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Just now signed up to comment. Joining the party late. Some comments regarding cooling system:

(aside) This car actually appears to be pretty goood considering its history.

The thermostat could be replaced with something from Parts-R-Us, but don't. It is designed to open and close two flow paths, the main path to the radiator and the bypass to the water pump inlet. One opens as the other closes. It's important to maintain water circulation inside the engine at all times, both cold and hot. The bypass must close when the engine warms up or there will not be adequate flow through the radiator, and the engine will overheat. A generic modern thermostat will not do that. Unfortunately, the correct thermostat is not cheap. Getting the old thermostat out may be challenging. When you open up the housing top, you will see the top of the thermostat and two 2BA screw holes. (2BA is a British screw thread, but American 10-32 is very close and will work. You'll likely need to make a little puller to attach to the thermstat top at those screw holes to pull it up. Also, on the left side of the hoousing there's a small alignment screw that shouldn't be holding it, but sometimes is if a too-long screw was put in there.



You should drain the coolant and refill with new. The old antifreezs corrosion inhibitors are surely long ago expired, and the cooling system is not now protected from corrosion. The main drain is at the rear of the block, right side, low down at the bottom of the water jacket. It's a plug valve; 1/4 turn to full open. The water should come out in a big strong stream, lots bigger flow than the radiator drain, but if the water jacket has lots of crud in it, maybe nothing will come out. That's relatively common with the history your car has. For that, you'll need to work a coat hanger in to break up the crud, and likely also need to take off the valve. Great sport! Also drain the radiator, which is quite similar to most other cars. It's about 4 gallons total.

Another aside comment, the solenoid replacement you did was a mistake, even though it might work. Get the correct one from Moss Motors, link posted above by someone else. Also get new electrical boots if needed, same source. The correct solenoid also has a handy feature, run the starter motor locally with that fat push button on it without turning on the ignition. Resist the temptation to substitute generic bits for the correct parts. You can get a lot of correct parts for less $ from Introcar and Flying Spares in the UK, but you need to know what to get to avoid purchase mistakes. Caveat emptor. Mr Google knows them. In the US, Bentley Zionsville in Indianapolis is very good at providing what you need when you aren't sure. Somewhat more expensive, but very reliable and there is no one that is more trustworthy. Chris Albers is the principal there. You will not get junk from the Albers brothers. Used parts from Tony Handler in LA. Tony is retired, but Alex Manos continues with the same reliablity of Tony, and he stands benhind what he sells. Buy from others for less, but you'll be taking a chance. Who knows what you'll get and when it will arrive?
 

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How do you know if he has the incorrect solenoid, his links don't work ? (at least they're not working now)
Even the new replacements from Introcar (for example) don't look like the originals that were in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
So I just got a solenoid from Napa that they said should work, but I wonder if I hooked it up wrong, or if maybe it does need to be an original for the ignition to work. I think I’ll check out replacements from the places recommended. Thanks so much for input. I am learning so much. Where would I find a picture of where the wires go on the original solenoid. I should have taken a picture when I took out the old one, but didn’t.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
So most of the tool kit is absent unfortunately. I don’t have the tool to get the cap off. I haven’t added any fluid to it since I got it and I think that may be the problem. Hopefully it is just low on fluid and got too hot rather than needing a thermostat. I’m going to try using a strap wrench to get the cap off, or try to find a really big hex wrench that can fit into the cap. Is there a trick to taking the cap off like pushing down in it while twisting or anything? Thanks for all the advice. I need all I can get and love learning so much about this amazing car.
 

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If the car starts and runs, then the solenoid is connected properly, it's as simple as that.
The ones available else where have a manual button on them so it can be pushed from inside the engine bay _ make sure it's in PARK first and the E-Brake is on.
It was a feature so one could manually push the solenoid by hand if it failed _ the one you have works, just leave it alone for now, if there is no push button, you can always get the correct one later.
Wiring one in with the push button feature will not improve how the car runs or how well it starts.

Using a strap wrench is an excellent idea, don't use a wrench on the inside, I've seen them break under too much force with the original wrench, it's just bake-lite and rather fragile.
There is no trick of getting it off, it just un-screws _ counter-clock-wise.
There is a rubber seal ring that is most likely rotten and is keeping the thing from unscrewing.
I've seen them get stuck on the threads when people put some sort of lubrication on, and that has broken down and welded it in place.
When you get it off, make sure and clean the lid and the rad of any coolant on the threads, the coolant becomes sticky when the water evaporates and that also keep the lid from unscrewing.
Using some penetrating oil will help as well, a type with one of those long nozzle extensions.
You should be able to get some oil under the edge of the cap to flow into the threads.

Here's your manual, follow the links to your wiring diagram, for your chassis number.
It's a simple car with simple wiring, not like a modern car, use a rule to follow the wires and study it's circuits and become familiar with it.
When the Silver Shadow came out, that's when RR made it unnecessarily complex with relays and many add-ons, it got worse when electronics were introduced.

Silver Cloud (rrtechnical.info)

And as rollsfixer said, the coolant has to be replaced, follow what he said to service it.
I'm surprised there is any coolant left in it at all really.
 

