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The community here at 355nation.net urges you to please use caution and seek professional assistance when performing modifications to your vehicle. Before attempting any modification it is advised that you refer to your Colorado or Canyon service manual or contact a certified mechanic as not all GMT355 trucks are the same. The staff and the associated members are in no way responsible for any damages, injuries or other harm inflicted to your vehicle or yourself which may result in attempting these modifications. The posts and content presented on this site reflect in no way the views of 355nation.net or it’s ownership.




A 355nation How To presented by
gway

Project Name
Project Super Cool

Project Description
Installing a V8 Radiator in an I5/I4

Skill Level
Easy/Moderate

Project Vehicle
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Colorado
Year: 2006
Engine: 3.5L
Power Windows: No
Sun Roof: No

Tools Needed

Tools depending on setup.
  • Rachet & Miscellaneous sockets
  • Channel Locks or Pliers
  • Specialty tool needed is a file

Project Time
3 hours or less

Project Cost
  • 2009 - 2011 Chevy Colorado Radiator for V8 5.3L, PN: 1ARAD00850 -$150
  • Dexcool (1-2 gallons) - $16 each
  • Upper Radiator Hose Part # 22129 *cut to fit* - $12
  • Lower Radiator Hose Part # 22917 - $20
    Both from O`Reillys Auto Parts
I ordered my V8 radiator from 1aauto.com for $150 shipped. The V8cooling system holes 13qt compared to our 10qt system. The v8 radiator is slightly bigger and is a 2 core radiator compared to the 1 core I5 one. The H3 radiator is also the same as the v8 and is a 13qt system.

I have supermods efan so if you have the stock fan and shroud you may have to either get the V8 shroud or modify yours to fit.

The V8 radiator comes with a transmission cooler built in. I'm a 5-speed so i went to Lowes and bought two 3/8" flared plugs in the plumbing department part number: A159. It has to be flared for some reason as the normal 3/8" plugs wont fit. I also added some threadlocker to them just to keep them from backing out.


Steps
  1. Remove the grille. http://www.355nation.net/forum/how-exterior/17-how-grill-removal-pics-video.html


  2. Using channel locks or pliers squeeze the lower hose clamp and slide it back away from the radiator and then remove the hose from the radiator and let the coolant run out.


  3. Remove the fan assembly. Either your stock fan and shroud or in my case the efan. http://www.355nation.net/forum/how-performance-maintenance/27145-how-change-your-water-pump.html That will help for those with a stock fan and also later on if you want to change your pump while your radiator is out.


  4. Remove the upper radiator hose the same way as the lower minus the coolant coming out.


  5. Remove the top bolt and bracket on top of the radiator as well as the 2 bolts holding the condensor to the radiator. There's 1 on each side just below the core support.(I believe it's called that on our trucks.)



  6. You'll have to lift the condensor up to get it out of the 2 U brackets that hold it at the bottom. There is enough room to lift it up and then pull it toward you to clear the bracket.


  7. Grab the radiator and gently wiggle it while pulling up and pull it out of the truck.




  8. I changed my water pump while i had the radiator out just for the ease of doing it while the radiator was out and i already had it.

  9. Once the old radiator is out of the truck you'll need a torque bit to take the top screws out of the sides to remove the rails. I'm sorry i dont know what the size is. My mechanic at work took them off for me while i wasnt around.


  10. Once their out you can tap it from the top downward to knock it out of the holder on the bottom. You'll have to do the same to the new v8 radiator as well.


  11. You will then need to use a file and file down the inside of the tabs on the bottom of the radiator because they are about half the hole out to where it wont line up. Take your time and take little incriments off at a time. Then recheck until you've removed enough for it to line up the top holes. Once it lines up reinstall the top 2 bolts.


  12. Install the v8 radiator into the truck and install the top radiator mount.

  13. Reinstall the condensor just like it was removed.

  14. Reinstall the upper and lower hoses. I replaced mine since i had them off. If you replace the lower you'll have to remove the inner fender to get to the other end of the hose just like replacing your thermostat. The upper was a cut to fit so i had to saw it down a bit. *You can reuse your stock hoses. I just wanted to replace mine since they were seasoned.*

  15. Install the efan/either the stock shroud or v8 shroud and stock fan. Efan must be modified.(shown below)

  16. Refill your radiator will your desired coolant and start it up. I filled mine up with about 1 1/2 gallons of water and let it run until it got hot and then pulled the lower hose off and let it all drain out. Then i refilled it with dexcool. It only took a little over 1 1/2 gallons to refill the coolant system and overflow bottle.

  17. If you have an efan you will need to modify it to work. I went to my local hardware store and picked up 2 1/4" screws that were 1" longer because they didn't have the same size that came with the efan. The efan's top holes need to be redrilled to fit along with the bottom two set pins needs to be modified to fit and lengthened. The drivers side needs to just be longer to reach the holes in the bottom of the radiator. The passenger side needs to be moved over 1/4" and also needs to be longer.


  18. Take your efan and sit it in up against the radiator and have someone hold it. Get under the truck and see how far you'll need to redrill the passenger side hole.


  19. Once you have redrilled the bottom holes and installed the longer screws put it back in the truck and see where you will need to drill for the top holes to line up. I just eyeballed mine and it came out real well.


  20. Once you have redrilled the top holes so they will bolt up reinstall your fan.
 

Attachments

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US Army 19yrs and ......
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45,284 Posts
I can't wait to do this in conjunction with a SuperMod eFan.

