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Radiator Hose Replacement - Big Block Chevy

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Previously, I swapped from a stock style down flow radiator to a double pass cross flow radiator in my '54 Bel Air to gain the much needed capacity for cooling. With this style radiator it puts the inlet and outlet on passenger’s side of the radiator. So, I would need something flexible for radiator hoses to connect to the 454 I shoe horned into the engine bay.

I ended up with a pretty severe angle on the lower hose to connect to the water pump. The outlet of the radiator points slightly up and towards engine and of course the water pump inlet points down. To overcome this, I chose Speedway Motors part number 465-7759, Spectre Magna Kool Radiator Hose Kit. This has a 20" flexible stainless steel hose that can be cut to length. It connects via rubber hose connectors and has adapters to fit 1 1/4", 1 1/2" and 1 3/4" tubes. Also included are two chrome covers for the rubber adapters and hose clamps to add that sparkle to the engine bay.

Before cutting anything to length I first test fit the hose. I installed the rubber hose ends onto the inlet of the water pump and outlet of the radiator using just the hose since I was at 1 3/4" and didn't need the adapters. Then I slid the flexible stainless hose into the water pump. At 20" in length I was able to make a small loop and insert the other end into the radiator. This never happens for me, perfect fit with no cutting or modifying.

All that was left was to remove the hose and install the chrome covers and clamps and fasten it all back together. From here I moved on to the upper hose. I went with a longer version of the bottom hose, Speedway Motors part number 465-7799, Spectre Magna Kool Radiator Hose Kit Chrome in 36" length. I would also need to change the water neck on the intake manifold.

My previous water neck had a 45 degree angle to attach the upper hose to the center inlet on my old down flow radiator. I opted for part number 106-8031215, AFCO 15 Degree Aluminum Thermostat Housing. This housing has an O-ring seal adjustable swivel housing, allowing you to position the upper radiator hose in the direction you need. With the 15 degree up angle, it cleared my temperature sender located in the front of the intake perfectly.

My preference with the O-ring style thermostat housing is to apply some standard black automotive silicone and set the O-ring into the groove on the housing. Then place the thermostat into the recess on the intake and bolt the thermostat housing on aligning it with the direction the hose needs to go. With the housing sealed and in place, I test fit the upper radiator hose in the same way I did the lower hose.

I did end up having to trim the hose down to fit perfectly. I opted to wrap some tape around the hose where I would cut the excess off and used my band saw. You can use a regular hack saw, cutoff wheel or tool of your choice to accomplish this. Just make sure to thoroughly clean any debris from the inside of the hose before final installation.

With the upper radiator hose in place it looked right at home along with the matching lower hose. These hoses sealed perfectly and were just what I needed to keep that coolant flowing through my Big Block Chevy while adding a nice chrome and stainless accent to the engine bay.

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