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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had 3-4 radiators in my '95 LT1 Caprice. All Crack in the same place: upper driver's side plastic tank at the first or second fin. I've read others have had the same issue. I was told all metal radiator wasn't an option because they don't expand and retract like the plastic ones. I thought the Plastic was used to reduce weight. Any thoughts or fix/repair ideas please?
 

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What brands do you use? Cheap Chinese parts store radiators? Any stress on the radiator hoses? Are the rad hold down blocks in good shape on the plastic rad cradle up top and on the rad support on the bottom. I usually get around 150k out of plastic tank radiators.
 

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Clean and scuff really good and hit it with some epoxy. As far as a all aluminum radiator, metal expansion is not a problem, cost is where it's gonna hurt. Usually $500+ for a factory fit unit.
 

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Just pulled the radiator out of my 91 Caprice and that is a very robust unit, metal side tanks and all. Weighs a ton too. At 20 years old the only reason it's coming out is a small leak at the trans cooler fitting, which I'm getting resoldered. From what I can see the radiator support is exactly the same between the cars so I don't see any problem there.

There are some cooling system differences which result in a few issues you'll have to engineer your way around though:
1- Radiator cap (prolly needs blocked off permanently)
2- Extra (small) hose connector needs to be blocked off as it is not present on 95
3- trans cooler fittings are a different size (5/8" on imp, 1/2" on caprice)
4- engine oil cooler not present
5- Mounting electric fans
 

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I've had 3-4 radiators in my '95 LT1 Caprice. All Crack in the same place: upper driver's side plastic tank at the first or second fin. I've read others have had the same issue. I was told all metal radiator wasn't an option because they don't expand and retract like the plastic ones. I thought the Plastic was used to reduce weight. Any thoughts or fix/repair ideas please?
If you've never had the car's PCM reprogrammed, this is one of the major sources of aggravation the re-programming allays. The stock coolant temps, which can reach 210+ (and w/ increased heat you get increased pressure) are lowered below 200 degrees. This goes the longest way towards buttressing the plastic components against premature cracking and ultimate failure.

Remember, GM was far more concerned w/ burning off extra emissions than they were about premature cooling system wear. The former puts them in compliance w/ CAFE requirements. The latter would only remove possible parts sales for them down the road.

Do the PCM reprogramming 1st. Then replace the plastic tee and reducer on the passenger side. they WILL fail on you if they're still OEM. Then you can worry about whether a replacement stock unit or all metal unit are in order. Truth be told, once you lower coolant temps, the stock replacement units work well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting SEO9C1. I had 2 of those plastic tees crack on me already. I fabricated a Iron/Copper one from the hardware store. No problems since. I've used only OEM radiators. All my rubber mounts and covers are fine. I wasn't sure if my cap was too high (15psi). Any others and my overflow tank will start boiling when I shut the car down. How do I go about the reprogramming? Thank to all for responding!
 

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All Aluminum Radiator

FWIW: I had the same problem with my OE Radiator at about 125K,
Purchased a replacement OE Radiator and at 244K it was seeping from the drivers tank - no visible crack but leaking!

I did a bunch of looking around and found this OE Replacement Radiator with welded aluminum tanks.
Ebay # 260574539924

Total shipped to the house was $148.99
There are a number of vendors selling this same radiator - this is the cheapest I found! It does have both the transmission cooler and the Oil cooler for the OE Impala SS. There are also many selling a like radiator without the Oil Cooler.
-and YES it is made in CHINA.

However there are two issues with it.
1st it had the early model coolant bypass tube (12mm) welded into the top of the passenger tank - I did not like the idea of clamping a rubber cap over it so it cost me $20.00 and a cigar for a guy at a custom bike shop that can TIG aluminum to cut the tube off and plug the hole.
2nd was that the core is approx 1/8" "thinner" that the OE core so you have the modify the upper and lower fan mounting brackets to get them to fit correctly. I also utilized the OE fan clip nuts instead of the ones provided.

The GOOD new is I just went back and forth to Dallas over the weekend and with it over 100 Deg outside and the A/C on max the car never ran over 185 deg (monitored via a Hypertech Scan Tool)
Car has a 160 stat and normal cruising down the interstate it previously ran 178 or 179 - on this trip it ran 174.

While it is not a plug and play - I am quite happy - we'll see how long this one lasts!

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