Rad Fluid Level - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 15, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Rad Fluid Level

I noticed my 396 was running a bit hotter then usual the other day, I checked the rad fluid level and its about 2-3 inches from the top. I can see about 2 inches of the core.

Thinking it was low I topped it up until the top of the core was cover by the fluid.

I checked it again after a couple of short drives and the fluid level is back down to 2-3 inches from the top again.

Is that normal? Mine just has the burping tube, no overflow bottle.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 15, 05:36 PM
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Yep, that is normal. There should be a full cold and full hot on the end of the radiator. (tank)

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 15, 06:10 PM
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Re: Rad Fluid Level

If you filed it to the top then rode it somewhere on the ride you puked out the overflow which reduced the level back down. Look (cold engine) at the inside of the passenger side tank for the cold level stamping marking on a factory Harrison radiator. If the fluid is above this line you will run the risk of it puking out more until it drops below the line.

If it didn't puke it out it is leaking someplace. Look for greenish stains on the driveway and on the garage floor. Check all the hose connections and don't forget the passenger floor for a heater core leak. Also look at the water pump for signs it is leaking.

If you have an obvious external coolant leak you may have one in the jacket of the block but you would notice whitish smoke and poor performance.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 15, 06:37 AM
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Re: Rad Fluid Level

The radiator over flow tank wasn't installed until 1973. As such your first gen Camaro doesn't have a recovery system that sucks back into the radiator the puked overheated coolant. If you want to add that additional two inches of coolant you will need to add a coolant recovery tank. Additionally, you will need to change the radiator pressure cap to a two way valved pressure cap from Stant (if you have changed it in the past it probably is a two way now, since that is all that is sold currently at your corner auto parts store).

The hard part is finding an original looking plastic over flow tank. The factory used specific tanks to match specific car models (one off a pick-up or a second generation Camaro won't fit very well). Luckily Chevrolet continued the first gen Camaro through 1979 in the Nova line. To extend the capital investment for tooling up the Camaro the Nova used the same front sub frame and about 80% of the parts first used on the Camaro though 1974, and about 50% of the parts through 1979. So even though the radiator core support is different for the Camaro (the Nova never had a RS with hideaway head light doors, nor mathched the Camaro's lower hood line) the overflow tank that bolts to the Nova's 14 inch wheel inner fender is what you are looking for.

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