question about radiator - 1978 Toronado - ClassicOldsmobile.com


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Old April 14th, 2017, 03:27 PM   #1
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question about radiator - 1978 Toronado

I'm planning to drain and have checked out the radiator in this '78 Toro I recently acquired. I don't know that there are any problems with it that would require replacing it as it does not leak, but I was looking up replacement radiators out of curiosity, and I can't find any.

None of Autozone, NAPA, O'Reilly, or Rockauto shows availability of a radiator for this car. But they DO show one for a Ninety-Eight of the same year with the same engine. So what's going on here? Is the Toro radiator different in some way, or does it in fact use the same radiator as the 98s? The 98 radiator sure looks the same.

Also, this car looks to have had some sort of aftermarket transmission cooler added. The transmission cooling lines have been removed from the radiator, and rubber hoses have been jammed onto the ends of the lines over the threaded fittings and attached with hose clamps. These hoses attach to a radiator-looking thing behind the grille in front of the radiator.


Here's the situation with the cooler lines. Note that the places where they would attach to the radiator have been plugged with bolts. I'm assuming that those bolts have ruined whatever thread was in those openings so that I couldn't reattach the cooler lines to this radiator if I wanted to.

You can also see, towards the left, how the rubber hoses, which don't leak but do look dried and cracked and probably should be replaced, are attached to the threaded fittings on the ends of the steel lines.






Here's the radiator thingy the rubber hoses attach to.






What is the point of doing this? It certainly doesn't look factory, and the factory did, I'm sure, offer a towing package with heavy-duty transmission cooling which this car doesn't have. Was this a way to get better coolling of the tranmission? Would it actually work better than the normal cooler, which is the radiator? Is there any harm if I did get a new radiator and got rid of this setup and just used the normal transmission cooler on the radiator?

Thanks.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 03:36 PM   #2
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It may have a bad internal to the radiator trans cooler that leaked ATF into the cooling system, or coolant into the trans. Have the internal cooler checked when the radiator is checked. The external cooler probably does a much better job in the hot climates than the internal radiator cooler.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 03:42 PM   #3
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It may have a bad internal to the radiator trans cooler that leaked ATF into the cooling system, or coolant into the trans
If this was the case, why not just have the radiator replaced or repaired? Why add all this extra stuff?

I don't plan to do any towing with this car, and I think I would like to remove this and reconnect the transmission cooler lines to the radiator as it was originally. The last thing I want is jury-rigged hose-to-threaded fitting connections and more rubber hoses. But, as I said, I'm concerned that the threads on the fittings where the cooler lines would attach have been damaged by the bolts that were screwed in to the radiator to block off those ports. Which means I would need to get a new radiator, which takes me back to my original question. Would the radiator for a '78 Ninety-Eight with the 403 engine be the same as for this car?
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Old April 14th, 2017, 03:59 PM   #4
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Pull the bolts out and see if it leaks. They are very short (flare fittings) and possibly did not damage the fittings. If there is no leak then see if the lines can be threaded back in. Either way if your keeping it as is, those nasty cracked hoses need to be changed.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:05 PM   #5
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Here's the relevant portion of the radiator usage chart from the '78 service manual.

I'm pretty certain I have the second case down there in the Toronado section, A/C and Y67 with radiator code letters WK. The car does have a low coolant indicator, which is what Y67 indicates, and it does not have a high capacity radiator (V02) nor a trailer-towing cooling system (Y72), at least according to the dealer invoice on this car I obtained from the GM Heritage Center.

If you now go look at the various 88 & 98 radiators, the third one listed under VIN K is the same thing, A/C and Y67, but it has a different radiator code, NW. Both are 3-tube core radiators (what the little dagger means). So the radiators apparently ARE different, but how? Width? Length? Height? Color?

The other thing I notice is that there are a total of EIGHT different radiators shown for the 88 & 98 with the 403 depending on options, all with different code letters. But when you go to a site like Rockauto or NAPA, they don't give you a choice of eight different radiators depending on which of these options you have. These sites just show ONE radiator for a '78 98 with the 403 engine.

