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Thermostat:

On engines that do not have a by-pass hose, the engine coolant can not flow when the engine is cold.

The 68 Firebird engine is one of these engines. When filling the radiator for the first time, an air pocket is created in the block. The air is trapped until the thermostat opens.
This will cause the engine to overheat. To avoid this problem, drill a 1/16th of an inch hole into the thermostat. This will give the air pocket an escape route. A small hole will not effect the operation of the thermostat.