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How to Replace the Radiator in your LT1

This is a discussion on How to Replace the Radiator in your LT1 within the LT1 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; ...

  1. #1
    Stockitie Stock Stock 95camaroZNC's Avatar
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    How to Replace the Radiator in your LT1

    I wrote this up after replacing mine a week ago, i got 95% of the details as well as most of what can go wrong, if you have anything to add or any questions please ask.

    Replacing the Radiator in your LT1


    1. Disconnect the Battery and rap it in a towel or wash cloth, if your car has a tune or your computer has been reprogrammed place a towel around the battery so that it covers the top as well as both the negative and positive cables attached to it.

    2. Remove the radiator cap from the top of the radiator and find the nozzle underneath the car to release all the coolant from inside the radiator.

    *WARNING*If you are using a different kind of coolant or this is the first time youíve changed the coolant in the car and the car has Dexi-cool I strongly suggest replacing the fluid inside the reservoir or if you want to save yourself the trouble replace the old coolant with Dexi-cool if you donít and mix it with any other kind of coolant (Prestone) it could clog up your hoses. The mixture of the two causes a clay-like substance to form in the engine.

    3. After emptying all the coolant from inside the radiator get your ratchet ready and remove the Air cleaner as well as the intake from the top of the engine.

    4. Next jack the car up and crawl underneath it, if you look at the back of the fans you should see two connectors in the back of them, you can use your fingers but I recommend using a screw driver to pry the clips up so you can pull the connectors out. Once you do this have a friend lift up on the fan, you should be able to pull it up of out of the slots its connected to in the back of the radiator from above and then slide it out from underneath the car. If you do not have jack stands or cannot jack the car up high enough to do this(use your common since) leave it in the car and move on to the next step.

    5. Use a set of pliers to remove both the hoses from the thermostat that connect to the radiator then also remove the hose below where the radiator cap used to sit that runs to the reservoir and the hose below it.

    6. After you have done this you can now remove the fan, lift it up on both sides and make sure you DO NOT catch the hoses or THE WIRING HARNESS for the fans when you pull it out. Grab a 10mm wrench or ratchet, which ever you can get to and use it to loosen the bolt that holds the metal band that holds your condenser in place, after doing so lift the condenser up out of its holder until it sits on the top of the metal band.

    7. Next crawl underneath the car and move the condenser hose, you should see it on the passengerís side, it looks like a metal hose. Lift it up, this will take some effort, and move it out of its clasps or if you prefer and have something handy to do so cut the holders off and just lift the radiator out. Remove the hoses as well as the fluid level sensor (be very careful to loosen the metal ring around your fluid level sensor or you may risk damaging it.)

    8. If you want to now would be a very good time to replace your lower radiator hose, if it ever goes bad you will have to do all this again to get to it. It would also be a good time to replace your thermostat since its open and available to you.

    9. Put the hoses back on the radiator the best you can facing upwards. Make sure the clips on the hoses are in the upward position as well or you will have a VERY hard time adjusting them once you get the radiator in which will also be no easy task.

    (Before you put the radiator back into the car make sure that you move the wiring harness for the fans so that you donít catch it on the radiator when you put it back in the car. If you can pull the whole harness up as far as you can away from the car, I made the mistake of not doing that and blew out the fans, motors as well as the relays and wiring for it, its very costly and not something you want to do.)

    Pick the radiator up with your trusty side kick and place it in the car very gently so as to not damage it in any way. Slide it back on the clips on the condenser, this is no easy task and takes time to do it right, we spent a upwards of thirty minutes placing it back in the hooks. (When you do the passengersí side you also have to make sure you place the condenser hose back in the holster it came out of).

    10. Now its time to put the fans back in, BUT ZOMG now the hoses are preventing you from doing this I MUST HAVE lead you astray. Trust me I havenít, if you still have the car jacked up, like you should if your smart, put a towel on the ground and place the fans on it, slide it under the car and hand it up to the person who is helping you and set it back on the hooks in the back of the radiator. While your down there get your buddy to hand you the two connectors and plug them back into their spots. Make sure you put the right ones in the right holes; this could also cause a problem. Snap the wires back in and crawl out from under the car.

    11. Now its time to hook all the hoses back to the right spots. Adjust your upper and lower hose so that they angle back into the engine the way that they did before and that itís a clear shot, meaning there are no kinks or bending and it looks as close as possible to the way it did before you took the car apart. Next replace the bottom hose underneath the lower hose as well as the two top hoses near where the radiator cap used to be, making sure you put the smaller hose in the top hole, in my car this hose had a black clip on it. The bigger hose goes in the lower hole, it has a silver clip on it as well as hose cover, if your car still has its hose covers.