If ONE radiator will fill the bill for all of eight different possibilities for the 98, maybe that same radiator will work on my car. I'm tempted to buy one from Amazon, which gives you no hassle at all in returning something and who also pays for the return shipping, just to see if it would substitute.

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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:06 PM   #6
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Pull the bolts out and see if it leaks.
I was thinking of doing this. It's not like coolant would leak out if I did.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:11 PM   #7
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Possibly, the internal cooler is basically a coiled tube with an inlet and an outlet. It is surrounded by coolant. If there is a leak in the tube which I have personally witnessed before, a lot of coolant winds up in the transmission. Remove the bolts and check it both cold and hot when the radiator builds pressure.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:20 PM   #8
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Possibly, the internal cooler is basically a coiled tube with an inlet and an outlet. It is surrounded by coolant. If there is a leak in the tube which I have personally witnessed before, a lot of coolant winds up in the transmission. Check it cold and also hot when the radiator builds pressure.
Good point. Coolant could leak out if I remove those bolts and there actually is a leak between the coolant side and the transmission fluid side as Sugar Bear suggested.


I did a little more checking just now regarding the 98 radiator. According to Autozone's site, the replacement radiator is 30.5 inches between tanks. I measured mine just now, and it's 35 inches between tanks. #@$%!
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:53 PM   #9
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The plugs look like the ones used/supplied when a rad is put in a manual transmission car without a cooler. The point is that they may be the correct thread and not have damaged the threads in the radiator.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:53 PM   #10
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I tried to search for a radiator GM part number to cross reference it with other GM models, but the parts catalog does not list the E-Body (unless I am over looking something)... There are four PN's for B & C Body but not the E-Body and all references are leading to use the radiator production code which consist of two letters as shown in your post illustrations... If you list the code of your radiator (located either on a tag, or stamped into the fill tank), I may be able to find a GM part number thru my system and cross reference it to all other vehicles that radiator may fit...
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Old April 14th, 2017, 04:58 PM   #11
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The plugs look like the ones used/supplied when a rad is put in a manual transmission car without a cooler. The point is that they may be the correct thread and not have damaged the threads in the radiator.
Very true. I just have to work up the courage to pull out those bolts and see what's what. We have family already in town and coming to down for Easter, so I may not be able to get to this until next week. But I will post what happens.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 05:01 PM   #12
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If you list the code of your radiator (located either on a tag, or stamped into the fill tank), I may be able to find a GM part number thru my system and cross reference it to all other vehicles that radiator may fit...
Are you referring to the two-letter code in the chart above, or to a part number? I'll see what I can find.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 08:35 PM   #13
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If you strike out on a new one my parts car has the WK radiator in it. The code tag is still there so its possible it hasn't been worked on yet. Just let me know if you want to see pictures and I'll pull it. John

Or if I can pull any codes off this radiator or code tag to help you key out a new one let me know.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 09:04 PM   #14
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OK, some updates. I told the relatives to excuse me, I'm going into the garage for a few minutes. I grabbed a socket and ratchet and removed one of the plugs. Sugar Bear is correct. It is a correct plug for this fitting, and the threads are not damaged. It appears that I could reattach the coolant lines to the radiator if I wanted to.

When I removed the plug, no fluid of any kind came out, and everything looked dry, so I'm assuming the add-on transmission cooler was installed as a precaution against an overheating transmission and not because of any problems with the radiator.

As far as getting any numbers off of the radiator as cruzn asked, there are some embossed numbers on the tank just below the filler neck. They're not the easiest to read, so I tried a pencil rubbing, twice, to get at them, and what I got is shown below.

It looks to me like the top line is 1R 575 and the bottom line is M19886 with the 19 digits a larger font size than the 886.





John, thanks for the offer, and hold that thought. As I said at the top of this thread, I have no reason to suspect any problems with this radiator, and I'll see what my local radiator shop says about it when I get it out and over to them. If there is a problem that can't be repaired, and I can't locate a new one, which seems likely, I'll get back with you about the one you have.

Thanks!
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Old April 15th, 2017, 02:20 AM   #15
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Like I said earlier, double check with engine warmed and pressure on the system. Chances are your fine and everything should go back together fine.
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Old April 15th, 2017, 07:58 AM   #16
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I'm changing my mind on this, and I think I'm going to keep the add-on cooler. There will never be any chance of the coolant and transmission fluids mixing. Just need to replace the hoses.

