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Old 07-17-2005, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
wi65td
 
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'97 Cooling Upgrades - Lessons Learned

  • I know it’s not manly, but read the instructions that come with the kit – a couple of times, just for good measure.
  • Most, if not all, of the connectors/fasteners that need to removed are 10mm, 13mm, 15mm, 17mm or 18mm. Standard and deep well sockets, extensions, and combination wrenches. Not much need for an SAE wrench/socket set.
  • Besides removing the upper fan shroud, remove the lower portion of the shroud AND the skid plate(s). Removing the radiator in its entirety is an option as well. I did so that I could thoroughly clean the bugs and leafy stuff out. (Actually, I removed the radiator AFTER I dropped a wrench between it and the grill. I noticed the filth when I pushed the radiator back to retrieve the wrench and opted to remove it then.)
  • Avoid using the radiator drain petcock. They’re plastic and break or leak – it’s a 50-50 chance, one or the other. That leaves removing the lower radiator hose to drain the system, which in-turn means coolant everywhere. Don’t ask me how I know this.
  • Speaking of lower radiator hose – gotta love the position that the spring clamp is put in. Let’s just say, it took me some time and a few precious words to get mine off.
  • Take pictures of the stock system before starting. Pay particular attention to the vacuum pump, power steering pump and alternator brackets and how they are attached. All of these are likely to be removed.
  • Plan on having to tweak the upper heater hose – or at least replace the quick connect connector (available in the HELP! Section of most auto parts stores (AutoZone, Checker, Advanced Auto, etc) for ~$8-9 (USD)). They do leak or break. On the same note, the upper radiator hose – a combination of a metal tube and rubber hose – ends up being a couple inches short. This can be overcome if you remove the support bracket from its mount on the intake. I chose to ‘worry’ the aluminum support off the metal tube and let the whole assembly ‘float’ rather than have the support loose and rattling. This is a much easier solution than replacing the entire run with a rubber hose – the connection at the heater core is a SOB to get at, and it too uses the spring-spring type clamp. An alternative is to put a nipple in the cross-over and ‘splice in’ a piece of radiator hose. It’s your choice.
  • Before removing the cross-over manifold or water pump entirely, remove the by-pass couplers and temp sensor. Or, plan ahead and have new couplers in-hand. As I recall these use a ¾” NPT x ¾” nipple. Removing these hose couplers is much easier on the vehicle rather than off. A 1 1/8” socket on a breaker bar or long ratchet works well to free the couplers.
  • Remember. The water pump is also attached to the block by 5 or 6, 13mm bolts thru the timing cover and not just the handful of bolts/studs you see protruding thru the water pump. The two bolts on the underside of the water pump use 13mm sockets to remove.
  • Besides having to modify the alternator bracket (‘94-‘95), you’ll need to look/work at rearranging the oil return lines. They will undoubtedly be in the way of the dual t-stat housing. Likewise, you may or may not be able to relocate the fuel drain. The ’94 has the fuel drain on the driver’s side of the cross-over manifold. ’97 had it on the passenger side. It may or may not be possible to reroute the fuel line from the filter. I chose to fabricate a bracket that attaches under one of the t-stat housing bolts and leave it on the driver’s side.
  • Removing the upper intake plenum will make life a little easier when it comes time to positioning and fastening the dual t-stat cross-over. Reminder: the O-rings that are included in the kit, go on AROUND the t-stats themselves. Not on top, not on the bottom. They are split and ‘sandwich’ the t-stat. A t-stat housing gasket was not included in my ‘kit’ I opted to Perma-Tex the housing.
  • Refill the system with coolant, start engine and look/test for leaks BEFORE you reinstall the fan, clutch, or shrouds. Coolant can be added thru the overflow jug. Open the bleeder on the t-stat housing and add coolant until a steady stream runs out the bleeder. Close the bleeder and press on.
  • Speaking of attaching the fan clutch – new water pumps do not come with the studs. You’ll either have remove the studs from the old pump or have new studs on-hand. For reference purposes, these are M8 x 1.25 x ~40mm. They are available in the HELP! Section of most auto parts stores for ~$4 (USD).
  • In total, I believe that the entire cooling system upgrade took me about 8hrs over the course of a couple of evenings, and not including trip(s) to the parts store for the miscellany mentioned – quick connect, water pump studs, more teflon tape, worm-drive hose clamps, etc.
These are just some of the 'issues' that I ran into while adding the upgrades. Your mileage may vary.

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Old 07-17-2005, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
TurboTahoe
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Hello wi65td,

That is an excellent write-up. Dare I ask if you took any photos? They would be wonderful. I was planning to do mine - Walt's site mentions that you can do the entire project "in 1 or 2 hours". Perhaps if you have done it many times before. I am now pausing and thinking about this whole thing.

Thanks for your efforts. It is greatly appreciated.

"Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it."

Sincerely,

Rob

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1995 2-door 1/2 ton Tahoe 6.5 TD. Red/Silver Two-Tone with Grey Leather. Positraction Rear End, 3.73, 4L80-E, 4WD, HyperTech chip, Flowmaster crossover and downpipe, modified intake plenum, '97 air cleaner assembly with factory filter, 3" lift, Model 280 flex-a-lite electric fans (which solved cooling problems caused by body lift), Centerline wheels, PowerSlot brake rotors, 175K miles. Hellwig front and rear swaybars. Rancho adjustable shocks on all 4 corners, Heath Remote mount FSD. 0-60 in 9.5 seconds.

