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'96 Coolant leak...

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Old 06-13-2018, 10:59 PM
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racerseks
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Default '96 Coolant leak...

This is in regard to a '96 CE with LT4 and ZF6...

I have a newly discovered coolant leak, coming from the passenger side. Does not look to be coming from the lower radiator hose, or drain petcock. With the car running, it's a pretty bad leak...and it heats up fast, so I shut it off. It still leaks after the car has cooled down, though quite a bit less. Any tips on finding out where it's coming from? Am I looking at needing a new radiator? Big job? What are some of the best replacements? Big price range there...$50-$700+! Any other "while you're in there" type things I should consider replacing? Will post pics in a bit, but it's a hard spot to photograph...

I should note, that I just finished a cooling system service. I can't think of anything I might have done that could have caused this. Could I have flushed out some sort of stop leak from a previous owner, or worse yet...pepper?

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:56 AM
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Could be the side plastic tanks. I replaced my 96 with a single row Dewitts. My 96 original was not leaking. You can have my non leaking original 96 for shipping if you want. Dan
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:58 AM
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Okay, here's a couple of pics to show where the leak is coming from...
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Whaleman View Post
Could be the side plastic tanks. I replaced my 96 with a single row Dewitts. My 96 original was not leaking. You can have my non leaking original 96 for shipping if you want. Dan
Yea, it is looking that way. Thanks very much...I might very well take you up on that gracious offer! Can I send you a prepaid UPS shipping label?
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by racerseks View Post
Yea, it is looking that way. Thanks very much...I might very well take you up on that gracious offer! Can I send you a prepaid UPS shipping label?
Yes, I will PM my address. Luckily I kept the Dewitts box. I will do everything in my power to pack so it arrives undamaged. Dan
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Whaleman View Post
Yes, I will PM my address. Luckily I kept the Dewitts box. I will do everything in my power to pack so it arrives undamaged. Dan
Hey, very cool! Thanks a lot! Will wait to hear from you then! Does it look like I just need to replace it?
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by racerseks View Post
Hey, very cool! Thanks a lot! Will wait to hear from you then! Does it look like I just need to replace it?
It is non repairable
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:51 AM
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I am not an expert. This radiator is out of an LT1 96 automatic. Will it work in a LT4? Can you just leave the plugs in the transmission cooler connections? Dan

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Old 06-14-2018, 10:03 AM
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The Spectra replacement rad I bought for my LT4 had auto transmission fittings with plastic caps on them. I assume all OEM style replacements have them.
Not sure I would go through all the effort to R&R the rad in these cars with a used one of the same vintage. Used to be said it's not a matter of "if" the plastic side tanks will leak but "when".
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RUU View Post
The Spectra replacement rad I bought for my LT4 had auto transmission fittings with plastic caps on them. I assume all OEM style replacements have them.
Not sure I would go through all the effort to R&R the rad in these cars with a used one of the same vintage. Used to be said it's not a matter of "if" the plastic side tanks will leak but "when".

I agree on some level. My used radiator only has 27,000 miles and was garage kept. All depends on how you value your labor time and how much extra cash you have laying around. Dan
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RUU View Post
The Spectra replacement rad I bought for my LT4 had auto transmission fittings with plastic caps on them. I assume all OEM style replacements have them.
Not sure I would go through all the effort to R&R the rad in these cars with a used one of the same vintage. Used to be said it's not a matter of "if" the plastic side tanks will leak but "when".
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RUU View Post
The Spectra replacement rad I bought for my LT4 had auto transmission fittings with plastic caps on them. I assume all OEM style replacements have them.
Not sure I would go through all the effort to R&R the rad in these cars with a used one of the same vintage. Used to be said it's not a matter of "if" the plastic side tanks will leak but "when".

RUU, You actually got me thinking about different stages of life.(I know your post was not meant to be this deep). I remember back in 1972 rebuilding a free locked up 62 chevy 6 in my driveway. Beating each piston out with a sledge hammer and 2x4. Put in new rings and bearings and some junkyard parts and it ran great for years. At this point of my life (66) would I install this radiator? No, that is why I put in the Dewitt just for fun. Could this radiator work for 75k miles-YES. Could it fail next week-YES. If the radiator was shot on that old 62 Chevy and someone offered me a free used one would I have put in in-Oh hell yes. Funny story- the same 62 chevy. I needed new tires. I knew a guy with a towing company. He called and had a totaled new car with the same size tire. The car was totaled but the tires were fine. For $20.00 he switched my worn out tires with the totaled out cars tires. I am sure the insurance adjuster totaled this car from 50 feet away. I guess it all depends where you are in life and finance. What I am sure of there is someone who would take the time to put this radiator in.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:54 PM
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My suggestion is to buy a factory spec radiator (yes with plastic caps) and install it (mostly) trouble free.

Unless your engine is seriously modified, the OEM will do just great. Plus, the price will be reasonable. The swap will be tedious but not hard.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:07 PM
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Awesome! Another excuse not to service my coolant!
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Whaleman View Post
What I am sure of there is someone who would take the time to put this radiator in.
My fingers hurt just thinking about those six 7mm shroud bolts!
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:46 AM
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Changing the rad on a 2nd Gen C4 is not a "fun" job - but it's not truly horrible either. There are six 7mm head bolts that hold the plastic clamshell together in the front of the car. Those ARE a real PITA. You typically use a 1/4" drive ratchet and various combination of Universals, extensions, and handles and eventually you'll get them. BTW - I have found that you don't need to reinstall all six... The rest of the rad R&R job isn't too too bad.
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Old 06-15-2018, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Purple92 View Post
Changing the rad on a 2nd Gen C4 is not a "fun" job - but it's not truly horrible either. There are six 7mm head bolts that hold the plastic clamshell together in the front of the car. Those ARE a real PITA. You typically use a 1/4" drive ratchet and various combination of Universals, extensions, and handles and eventually you'll get them. BTW - I have found that you don't need to reinstall all six... The rest of the rad R&R job isn't too too bad.
I just grabbed the inside of those screws with a plyer and turned back out. Moved the spring nut around and reinstalled from the front. Next time (if needed) will be a snap.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:42 PM
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Racerseks, Do you still want this radiator? I have it all packed and you went quiet. If not I will offer on the for sale section for shipping only. Thanks,Dan
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Whaleman View Post
Racerseks, Do you still want this radiator? I have it all packed and you went quiet. If not I will offer on the for sale section for shipping only. Thanks,Dan
Hey Dan!

My apologies...been meaning to get back to you, and everyone else that has posted. I haven't been able to find a decent rate on my end. Everything has been $40-$60, and considering the cost of a new one, it's had me thinking a bit. I am sorry if I appear ungrateful, and sorry if I have wasted any of your time. Just been looking into options/alternatives a bit to help decide. Any idea on shipping from your end? If not, it's okay. If I can get it down a bit, I might still want to try it, but if not, maybe someone closer can benefit from it. Can you give me another night to see if any better price comes up? Again, thanks very much...whatever happens!
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by racerseks View Post
Hey Dan!

My apologies...been meaning to get back to you, and everyone else that has posted. I haven't been able to find a decent rate on my end. Everything has been $40-$60, and considering the cost of a new one, it's had me thinking a bit. I am sorry if I appear ungrateful, and sorry if I have wasted any of your time. Just been looking into options/alternatives a bit to help decide. Any idea on shipping from your end? If not, it's okay. If I can get it down a bit, I might still want to try it, but if not, maybe someone closer can benefit from it. Can you give me another night to see if any better price comes up? Again, thanks very much...whatever happens!
Sure, take all the time you want. $40-$60 sounds way too high.
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