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The Chevrolet Camaro Radiators.

Source of the article:
Kurt Sonen


This article describes the original components and applications for 1967-1969 Camaro cooling systems, including radiators, radiator tanks, fan shrouds, and engine cooling fans.

It addresses how engine, transmission type, and two options - the V01 heavy duty (HD) radiator option and the C60 air conditioning (AC) option - affected radiator and cooling fan selection by the factory. Note that the information presented here applies specifically to Camaro. Other Chevrolet and GM models used different designs and different components, even during the same timeframe.

All first-generation Camaro radiators were manufactured by the Harrison Radiator Division of GM and were of the cross-flow design type (as opposed to earlier vertical flow designs). Hot coolant from the engine enters the upper left-hand side of the radiator and is cooled as it passes through the radiator core, exiting the lower right-hand side into the waterpump (RH and LH as observed from the driver's position).

Radiator Variables

Design variables in Camaro radiators included core thickness (number of rows in the core: 2, 3, or 4), core width (21-inch or 23-inch), and core fin spacing. Radiator heat rejection capacity improved as core thickness and width increased and as core fin spacing decreased. It is believed that all first gen Camaro radiators had copper/brass cores.
Some GM documentation indicates that some small block radiators had aluminum cores, but there is no further evidence to support that assertion. All radiators were painted gloss black and had the mounting brackets soldered onto the radiator end tanks.

Radiators for cars with automatic transmission included a transmission oil cooler in the passenger side end tank - manual transmission radiators did not have this provision. The fin spacing is also smaller for automatic radiators (smaller fin spacing increased the radiator's heat rejection capability) to compensate for the increased heat input from the automatic transmission. (Note that radiators sold for service use are often generic and include the transmission cooler provision even for manual transmission cars.)

A heavy-duty (HD) radiator was available by ordering either of two options. Regular Production Option (RPO) V01 was the heavy-duty radiator option and was available with all engines except the Z28 or big block engines. All vehicles optioned with air conditioning (RPO C60) also received a HD radiator.

Axle ratio did not affect the radiator usage with one (unverified) exception. In the April 1 1969 revision of the dealer ordering information, it states that Positraction Rear Axles: Ratios 3.73 or 4.10 without Special Performance Package (Z28) or 396 engine "also includes HD radiator" and the MSRP is $56.90. This means that a SS350 (or L65 or 307) with 3.73 or 4.10 gears would automatically get the V01 radiator. This would also apply to COPO 427 cars (and the higher price showed up on some later COPO window stickers), but they already received a 4 core radiator as part of the COPO package.

Radiator Usage

The standard radiator for L6 and small block V8 engines was a 2-row core (1.26-inches thick) that was 21-inches wide.

On all 1967-9 L6 cars, adding RPO V01 or AC resulted in use of a radiator that differed from the standard part only by the use of a smaller fin spacing.

For 1967 and 1968 small blocks, adding V01 or AC increased the radiator from a 2-row core to a 3-row core (1.98-inches thick).

In addition, the V01 or AC radiators for the L30 and L48 engines also changed to a 23-inch wide core.

There appears to be one exception to this; for some reason the late 1968 L30 and L48 engines with AC or V01 radiators received a 21-inch core instead of a 23-inch core. We don't know the reason for this, it could have been an in-plant shortage that caused a substitution, or it could have been an application change, which would have been consistent with the upcoming 69 usage.

For 1967 big block engines, AC was not a factor in radiator selection since the SS396 was not available with AC in 1967. For 1968 big blocks, AC was an available option for the L35 and L34 engines and increased the radiator from a 3 core to a 4 core (2.70 inches thick). Note that this was a straight neck radiator, unlike the 69 curved neck radiators that used the same broadcast code.

For 1969, all small block radiator cores were 21-inches wide and all big block cores were 23-inches wide. On 1969 small-block engines, adding V01 or AC increased the size of the radiator core from 2-rows to 3-rows. Addition of AC to 1969 big-block engines increased the number of radiator core rows from 3 to 4 and added a curved inlet neck in order clear the 1969 AC components. 1969 COPO 427's also used this same curved-neck 396/AC 4-row core radiator.

If there was a production shortage (a relatively infrequent event), a larger capacity radiator would be substituted.

The top and bottom plates of the original radiator core for 2, 3, and 4 cored radiators have a unique hole pattern (the top and bottom plates are the same). Research at Harrison Radiator by Tom DeWitt has shown that the adjacent rectangular and square holes near the ends of the top and bottom plates were used by Harrison to hang the assembled radiators on their paint hooks. Most replacement cores do not have this same hole pattern. Below are two pictures of radiator top plates showing the hole pattern.

1969 2-Row Core Top Plate   1968 3-Row Core Top Plate
1969 2-Row Core Top Plate   1968 3-Row Core Top Plate

See also: Radiator Tag Decoding
See also: Radiator Application Data, Codes, and Part Numbers
See also: Radiator Shroud Usage and Part Numbers
See also: Radiator Cooling Fan

Source: Camaro Research Group -

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