The Big Chill

Properly Cooling the LS Conversion in a Second-Gen Camaro

By Chuck Vranas   –   Photography by the Author

There’s nothing more revered in the performance world than adding horsepower to your ride, regardless of whether it’s naturally aspirated, supercharged, or turbocharged, however you’d better be able to chill the beast to make its time on the street a long-lasting experience. There’s nothing worse than having to constantly watch a temperature gauge with fears of overheating due to a tired or poorly set up cooling system. Add in the needs of an upgraded LS conversion and you’d better do your homework to incorporate a properly designed setup that can handle the demands of everyday life on the road.

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001 fresh factory reproduction radiator core support camaro cooling system
To properly anchor the cooling system, a call was placed to Auto Metal Direct (AMD) for a fresh factory reproduction radiator core support stamped from heavy-gauge steel produced by X-Parts.

On a recent visit to Procision Industries in Taunton, Massachusetts, we met with shop owner Pat O’Brien whose newly installed high-performance 5.3L LC9 in his personal ’71 Camaro project gave All Chevy Performance a perfect opportunity to follow along as he formulated a modern cooling system to take care of business. Seeing that he was starting bare from the firewall forward, it was time to select a proper foundation to support the new cooling system, beginning with fresh reproduction factory parts from Auto Metal Direct (AMD). Their radiator core support struck from heavy-gauge steel (supplied by X-Parts) combined with radiator support insulator pads, support bushing mount kit, radiator core to frame support brackets, and all related installation hardware made preparing the area a snap.

002 radiator retainer insulator pads install camaro cooling system
Getting started, Pat O’Brien of Procision Industries installed a new set of AMD radiator retainer insulator pads to the base of the core support. These will properly brace the radiator once in place, eliminating vibration.

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To handle the LS conversion’s specific cooling needs, a call was made to PROFORM for one of their Slim-Fit radiator systems packed with exclusive features. Their design showcases years of development in creating the industry’s first all-in-one integrated radiator system where the combined core/shroud/fan thickness is only 4 inches in depth (up to 40 percent thinner). Offered in direct-fit, LS-conversion, and universal applications for up to a 600hp mill, it’s easy to see they’ve got your high-performance Chevy covered.

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003 radiator support bushing mount camaro cooling system
Next, a radiator support bushing mount kit from AMD was used; first place the bushings at the bottom of the core support and follow with the rubber cushions added to the top.

Here, we’ve spotlighted their prototype for the second-gen Camaro LS conversion system, which should be available sometime soon. As with their entire Slim-Fit line, it’s a complete unit straight out of the box, packing an impressive set of specs, including an all-aluminum construction, hybrid extruded tube core technology with proprietary engineered louvers, precision TIG-welded tanks, and an innovative core-mounted fan motor. Systems incorporate everything needed to complete the installation, including Slant-Edge radiator cap, adjustable thread-in thermostat, and weather-tight-equipped wiring harness.

004 The core support was then set in place atop the framerails camaro cooling system
The core support was then set in place atop the framerails to prepare it for installation.

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It was also perfect timing to address all underhood plumbing to the air conditioning system utilizing Vintage Air’s Gen IV SureFit Condenser Kit with Dryer as well as their Beadlock 14-Fitting Extended Length Refrigerant Hose Kit (without drier), which provided everything needed to complete the system through the firewall. To link it all together, a set of AMD inner fender braces were installed to the firewall base followed by a pair of AMD (produced by X-Parts) reproduction inner fenders stamped from heavy-gauge steel.

005 core support is mounted in place camaro cooling system
Using new factory replacement hardware provided in the kit, the core support was mounted in place using a 3/4-inch wrench and socket.

Follow along as the updates are installed to this second-gen Camaro.

