The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
By Mike Dailey
Iíve had the job of replacing my coolant hoses on my "to do" list for months and was not looking forward to the project. As I was tooling around in the Pantera I noticed a whiff of steam come out of the front hood vent. One of the coolant hoses on the radiator had split and coolant was running out allover the place.
Luckily, I was close to home and I noticed the problem right away. The trip back to the house on the roll-back truck was only $85, but for $85 I could have replaced all of the hoses. It was an important lesson, if you do not know how old your coolant hoses are, just replace them all and do it now. I was also lucky that the roll-back driver had the necessary wood ramps to get the Pantera on the truck without damaging the car.
I was not able to find Gates green stripe coolant hoses locally so I used NAPA Auto Parts yellow stripe (part #631) that is super high industrial quality hose at $12 per foot. I believe it is the equivalent of the green stripe or better. It comes in three-foot lengths and for a 71 car you need two lengths. They had one length in stock and had to order the second piece.
For the water pump inlet piece I used NAPA Auto Parts white stripe (part #611) at $13.50 per foot. It comes in three-foot lengths but I found a short piece that they had in stock.
For the right angle piece that connects the lower tube to the pipe running to the expansion tank I used NAPA Auto Parts hose #7571. The hose has two 90 degree bends so I just cut off the 90 degree part I needed.
For the heater hoses and over flow tank connection I also used NAPA heater hose of the best quality that they had. For the overflow tank to the back of the car I used clear tubing available form Home Depot at $0.16 per foot.
To remove the old hoses I used a mat knife to carefully cut all of the hoses lengthwise at the mounting point. I did not want to cut or groove any of the pipes. I didn't replace the coolant tubes than run from the front of the car to the back as one side looked new and the other side looked OK.
View of the clear tubing from the overflow tank running to the back of the car. The stock tube exits right in front of the back wheel causing a potential disaster if coolant dumps out and gets under the tire as you are pushing the limits around a corner.
To keep the coolant from running on the floor mats when I removed the heater hose on the inside of the car, I made an aluminum foil pan that I worked under the coolant hoses on the console and directed the coolant to a small plastic pan on the floor. The hoses that I removed at the heater were very stiff, but did not crack when I removed them.
While I was under the car I noticed that the master cylinder boost vacuum hose had been rubbing on the edge of the steering rack mount. I replaced it with NAPA Auto Parts H-178. It is super stiff and will not collapse. It's made for fuel lines, EEC and PCV applications.
I used all NAPA Auto Parts hose clamps of the best quality they had. I double clamped all of the hoses that had enough space for two clomps.
View of some of the the double clamps.
My car does not have the stock radiator and has a vent valve on the top driver's side to purge air form the radiator. I used three gallons of Prestone mixed 50/50 with distilled water and had about one gallon of 50/50 mix left over. To fill the system I open the radiator vent valve and started filling the system until coolant started flowing at the vent. I then closed the vent and continue to fill the system. After the engine has been test run for leaks, I let it cool down and open the vent valve to release any air trapped in the system and added more coolant. This process was repeated a few time to release all of the air in the system. I do not find it necessary to jack up the back of the car to fill the system as the Pantera service manual describes, but it is best to follow what the manual requires.
I follow up on venting air in the system after every outing with the car for a few weeks. It works best to check the expansion tank before the car is started and cold. NEVER remove the pressure cap when the engine is HOT. You could burn yourself with the super hot coolant but you will also allow air to get in the system. When you get to the point that the expansion tank is full to the very top you should be set. After you get to this point add a small amount of coolant to the overflow tank so that as the engine cools down after each outing there will be some extra coolant in the overflow tank to make sure that the system will always keep the expansion tank full and not suck air in from the overflow tank. My overflow tank says about 1/4 full when cold. If you add more coolant than that it will dump it out of the overflow tank vent when the engine coolant expands when the engine is at operating temp. Antifreeze is poison so you do not want it getting dumped out were animals will drink it. Apparently it has a sweet taste and they will readily drink it. I'm calling the tank with the pressure cap the expansion tank and the tank in front of it the overflow tank.
What a job, getting the hose on the bottom of the expansion tank and the pipe that crosses over in front of the engine was the worst! I would have taken more pictures during the process but I was too tired. This project must be the nastiest job on the Pantera repair list!
The coolant hoses can be obtained in kit form from the Pantera vendors and will save you time hunting down the parts in your local area.