Author Topic: Advice on choosing a radiator  (Read 1083 times)

DAVEN1256

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Advice on choosing a radiator
« on: April 29, 2017, 04:14:59 PM »
I am looking for some advice on choosing a radiator.

My car was originally a 327/210 HP car. It came with a two row core radiator. The engine that has been in it all of the time I have owned it is a 350 from a mid 70's Impala. It is stock except for adding a four barrel, headers, and a hotter cam.

That original two row core radiator worked fine under most conditions but in bumper to bumper traffic on a hot day, the engine would start to overheat.

In this restoration, I don't have my exact engine picked yet. I'm not sure if I'm rebuilding my old 350 or getting a 350 crate engine. Either way, I'll be wanting something in the 350 to 400 HP range.......I'm guessing my old factory radiator isn't going to cut it with that.

So now I have to figure out what to get........I want to have a radiator that is stock looking or close to stock looking. And it has to be black!.....I don't want a silver colored radiator......Aluminum is fine as long as it comes painted black or can be painted black.....I don't want anything with plastic tanks.

My first question is.......can a factory two row core radiator be re-cored into something more efficient?....adding a third row to the core, adding more tubes top to bottom, more cooling fins, etc. It would be nice to save the original tanks if possible.

If re-coring to something better is not possible, then of the stock looking replacements I see out there, it looks like it comes down to.....a three row brass and copper......a four row brass and copper......or a two row aluminum.

The advertisements for the two row aluminums say with their two rows of one inch tubes, they have 30% better cooling capacity than a four row brass and copper. There is a DeWitt's aluminum that looks close to stock out there that come in black. That looks good.......I don't want to get more radiator that I need though......if it's even possible to get more that you need!

So just looking for some direction here. Any advice is appreciated.

Dave

ko-lek-tor

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 10:37:43 PM »
Your 1st question about recoring to a larger (more rows) can be answered by looking at the section on this site regarding tank usage.
I just purchased a brass radiator for a future COPO (clone) I am building. I did some research prior to my purchase to decide how to proceed. I learned that a 2 core aluminum is more efficient than a 4 core brass, as you said and supposedly. The advice was to get a 2 core over a 3 or 4 core aluminum because the 2 large cores cool better than a 4 core aluminum or brass.  Having said that, I found some nice appearing aluminum radiators that even mimic the factory type top rail with the correct slots. These radiators can be painted black. My advice would be to buy an aluminum 2 core that looks factory with those mentioned slots and paint it black. If it were not for needing a 4 core "look" and a curve neck, I would have gone the same route as advised and your own research concluded.
If you fear having too much radiator(not possible , IMO) you can always juggle thermostats, pulleys etc... to get the flow slowed down. That 2 core will be fine though. The cost is better than a brass radiator as a bonus.

On a totally unrelated note, the curve neck on my purchased radiator was the wrong size at the wrong angle. I had to fab my own curve neck out of a chromed brass inch and a half plumbing p trap. Fortunately, I have a real 4 core to match to. I also made the slots in top to mimic the real OE look, as well.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 11:07:28 PM by ko-lek-tor »
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Sauron327

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 12:10:47 AM »
Nothing wrong with stock radiators. No need to buy aluminum. If you want to keep your Harrison tanks, send the unit to Glen-Ray. He's done work for me and it top notch. http://www.restorationradiators.com/ If you want, melt off your tanks and just ship them. Don't  throw out your old tanks. Give or sell them to people who have radiators properly re-cored. Be very careful of radiator shops who claim to do quality restoration work. Many are hacks. Good shops know that manual and auto tranny filler necks are clocked differently, what drain petcock is correct, and how much solder should be exposed. Many hammer on the solder and the result looks awful.

Radiators have rows. Many refer to radiators as 2,3 and 4 core, which is wrong. The core is the unit between the tanks.

KurtS

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2017, 03:09:03 AM »
I'd venture that your 2-core would probably be fine with your current setup, if it was cleaned out.
And more power doesn't mean more heat. What matters is part-throttle efficiency - how much heat is being rejected at lower power levels (and idle).
I agree with Scott and just have a 3-row core installed on your current tanks.

Scott,
About how much does it cost to have them go thru a radiator?
Kurt S
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Sauron327

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 03:06:17 PM »
I'd venture that your 2-core would probably be fine with your current setup, if it was cleaned out.
And more power doesn't mean more heat. What matters is part-throttle efficiency - how much heat is being rejected at lower power levels (and idle).
I agree with Scott and just have a 3-row core installed on your current tanks.

