Aluminum radiators

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Aluminum radiators

Post by Joe73 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:50 am

I've been doing alot of reading about aluminum radiators for some time. I'd like to switch to one and put my 4 core brass rad (500 caddy rad) into storage.
From what I've been reading on another forum is that the 1" tube, 2 core, rad is the way to go. Basically anything less than a 1" tube is a waste of time or a gimmick. Loads of performance info out there about the differences (or scams) in the aluminum radiator market.
I think I will be going with a 1" tube 2 core rad for my build.

Here's the info in a nutshell but you can find much more on other forums. Good info.

http://www.speedcooling.com/coretypes/info_6.html

Just FYI.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by bracketchev1221 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:05 am

I don't have one in the malibu, but I did use one in the Chevelle. I got the Griffiin one with the 1.25" tubes and no tranny cooler since I have an external anyway and to get as much coolant in it.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:49 am

IMO aluminum rads are not worth the big money they charge for them. It's all about air movement. I'm running a bone stock two-core radiator backed up with the dual fan/shroud assembly from an LS1 Camaro. When the fans kick on, the motor doesn't get above 170° (measured at the head) -- so it actually runs colder than it should.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:01 pm

Mine runs a little hotter than I would like. I have a fan shroud, 3 core stock radiator and 5 blade straight fan that looks like this one.

I think it run at about 205. It never goes any higher no matter how hot it is out. I don't know what the thermostat is in it. Do you think this is acceptable?
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:29 pm

Yes.  The factory designs them to run in the 200 range, both for horsepower (more heat = more power) and emissions (burns cleaner).  If you look at the temp gauge on an OEM vehicle, you'll see it actually runs a little over 200.  My last 4 trucks all ran at 210, and my wife's Nitro and Mazda ran 200-210.

Obviously, though, you don't want it to run too hot, and I think that over the years the goal of making sure the car's not gonna overheat has morphed into the misconception of lower-must-be-better.  Not the same thing.  There's a point where you can be too low, and you wind up leaving horsepower on the table and wasting gas.

If your car goes to 205 and stays there regardless of outside temp, the cooling system is working exactly as the factory designed it to.


Last edited by thatfnthing on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by dynchel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:32 pm

Where it is monitored will make a difference also.  The intake will read different than the cylinder head.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:36 pm

dynchel wrote:Where it is monitored will make a difference also.  The intake will read different than the cylinder head.

Which is why I measure it at the head -- I'm looking for worst-case scenario, since it will always be a little hotter there due to proximity to the heat source.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:36 pm

This is measured in the intake. This is the TriStar 355. I installed.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by dynchel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:38 pm

driveit wrote:This is measured in the intake. This is the TriStar 355.  I installed.
The head is a better location.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:39 pm

You're still fine.  The point is the gauge never climbs any higher, even in hot weather.  It's working like it's supposed to. It's not a bad thing for the car to be a little over 200. It's normal.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by bracketchev1221 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:47 pm

driveit wrote:Mine runs a little hotter than I would like.  I have a fan shroud, 3 core stock radiator and 5 blade straight fan that looks like this one.

I think it run at about 205.  It never goes any higher no matter how hot it is out.  I don't know what the thermostat is in it.  Do you think this is acceptable?

If it never gets hotter then you are ok in that it can maintain it. It would be a good idea to see what thermostat is in it. If it is a 195, then it is working as best as it can be. I like to keep my engines in the 180 range.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:51 pm

I had it in the head before, but the fitting was different. I didn't have one and just needed to get it running. I kinda forgot about since. I had intended to get another fitting so I could put it back in the head.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:52 pm

If I pulled the thermostat will it say what it is on it?
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by dynchel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:00 pm

driveit wrote:If I pulled the thermostat will it say what it is on it?
They sometimes do.  A new t-stat is cheap.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by Joe73 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:03 pm

Yes the bottom of the stat (in the middle) should say what temp it is.  
You can run an engine too cold.  Not allowing an engine to get up to operating temp for at least 30 minutes does not allow moisture to evaporate out of the engine and crankcase.  And thats what contributes to sludge in an engine.  
I like to run a 180 stat.  If I was racing all the time it would be a 160.  195 is a good stock temp and will do the job.
The stat is what keeps the engine at its specific temp.  Engine is cold, stat stays closed to its set temp, then opens when above its set temp and closes again.  It maintains the engines temp.  
If an engine cant get to its stats set temp, then its stuck open.