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006 radiator core support to frame brackets are prepared camaro cooling system
A pair of reproduction radiator core support to frame brackets stamped in heavy-gauge steel by AMD were prepared starting by placing the bushings at the vertical exterior end of the bracket followed by the rubber cushions added to the interior end.
007 brackets were then secured in place using fresh hardware camaro cooling system
The brackets were then secured in place using fresh hardware and a 5/8-inch wrench and socket.
008 radiator system was set in place to the core support camaro cooling system
To ensure plenty of cooling, the PROFORM Slim-Fit radiator system was set in place to the core support. At only 4 inches thick, the design was a perfect complement to the new LS conversion, arriving fully assembled out of the box with up to a 40 percent space saving thanks to its integrated core/shroud/fan design.
009 The Slim Fit system was then secured in place camaro cooling system
The Slim-Fit system was then secured in place with original restored upper radiator support filler panel and factory hardware using a ½-inch socket and wrench.
010 Condenser Kit with Drier comes complete with everything needed for a tidy installation camaro cooling system
The Vintage Air Gen IV SureFit Condenser Kit with Drier comes complete with everything needed for a tidy installation.
011 mounting brackets were set in place using the provided hardware camaro cooling system
With the parallel-flow condenser laid on the bench, the supplied mounting brackets were set in place using the provided hardware, starting with the universal drier bracket (pictured here).
012 the drier mounting clamps were added to the drier camaro cooling system
Next, the drier mounting clamps were added to the drier. It was then secured in place to the mounting bracket to the third and fifth holes from the bottom of the bracket respectively using the provided sheetmetal screws.
013 mounting and lubricating the O rings camaro cooling system
To prepare the drier/condenser #6 hard line for installation, mount and lubricate the two #6 O-rings to each end of the hard line with the supplied oil.
014 carefully securing the hard line to the drier and condenser camaro cooling system
Using a ¾-inch wrench, carefully secure the hard line to the drier and condenser.
015 the condenser mounted to the radiator support camaro cooling system
Here you can see the condenser mounted to the radiator support using the original hardware at the factory mounting points.
016 The male binary switch was then installed to the drier camaro cooling system
The male binary switch was then installed to the drier using a 1 1/16-inch wrench.
017 Hard lines secured to the fittings camaro cooling system
O’Brien followed by mounting and lubricating #6 and # 8 O-rings to the #6 drier/core hard line and #8 condenser/compressor hard line. The lines were then secured in place to the fittings.
018 Adel Clamp installed to the lines camaro cooling system
To support the lines, a #4 Adel clamp was installed to the #8 hard line and a #2 Adel clamp to the #6 hard line. Each was secured in place with the supplied pan head screw, nut, and star washer.
019 inner fender braces were installed to the firewall base camaro cooling system
To tie everything together underhood, AMD inner fender braces were installed to the firewall base using a ½-inch socket and wrench with stock hardware.
020 Installing the inner fenders stamped from heavy gauge steel camaro cooling system
O’Brien followed fitting and installing the AMD (produced by X-Parts) reproduction inner fenders stamped from heavy-gauge steel.
021 The inner fenders were then secured in place to the rear of the radiator core support camaro cooling system
The inner fenders were then secured in place to the rear of the radiator core support using original hardware and a ½-inch socket and wrench.
022 Everything coming together camaro cooling system
Here you can see just how perfectly everything is coming together thanks to the combination of a completed radiator core support, inner fenders, and cooling system.
023 Fittings were set in place for the air system camaro cooling system
To complete the underhood plumbing of the Vintage Air system, their Beadlock 14-Fitting Extended Length Refrigerant Hose Kit (without drier) supplied plenty of options. Here, the selected fittings, a 45-degree #6 and a straight #8, were set in place to the rear of the air conditioning compressor.
024 The needed hose lines were then measured and cut for the individual application camaro cooling system
The needed hose lines were then measured and cut for the individual application. Note that the kit includes #6, #8, and#10 hose sizes.
025 Marking the end of the fitting camaro cooling system
With the selected hose end fitting slipped into place, O’Brien marked it to both clock its placement as well as to ensure the hose is fully installed to the fitting prior to crimping.
026 The assembled line was then placed in the crimping tool camaro cooling system
The assembled line was then placed in the Mastercool Hydra-Krimp Beadlock crimping tool specially designed to properly create the hose end.
027 The final result shows a perfectly crimped line ready for installation camaro cooling system
The final result shows a perfectly crimped line ready for installation.
028 The completed lines were the installed camaro cooling system
The completed lines were the installed using a pair of ¾-inch wrenches.
029 Here you can see the clean routing of all lines camaro cooling system
Here, you can see the clean routing of all lines as they are laid out from the condenser and drier to the air conditioning compressor, and through the firewall to where the evaporator with be located inside the car.
030 the upper and lower radiator hoses were measured and installed camaro cooling system
Finally, the upper and lower radiator hoses were measured and installed by O’Brien along with connecting the steam line to the steam port on the radiator tank located below the filler neck and cap. Not pictured is the PROFORM radiator overflow canister that was also added to the system.
031 The completed cooling and underhood air conditioning system were given a clean factory look camaro cooling system
The completed cooling and underhood air conditioning system were given a clean factory look that should ensure plenty of long-lasting performance once this second-gen Camaro hits the streets.

Sources

Auto Metal Direct
(833) 404-4777
autometaldirect.com

Procision Industries
(508) 734-6081
procisionindustries.com

PROFORM Parts
(586) 774-2500
proformparts.com

Vintage Air
(800) 862-6658
vintageair.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of The Big Chill.

acp oct 2023

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