The Guy With The Galaxie: Radiator Hose


Me And My Galaxie

I’ve decided to start writing about the various repairs and improvements I make to my 1965 Galaxie as they happen. I’ve written about my car before. This will be an ongoing column as more work is done on the car.

Yesterday I was driving my 1965 Galaxie down 705, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, drinking a glass bottle of Coca-Cola, with my girl by my side on our way to BBQ at Dash Point on the Fourth of July. I couldn’t have been more Americana if I tried unless I was coming from a baseball game and had picked up a fresh baked hot apple pie.

This was the first drive of more than a few miles that I’d taken the Galaxie on since having the radiator repaired. A few weeks ago it had overheated on a hot Sunday after driving for most of the day. The bottom tube of the radiator where the lower hose connects broke off. I’d had the guys are NW Radiator make the repair and reinstalled the radiator. This was the first real test. One advantage we had was that we were following my girlfriend’s mother to the BBQ so if anything went wrong, we wouldn’t be on the side of the road forever.

I-705 is one of those rare, strange freeways where there are a handful of stoplights. We were stopped at the first one when I noticed the temperature going up towards 240 degrees. Typically it runs right around 200. From past experience, I know that once it gets to 240, bad things start to happen. I pointed it out to my girlfriend and asked that she keep an eye on it. The light changed and I sped up, hoping that the air through the engine would lower the temperature. It didn’t. A few hundred yards past the first light, I could hear the engine falter a bit. I slowed down, blinked the lights at my girlfriend’s mother’s car and watched as the steam began to come up from the hood. I pulled off to the side of the road.

I popped the hood and watched as coolant sprayed all over the engine. I quickly searched around to see where the spray was coming from and prayed it wasn’t the radiator. Within seconds, I found the culprit. The top radiator hose had a hole in it, right past the clamp that secured it to the radiator. I grabbed a screwdriver from my trunk and waited a few minutes before unhooking the hose from the engine and the radiator. The hose was still hot to touch.

The bad radiator hose

The bad radiator hose

By the time I had that done, my girlfriend’s mom had turned around and found us. We transferred the BBQ stuff from our vehicle to hers and took the broken hose with us. Once at the BBQ, my girlfriend and I used her mom’s vehicle to stop by AutoZone to get a new hose.

The first AutoZone we came across didn’t have the hose, but quickly found that another nearby branch did have the hose in stock. We picked up the hose and a couple of gallons of coolant. Then we headed back to the BBQ. Later, we went back to the Galaxie. I installed the new hose, filled up the radiator, and we were back on the road in minutes.

When I’m driving down the road and I see another classic car, we always give each other a small wave. We do this knowing that if you’re driving a classic car, then you’ve spent some time under the hood. Sometimes that time is spent on the side of the road on the Fourth of July, but if you’re a classic car lover, this sort of thing doesn’t bother you. It’s the price of admission. Best of all, the repair cost a total of $10 for the hose and $24 for the two gallons of coolant. Name the last time you repaired a modern car for under $30.

–          Jack Cameron