"Coolin' Down A '54 Cadillac"
We are continuing work on the cooling problem of our '54 Cadillac Coupe DeVille factory air car. Having gone through everything from rodding out the radiator to adding a 6-blade flex fan, it is still running hot (215 degrees). We have not been able to find another '54 a/c car to compare ours with; so all research has been limited to factory manuals and hands-on problem solving. This car does not have a fan shroud, and there is almost no room for one (only about 3" from the back of the radiator to the fan belt). Using our Cadillac master parts list, a shroud is shown for the '53 Cadillac with a/c (Cadillac's first a/c car), but not for the '54, although a fan ring is listed for '54. This is basically a shroud, so we decided to build one for our car. To receive full benefit from a shroud, the fan must be inside the shroud by a minimum 3/4" and situated approximately 1" minimum from the radiator. Using a piece of white chalk, we marked the center of where the fan is positioned on the radiator. This is about 2" lower than center of the radiator, and equal distance side to side. Using an 18" flex fan (which will flatten out when RPMs increase, but will not increase in diameter), a fan circle path was delineated and marked on the radiator. We now had a drawing in chalk on the backside of the radiator indicating size and positioning of our shroud. Next we removed the radiator. Using a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal we cut an 18 1/2" hole cut at the correct position for the fan air pull. To bend the sides, we used our sheet metal brake and folded the corners at 90 degrees, welding straps into which we drilled holes that matched up with our existing radiator support holes. We bought regular house heating duct 18 1/2" in diameter and 3" wide with foldover tabs. This was attached to our hole in the shroud, giving us our wind tunnel. The flaps were bent over and welded to the flat part of the shroud. We then cut circles at the bottom for the bottom radiator hose and drain. Next, we ground down the welds, sandblasted, metal prepped and primed, then finished with a couple of coats of semi-gloss black. Now that the shroud was ready, we decided to check out our -radiator one more time. That's when we discovered a problem! The top tank number was 3132070-'52! Cadillac didn't make an a/c car in '52. Back to the parts book! The 3132070 radiator was used in non-air cars from 1949-1956. The correct a/c radiator is a 3132357. No dimensions were given and no difference in coolant capacity. We called our radiator expert, Danny Burnette at Chatt-Town Radiator (423-698-2389). Upon his advice, we decided to go from our 3-row to a 6-row 3/4 tubes. This would fit into our existing space and the core could be positioned toward the front. By offsetting the core to the front of the tanks, this would still give us 1" fan to radiator space and room for our shroud. A detailed drawing of the radiator space was taken along with the radiator to Danny who will build our new 6-row core. Check in next to see if our new radiator and shroud have solved the problem. Never give up!! Keep 'em driving!