Part I: The Installs
Although publishing a cooling system article as the weather starts to turn cold and blustery may seem inappropriate, it's the perfect time to reflect on the happenings of summer and plan to correct or avoid future cooling system problems in your Pontiac. By employing the latest technology, your Poncho will be prepared on the street and the track to handle anything that Mother Nature can dish up when the mercury rises. Besides, magazine publishing lead times being what they are means that in order to test in the superheated temp-eratures and oppressive humidity of August, the story will hit the newsstand in October or later.
Fortunately for the hobbyist, there are many quality choices out there to upgrade your cooling system, so we rounded up components from Meziere, Performance Rod & Custom (PRC), SPAL, and Butler Performance to outfit the '66 Tempest test car, owned by Floyd Hand of Dallas, Texas. As an entrant in the inaugural Lone Star Shootout back in '00, Floyd's A-body is a stellar performer that posts mid 11-second quarter-mile e.t.s, utilizing an iron-headed 455.
Currently, the '66 utilizes an OEM-style 4-core brass and copper radiator with a shroud fr
Floyd's cooling system was due for an upgrade, so the task of replacing the aging brass-and-copper reproduction radiator in his '66 was assigned to PRC. According to Shawn Kenney of PRC, "Our business has been built on constructing custom high-performance aluminum radiators and providing cooling system advice in order to make sure each component works well together.
"Though common Pontiac applications are available from PRC, each radiator is built to the owner's specs. We use 100 percent aluminum cores that have been furnace brazed and sourced from U.S. manufacturing facilities. No glues or epoxies are used in the cores, so common core failures due to inferior manufacturing are virtually eliminated. Based on customer feedback, the aluminum radiators we build are up to 20 percent more efficient than the copper/brass radiators they replaced." In this case, we wanted a drop-in replacement that didn't have provisions for an automatic transmission cooler. Had we opted for a transmission or oil cooler, or placement of the inlets and outlets in any position, PRC could have built it.
Electric Water Pump
To augment the radiator upgrade, an electric water pump from Meziere was sourced. Available in blue, black, red, or a polished finish from the manufacturer or Butler Performance, the pump is rated in excess of 2,500 hours of running time and includes all the necessary gaskets, seals and wiring for installation. David Butler states, "Meziere makes an excellent electric water pump for the classic Pontiac, and it is very popular with the street/strip enthusiast. In addition to reduced parasitic accessory drag by eliminating the engine-driven fan and mechanical water pump, the electric water pump and electric cooling fan combination allows racers to quickly cool down their cars between rounds at the dragstrip, leading to more consistent performance."
Removal begins by draining the coolant and taking the radiator hoses off. The unit is held
After the four 1/4-inch-headed bolts at each of the four corners of the shroud are removed
followed by the radiator. Although the radiator doesn't leak, the condition of the coolant
Removal of the alternator begins by unplugging the electrical connector on the back, follo
The two alternator bracket bolts are backed out next with a 1/4-inch socket, and the brack
A 1/4-inch socket can handle the remaining eight water pump bolts, and a 1/4-inch wrench w