Cold case radiator fitment for 8.1L

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TYF Newbie
Nov 15, 2023
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I have a 03 Yukon xl 2500 8.1L and my radiator is no longer holding coolant. My Yukon is a tow rig almost exclusively, towing a trailer that weighs nearly 8000 lbs almost everyday. When my radiator started leaking I decided it was a good time to upgrade and after some research I decided to pull the trigger on the cold case radiator. Although there is very little info out there regarding anything related specifically to the 8.1L variant, the cold case website says it's a direct fit application for 2000-2013 Yukon xl. It gives no footnotes or anything regarding which variants it does or does not fit. I did however find that Jegs, carid and a few other online parts suppliers say that the radiator does indeed fit the 8.1L variant.

Well, what I didn't realize is that the lower radiator hose on the 8.1L variant uses a quick disconnect between the hose and radiator. In addition to that, the hoses for the surge tank and one of the heater hoses tie into the lower radiator hose directly next to the quick disconnect fitting. The cold case uses a traditional nipple type connection for the lower hose.

After some digging it looks like I might be able to modify a lower hose from a duramax to make it work. My question is does anybody know of a good work around for this problem? I'm also think of making myself a custom hose with the appropriate t-fittings. I did a few searches on here but in true 8.1L fashion, very little to nothing can be found relating specifically to the big block yukons/burbs... only the small block variants. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Matthew Jeschke

Full Access Member
Dec 28, 2017
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Sahuarita, Arizona
I have been drooling over on of those radiators for a while. Wish I'd know about them when my factory one went out.

Do you have pictures? Or a video of what you're referring to? I've done extensive work on the Gen III small block stuff but not as familiar with the big block setup. The factory stuff is all kind of *meh* for connections I personally would like to update all the radiator lines and fittings as well.

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