How to check coolant level - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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How to check coolant level

How do I check coolant level in car that's not equipped with coolant reservoir? I opened the radiator cap and I do not see any coolant but the engine is not overheating.

There is definitely coolant in the system because it hits the temp. sensor located in the upper radiator hose plus the heat works just fine. I am just curious if it is low or not.

This is for 1970 Impala.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 05:00 PM
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It could be a little low but not enough to overheat.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala
Year: 1971
Doors: 4
Motor: 400 V8
Tranny: TH350
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 05:56 PM
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Hey Alex,

When you look inside radiator, you should NOT be able to see the ends of the tubes. Add coolant 50/50 mix with water to approx 1/2" below the radiator cap seal. I also recommend getting a overflow container. Most if not all 70's came with one.It was mounted next to radiator on drivers side. The tube mounts to bottom of container,and makes a U-shaped bend up to connection just below cap. That way it will "get pulled" back into radiator as it cools down.
Gary
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for replies. I guess I have a slight coolant leak somewhere. About 2 months ago when my friend worked on the car, he added coolant and now I can see the top of the tubes again.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 11:23 PM
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Hey Alex,
Check hose clamps for signs of coolant....tighten if necessary. Another spot to look is at firewall, and feel carpet on passenger side. See if someone you know has a radiator tester. Also check condition of cap,with same tool.
Gary
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBDropTop View Post
Hey Alex,

When you look inside radiator, you should NOT be able to see the ends of the tubes. Add coolant 50/50 mix with water to approx 1/2" below the radiator cap seal. I also recommend getting a overflow container. Most if not all 70's came with one.It was mounted next to radiator on drivers side. The tube mounts to bottom of container,and makes a U-shaped bend up to connection just below cap. That way it will "get pulled" back into radiator as it cools down.
Gary
When you add an overflow reservoir you have to change the pressure cap as well to support a vacuum and pressure (has a two way valve instead of a one way valve in the older cars).

Hoses will age and become hard to seal as they rather ooze out from under the clamp under pressure.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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I filled radiator with coolant today in the morning and drove car to work. I couldn't find any obvious leaks. I will have to check at lunch time for spots under car but it may just be an aged hose or radiator cap. Well, I hope that's the problem as it is easy to replace. Cracked block would be a lot bigger problem for me.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 08:54 PM
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Not necessarily a cracked block, could be as simple as a new head gasket if yours were blown. Save the drama for day time TV; think of your SBC as an indestructable Timex that takes a licking and keeps on ticking (of course a few comercials didn't work out quiet as planed and John Cameron Swayze would look into the camera and state well it worked in rehersal).

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2009, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I guess headgaskets should be on my list of fixes/upgrades as there is nasty oily grease around where heads meet the block even after I have cleaned the engine compartment.

For now, I will install coolant overflow tank and new radiator cap.
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