    12. Replace the air cleaner and the intake making sure to plug everything back into it that you removed. My car has a K&N intake system in it which there is one hose that runs out of it. In the upper section there should be three sensors.

    13. Next you should loosen both screws near the thermostat, they should be gold in color turn each one of the three to four full turns with your ratchet or screw driver this is more then enough to let all the air out of the system. Next jack the car back down and begin to add your coolant slowly. Fill the radiator until you get it to just below where the cap is. Once youíve done this grab a rag and place it near the two bolts. Get inside the car and turn the car on, turn the heat on inside the car as well, I know this could be hard in the summer but itís a good way to make certain that all the air is out of your system. Let the car run until coolant flows in a clean steam with no air bubbles in it from both the screws, once it dose close them and replace the radiator cap. No matter what you do, do not drive the car hard at all, give it a day to let all the coolant cycle through the system before you do. Also keep checking the coolant level to make sure that you have enough in it.

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have replaced your radiator, pat yourself on the back and take your buddy to lunch.


    Possible problems (ZOMG MY CARS OVER HEATING!!!!11!!!!1!11)

    If you drive the car and after a while it starts to over heat, there are many things you could have done wrong.

    1. You didnít listen to me after all my warning and giant letters and let your buddy put your radiator on top of your fan harness. If you did this you might have to replace the whole wiring harness or maybe just the relays. Youíll have to go to a dealership to have the relays tested inless you know how to do it yourself(Pepboys, Advanced Auto and Auto Zone will not/can not do it no matter how many times you ask)

    2. You drove the car and didnít let all the air out of the system. If this is the case empty your coolant and try again.

    3. You mixed Dexi-Cool with Prestone or another type of coolant. If this is the case consult a mechanic as to what your next move should be or go back yourself and retrace your steps and check your hoses and openings from the engine for blockages, or try flushing your system with a water hose and see if you can clear the blockage yourself.

    4. You switched the hoses below the radiator cap and put the bigger one on top and the smaller one on bottom.

    5. One of your hoses has a leak in it and all the coolant has leaked out, replace the hose, follow the refill procedure and try again.



    Ill try and put pictures in this at a later date to make it easyer, Hope someone finds it useful, i know i couldn't find much when i didnt it and what i did find was flawed.

  2. #2
    Powerstrokin LT1 > LS1's Avatar
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    nice write up.

    how long did it take you?


    I skimmed it, and seemed to be very detailed

  3. #3
    Stockitie Stock Stock 95camaroZNC's Avatar
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    3hrs with help. Of course im a NOOB so yeah....

    But on the upside its written so any NOOB could do it again.

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    Member brianswimmer23's Avatar
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    good info. now go do it with some pics.

  5. #5
    Stockitie Stock Stock 95camaroZNC's Avatar
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    What, cant read? Need a picture book?

    I will add pictures when i get the chance, personaly this is the only LT1 write up ive seen inless your gona go pick up the haynees manual and even then it doesnt have that much info.

  6. #6
    New TL /sold my 9th Fbody Chad97SS's Avatar
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    Here is my write up:

    1. Move everything out of the way.

    2. disconnect the radiator and pull it out.

    3. Install the new radiator with screws.

    4. put everything else back together.

    there ya go!!!!

    Just look at it!!!
    Last edited by Chad97SS; 09-23-2008 at 08:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Member brianswimmer23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 95camaroZNC View Post
    What, cant read? Need a picture book?

    I will add pictures when i get the chance, personaly this is the only LT1 write up ive seen inless your gona go pick up the haynees manual and even then it doesnt have that much info.
    yea i need pics guess your perfect. i figured someone would probably like to see it with pics to help them along.

  8. #8
    Stockitie Stock Stock 95camaroZNC's Avatar
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    I promise ill do it, and im not perfect i messed it up when i did it.... notice all the warnings and the explicit ones about the fans wiring harnesses? but yeah when i can ill get some pics to go along with all the instructions.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad97SS View Post
    Here is my write up:

    1. Move everything out of the way.

    2. disconnect the radiator and pull it out.

    3. Install the new radiator with screws.

    4. put everything else back together.

    there ya go!!!!

    Just look at it!!!


    Eh Chad... you been drinkin' tonight?

  10. #10
    Member brianswimmer23's Avatar
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    i think he was a lil tipsy.

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