One thing I'd like to do is get rid of that hose-over-the-threaded-fitting attachment method. Any chance they make a fitting that will attach to the threaded fitting on the end of the steel coolant line and convert it to a hose barb?

Something like this, but with the proper threads.

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Old April 15th, 2017, 10:03 AM   #17
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One thing I'd like to do is get rid of that hose-over-the-threaded-fitting attachment method. Any chance they make a fitting that will attach to the threaded fitting on the end of the steel coolant line and convert it to a hose barb?

Something like this, but with the proper threads.

The hose doesn't go over the threaded flare nut. It slips over the flared end of the metal line and is clamped in place. The flare nut doesn't seal to the tube anyway. As configured, it's fine, as the flare on the end of the steel tube provides a retention feature for the clamped hose, but if you want to change to the barb fitting, you must use a fitting with a female inverted flare, not pipe threads. I can't tell for sure, but the fitting in the photo appears to be pipe threads.
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Old April 15th, 2017, 03:23 PM   #18
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Are you referring to the two-letter code in the chart above, or to a part number? I'll see what I can find.
It should be one of those listed in your chart if the radiator is factory and hasn't been changed with a replacement some time in the past...
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Old April 15th, 2017, 03:51 PM   #19
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As Joe stated the way the hose is hooked up now is fine. If you don't want the fittings there, just cut the end of the tube, slide the fitting off and flare the ends a little. Either way get some new hose.
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Old April 15th, 2017, 07:52 PM   #20
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The hose doesn't go over the threaded flare nut. It slips over the flared end of the metal line and is clamped in place.
Thanks. I eventually figured this out when I looked at it a little more closely.

As far as redoing everything, I ordered two of the item on the right in the photo below. (The kit also comes with two of the items on the left, but I don't need those.)

Amazon Amazon


It's supposed to be a transmission line fitting, 1/2", which is the size of the fittings on the ends of the steel lines. I hope it works. If not, Amazon is excellent on returns, and I can go back to the current connection method but with new hoses.



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Old April 17th, 2017, 05:31 PM   #21
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OK, the radiator is out and at the shop, and the guy is not optimistic. He said the interiors of the tanks are heavily calcified and probably won't survive a clean out. Or something to this effect.

So I am negatively optimistic he can do something with it while at the same time on the hunt for another one. With the radiator out, I spotted another tag on it that looks like it might have a part number. Photo below. It looks like 19 on the top and 0860575 on the bottom. Does this mean anything to anyone?






Assuming the old one can't be repaired, and I don't find a direct replacement, what are my options? I'm thinking again about getting a radiator for a '78 Ninety-Eight with the same engine. These are available, and the only difference appears to be that the distance between the tanks is about 4.5 inches less, 30.5 inches instead of 35 inches. So what would this mean? I realize that the total surface area for heat transfer would be less, so there would be less cooling capacity, but would it be enough to be a problem?

I was thinking that I could fit the radiator up against the passenger side of the place where it sits. That way, the lower radiator hose should fit. On the other side, the end of the radiator will be 4.5 inches closer to the center of the car. Thus, I would expect that the upper hose would not fit as it would be too long. But I should be able to use the upper hose for the 98, I would think. One issue, though, is that the radiator would be centered on the 98, so the difference in upper hose length would be more likely to be half of the total 4.5 inch difference, or only 2.25 inches.

I was thinking to do this in stages. Get the radiator first and put it in. The top plate will be too long, too, so I'll have to somehow move inward a few inches the support that's now at the far end of the plate. Once it's in, and I'm sure there will be other niggling little problems that will crop up in doing this, I'll measure the actual needed upper hose length and see what the possibilities are.



What do you all think of this hair-brained scheme?

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Old April 17th, 2017, 05:37 PM   #22
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I could also just center the Ninety-Eight radiator and use both the upper and lower hoses for a 98.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 07:33 PM   #23
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I could also just center the Ninety-Eight radiator and use both the upper and lower hoses for a 98.
Sorry I'm a little late to this thread. You've already discovered the same as I did last year - no one sells a replacement radiator for our 77 or 78 cars.

