1963-1967 Corvette Radiator & Expansion Tank Replacement

Well, it has finally happened.  That little drip under your Corvette’s radiator has turned into Old Faithful.  The water is running out as fast as you pour it in. What are you going to do?  Where do you get an original equipment radiator for your 1963 to 1967 Corvette?  The answer is simple. Contact Zip Corvette Parts, 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, phone 1-800-962-9632. They can supply you with an exact reproduction aluminum radiator or replacement radiator for any 56 to C6 Corvette. For our 64 Corvette we wanted an exact reproduction aluminum radiator. They are totally original in appearance, licensed through the GM restoration parts program and can even be correctly date coded and detailed for your particular application. Zip can also supply all of the associated radiator components such as expansion tanks and fittings, hoses and more. We chose an all aluminum radiator over a brass/copper radiator for our Corvette because an all aluminum radiator will cool better than an equal size brass/copper radiator. The aluminum radiator supplied to us by Zip Corvette Parts is made of a long life alloy that resists corrosion and comes with a 5 year warranty.  Nuff said. Now let’s get started and stop that Big Drip in our 64 Corvette.


Step 1

01: Here is everything supplied to us by Zip Corvette: all aluminum Corvette radiator, expansion tank with mounting straps, radiator and heater hoses, hose clamps, radiator cap and fittings. You will also need some common hand tools, anti-freeze and a drain pan.

Step 2

02: Start by opening the petcock and draining out the radiator. Remember to drain the radiator into a container and dispose of the anti-freeze properly.  (This means, do not pour it on the ground.)

Step 3

03: Use a grease pencil or scribe to mark the outline of your Corvette’s hood hinges on the hood.  This will allow you to replace the hood in its original location. You can now remove the hood. You actually do not have to remove the hood, but I recommend it. The reason is that it will give you much more room and make the Corvette radiator removal easier.

Step 4

04: After the cooling system has been drained, loosen and remove all of the radiator and heater hose clamps.

Step 5

05: The easiest way to remove the heater hoses is to slit them with a utility knife and then remove them. By removing the hose this way you will not bend or damage any of the fittings or outlets, especially on the heater core.

Step 6

06: When all of the heater hoses are removed, loosen the mounting bracket straps and remove the expansion tank.

Step 7

07: Remove the upper and lower radiator hoses. Here is a helpful tip!  Remove the lower radiator hose from the water pump but leave it attached to the radiator. This hose clamp is usually very hard to get to but you can leave the hose on and still remove the radiator. After your Corvette radiator is out, you can then remove the hose.

Step 8

08: Loosen and remove the fan shroud mounting bolts. Then loosen and remove the fan bolts.  Now remove both the fan and shroud together.  Even though you do not have to remove the fan to remove the shroud, I have found it is much easier to remove it and then remove both the fan and shroud together. With the fan removed, you will have more room to work. If your Corvette has air conditioning, you may have to loosen the compressor and adjust it up or down when removing the fan shroud.

Step 9

09: The upper radiator and shroud brace can be removed.

Step 10

10: You can now hold the radiator on both sides and pull it up and out of the engine compartment. Be careful because some fluid always stays in the radiator and you do not want to spill it on the car or the floor. Can you say “slippery mess”!

Step 11

11: Turn the new Corvette radiator upside down and place the lower radiator mounting cushions on the radiator mounting stud.

Step 12

12: Position and install the lower radiator hose and clamp onto the radiator.  When you have it aligned, index the clamp so that you will be able to get to it when the radiator is installed.  Now tighten the clamp.

Step 13

13: This is one of the mounts that the lower radiator cushion and stud sits in.

Step 14

Lower the new radiator into place. Align the lower cushion and stud into the lower radiator mount.

Step 15

15: Slide a new upper rubber cushion into the upper radiator and shroud mount.

Step 16

16: Install the upper mount and bolt it into place. The radiator is now securely mounted into place.

Step 17

17: In this picture you can see that Zip Corvette reproduction radiators have the correct date code that you need on your Corvette radiator. Perfect for maintaing originality or competing for judging points.

Step 18

18: Mount the lower radiator hose and clamp onto the water pump and tighten the clamp securely.

Step 19

19: Slide the fan shroud and fan into place.

Step 20

20: Re-install the fan to the water pump pulley and re-tighten the belts.

Step 21

21: Align the fan shroud, install all of the bolts and tighten them into place.

Step 22

22: Place the new expansion tank mounting straps on the mounting strap bracket. It is also a good idea to put a gradual bend into each strap. This will make them easier to install over the expansion tank.

Step 23

23: If you look closely, you can see the date code on our new Corvette expansion tank.

Step 24

24: The new expansion tank can now be clamped into place.

Step 25

25: Start the heater hoses at the heater core tubes. Slide the hose clamp onto the hose. Then slide the hose onto the heater core tube. Spraying a little silicone spray on the inside of the hose will help it to slide into place. When the hose is in place, slide the clamp up onto the outlet and screw it into place.

Step 26

26: Slide the wire spring clamps onto the ends of the heater hose. Using the correct spring clamp pliers, such as these, makes this a snap.  (These pliers are available from most good auto parts stores and tool supply houses.) If you try to use regular pliers, you will be shouting all kinds of new four letter words, not to mention pinching your finger tips with the pliers and removing untold layers of skin.

Step 27

27: Now connect the t-fitting to the expansion tank and the heater hose.  Use the spring clamps to hold the hoses in place.

Step 28

28: Route the remaining heater hose along the inner fender and onto the water pump and intake manifold fittings. Cut off any excess hose. Install the clamp and mount the clamp and hose in place.

Step 29

29: Route and install the radiator to expansion tank hose. Install the small screw clamps onto each end.

Step 30

30: Mount the Expansion tank overflow hose onto the expansion tank fitting.

Step 31

31: Install the upper radiator hose and clamp it into place. Position the tower clamp so that the screw is easy to get to and does not interfere with anything.

Step 32

32: Check to make sure the petcock is closed and all of the hose clamps are tight. Now slowly pour in the anti-freeze and water until it reaches about half way from the top of the expansion tank. Start the engine with the cap off. Let it run for about 2 minutes then add water as needed to bring the level up to one-half from the top of the expansion tank.

Step 33

33: Install the cap and let the car run until it reaches running temperature. (While it is running, check for any leaks.  If you find any, stop the engine and repair the leaks.)  Shut the engine off and let it cool down. After it is cool, remove the cap and check the water level again.  It should be at a level that is half way from the top of the expansion tank. If everything checks out, you are almost done.  Re-install the hood using the alignment marks you made. Slowly close the hood but do not latch it.  Check your clearance gaps and adjust it as needed. Lube the latches and cables and then latch the hood down.  Open and close it a few times to check its operation. If it all checks out, you are done.

Step 34

34: Here is our new aluminum radiator all installed and ready to go again. We have put an end to the “Big Drip”.

1963-1967 Corvette Corvette Radiator Replacement: How To Replace The Radiator In A 1963-1967 Corvette


Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632


Corvette Parts List Related to Article:


  1. thomas hodulik


  2. tyler lee

    I have a ’67 427, 400 HP coupe. If i add this tank, do i need a special radiator or will , my stock radiator work. My ca does not have a expansion tank now

    1. Zip Products

      Hi Tyler,

      This article was written to show the procedure for replacing the radiator and expansion tank on a stock vehicle.

      We can not speak to the steps needed for your Corvette if it is not like the one in the article.


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