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Starting installing new cooling system parts

J

jon81

Guest
Finally got all my parts together (Dewitts aluminum radiator, Dewitts SPAL fans, Stewart stage 2 water pump, Robert Shaw 180 degree thermostat, Dr. Rebuild radiator surround foam, new hoses and belts) and started the cooling system upgrade install yesterday. Had a couple of buds from Mountain State Corvettes come over to lend a hand which was great.

Thursday afternoon I got the cooling system flushed and just running clear water. The OE radiator was seriously crud filled. I originally wanted to use Dexcool but afer reading some posts on the Corvette Forum C4 area I'm not so sure now.

We started getting everything removed around 10am which took about 2 leisurely hours. The only removal problem (other than there's just too much useless stuff on the engine) was the long bolt that goes through the water pump as the threads had seriously corroded. The bolt cleaned up well though. The plug in the top of the OE water pump was too big to fit the Stewart pump so I sent the wife "on a miision" to NAPA for the right size plug which they had.

While we were taking everything apart I noticed that one of the wire connectors on the alternator was looking kinda flaky so I put on a new connector.

Putting the water pump back on and all of the new belts was pretty straight forward (with the exception of trying to loosen the power steering pump to get that belt off...almost no wrench clearance).

Getting the new radiator installed was not nearly as easy as the removal. The aluminum radiator was supposed to be an exact size match which was not exactly true... close but not exact. We made the mistake of mounting the fans to the radiator first and it wouldn't fit. If you do this upgrade check the fit of the radiator first and then position and install the fans. Once we removed the fans we found that there were several problems with the radiator 1. The spinning drain petcock had no clearance and would let the radiator seat into the bottom mount 2. A cap would not fit because it they Dewitts had put the fill opening too close to the top mount 3. The Dr. Rebuild side foam was way too thick. We "modified" the clearance for the drain by cutting away some of the metal on the shroud where the bottom mounts are with a pair of tin snips. I'm going to get a plug at NAPA and do away with the spinning drain petcock. Theres no way to use the spinning drain petcock supplied as it hits the bottom mount. One of my buds is going to do a clearance modification to the top mount so I can get a radiator cap on. The Dr. Rebuild side foam just needs to be cut to fit and reattached with some weatherstrip adhesive. Around 4:00pm we said the heck with it and are going to finish Tuesday night. That's one nice thing about it not being a daily driver...you can just walk away from it at any time and let it sit.

Today I'm going to piddle and get the foam cut to the correct size and mounted, mount the relays and install the temperature sensor in the head.

My bud Mike is going to come over Tuesday evening with the clearanced top mount and we'll get the radiator installed and the fans wired up. One thing we're going to do is wire the fans to the starter instead of the battery as the instructions say. They will get the same power and less wiring has to be done so it's a cleaner install.

I'll report on the final results and post some pics.
 

Yoda

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
Messages
4,884
Location
Amarillo, TX
Corvette
1981 UL5
Thanks for sharing your experience...

So Jon.. ;)

When does the new engine go in? :L :L I think I remember hearing something about that last September :D

Good luck getting all the radiator mods done and installed.

BudD
 
J

jon81

Guest
Hi Bud;

The 383 is next winter. Got to do the 700R4 first this summer. Rebuilt trailing arms/bearings from Van Steel are the next project (Feb/Mar).
 

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