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Old 07-20-2017, 03:56 PM   #1
CharminBear
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Default Radiator Suggestions

So I had the engine rebuilt in my 69 mustang in like, 2015, and along with some things the radiator was also replaced. Sometime last summer while in traffic the engine was getting really hot, and when I checked the radiator had cracked and was leaking. The radiator was under warranty as it had been less than a year so replaced it with a new one. A little while ago I took my car in to get the transmission looked at and they found that the radiator had a crack. Rather than deal with this every year since clearly this radiator can't handle a 69 mustang in any kind of heat, what radiator would you all suggest?

My uncle is going to help me install the radiator when I get it, but I need to pick one out. So, best radiator that will last and keep my old girl cool in these hot Sacramento summers?
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:00 PM   #2
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Honestly, it's hard to get a quality brass/copper radiator now. Most of them are chinese imports with poor tank seals.

There are three options I see:

1) Buy another factory style radiator with a lifetime warranty from your favorite parts store. Make sure it doesn't come from 1-800-RADIATOR or Silla. Can't guarantee you won't have problems, but at least there will be a good warranty behind it.

2) Take your radiator to an actual radiator shop. They're few and far between now, but I think there are still some in Sac. They should be able to repair your radiator and make sure it lasts. This may cost as much as a new radiator, but you'll likely get better workmanship.

3) Get an aluminum radiator from ECP (they sell through ebay as well). They sell quality aluminum radiators with two rows of 1" tubes, which provide superior cooling vs the typical gimmick 3-row aluminum radiators with 1/2" tubes.


I have a copper/brass unit in my fastback, but after replacing two under warranty, I finally took my leaking unit into a radiator shop (a long way from here) and had the tanks completely resealed. Cost me $80, but I haven't had a problem since.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CharminBear View Post
So I had the engine rebuilt in my 69 mustang in like, 2015, and along with some things the radiator was also replaced. Sometime last summer while in traffic the engine was getting really hot, and when I checked the radiator had cracked and was leaking. The radiator was under warranty as it had been less than a year so replaced it with a new one. A little while ago I took my car in to get the transmission looked at and they found that the radiator had a crack. Rather than deal with this every year since clearly this radiator can't handle a 69 mustang in any kind of heat, what radiator would you all suggest?

My uncle is going to help me install the radiator when I get it, but I need to pick one out. So, best radiator that will last and keep my old girl cool in these hot Sacramento summers?
One of the repeating failures of a radiator in a given application is caused by the everyday flexing of the body of the front of the vehicle. Mounting a radiator solidly makes it become a part of that flexing, it ain't much, of course, but a sixteenth of an inch is enough to eventually crack a radiator.


If you've worked on a lot of different cars, you might have noticed manufacturers use many different schemes to mount their radiators. One of the best for my money has rubber-filled grooves at the bottom which grasp the lower frame rail of the rad., while the top is secured with a claw-like clamp bolted down, also cushioned with rubber.


What I would do, short of devising a less rigid mounting means for your radiator, is mount it in place somewhat loosely, not such that the mounting screws fall out, but so that you can move the upper edge of the radiator back and forth with your hands, just a bit loose.


The other "killer" of radiators has always been said to be those "fits-all" convoluted hoses which are bent to fit in place. Some are stiff enough to eventually twist open seams.


Finally, vibration. Something not too addressable, but it's helped by non-rigid mounting. imp
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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I purchased a Champion 3 row aluminum radiator 8+ years ago and I really like it. People on this forum will tell you all day long not to buy one, but I think the quality and performance is great and have had zero problems with mine. I haven't even had a fan shroud on my car and it used to run hot with a shroud, ever since purchasing the Champion the engine has stayed much cooler even on hot days.
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:22 PM   #5
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Oh so Starfury would you recommend just getting mine resealed then? Or was yours already a nicer one with 1" tubes that you had resealed?
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:23 PM   #6
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One of the repeating failures of a radiator in a given application is caused by the everyday flexing of the body of the front of the vehicle. Mounting a radiator solidly makes it become a part of that flexing, it ain't much, of course, but a sixteenth of an inch is enough to eventually crack a radiator.


If you've worked on a lot of different cars, you might have noticed manufacturers use many different schemes to mount their radiators. One of the best for my money has rubber-filled grooves at the bottom which grasp the lower frame rail of the rad., while the top is secured with a claw-like clamp bolted down, also cushioned with rubber.


What I would do, short of devising a less rigid mounting means for your radiator, is mount it in place somewhat loosely, not such that the mounting screws fall out, but so that you can move the upper edge of the radiator back and forth with your hands, just a bit loose.


The other "killer" of radiators has always been said to be those "fits-all" convoluted hoses which are bent to fit in place. Some are stiff enough to eventually twist open seams.


Finally, vibration. Something not too addressable, but it's helped by non-rigid mounting. imp
Yeah I'd heard that the hoses can be a major factor as well. Is there a specific type you would suggest as opposed to the one fits all types?
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Old 07-23-2017, 04:46 PM   #7
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Yeah I'd heard that the hoses can be a major factor as well. Is there a specific type you would suggest as opposed to the one fits all types?

Yes. The pre-shaped hose already having the bends appropriately molded in place. imp
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Old 07-23-2017, 04:49 PM   #8
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Oh so Starfury would you recommend just getting mine resealed then? Or was yours already a nicer one with 1" tubes that you had resealed?
Up to you. Came down to budget for me. $80 to reseal an otherwise perfectly good radiator, or $200+ for a new aluminum radiator. The OE-style unit isn't pretty, but it gets the job done. The temp might creep up to 210F in 100F heat, but that's still within the safe zone. An aluminum unit would probably do me better, but I don't drive the car much in the heat anymore, so it'll wait until later down the road.

Also, to clarify, brass/copper radiators have smaller tubes, usually 3/8" to 1/2" max. My radiator is one of these.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:10 PM   #9
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Yeah I talked to the guy who does transmissions since apparently he is THE guy here in Sac/norcal area. Asked him to send me a quote for that then asked if he had any suggestions for where to get a radiator done. He mentioned two places, Ron Davis Radiator out in Davis, and some guy named Dean at Performance Race Development.

He did say get an aluminum radiator, and possibly a custom one to fit my car specifically. I'll be sure to check and see if they hoses are specialty and not one size fits all. Extra money on the radiator isn't an issue for me so I would prefer to get one that lasts. I'm not a fan of having to deal with this issue every summer.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:17 AM   #10
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Dean is a good guy. I didn't know he did radiators, but he does a lot of really cool stuff in his shop. Not cheap, but he does good work. I used to talk to him every day to sell him parts. If you talk to him, tell him I said hi.

A radiator from ECP would be custom made and bolt-in ready for your car, including hose inlet/outlet in the proper positions. This makes fitting all of the stock components, like fan shroud and hoses, very easy.

Keep in mind that the radiator is only one piece of the cooling system. If you haven't already, it would be a good time to upgrade the fan (I recommend a thermal clutch fan), add a fan shroud, and change the thermostat and hoses if you haven't done that recently. Obviously the radiator would be the most important right now because it's broken, but a thermostat is cheap insurance, and new hoses aren't that expensive.

If you wanted to order a radiator and related parts, I'd be willing to give you a hand with install. You mentioned you didn't have space to work on stuff, so if you could limp it to my place with all the parts, I'm sure we could get it done in a day.
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