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Old 02-15-2018, 02:00 PM   #1
Dave Castle
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Default Aluminum radiator ?

Any thoughts, pro or con, on using a aluminum radiator ? Running a 59A with the new style Speedway water pumps, engine is stock.
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:37 PM   #2
drolston
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

My '41 came with a truck radiator wedged into place. It was just a matter of time for it to wear through where the top tank was wedged between the top of the fenders. But it never overheated.

Replaced it with a Champion aluminum radiator rated at 500 hp and it will overheat at idle, even after putting on a (partial) shroud and a spacer to move the fan closer to the radiator. I can not bring myself to put an electric fan on it, but that is what is required to move enough air through that radiator at idle.

If you can restore the stock radiator, I think you will be better off.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:24 PM   #3
35ragtop
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

When I rebuilt my 38 pickup, I installed an 3 core aluminium radiator designed for the flathead. I have a 59 a engine with all stock running gear. I took care to run earthing wires and use and corrosion inhibitor fluid. In our hot Queensland climate it can run hard at 60 mph on the hot freeway and idle in traffic and never overheat. Make sure your block is clean, absolutely no crud floating around.
It was a lot cheaper option than having the old radiator rebuilt, but if you are building a “points car” then it will not be right.
Dave
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:56 PM   #4
TJ
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

If you ever get a hole in the aluminum radiator they are "toast".
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:17 PM   #5
Karl Wescott
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

The big advantages of aluminum is weight and cost, which are critical for new car makers beancounters and racers. With a well designed and constructed radiator efficiency marginally favors copper/brass. IMHO durability strongly favors copper/brass. Another critical issue is having the correct design side plates where the grille and (sometimes) fenders attach.

An electric fan will generally not move as much air as a well positioned mechanical fan, however the energy usage is less for electric (and electric can easily be turned off when not needed). A good "flex" fan will move the most air. Shrouding the fan and having the fan centered in the radiator are very important.

There is no best answer.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:28 PM   #6
RalphM
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

If you can afford it, go brass/copper. Well worth the extra expense. Although I know people running aluminum, and they do work ok .
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:31 PM   #7
J Witt
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

So far I'm pleased with the Brassworks radiator for my '36 phaeton. Not an exact copy, but close in appearance and a good mechanical fit into the cramped space in the nose. I have had cool running, but have not been through a Georgia summer yet.

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Old 02-15-2018, 05:31 PM   #8
JSeery
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

I'm not a fan of aluminum radiators, but as already stated some people are. I run a Brassworks.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:52 AM   #9
1932tub
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ View Post
If you ever get a hole in the aluminum radiator they are "toast".
Wrong. We fix heaps of alloy motocross radiators, straightened, and leaks repaired no problem.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:53 AM   #10
flatmotor40
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

I have a Griffin aluminum radiator in my 40 and it cools fine an winter I can't get enough heat to keep inside warm.As I say that it will probably go out next time I drive it
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:56 AM   #11
TJ
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

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Wrong. We fix heaps of alloy motocross radiators, straightened, and leaks repaired no problem.
How are they repaired?
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:09 AM   #12
woodiewagon46
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

Dave, I both restore and hot rod cars. I subscribe to a few hot rod related magazines and there have been articles about aluminum and copper radiators. The rage at one time was aluminum radiators in hot rods. What the articles report is, that as far as cooling they are just about the same. Repairability can be an issue with aluminum. By asking a question such as yours will only add to your confusion. Aluminum radiator users will say that they are the best and copper users will say they are the better. I use brass-copper, I feel they look more like the stock application, aluminum just "stands out" too much and to me doesn't look right in an early car.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:22 PM   #13
D. Jones
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

Cost was the reason I went aluminum and so far I have about 20,000 miles on it and no complaints. If it doesn't give good service I'll consider a brass and copper one.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:04 PM   #14
1932tub
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Default Re: Aluminum radiator ?

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How are they repaired?
We use a material called stickit which is like a pastic welding stick.
It is flowed in using an oxy acetelene torch.
On the odd occasion we use a tig.
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