BTW, you can overheat with no stat !!! Coolant wont stay in the engine long enough to absorb heat. And it wont stay in the rad long enough to release heat.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:40 pm

Lots of good info. Thanks. So this is a 350 hp engine. Do you think the 205 is good then or should I would to get it down a bit?
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by Joe73 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:52 pm

I'd run a 180 in there. Especially if your using your rad with the internal trans cooler. If I remember correctly, every 5 minutes of your trans fluid being 215 or higher shortens the life of your trans by 30 or 50 percent. High temps kill auto trannies.
180 will give you good heat, keep the engine happy and your trans fluid happy.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by dynchel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:56 pm

Joe73 wrote:I'd run a 180 in there.  Especially if your using your rad with the internal trans cooler.  If I remember correctly, every 5 minutes of your trans fluid being 215 or higher shortens the life of your trans by 30 or 50 percent.  High temps kill auto trannies.  
180 will give you good heat, keep the engine happy and your trans fluid happy.  
And run a external cooler in conjunction with the OE cooler.  My separate trans cooler gets hot enough to burn you...and that's after it already went through the factory cooler.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by Joe73 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:58 pm

dynchel wrote:
Joe73 wrote:I'd run a 180 in there.  Especially if your using your rad with the internal trans cooler.  If I remember correctly, every 5 minutes of your trans fluid being 215 or higher shortens the life of your trans by 30 or 50 percent.  High temps kill auto trannies.  
180 will give you good heat, keep the engine happy and your trans fluid happy.  
And run a external cooler in conjunction with the OE cooler.  My separate trans cooler gets hot enough to burn you...and that's after it already went through the factory cooler.

DEFINITELY!! Fluid should go through your rad and THEN through an external cooler. I like the B&M stacked plate design.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by dynchel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:00 pm

I have a b&m cooler bought from super shops...lol remember them?
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by 77mali on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:42 pm

I have an new aluminum one with 1 big @$$ core & 1" tube.  When I broke in the motor it ran @ 210 with the pulley fan & two supplemental fans going @ 2-2500 rpm for 30 minutes.  After that when I ran the new carb @ idle (1500 rpm) for about 20 minutes to time & set the carb the motor ran @ 190.  I have a 160 degree thermostat on it now.  I might do the dual fan set up if it ends up running hot.  I thought I bought a 2 core  Embarassed
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by JB2wheeler on Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:52 pm

This info is old and dated, but I bought a 4 row copper core radiator and it does not over heat. The reason, besides price, that I got it was back then there were some companies who would glue their aluminum radiators together instead of soldering and they would come unglued. I don't know if that problem still exists or not. JB
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:05 pm

I will try and check the thermostat this weekend. I am just using the cooler in the radiator for the tranny. Don't have the cash for anything extra right now. I have no back brakes and can't even afford then as of yet. I will get there. It just takes time.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by pila on Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:44 pm

I have an aluminum radiator ( Champion ) that I bought off ebay. Works fine. It ran 175 degrees during the cam break-in, with a 180 thermostat. Still have the trans cooler in the radiator hooked up, but plan to bolt on an add-on cooler that I have, and run it in series .......

Heat is the mortal enemy of transmissions for sure..... Twisted Evil 

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Re: Aluminum radiators

Post by driveit on Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:00 pm

Found out that I was wrong it wasn't running at 205 it was 195.  I did see it hit around 200 or so in traffic the other day.
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Re: Aluminum radiators

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