When I last left you, I had removed the stock radiator and fan. The plan was to install the new 4 row aluminum radiator, clutch fan, and fan shroud. Seemed simple enough.
The radiator barely fit into the stock location. The overall width is the same as stock, but the new radiator is much thicker. After modifying the top plate, this was no longer a concern. It would fit. However, I also planned to install a fan shroud. This is where things got interesting.
I painted the fan black on the side facing the radiator and gold on the back side. I was playing with high temperature paint available in my garage. It was not my best paint work, but I am blaming the high humidity on the runny paint job. It will be hidden by the shroud, so I wasn’t too concerned.
The fan mounted to the clutch fine and connected to the pulley with ease. Mounting the fan shroud required no less than 20 test fits with the radiator and top plate to get it aligned. I also had to trim quite a bit of material in order for the shroud to fit with the radiator in the intended location. At one point I thought to myself, how important is this fan shroud?
The biggest issue was the thickness of the radiator. This caused the mounting tabs to be further away from the top plate which misaligned the bolt holes. The solution was to trim a quarter inch away from the top edge that sits against the radiator. The next issue was the fan rubbing against the shroud at the bottom. Again, the overall size of the fan made the shroud sit higher, thus causing the rubbing issue. This is where most of the trimming happened.
Once I felt good about the fit of the shroud, I then fitted everything one last time. The fan shroud was bolted to the top plate and then positioned to hold the radiator in place. The radiator hoses required trimming, but that was normal rubber hoses that fit many years and models. The next issue was the transmission lines. I was warned to hand tighten the hard lines, because they can easily strip the threads. I took extreme caution and finally got them lined up properly.
Once everything was together it was time to fill the new radiator. I’m not sure what I expected, but it took 3 gallon jugs of coolant to fill the block and radiator. I also added Water Wetter to the radiator since people I know and trust swear by it. I figured it can’t hurt.
I started the car up, but there was a scraping sound heard. Sure enough, the fan was rubbing the shroud. I shut the car off and decided to trim the bottom of the shroud from underneath the car. I couldn’t bare to remove the fan again. I was aggressive in trimming, since the day had gotten long and I was ready to be done.
The car seems happy with the changes. The temperature gauge did climb to 200 degrees but it was during the warm up and then it settled in at 190 degrees during driving and idling.
Next up is an oil and filter change for the Cutlass. After that, I will clean up the engine bay and show the exterior some love!