Originally Posted by 79bird
Hey guys, ever since ive gotten my first resotration project which is a 79 firebird, the cabin gets very hot from the engine. Even when i step outside i can feel the heat of the car from 10 feet away. My car is running lean right now so could that be the problem? And also, how much anti freeze should be in the radiator at all times? Because i have no coolant in my resivour (since its cracked), and i was wondering if there is enough coolant is in the raidiator. Lastly, when i buy a new resivour, do i need a radiator overflow tank too and a coolant return kit? Because i thought they were the same things, but the coolant tank is $13 and the overflow tank is $50. Im new to this whole classic car restoration scene so any tips would be great! Ive tried the search bar for a good 30 min and found alot of overheating problems, but not ones relevant to mine.
The top one should fit into the Firebird, the lower one (Interdynamics/2.5 qt. coolant return kit for larger vehicles) is for trucks, it is really big and would be difficult to find a location for in the already tightly packaged Firebird.
Hooking these up is not difficult, the radiator has a pressure cap and nipple to couple a small diameter hose in it's mount. The hose simply connects the nipple to the reservoir. The radiator cap in normal operation lifts a seal against spring pressure when the liquid pressure in the cooling system exceeds some amount usually 10 to 15 pounds. This exposes the nipple and hose to the hot pressurized coolant which then travels to the reservoir where it is stored. When the engine is shut off and cools a vacuum will form in the cooling system, this pulls a small vent open that is in the radiator cap's seal. This allows the originally vented coolant to flow back in the radiator.
The purpose of this is to prevent air from entering the radiator to replace vented coolant. Air when mixed with coolant causes a lot of corrosion inside the cooling system becoming more aggressive in its attacks with increasing temperature. Also, many modern coolants such as GM's DexCool become acidic when mixed with air and really rampage through the system eating up gaskets and aluminum parts. The last thing is to keep spilled coolant from getting into the environment where it is poisonous, if not also a carcinogen, to living things.
Somethings wrong you shouldn't be able to feel engine heat through the floor nor from 10 feet away. Could be mixture, timing, and old age wear and tear. Excessive heat will cause cracking of the engine's castings and will melt through the pistons if the combustion is in detonation or pre-ignition which is a real risk with elevated temperatures.