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Regarding my sharp comment on the solenoid, there is no good reason to use a generic part because a correct one is inexpensive. I am a strong advocate of keeping these cars as authentic as possible. The solenoids were made in two versions which are very slightly different in appearance, and I believe the didtance between the mounting screw holes may be slightly different. The first ones used by RR up to sometime in 1950 had no push button. These are no longer made. The ones sold currently by Introcar and Moss are aftermarket replicas of the later version with the button.

Incidently, you cannot relate any changes to year model because before 1965 there were no year models. Design changes were implemented when the factory was ready to do it, and often the old way continued for a while along side of the new way. Your car has a year model recorded with the licensing authority because they insisted that it had to have one. The only way to know what's right for any specific car is to reference the factory build records for the chassis number and/or factory modification records. For most mods the factory records will state a chassis number that it began with and exceptions for specific chassis numbers that were different from that.

Hey, does your computer, cell phone, or almost everything else you own have a year model? That's how RR did it also until the government forced year models on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Got my new tires in and had them mounted. So I haven’t fixed the overheating issues yet, but couldn’t help myself and wanted to see if it would drive. It was amazing! It drove beautifully. Although I only went around the block before it overheated. Haha. Can’t see how to add a video though. Anyway. Going to see if I can pull the thermostat this weekend and test it in hot water per a previous post. Thanks all for the knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Good to know. I don’t have a torque wrench but I tried not to be too firm. I have to admit I did cross thread one of the lug nuts so I have to order one now. And it threw me off for a minute that the threads on the left side wheels are backwards, but it mostly went smoothly getting the tires mounted and wheels on. Thanks
 

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I've never seen one that bad before. o_O

The whole system is more then likely filled with that stuff, be prepared to take work on the whole thing.

Once you start cleaning that yellow gunk off, you may find you will need a new cap for the thermostat housing.

Is your "by-pass" hose kinked ?

There's a good chance that you're going to need a puller to get the thermostat out.

Once you get the thermostat out, open up the drain on the block and put you garden hose in the thermostat housing, it should flow out freely from the drain on the block.
It's common that the silt in the block has blocked of that drain.

If that was my car I would take the entire cooling system apart _ rebuild the pump _ re-core the rad.
Once the pump is removed, there is a brass tube that runs down the length of the engine.
When that is removed you can shine a light down there and see how much silt is built up in the block, you may have to use a small mirror.
 

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I use water from two dehumidifiers for the radiators on all my cars. It may not be 100% pure but it does not have dissolved "lime" in it. It seems to have paid off, so far. Browsing pictures of blocks from pre-war cars can make anyone do the same. If you live in an area with lime-laden water it can be useful to reduce smearing as the last rinse in a wash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Wheel Tire Car Cloud Vehicle

got it moving under its own power and drive it 2 miles to a shop my friend has without it overheating. It drove like a dream! He is going to go through it from a professional point of view and do a bunch of stuff I can’t as an amateur. And yes I do have the hubcaps. Just haven’t put them on yet. And I need to get 1 new lug nut anyway for one of the left wheels. I stripped it putting the wheels on after I had the new whitewalls mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Road surface Asphalt Tar Floor Flooring

so in learning to work on my Bentley (or any car for that matter) I spilled gasoline, coolant, transmission fluid, and at least 2 quarts of oil. I think I managed to get the garage pretty clean. (;
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
So I ended up ordering a factory correct solenoid, but the car still wouldn’t start with the key. Turns out the switch on the steering column in the engine bay that prevents the car from being started in gear wasn’t lined up right. Now that is done and the brakes have been thoroughly inspected by my mechanic. There is still a lot to do, but it is good enough for a small town car show at the end of the month. Can’t wait to cruise in it. Do have a question about the gas. I know to get the non-ethanol gas, but do I need to get lead additive too for my ‘56? Also I need to top off the brake fluid in one of the reservoirs. What kind of brake fluid do I use? I’ll post pics of the car show 😃
 

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Don't use a lead additive, that's old technology, the valve seats are plenty strong as well as the valves them selves to use modern fuels as they are.
The exhaust valves have something RR calls Stellite, on the seats _ no need to worry.
They wear right on the cast iron block, and may have been replaced with hardened seats at some time, either way, they're fine.

Stellite - Wikipedia

Lead just adds to the sludge in the engine and pollutes horribly.
Modern oils are better then any leaded fuel for the stems as well, or any old oil they used back in 56, your solid rockers will be happy with modern, no need for lead.
I use premium gas, not because the car is high compression, but mine sits all winter long, the premium gas here in Canada has no ethanol in it to varnish things up.

I would be guessing what kind of brake fluid to use, but DOT 3 or 4 should be fine, it's not like a finicky Shadow.
If the mechanic had inspected the brakes, he must have topped the fluid up, what did he use and if it needs topping up, is it leaking somewhere ?
It's very common for an old system that has old fluid in it to rust the master and brake cylinders.
With out checking, I believe your system has two master cylinders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
So I drove her home and the transmission kept slipping out of gear. My mechanic felt the same thing but was able to drive it at 50 down the highway. I could barely get it to stay in second and go 10. He said it is probably due to not being driven for 40 years and to just cruise and break everything in. Any thoughts on it? The transmission is full and I used Dex ATF
 
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