if I could get one if it ever became necessary.
I was surprised by  the appearance of the ones I took out of my 55 parts car. They were either repaired or replaced back in 1968 I think it was according to the tags that were soldered to them. The cores had a different style to them that didn't match the ones from my 56's.
But I was pleasantly surprised when they tested good.
This is another thing I will need to dig out of boxes and take some pictures of to show you what I'm talking about.
Unless you may know if there are any differences between 55 56 cores?
Regardless,  my main question has been answered. My thanks to everyone for their help.
Rick

EDIT:
Here's a couple of pictures of the original 56 cores that were still good.  I guess I mistakenly deleted the pics of the recored 55 cores. Went to post and can't find them now.  But anyway,  the 55 cores looked just like a radiator core does, with the oval tubes with fins.
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

cadparts58

 I just listed a right and left heater core assembly from a 56 Sedan de Ville on Ebay. My seller name is cadparts58
Frank Puma #10721

David King (kz78hy)

#9
I had mine checked, (they were good) and I had a pair recored for a friend.  There is an old time radiator shop near me that still does great radiator work.

The cases were repaired w/new rubber and seal foam.

David
David King
CLC 22014  (life)
1958 Eldorado Brougham 615
1959 Eldorado Brougham 56- sold
1960 Eldorado Brougham 83- sold
1998 Deville d'Elegance
1955 Eldorado #277
1964 Studebaker Commander
2012 Volt
CLCMRC benefactor 197

Director and Founder, Eldorado Brougham Chapter
Past President, Motor City Region

Rare Parts brand suspension parts Retailer via Keep'em Running Automotive

Cadman-iac

Quote from: cadparts58 on January 19, 2020, 09:07:01 AM
I just listed a right and left heater core assembly from a 56 Sedan de Ville on Ebay. My seller name is cadparts58

Thanks for that.  I'm not in need of one right now,  I have 2 complete sets that I know are in excellent shape.  I've cleaned, flushed,  and pressure tested them all to 20PSI just to be sure they wouldn't have a problem once installed.
My third set will be put out in the yard with a hose connected to them and I'll use them as sprinklers.

But thanks again, I appreciate the offer. Good luck with selling them.
Rick
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

#1CaddyFan

Hi Rick
I am just starting a restore/repair adventure in a 56 coupe. If I need heater cores any chance you might be interested in selling a set ?
Thanks Dan

Cadman-iac

#12
Quote from: #1CaddyFan on February 09, 2020, 09:35:11 PM
Hi Rick
I am just starting a restore/repair adventure in a 56 coupe. If I need heater cores any chance you might be interested in selling a set ?
Thanks Dan

Dan, I'm going to hang on to the second good set as backup for mine in case anything happens to one or both of them.
I would sell the third set, but I'm going to need to look at them again.  I  don't recall where they were leaking from now. If memory serves,  I believe they were leaking from the tanks, which might make them unrepairable. I think the tanks need to be good,  unless a shop can make new ones of those too. I don't know enough about the recoring process to say.

Give me a day or two to dig them out and checked again.  I'll let you know exactly what is wrong with them then, and then you can decide if it's worth bothering with.

While speaking to another member here, I was told that you can get aftermarket replacements,  but they do not fit exactly. Apparently the new ones are too short to fit, and do not have the brackets on the ends to mount them with.
1956 Coupe Deville A/C car "Norma Jean"

cadparts58

Dan.
The heater core assemblies I listed on Ebay did not sell. I still have them, if your interested I can send pictures. My email is fpuma49@verizon.net
Frank Puma #10721