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Discussion Starter #1
So bought my wagon in 2016, never had a cooling issue, even with all the old parts on there when I bought it.

The water pump was replaced after I bought it. Has all new hoses, every one of them, including the water restrictor. Heater core is an NOS unit and was also replaced because it was bypassed when I bought it.
Cooling system has been flushed out a few times, and coolant is always replaced with new.

My radiator developed a pretty good leak, so I just very recently replaced it.
Yesterday after a highway run doing ~85MPH I noticed the gauge was ~3/4 way on the dash. It has always been ~1/2 way the whole time I've owned it.

So what's the deal? I checked the reservoir and it's good, cracked the bleeder and no air. How can a brand new radiator make it run that much hotter?

So tired of the absolute **** aftermarket parts we're forced to live with these days!!!
 

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I typically raise the front to bleed. After getting it to temp its interesting I've sometimes gotten more air out after letting it completely cool and run it again still in the air.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I typically raise the front to bleed. After getting it to temp its interesting I've sometimes gotten more air out after letting it completely cool and run it again still in the air.
My driveway is pretty steep. Never had a problem w/ bleeding it.
Just annoyed as hell, maybe coincidence, but the evidence is pretty damning that new radiator is the reason.
Probably cheap ass inferior core compared to what was in there?
 

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Not a lot of moving parts in one, and kinda hard to see much inside. If you don't have or want to buy a heat reader, then to sort of rule out crimped closed tubes you might save the AF and run open water through to gauge free flow. I think it was a Spectra I got 8-10 years ago for my last FWB. Worked fine enough, just remember quite less $$ than the only other option back then.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just annoyed as hell. Even w/ crappy old leaky radiator it ran cooler.
Gauge reading(s) and pcm reported temps still jive according to ir heat gun.
I never took any radiator readings on old one.
So no comparison data.

I just took it for same drive but with lower fan temps in .bin(which were stock temps and had always been stock).
It doesn't get as warm as yesterday but still hotter than before radiator.
It's not overheating but geez I swear just cannot win when it comes to aftermarket parts. My luck just SUX.

The new Gates tensioner I replaced in 2016 is already bad(noisy/very stiff).
Put a slimy old JY one on and no more annoying rattle @ idle.

I might fix my old radiator and return the Spectra?
Went through 3 Spectra radiators on wife's 2009 Dodge so confidence is NOT high given higher running temps.
 

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Well if they'll grant outright refund and not just replacement, then you might try that neat aluminum one a recent poster found. Not as much as a B-Kool(?), but pretty credible quality construction.



As mentioned, before all that a new T-stat would eradicate one variable = cheap reg. maint. item anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Yes. AZ will give full refund on any lifetime warranty part(s).
The POS optispark I recently returned, the POS reman PS pump., and a VERY long list of other aftermarket crap parts. All returned w/o issue.
Just sick & tired of dealing with all junk parts!

Online crap from Rockauto is worse, NO REFUND, only replace, and have to pay shipping on returns.
I don't buy much from them anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
tstat isn't brand new but was already replaced when I did heater core.
since everything was just fine before radiator swap I find it pretty unlikely it's the problem.

I'll try one anyway, and test old one to see though since it's easy/cheap/quick.

A friend has line on guy that did custom alum. radiator work.
Going to see what he would charge to weld some tanks to my old rad. core.
 

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Boy I'm glad someone else has weighed in on RA. They seem to be a lota guy's default go-to. Plummeting & Dismal quality control (got shipped a frontend engine gasket set with magic marker "Parts Missing" right on the box, and corner torn out (yep, the water pump drive seal lol). And then there's been ever-increasing episodes of both playing dumb with simple issues and outright combative with returns on misboxed stuff and replacing missing items.


Don't worry though on the bad run of parts. As with most bad luck these thing comes in threes; 3 PS pumps then a good one, 3 radiators then ok, 3 optis (ok maybe 7-8) then ok, hahah
 

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I'm running the all aluminum Liland radiator. Got a couple hundred miles on it. Car has always ran cool and is the same now. I have the 160 tstat and programming. I also use Amsoil Coolant Boost in it.
 