I suspected a Cadillac Eldorado of the same year might match, but didn't pursue it.

My '77 had a couple of small cracks that wept under pressure. I took it to a real, old fashioned radiator shop that explained why the whitish residue I saw was signs it wasn't worth trying to solder up.

Using my side tanks, they were able to order and install a new core for me. It wasn't cheap - think around $400 or so - but it fit perfectly and functions wonderfully. It was worth the peace of mind driving up I-75 to Lansing last year in June.

Good luck!
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Old April 17th, 2017, 08:00 PM   #24
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Thanks! Good to hear from someone who has/had the same problem. I'm kind of hoping the radiator shop I took it to, which is a pretty old-fashioned looking place itself, will come up with an idea to salvage mine.

I looked up a radiator for a '78 Eldorado just now, and Rockauto does show availability. It's a little closer to the length I need at 32.5 inches, but it's also slightly wider at 17.25 inches instead of 16.5 inches. I'm guessing that extra 3/4" would cause problems with fitment of the top plate.

I looked up the '78 Cadillac Deville, and, interestingly, it takes the same radiator as the Olds 98. I just noticed that this radiator, which I have been speculating on using, is also 17.25 inches wide...Hmmm

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Old April 17th, 2017, 08:08 PM   #25
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Any idea WHY no radiator is made for these cars? Just not enough demand? I'd actually like to know why the radiator is so much different than the one used in the 98. It's the exact same motor, right?

I looked it up just now, and the '78 Toronado XS weighs a full 800 lbs more than a '78 98. Ouch. That's probably enough right there to justify a larger radiator.

Doing a little math, the cross-sectional area of the 98 radiator is 533.75 square inches (17.25 x 30.5). The cross-sectional area of the Toronado radiator is 577.5 square inches (16.5 x 35). That makes the Toro radiator about 8% larger in cross section. That doesn't seem terribly huge to me.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 08:14 PM   #26
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Hubbard's Radiator Services in Jacksonville, FL took care of mine.

When I walked up to the owner and said what I had, he instantly said how wide the radiator was - and he was right! I knew I had the right place.

As long as there's nothing wrong with your side tanks, they should be able to recore your radiator like mine was.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 08:18 PM   #27
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Thanks. I may end up going there (or sending the radiator there) if I can't work out anything else. By the way, are my measurements of the radiator correct? I don't have mine in front of me because I left it at the shop. I made some quick measurements before leaving it there, and I know it's definitely 35 inches between the tanks as I measured that several times. But I made only a quick measurement of the width (top to bottom as it sits in the car), and I think it's 16.5 inches.
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Old April 18th, 2017, 02:41 PM   #28
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Using my side tanks, they were able to order and install a new core for me. It wasn't cheap - think around $400 or so
Heard from the radiator shop today, and they're going to do the same thing as was done with yours. Use the old tanks and build a new core. Cost will be pretty much the same as what you paid.

I did a little more radiator searching as well, and I'm surprised to discover that it's not just 1977 and 1978, but rather it's the whole second generation of Toronados (1971 to 1978) for which radiators are not available. I couldn't find one for any of those model years from any of the usual vendors. I wonder why.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 04:04 PM   #29
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Sorry I couldn't get back to you with the measurements. My car stays about an 1.5 away from where I am at the moment, and life seems to want to intervene in my fun right now.

Look at the bright side - the stock hoses and things will still fit your car.

As for the lack of availability, I kind of looked at it this way - Other than the two that I own, when was the last time I saw a 2nd generation Toronado? Yeah, in many, many years.

The same situation seems to apply to the power antenna units, too. No one lists replacement masts for these beasts, but I know something else has to fit.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 07:16 PM   #30
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I guess the question isn't so much why aren't radiators available for the second gen Toros. Rather, it's why did those second gen Toros need their own radiator? Couldn't Olds have gotten by by using the same radiator as the 98? The Toro used the same engine, right? Seems that GM could have saved some money in not having to create a separate line of radiators for a relatively low-production model.
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Old April 24th, 2017, 08:33 PM   #31
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One week and $600 later, we have a new radiator.

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