1999 3/4 Ton Suburban 6.5 TD SLT Kid Hauler. 124K miles. Black with Tan leather. Hellwig sway bars front and rear. Flowmaster downpipe. Remote FSD under-the-bumper with Kennedy 72" harness and SSDiesel FSD Cooler. PowerSlot brake rotors. THIS RIG IS FOR SALE HERE: https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/45-...condition.html
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Old 07-17-2005, 12:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
wi65td
 
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Unfortunately, I didn't heed my own advice with respect to taking picures before I started - or along the way I had all the intentions of doing so, and every time the thought crossed my mind, I was either up to my elbows in the process or beyond where a photo would have been appropriate.

As for Walt's site suggesting 1-2hrs for the job - if that's all a guy does for a living and has never had a run in with Murphy's Law - maybe, but I doubt it. My neighbor is a ASE tech and he can routinely out do what the flat-rate manuals suggest, but even on this one he said 'no way.' I consider myself to have better than average mechanical skills and a well equipped shop, and am not disappointed in how much time it took to accomplish. I'd do it again if I had to.

Thanks for the compliment. I hope it helps someone out along the line. I'll be ready when some one wants to pull into my shop and do it again.
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Old 08-05-2005, 02:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
TurboTahoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wi65td View Post
  • Speaking of lower radiator hose – gotta love the position that the spring clamp is put in. Let’s just say, it took me some time and a few precious words to get mine off.
I know exactly what you mean. I had an awful time removing the spring clamp. I even bought a universal screw-down clamp to replace it, as I was sure I would never be able to get it on. However, when I went to Sears, I saw just what the doctor ordered. See the photo.

They were a little spendy, but I didn't even realize such a thing existed, and BOY does it make life a WHOLE lot easier when removing the spring type clamps. Actually, I like the concept behind the spring type clamps. By having a pre-set-tension on the spring, it is impossible to over-tighten the clamp (don't ask how I know this) on fragile things like plastic radiator couplings.

Hooray for American ingenuity!

Just a tip from your buddy,

Rob

P.S. Craftsman Cable Operated Hose Clamp Pliers Sears item #00947390000Mfr. model #28650-998
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1995 2-door 1/2 ton Tahoe 6.5 TD. Red/Silver Two-Tone with Grey Leather. Positraction Rear End, 3.73, 4L80-E, 4WD, HyperTech chip, Flowmaster crossover and downpipe, modified intake plenum, '97 air cleaner assembly with factory filter, 3" lift, Model 280 flex-a-lite electric fans (which solved cooling problems caused by body lift), Centerline wheels, PowerSlot brake rotors, 175K miles. Hellwig front and rear swaybars. Rancho adjustable shocks on all 4 corners, Heath Remote mount FSD. 0-60 in 9.5 seconds.

1999 3/4 Ton Suburban 6.5 TD SLT Kid Hauler. 124K miles. Black with Tan leather. Hellwig sway bars front and rear. Flowmaster downpipe. Remote FSD under-the-bumper with Kennedy 72" harness and SSDiesel FSD Cooler. PowerSlot brake rotors. THIS RIG IS FOR SALE HERE: https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/45-...condition.html
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Old 08-05-2005, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
Fred482`
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One to two hours? He's FAST!! I routinely do water pumps on 6.2's (not even close to the last 6.5T in degree of difficulty) in about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs, but that's with all the right tools and air impact wrenches flying, air buffers for the gasket removal, etc. With all the extra work of the kit, I can't see it done in under 2 hrs. It took me an hour to clean the radiator core on my last job, after I had it out. All it takes is Murphy to change the whole thing.
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
wi65td
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTahoe View Post
[/list]I know exactly what you mean. I had an awful time removing the spring clamp. I even bought a universal screw-down clamp to replace it, as I was sure I would never be able to get it on. However, when I went to Sears, I saw just what the doctor ordered. See the photo.

They were a little spendy, but I didn't even realize such a thing existed, and BOY does it make life a WHOLE lot easier when removing the spring type clamps. Actually, I like the concept behind the spring type clamps. By having a pre-set-tension on the spring, it is impossible to over-tighten the clamp (don't ask how I know this) on fragile things like plastic radiator couplings.

Hooray for American ingenuity!

Just a tip from your buddy,

Rob

P.S. Craftsman Cable Operated Hose Clamp Pliers Sears item #00947390000Mfr. model #28650-998
Well, my upgrade is done, and I sure would have like to had said tool. Probably would have cut 1/2hr off the install time. Regardless, next time I'm at Sears, I gonna have to grab one of those. Ya just never know when the need will come up again and it will be worth its weight in gold.
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Old 08-08-2005, 02:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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But How cool does she run ? That is the question Watson
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
wi65td
 
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Crusin', no load at 70mph/2350rpm, about 180*F; with a load (~7000#), same speed, same roads, 200-205*F. Before the upgrade I saw temps while towing in the 220-230*F range.
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Old 08-09-2005, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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On mine at about 65mph, 90 degrees outside, unloaded I do not ever get over 190, pulling a 3500 - 4000 lb trailer last weekend never went over 190. I also have a new Aluminum core radiator, new clean AC condenser, and 180 stats. I have not added a new fan yet.
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Old 08-09-2005, 06:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
94blazer6.5
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I'm seeing the same temps with mine empty. Stop and go traffic never seen it go over 180*. I will be hauling a small trailer 6x10 with a John Deere gator and other stuff maybe 2,000 lbs gross to Central Texas (364 miles one way) the first of September, I'll let you know the temps once I get back. IOM one of the best mods to do.

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