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OP

you can throw your T stat in boiling water to see if it opens ALL THE WAY

or just put a new one in and see

As mentioned a IR temp gun would be handy to see if there is a cold spot in radiator

Possible some crud dislodged and then partially blocked a core. If this just happened and the temp previously was OK I suspect the radiator itself is OK but may have something stuck on the core restricting flow

I would focus on Tstat first IMHO
 

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Boy I'm glad someone else has weighed in on RA. They seem to be a lota guy's default go-to. Plummeting & Dismal quality control (got shipped a frontend engine gasket set with magic marker "Parts Missing" right on the box, and corner torn out (yep, the water pump drive seal lol). And then there's been ever-increasing episodes of both playing dumb with simple issues and outright combative with returns on misboxed stuff and replacing missing items.


Don't worry though on the bad run of parts. As with most bad luck these thing comes in threes; 3 PS pumps then a good one, 3 radiators then ok, 3 optis (ok maybe 7-8) then ok, hahah
Shipping from RA takes too long so I use them much less these days. Advance Auto gets most of my business. Can order online and pickup in store. Fast shipping. They always have a discount code and I use it for everything. Not in a hurry? Put the parts in your "cart" and close it out. The next day you will have a code for 25% off.

Autozone has free next day shipping on lots of parts. Amazon is also a good one, fast free shipping and no hassle returns/refunds.
 

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since day one my 96 Impala runs hotter driving in the city .. sometimes temp rises to 1/3 up..when I go on the hywy 60-70 MPH it is slightly below 1/4.. if I sometimes go up to 90-100 MPH the temp drops down around the 1/8 mark. air temps 70-80 F..

so temp rises at high speed then it is a flow problem or radiator has a build up of scale.

you use distilled water ? if no then that will do it .. T stat new does not mean its good .. been thru this .. I most times test new to be sure it works .T stat may not open all the way .

check that the radiator fins are clean dust /leaves /rat crap ..high speed driving fans not the cause .

I installed a spectra radiator this year and it is working as the 23 yr old radiator worked ..

when I took out the old the radiator internals looked perfect no mess.. but I always used dexcool with distilled water .. 65% dex 35% distilled..

then possible pressure cap or a leak ..maybe ..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OP

you can throw your T stat in boiling water to see if it opens ALL THE WAY

or just put a new one in and see

As mentioned a IR temp gun would be handy to see if there is a cold spot in radiator

Possible some crud dislodged and then partially blocked a core. If this just happened and the temp previously was OK I suspect the radiator itself is OK but may have something stuck on the core restricting flow

I would focus on Tstat first IMHO
Wasn't tsat. new now, but old & new tested fine. Also pressure tested system and that's fine as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I installed a spectra radiator this year and it is working as the 23 yr old radiator worked
Curious did your Spectra have caps on the hose inlet/outlets?

Was thinking today this radiator may not be "new" maybe someone did the install and return crapola?

All 4 of the Spectra radiators I went through on the wife's car, had caps on hose inlet/outlet.
 

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Curious did your Spectra have caps on the hose inlet/outlets?

Was thinking today this radiator may not be "new" maybe someone did the install and return crapola?

All 4 of the Spectra radiators I went through on the wife's car, had caps on hose inlet/outlet.
yes my radiator spectra from pep boys had the 4 plugs on the oil/tranny cooler lines..

what happened was they did not have the adapter fittings so I had to go back the next day for the adapters.. the radiator hose coolant pipes had no covers. .. the only thing I had to do was file the fan support holes slightly so the fans sit as the OEM original set.

the oil line ports on radiator I had to re-torque after running it a few days , had some wet spots .. no problems after that .. still working as the old one .

IMO this is the same radiator as the one GM installed .. same stamps on plastic..
 
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