Well done
 

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Premium Member
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Great write up. I know some have the Supermod EFan already, But if you are going to be getting one. Have them mock it for the radiator swap. That is what I did. Holes and pins are already there for the swap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You could but if your not doing it right away like i did with the radiator its just like 5 minutes with a drill and a trip for longer bolts. We need someone to attempt it with the stock fan/shroud so we can add to it what it would take for someone who wanted to keep the stock fan.
 

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NW Surfrider
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5,364 Posts
Yup. supermod-efan is pretty straight forward. I'm kinda thinking a stock fan shroud....not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd say if you used the v8 shroud you'd be better off. Depending on if the stock fan sits in around the same place height wise on the radiator as ours do.
 

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I have been watching these V8 radiator chats with a great deal of interest because of my results. When I did my conversion to the LS6 engine I stayed with the stock 5 cyl. rad. and used two Spal 12" fans. This worked well except on 110 degree days in trafic in town, when it would get up to 240 once in a great while. If I turned the ac off or got on the fwy. it would cool of quickly. When I switched to the LS3 a few months ago I also put in a new V8 radiator and retained the same fans(6sp. stick, no trans cooler needed). The radiator capacity is not much different because the biggest difference is in the 5.3 block and the 5 cyl block but I thought it would help with intown cooling. No such luck in my case, it now does not cool as well in town as before. I gained 20 cu. inches in the swap which could be part of the problem, but Ron Davis Radiator and a few other cooling experts say that the biggest problem is the added thickness of the core is not letting my fans pull as much air as it used to. I think they are correct and I will say I think we (in Phx.) do have the most adept cooling experts in the country. I hope I am the only one with this problem.
 

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NW Surfrider
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I'll report back after this weekend, once I've had a run with the trailer, but as far as your case goes, I would say what is said makes sense, but only to a certain degree. Yes a thicker core would increase the suction required theoretically. However....go with bigger fans then. A thicker core equals more surface area, which allows a more efficient thermal drop. A radiator will only be able to cool a maximum amount between inlet and outlet. So if its rated for a 20F drop, then coolant coming in at 200F, should be able to be cooled to 180 on the outlet. You will never be able to exceed what the radiator is capable of, no matter how much airflow you add to it. However, you can increase cooling by making the pump flow more coolant quicker. Hope this makes more sense. I would say overall they are blowing smoke up your ass to get you to buy their products. I would either go with bigger efans, or take a look at going to a higher flow water pump. If you talking your having issues intown...thats low RPMs, low flow conditions. That's where having a larger radiator plays in your favor. Hope this helps a little bit.
 

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Nation's Troll
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I can't remember, does that factory v8 radiator have a nipple for the heads vent or no?
 

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NW Surfrider
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No.
 

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I'll report back after this weekend, once I've had a run with the trailer, but as far as your case goes, I would say what is said makes sense, but only to a certain degree. Yes a thicker core would increase the suction required theoretically. However....go with bigger fans then. A thicker core equals more surface area, which allows a more efficient thermal drop. A radiator will only be able to cool a maximum amount between inlet and outlet. So if its rated for a 20F drop, then coolant coming in at 200F, should be able to be cooled to 180 on the outlet. You will never be able to exceed what the radiator is capable of, no matter how much airflow you add to it. However, you can increase cooling by making the pump flow more coolant quicker. Hope this makes more sense. I would say overall they are blowing smoke up your ass to get you to buy their products. I would either go with bigger efans, or take a look at going to a higher flow water pump. If you talking your having issues intown...thats low RPMs, low flow conditions. That's where having a larger radiator plays in your favor. Hope this helps a little bit.
I am sort of maxed out on the fan thing and they suggested going back to the other radiator.I had not given the flow thing much thought, thats an idea. On other hot rods I have had, sometimes faster or more flow thru the rad. has (removing thermostat) not helped as it flowed thru to fast to cool???? Some of the guys here feel that one big core cools better than two or more because they think the front core only blocks the rest.?? Who Knows, another 6 weeks and it won't be a problem. Cooling here is always a challenge because the asphalt is at least 150 and that is what you are pulling in when you are on city streets. I added a mister system just for emergencies. We will do anything to keep from turning off the AC here! One other thing, I have had poor luck with aftermarket radiators, except for Dewitt which works on the vette.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's the skyjacker skidplate. It's better to pm people off topic questions.
 

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NW Surfrider
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Gonna have to say the V8 rad mod was totally worth it. Had the truck and trailer loaded the heaviest to date (9400#s combined) and 95% of the time she didn't climb above 200F. The highest I saw was 220F, and that was a pretty solid hill climb. It was running 85-90F outside. Very impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yea it helps. If you order the efan tell him your going to do the v8 swap so you dont have to mod it.
 

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Member's Technical crew
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I'm thinking of doing this, as well as using PCM for less fan, or derale duel fans if they will fit Derale Performance High Output Dual RAD Fan and Shroud Kits 16825 - SummitRacing.com They are 4000cfm verses my 3,300 cfm black magic 180.

Now if I order a 2006-2009 Hummer H3 rad for a 3.7L 5spd will that be the thicker rad, without the tranny cooler? Just thinking that might give me more capacity, since I have a manual trans anyway?

Or maybe I can get a aux pusher fan in front between the grille and condenser? Anyone else try that? My a/c is useless until I'm moving, don't seem to be getting the airflow over it? The truck also heats up to much in the summer on long hard climbs.
 

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Member's Technical crew
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How hot did you hit again Jamie?
above half on the stock gauge, and about 212 degrees Fahrenheit? On the scanner from what I remember.
 

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Nation's Troll
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That's still not too bad, I think I was about the same that day out at Kansas City and I'm on a 2000cfm fan I believe.
 
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