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Discussion Starter #1
Took my bumper off today to install some toys, and I noticed something that intrigued me: the lower radiator is blocked off by two plastic covers.

I removed one of them to illustrate...see below. Just might take off the other one and leave them open. But now I am curious...why is the lower radiator blocked off? I can't find any technical info as to why. Are these covers just a diesel thing (maybe a winter package), where on a gasser they are normally open as part of the active grille shutters package?
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Discussion Starter #2
This truck has the slotted screen, stole the picture from the ambient air temp sensor thread...I am willing to bet this is a gas truck, which would mean the open radiator covers are part of a package for gas trucks...but I still want to know why lol
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Took my bumper off today to install some toys, and I noticed something that intrigued me: the lower radiator is blocked off by two plastic covers.

I removed one of them to illustrate...see below. Just might take off the other one and leave them open. But now I am curious...why is the lower radiator blocked off? I can't find any technical info as to why. Are these covers just a diesel thing (maybe a winter package), where on a gasser they are normally open as part of the active grille shutters package?
View attachment 383342
I haven't looked closely nor have I removed my bumper. If the bumper or something else is blocking airflow through the openings where the plastic covers are located then it may be better to leave the plastic covers in place. Air may move more efficiently with the covers in place vs. when they are removed. Air seeks the path of least resistance. Removing the covers may reduce the airflow through the radiator fins since the air has more places to go.

My bumper has an opening for airflow, but I cannot tell if it is above where your covers are located.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I haven't looked closely nor have I removed my bumper. If the bumper or something else is blocking airflow through the openings where the plastic covers are located then it may be better to leave the plastic covers in place. Air may move more efficiently with the covers in place vs. when they are removed. Air seeks the path of least resistance. Removing the covers may reduce the airflow through the radiator fins since the air has more places to go.

My bumper has an opening for airflow, but I cannot tell if it is above where your covers are located.
Yeah your truck has the slotted panels, while mine has flat block out panels in the same spot. You have a gasser, so I am starting to think this is a diesel thing. The lower part of the radiator is separated from the top with fairings and the cross brace, so I can't see how that would affect airflow to the inter-cooler and upper radiator. Maybe I will buy the slotted panels lol
 

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I'd imagine those are to direct airflow to the intercooler. The cooling system on these trucks is amazing. I can crawl in the 110* desert with the AC on and no wind and the truck doesnt even hiccup. Cant imagine that little diesel needs all that radiator to stay cool. Intake temps on any boosted engine should take priority when able.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd imagine those are to direct airflow to the intercooler. The cooling system on these trucks is amazing. I can crawl in the 110* desert with the AC on and no wind and the truck doesnt even hiccup. Cant imagine that little diesel needs all that radiator to stay cool. Intake temps on any boosted engine should take priority when able.
Agreed it probably doesn't need it, as the diesel already runs 30 degrees cooler than a gas motor. But I'm trying to figure out how they are directing air to the intercooler, since the lower section is partitioned/separate from the upper (meaning there's no space for air to go up).
 

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Agreed it probably doesn't need it, as the diesel already runs 30 degrees cooler than a gas motor. But I'm trying to figure out how they are directing air to the intercooler, since the lower section is partitioned/separate from the upper (meaning there's no space for air to go up).
In that case, it's just an effort to block airflow and keep temps up.
 

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It’s a diesel thing, and presumably the keep temps up / aid fuel economy. The shutters are on the gas models to aid fuel economy on the hwy.

If you search, you’ll find more. I think some found removing the panels helped trans temp towing.
 

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Here is a thread re trans cooling and from time to time discuses the panels on the Diesel - haven’t seen the reason for the panels anywhere though.


Have to read carefully because some posters are V6 and some Diesel owners. Also, some don’t indicate which trim: ZR2, etc. and from what I’ve read there are differences in transmission temps with the Diesel in the ZR vs non ZR.

There is at least another thread on the panels but am out of time for now.
 

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Unlike the V6, the diesel plumbs the transmission cooling lines into the radiator. People who have done so report that removing the covers lowers transmission temps in summer, which makes sense as the covers obstruct the lower part of the radiator where the trans plumbs in. Have been toying with the idea of removing them in the summer and reinstalling in the winter. Have not investigated yet if that is an easy enough thing to do to make me want to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It’s a diesel thing, and presumably the keep temps up / aid fuel economy. The shutters are on the gas models to aid fuel economy on the hwy.

