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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
hey guys, finances have been tight and havent been doing much on the corvette projects. Bolted the front suspension in the 76 for checking out the frame. Been collecting pieces as money permits.

Also been working on the 68 some. If you are an absolute no modification purist dont read any further you may cringe.

Here is my situation. I have a trashed copper radiator, no shroud, no shroud extension, no mechanical fan, no condenser, no drier. No surge tank (not sure my car came with one at any rate). To put everything back stock, which i would have preferred, would have been $$$$. This is what stalled the project for a couple of months.

Then I got a good deal on an Afco radiator. I am not affiliated with afco in any shape form or fashion except as a customer. According to the website, these units are more efficient than a four row copper/brass radiator, are 100% tig welded, made in the USA, and have a billet filler neck. The unit I got also has a lower neck angled upward almost perfectly for corvette usage. Unfortunately the upper neck dumps straight back which means a stock hose for the brass radiator with the 90 degree neck does not fit. A flex hose does not work (looks kinda cheesy too..) as it gets into the alternator belt too easily. I dealt with this by finding the correct upper hose.

My car is an automatic so I had to add an external cooler as well. This was planned addition, even with the stock radiator/cooler setup.

The items purchased and installed up to this point are as follows:

Upper radiator hose: Gates 20817 (i think this would be a 327 four speed car hose which oddly enough the radiator dumps straight out on the upper hose.)
Lower radiator hose: Gates 21031 (lower hose p/n that was on the engine that came with the 76, it worked for the stock copper/brass radiator)
Afco 80101N radiator: radiator I used. I have to say I was VERY impressed by the workmanship of this unit. this is also available withough a filler as part number 80101-1n, could be useful if running a surge tank.
Hayden MaxiKool trans cooler 243012: sold under the imperial brand at Advance auto. This is a plate type cooler. Biggest they had, I think it was rated to 22,000 GVW or something like that. I could be wrong on this.
extra piece of trans cooler hose. was in a bag, i threw the bag away so i do not have a part number.
also a hayden 3647 electric fan thermostat. This has the sensor which pushes into the radiator core. I will probably not use this and instead go to a block installed sensor. If it looks like I can install it without damging the fins on the core I may use it though.

Items to be ordered today or monday:
Afco electric fan 80177: 2050cfm electric fan 16 inch
Afco Mounting kit 80197: premade mount for mounting electric fan to the raidator with no zip ties through the core.

new rubber mounting pads and the surround weatherstrip to seal the core to the radiator.

I am currently leaning toward a parallel flow condenser from ackits.com pn 12-0437C


Ok, lets get started! When looking at the measurements for the Afco radiator and the stock corvette unit, the core width and height are almost identical. The unit will pretty much sit on the stock mounts. Except the tank will not clear the frame mount on the driver side due the the offset of the radiator on the support.:thud: Option number 1, section the tank and weld in a piece to allow clearance. This obviously voids the warranty and unless you are really good or will pay to have someone really good to do this, its not really viable. On a side note, if Afco were to take the time to build one presectioned, they could have a drop in 68 radiator (which they do not currently offer) with minimal fuss.

Option number 2 is to relocate the mounts. This is not as bad as it sounds. According to the documentation that came with the radiator, it can be mounted by the tanks not just by the tankcore joint edges as the original radiator was. The tanks are heavy gauge aluminum. Mocking up the radiator to the support showed that by relocating the passenger side mount toward the wheel roughly 1.5 inches (IIRC) the radiator would be supported right at the joint between tank and core on each side. I used a very thin piece of steel with the edge ground like a scraper with a bolt welded on and gently hammered it between the lower mount and the support to break the spot welds. The key here is patience and finesse. After removal, I straightened the mount and clamped it back to the support. Make sure the radiator is level and you have clearance on the driver side with the support to frame mount. Tack/spot weld the mount back to the core and make it look nice. The radiator should now sit securely in the lower mounts. The next area of attention is the upper mounts. The holes no longer line up. The quick and easy way of remedying this is to drill a single new hole through the upper mount and weld a 3/8 nut to the mount. This is what I have done for now and it is very solidlly mounted. I also have the option of going back to an original radiator if need be. The only permanent change is the lower mount. The better way would be to create an offset mount by building a new piece that fits against the radiator support and welding it to the original saddle that goes over the radiator.

