1963 Radiator Installation Issues - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
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1963 Radiator Installation Issues

1963, 327, std, no-PS
I found a radiator from Northern Radiator that is designed to fit my car. But I have some issues. First the lower part of the radiator hits or comes very close to the steering box. A good cleaning wouldn't hurt anything but I think I need more than that. Second the lower radiator hose needs a bend to step over the sway bar. The lower connector points directly at the sway bar. I don't have a 63 to look at so I was hoping someone can help. The molded Gates lower hose for this car doesn't appear it will work (no step or bend). The molded upper Gates hose is close but not perfect. The engine's thermostat housing points straight forward. I'm not aware the car has been wrecked.


I've included a few pictures to help better explain. Any input or insight would be appreciated.


Thanks.


PS: My first efforts are to get the engine started to see how bad the engine is. Cleaning and restoration will begin after that. Heavy on the cleaning.
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Last edited by dbsoccer; 05-11-2019 at 12:02 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:16 AM
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Did all the Flange Holes line up with your Radiator Support? If so, I would just say that it is a poor quality replacement. I'm not familiar with that brand. I would be calling them though, just to see what they say about it.

Another reason I like sticking with repairing/rebuilding/re-coring originals. Some of those replacements don't look correct as well.

That said, I bought a replacement Radiator for my '72 C-10 Truck. It was very original looking, so I brought it home and it fit perfect. I would had return it if it didn't.

Keep us posted on it.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Thanks 62BillT
Yes I did call the manufacturer. They were not very helpful. First they said it is the right radiator for the car and then tried to move me to another model that was slightly smaller. I had my own homework to do after the call but intend to call them back and ask why does a replacement for my year/model of Chevy not fit? BTW: the bolt pattern did line up. This is not a small company. They have a ton of products. I'll call on Monday and let you know how things go.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 03:29 PM
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Like headers they (manufactures) no longer make parts unique to a specific car body. They sell a product that fits pick-ups Chevelles, Camaro's, and all GM full size cars. This way they make one product with one claim and get you the experienced mechanic figure out how to install it.

It is easy to claim something in an ad, and they point to their satisfied customer list (have you ever seen a bad review?) to move product. Once you pay for it it's your problem. That is today's business world. There is a reason other companies charge more for a product and you hear good things about them on this board and others (not paid for reviews).

Big Dave
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks Big Dave, So you're saying I'm stuck with what I have from this manufacturer? Or all after market manufactures? I can modify the radiator to work but I would have thought (incorrectly I'm learning) that the radiator should fit the application it was specified for. Are their manufactures that do make parts that fit? I prefer to not modify if I don't need to and the chances of finding an original are slim. Thanks again.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 12:17 PM
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If you take a look at the parts catlog (for this example I will pick Griffin Radiators hand made in Piedmont, SC) They have three price points: universal (universally fits nothing) then they sell their performance line where they sell you a radiator sized to meet your horsepower, and you have to figure out how to mount it; finally their most expensive units are Exact Fit which is a Performance radiator that bolts up in place of the stock radiator (breadth and height match stock, though it might be thicker, bringing the fan closed to the core).

The exact fit radiator is two to three times the price of the universal, though the only noticable difference is the mounting tabs or lack of them. How good a fabricator are you? Hot Rodding is a sport where you modify your car. It assumes that you know what you are doing (in terms of the consequences of your actions which comes from experience). You just had an experience.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks Dave. I have a fair amount of experience with 'hot rodding' starting with stuffing a 440 into a 65 Dodge Dart 30-40 years ago. I'm capable of modifications and knowing when I need to have someone else do the modification. My primary issue/surprise here is when someone sells you something that is advertised to be an exact fit (ie it specifies is fits my application) it is not. This is a learning as I move through this restoration process. Thus far the radiator has been only one of several issues I've faced in just getting the car started including very simple things like finding appropriate hose clamps for my fuel lines. I'm learning nothing is easy or cheap as I want things to 'look nice' and work. Fortunately there is help and a lot of people who of gone before me (such as yourself and others) that will make it less painful. Note that I did not say painless. The price of an exact fit from Griffin makes me think I can modify things and get this one to work fine. Had I known this before I spent money on this radiator I may have sprung for the extra bucks. But I'm stuck because if I were to sell the one I have what would I call it? "For sale, a radiator that sort of fits a 63 Impala." They'd be busting down the door.


While I'm thinking about next steps and I know this breaks forum protocol, I am now assuming that people who make sheet metal replacement pieces don't all have the same quality of product. Before I buy floor pan pieces I may need some help in understanding who makes the better exact fit sheet metal. The car is pretty solid less the floor pan area right under the front edge of the front seat on both sides. I'll start another thread if I don't find what I'm looking for via a forum search.