Scott,
About how much does it cost to have them go thru a radiator?
Re-cored and restored to show condition is $650-700, $140 to re-core a heater core.  I had one done locally by someone who claimed they did restorations. He butchered it and I sent it to Glen-Ray to have redone. There are different suppliers for cores and some are better quality than others. They are functional but the fins may not be straight and not show worthy. Glen-Ray uses nice cores. Very easy to deal with him.

bcmiller

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2017, 08:16:10 PM »
That's a lot to re-core a radiator in my opinion.  But oh well.
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Sauron327

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2017, 09:10:31 PM »
Many shops charge $450. Don't get a Maine Radiator core if you want straight fins. Good cores but not visually perfect. For $450 you better make sure the place uses the correct style petcock and does not slather on the solder but use it minimally just like an original. It should look just like a new Harrision when done. Brackets should come off and be blasted, and tanks taken completely to bare before re-assembly, and all dings and dents removed from them as well as the brackets. They should not use the cheap radiator paint nearly every radiator shop uses. Most also don't know a manual filler neck is clocked differently than an automatic. The last butcher I dealt with was in business for 35 years and had no clue you could source NOS or used in-tank tranny fluid coolers and would hack in late model ones instead. The $450 shop might reuse the original core hats or just use the new core without them, or may not know hats are important for originality.

Sauron327

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 12:07:22 AM »
Many shops charge $450. Don't get a Maine Radiator core if you want straight fins. Good cores but not visually perfect. For $450 you better make sure the place uses the correct style petcock and does not slather on the solder but use it minimally just like an original. It should look just like a new Harrision when done. Brackets should come off and be blasted, and tanks taken completely to bare before re-assembly, and all dings and dents removed from them as well as the brackets. They should not use the cheap radiator paint nearly every radiator shop uses. Most also don't know a manual filler neck is clocked differently than an automatic. The last butcher I dealt with was in business for 35 years and had no clue you could source NOS or used in-tank tranny fluid coolers and would hack in late model ones instead. The $450 shop might reuse the original core hats or just use the new core without them, or may not know hats are important for originality.
In regard to hats, I was referring to those with slots as opposed to those without. Beyond the edit time.

KurtS

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 05:22:12 AM »
Thanks!!
Kurt S
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DAVEN1256

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2017, 02:56:07 PM »
Thanks for all the replies so far.

I sent an e-mail to Glen-Ray Radiators a few days ago asking some questions and so far haven't received a reply. If I don't hear back from them by this coming Monday morning, I will call them.

I report back after I make contact with them.

Dave

DAVEN1256

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 07:43:35 PM »
Sorry I have not gotten back to this in so long.

I did eventually get a phone call back from Glen-Ray. They gave me an estimate of somewhere between $600 and $700 to re-core my original with a three row core.

Curious as to what the shipping would be from Florida to where Glen-Ray is in Wisconsin, I weighed and measured my radiator and estimated a box size. I plugged that info into Fedex Ground and got $67. (I'm not sure I want to get into trying to melt off just my tanks and just sending them). So with these numbers I could be looking at $750 to $850 including shipping both ways......That might by a bit much for me right now.

Still not sure which way I am going to go yet.......One consideration is a four row brass/copper replacement from US Radiator.

That brings up a new question. Would the tanks on four row be deeper from front to back and my original two row?.......If so, that would push the shroud further away from the core support....and then I would think the bolt hole in the shroud bracket that is bolted to the core support would no longer line up with the bolt hole in the top of the shroud.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Thanks......Dave

bertfam

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 07:49:53 PM »
Dave, that's a TON of money IMO. There's a radiator shop here in town, and when I was inquiring about recoring my 69 Corvette radiator a year ago, they quoted me $150.00!! Find a radiator shop in town and see what they can do for you.

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DAVEN1256

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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 08:03:15 PM »
I actually did talk to one of the better know shops in the Orlando, FL area.

I was quoted $420 for a three row re-core that uses the same tube and fin spacing as the original. And then $470 using a more efficient three row core that has tighter tube and fin spacing.

They do bead blast the tanks and brackets and paint them. I did see one if their painted radiators and wasn't super impressed with the paint. I could always have them leave it bare and paint it myself.

They are on my list of possible choices.

Dave


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Re: Advice on choosing a radiator
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 08:55:11 PM »
...
In regard to hats, I was referring to those with slots as opposed to those without. Beyond the edit time.

I had to go to (what I thought was) extreme lengths to 'reuse' the hats on my radiator in order to have an accurate original radiator.   The radiator was disassembled by a local shop, removing the hats from the core, after which I bead blasted the hats and then they were sent to the factory where the cores are made.  They had a special additional charge to install my hats on their core, after which the 'custom core' was sent back to the local radiator shop for the radiator construction and completion.   It was much more costly than buying a new radiator, or a standard 'recoring'...

Just getting the 'size' of the core, and the number of rows etc is not the only concern either, as the 'pitch' of the fins should match if you want to match the original...
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