I presently have the trans cooler temporary mounted to the radiator by means of two 1/4" bolts through the upper U channel. I placed a flat washer between the cooler and the radiator to prevent core to core rubbing. The bottom lip of the trans cooler has industrial strength velcro (the soft side) on it to prevent core damage there. This is not a permanent solution for me as I will be moving the cooler in front of the condenser. Thats also the reason why the rubber hoses to the cooler are so long. I will most likely hard line the cooler over to the side of the support and through the support to reduce the amount of rubber hose.

Upper radiator hose is pretty much flawless, one of the molded bends was a little bent, nothing to crimp the hose it just was slightly a differently shaped, but the hose looked a little oddly shaped when i bought it. Its hard to explain, if anyone is interested i can try to take a better picture. its like when the hose was molded they didnt mold a nice crisp turn, its the one to clear the alternator. The molding is kinda lazy there or something. lower hose fits the same as it fit on my original radiator.

At any rate this was a fairly simple and straightforward swap. The car runs very cool at 25-35 mph speeds (i live in a very small town and can drive it on the roads) running about 180 to a max of 195 Of course I can not let it idle for very long due to no fan. I think the radiator will prove more than adequate and is very stout. I initially had misgivings about using a race car radiator on a street car, but I think it will do the job very effectively. Anyway, here are the obligatory pictures :D Hope no one thinks its too bad of a hack job... I do intend to go route two with the upper mounts at some point in the future. I will update once the fan is mounted and the new rubber comes in for the radiator. The support is due to be pulled and painted very soon. I just wanted to get everything thats gonna mount on it mounted before I paint! maybe this will help someone else out as well.














The engine needs a good wash...and the fuel tank IS going back stock in a couple days :D

So far in the last two weeks i have sorted out this radiator, finished up the power steering (no leaks!) fixed the steel fuel line, swapped air cleaners (yeah its the little things). As well as I actually drove it some.

If anyone is interested in where i was a few months ago...

http://weather.thielekaolin.com/68corvette/

I have some in between photos. And photos before the engine and frame got so dirty. I need to post them. if anyone has questions about what i did I would be glad to answer them :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just realised how ratty that alternator looks in the pictures! It was the first one I came to on the shelf that i knew worked! The alternator arm is a DPO creation. I need another. The engine is being run on one of the temporary HEI+alternator harnesses we keep around the shop. The first two pics show the flex hose that i had on there before the other hose came in. I am gonna try to hook my other temp gauge back up on the driver side head and compare it to the one in the cap to get a rough temperature drop across the radiator measurement. I dont particularly trust the radiator cap thermometer numerically. It strikes me as more eye candy than anything and will go away eventually.

On a side note. Anyone got any A6 compressor mounts lying around? After the fan and fuel tank, the A/C is my next project. Heck of a lot easier now!
 

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Those A6 a/c mounts....send me an email to remind me....I gotta go scratch around in my shop.....and that IS considerable amount of scratching....

but I don't want too much scratch for them....but the Post Office probably DOES......

OP Florida is SW of Jax....dunno where in Ga. you are....
 

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that rad almost looks similar to my trusty Howe radiator.....good piece and nice job!! I ordered mine without the rad car and with a 1/8" bung on the back side. ...redvetracr



 

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try doing that with the nose on. its not too easy, i know from experience :thud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
most definately! Itd be alot tougher.

might be a detour in my life head. Looked at a red 81 for cheap...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
scratch the detour....sometimes there are different ideas of cheap :p
 
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