View Full Version : Radiator Replacements

03-05-2006, 12:18 PM
For a number of years I have been updating and replacing radiators in my cars. The main reason for this is to replace the existing radiators to newer units. The standard factory installed radiators are either a two or three core units and they all suffer from a serious lack of cooling capacity after 30 years of use. Secondary reasons also include that two or three core radiators just do not cut it in the higher attitudes of the Denver Metropolitian area. What I want to do is give a brief summary of what I did to not only increase the cooling capacity of the radiators, but also some of the pitfalls encountered on the way to a more cool running car.
The first thing to do is drain all of the water from the radiator. At this time, I ran also ran a flush though the engine to clean out any foreign debris that was left in the engine. Drain that out and disconnect all hoses that are attached to the radiator. Remove any and all shouds and any other things that are attached to the radiator. Now, I have found that prior to final removal of the shroud from the engine compartment, you also have to remove the fan from the water pump. Then the shroud can be removed. After everything is removed, you then can remove the radiator from the engine compartment. Take out the four bolts that hold the radiator in. Remove the radiator by pulling staight up.
What I have done in the past is to try and reuse the tanks from the old radiators. A-1 Radiator (Denver, Colorado business) is where I have gone to have the old radiator re-cored. You can can use a replacement radiator that is avialable though various vendors, but my preference is to try and reuse the existing tanks. The cost of having your old radiator re-cored to that of a four row setup is about the same as buying a replacement radiator (about $350.00). The old tanks from the old radiators will accomodate the four core setup and I have encountered no problems as as fit back into it's original spot in the engine compartment. Secondary reason for this is also to give the car the stock appearance to the setup. Clearances between the installed radiator and the fan is good. Although the spacing is closer, it actually helps having the fan closer to the radiator to suck in more air though the radiator. The installation of the shroud is no problem and if you do not have one, get one or fabricate one. The shroud aids in concentrating the air flow to give you more cooling capacity.
Installation is opposite of removal and everything shoud line up in the correct spots. As an added note, when you have your radiator re-cored, have the person doing the work install the mounting brackets back on the new radiator. Believe or not, I did one radiator that the vendor forgot to put on the brackets back on the new unit.
The antifreeze going back into the new radiator is about 2-2 1/2 gallons.
What occurred with the increase flow of the radiator was that I lowered the tempature of the engine by about 20 or 25 degrees. The underhood temps fell as well and it seemed that the car was running a little better.