If you search, you’ll find more. I think some found removing the panels helped trans temp towing.
Thanks! I must have been using the wrong search term lol

Here is a thread re trans cooling and from time to time discuses the panels on the Diesel - haven’t seen the reason for the panels anywhere though.


Have to read carefully because some posters are V6 and some Diesel owners. Also, some don’t indicate which trim: ZR2, etc. and from what I’ve read there are differences in transmission temps with the Diesel in the ZR vs non ZR.

There is at least another thread on the panels but am out of time for now.
Thanks and wow, the diesel not having a separate trans cooler seems like a bean counter move from GM...or maybe since it already runs cooler they just felt it did not need one. I think I am going to leave my covers off and will report back on the temps. Being in FL right now our winters aren't that cold.

Unlike the V6, the diesel plumbs the transmission cooling lines into the radiator. People who have done so report that removing the covers lowers transmission temps in summer, which makes sense as the covers obstruct the lower part of the radiator where the trans plumbs in. Have been toying with the idea of removing them in the summer and reinstalling in the winter. Have not investigated yet if that is an easy enough thing to do to make me want to do it.
Thanks! Removing the panels definitely requires removal of the bumper and then removal of the lower air shroud, however the shroud is only held on by a few plastic snap rivets. Bumper removal took a little while but was not near as bad as I expected from some of the threads on here.
 

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Removing the panels definitely requires removal of the bumper and then removal of the lower air shroud, however the shroud is only held on by a few plastic snap rivets. Bumper removal took a little while but was not near as bad as I expected from some of the threads on here.
Access to those panels sounds like something resembling work. Will probably skip it 😆
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I left the panels off, and finished putting everything back on.

Added a Grillcraft LED wire mesh grille and plasti-dipped my lower bumper skid plate to kill off some more chrome. I think she will breathe a bit better now, on top and down below.
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I thought this subject sounded familiar. I pulled the panels without pulling the bumper. This is from a post I made on 9/30/17:

You don't need to pull the bumper to mess with these. A paint can opener reaches behind the panels and easily pops the catches loose. Then slide under the front and you will see a rubber lip seal between the bottom of the radiator and the bodywork. Pull the lip down and you can slide the panels out between the radiator and the lip. The seal easily pops back into place after the surgery.
 

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Truck looks fantastic.

DieselDrax posted on here a while back that removing the panels was very easy, and that his transmission temps were a little lower during summer towing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That looks positively sinister :cool:
Thanks!

I thought this subject sounded familiar. I pulled the panels without pulling the bumper. This is from a post I made on 9/30/17:

You don't need to pull the bumper to mess with these. A paint can opener reaches behind the panels and easily pops the catches loose. Then slide under the front and you will see a rubber lip seal between the bottom of the radiator and the bodywork. Pull the lip down and you can slide the panels out between the radiator and the lip. The seal easily pops back into place after the surgery.
Crafty! That definitely beats a bumper pull.

Truck looks fantastic.

DieselDrax posted on here a while back that removing the panels was very easy, and that his transmission temps were a little lower during summer towing.
Thanks!
 

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I'm still running with the panels off and temps here have gotten down below freezing already, trans temps hover around 100F over ambient when empty. Since this will be my first winter running without them it'll be interesting to see if this is linear or not, if 0F ambient = 100F trans temps.

My towing temps were indeed lower as well, IIRC with them removed the trans temps while towing were around 120-130F over ambient and rarely went over 200F. The summer prior with the panels in place I think my towing temps were generally 10-20F higher compared to with them removed.

I was worried about overcooling the trans fluid, however the gas trucks appear to have much cooler trans temps when they're stock compared to the diesel so I don't see overcooling as being an issue here. Coolant temps remained steady with the panels removed, no fluctuations after the t-stat initially starts flowing during warm-up, 172F all day long when empty and when towing unless going up a grade, then coolant temp will increase which is expected.

So, as of now I haven't experienced any downsides to having them removed. We'll see what happens this winter I guess. :)
 

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My driveline is absolutely bone stock. Even uses the stock air cleaner with a GM filter.

My total towing load is probably about 4,500 pounds or so. But I do tow on hot days at high altitudes. I watch trans temps pretty closely. They never get in to the range that concerns me. Never while towing. I see no need to make any mods whatsoever.

The only time I see trans temps get elevated are when I'm moving slow on the trails at high altitude, like about 10,000' ASL. I'm not sure removing panels or changing the grill would help that. Maybe it would, but I'm not sure.
 
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