Thanks again.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 02:25 PM
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Let me preface this by saying I am an Industrial Engineer ( a degree that combines a mechanical engineering degree with a business degree and since computers were new to industry when I got my degree using a slide rule they added computer programming as a requirement.

I learned about stamping and drawing process and die design. I also worked for a company (UL) that sent me around the world to supervise manufacturing (since by then there were no manufacturing in the US of electronic devices). I learned about how honest and forthright the Chinese are when it comes to making money. This is significant because I also had a garage that specialized in engine building and making race cars for those that had money, but no time; or just money and no interest in doing it themselves. My employees all worked as line techs at the local Chevrolet dealerships (there were three dealerships that offered me their trained techs because they paid flat rate). Because of this I spent time with them waiting for them to get off work after I had already gotten off from my "day" job.

When Chevy stopped making parts for Muscle cars (federal law requires that parts be maintained in inventory for at least seven years after that model was last sold) two things happened. First, Chevy sold their dies and licensed Brazil to make car parts for Chevys. These parts were identical to those made earlier in Detroit with one exception. As demand fell for '55 car fenders the dies were not maintained and parts stopped fitting, and price for those parts fell with lack of demand (you don't put new fenders on a '55 stock car racers destined for a demolition derby). Second thing that happened is a couple of guys realized that there were no more Chevy parts being made for their cars and bought up ALL of the NOS stock parts off of the shelves of every Chevy dealership in the US for pennies on the dollar (what they didn't buy up was actually thrown into the scrap bin where I used to dumpster dive for those parts). These guys started their business as Year One. They have long burnt through their NOS stock purchases and started buying from China along with OEM, NPD, and all of the other companies that sell restoration parts.

Those dies were eventually sold to Indonesia and China because they were the only places that still had presses large enough o hold the dies. China was converting rice farmers whose skill set included herding water buffalo and weaving grass into heavy industry. Today China makes all of the restoration parts that we weld into our cars. They are made by five companies (all owned by the Communist Chinese Government so essentially the same company). Like I said I have been there and seen the quality of their work first hand. I also know that they are very flexible with rules and safety when it comes to making money which is why UL dispatches inspectors to check up on them.

Quality: it is the luck of the draw. Quite literally. The factories sell firsts and seconds in the same box. To them a part is a part and is worth the same amount of money. You are the QC team that checks to see if a part fits or not. If it doesn't the retailer you bought from has a generous return policy. You pay to ship the bad part back and they will sell you another part drawn from the same production run (who knows you might be able to fill an inside straight with your next card from the deck).

Big Dave
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 01:17 PM
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Have you done a power steering box conversion? The original would have a slave assist cylinder. A lot of times people rob the parts from 64 and up to get rid of the slave as it can be a pain to set up unless you know what you are doing and it slows down steering response a little. If the gear box was swapped out then you need the 64 radiator that has a notch in the area of the gearbox for clearance.

On my 283 the upper hose comes straight out the front to avoid interference with the oil fill tube, so that is correct. Sometimes you have to play with the hose on these cars and trim them a hair to make things line up correctly.

They long ago stopped making the correct bottom hose for the 63 and again they sell later model parts they classified as an acceptable replacement. Most people would purchase a rubber hose and two hose clamps to wrap over the sway bar and create a softer rubber that will wear more quickly than the hose. My grand father talked about doing that to lots of cars at the GM garage he worked at cause the GM replacement part didn't have the correct step as the factory hose on new cars. A factory original hose that has the step would be like finding the holy grail for a person doing a perfect original show car for these cars. The next best option is finding someone that makes custom hoses and builds it to fit your car.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 03:29 PM
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If you want function instead of form use pieces of molded hose combined with tail pipe bent to the correct angle (preferably with a rolled bead at each end if you can find a roller), but a welder can build up a solid bead easily enough. Then you assemble the parts (straight hose with bent pipe and hose clamps) to make a radiator hose to fit. It is how it was done on my 1947 John Deere tractor and how you drop in an LS with an old school radiator.

Big Dave
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
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Summer came along and yardwork priorities topped the Impala. I have managed to get the radiator in the car. It fits fine. I removed (desoldered) the side rails from the radiator and modified them such that they would allow the radiator to move forward about 3/8" which seems adequate clearance between the rad and the steering box. Got things resoldered and pressure tested. As it turns out the stock lower radiator hose (after I found the correct one) has bend in it such that it steps over the sway bar (as noted above) so both my radiator issues are solved. I've now cleaned the gas tank and replaced the pick-up assembly. Replaced the fuel pump with a new Delco unit. Rebuilt the carburetor and replaced various hoses and clamps. Everything is a struggle but I'm getting ready to see if the engine that came with the car will run. I see it as purely optional if it does so we'll see. Maybe this weekend.
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