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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone using aluminum radiator in the C body Chrysler (300/Newport/New Yorker/Imperial)? Looking to replace the stock radiator in my car. Its weeping in places and I believe it may be clogged, I'm overheating on the highway. It is fine around town, but soon as I get up to 50/60/70mph the temp swings up to 230 degrees. I know that's not absolutely terrible (I believe 250 is shut down and quickly pull over temp) but it makes me nervous nonetheless. She's been running around 190-200 until its has started getting warm around these parts again. I've checked all the other variables....defective thermostat, collapsed hoses, blocked passages in the motor itself, ignition timing, even leaned out carb -- everything seems to check out. So since it would have to come out (radiator) for further inspection/cleaning, I might as well put in a brand new piece instead of dick around with the 40 plus year old one...and I've been eye on the aluminum pieces for a while now. If ya have one and can give me the manufacture that would be cool (hahaha), also are you happy with it. Thanks!
 

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Aluminum is fine, but not all that much better than the copper cored originals as far as I am concerned, but they do look cool. Getting the original one recored will be $100 cheaper and just as good, but it is your money as far as that goes. I have a Ron Davis 26 inch core, which is probably the one you need, and it is well built and good reputation. You may have to drill mounting holes but it will fit properly.
 

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A couple of things you might want to check. make sure you don't have a problem with your water pump. make sure your fan shroud is the coreect one, or make sure you HAVE a fan shroud. Check to make sure the fan is at the correct depth in the fan shroud. Hint, the fan should be only part way in, not all the way in. Make sure your clutch on the fan is working properly if it has one. Your radiator might not be as bad as you think. It might only need a "rodding out" which is far less expensive than a recore. In your post you say it is "weeping" From where? What is weeping? Is it leaking? Finally do the dollar bill test. Take a dollar bill and while the engine is running put the dollar bill on the outside of the radiator at each corner. Top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left. If the dollar bill gets sucked into each corner your fan is working good and your fan shroud is correct. If the dollar bill doesn't get sucked in you have an air flow problem. It's a low tech quick way to narrow down some problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I'm still in research "mode" so the more responses the better -- whether they be "positive or negative. At this I pretty much know the engine itself isn't the problem" fairly new wtr pmp (less than 1K mi). No, shroud, but I bought the car that way--2yrs ago, never had a problem with heat--the needle NEVER budges from 190 degrees--I always thought as being lucky for that. I wouldn't pass up a shroud though if I were to come across one. New fan clutch installed last year. There are little "weeping" areas coming from some of the small tubing...looks like rust or some type of corrosion destroyed the metal and now moisture is seeping through...sort of like a "weeping" freeze plug if you can picture that. I prefer new parts to 45 yr old parts, esp ones that have been in constant use. I dunno yet...still taking opinions.
 

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I'd either have the old rad rebuilt or order a stock replacement rad. No need for an aluminum radiator that may not fit perfectly. Also, you must get a shroud. Going without a shroud is a like a water pump without a housing. A water pump doesn't work very good without a housing to direct the flow, does it? Similarly with a fan, air just blows everywhere and never really pulls through the radiator correctly without the shroud.
 

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The reason I went with an aluminum radiator was what I thought was cooling capacity. My 68 Charger had a large Chrysler Newport 440 auto radiator in it and she did fine temp-wise in Washington state all day long, around 180 degrees all day long. Relocated to California when I joined the Navy, noticed the temp instantly moved to 195 degrees almost instantly upon arrival. Go out to Palm Springs where my parents were living and it would overheat if the temp was above 100degrees, but this only happened twice so I didn't think too much about it. Years later, like 13 years, I put a solid cam in the 361 B engine (1963 block from a Custom 880), proceeded to have the cam lobes wipe off and make a rod start knocking around the 2000mile marker. Since I was being shipped overseas to Guam for a year, with two months left to go and a car with a knocking rod, I bought a crate 440 from PAW and I just couldn't keep the temp down after that, so I tried the aluminum radiator. Well, that was 1999, this is now, and after all is said and done, original radiator was recored after getting to CA and that didn't change things, radiator was rodded and found to be clean, in the end it was determined I didn't have the right radiator cap. It fit and all, but the neck of the radiator was too tall, thus for literally decades I was driving with near zero pressure on the radiator. Should have known better to realize the fluid was pushing out of the radiator when the rpm of the engine increased, a cruise at 90mph would result in the temp going up much faster than the temp going up at say 70mph. The things you learn over the years.
 

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I had a similar problem with my Charger. After doing a bunch of "unhacks" from the previous owner (removed the flex fan and electric fans), the car always wanted to overheat on the highway. I had the rad hot tanked, cleaned and sealed by a local rad shop, no improvement. Turned out to be two problems. First was the brand new radiator cap was not holding pressure either. But it wasn't the rad neck. It was a faulty valve on the cap (Stant 16lbs). Took that one back to the store. Exchanged it for another. Still no go. Took it back. Looked at the rest on the hook. All of them had the spring missing from the pressure valve, which means that the cap would never build pressure. Ever. The valve swung loose from gravity and kept it was wide open. I tried to explain this to the guy at the counter and he thought I was crazy. So I went to NAPA, their's had the same problem (both the Stant version and the store brand which they claim was made by Stant). Now I thought *I* was the one going crazy. Went to another mom and pop store (who sold a different brand instead of Stant), that store had a cap with the spring loaded pressure valve that I am used to seeing on 100% of the caps on my old cars. I bought that cap, took it to the first store, showed the guy at the counter -- who told me it's a different design but should work the same. Well it doesn't. Because this new non-Stant cap worked perfectly and none of the Stant caps worked. Buyer beware! If you buy a 16lbs. Stant cap, hold it horizontally like it would sit on the radiator and shake it. If the little washer shaped valve on the bottom just dangles loosely and is not spring loaded, do not buy it. It won't hold pressure.

Now on to the second issue. The rad cap was fixed and the system was holding pressure now. But the car kept running hot on long trips (it just took longer to get hot now). Turns out the carb (an Edelbrock AVS) was running lean at highway speeds (as some Eddy carbs like to do out of the box). The lean condition made the temp climb. Thanks to the wonderful folks here, they suggested I investigate the carb. Sure enough, I went up a step richer metering rod and that fixed the problem.

Now the stock rad with a stock clutch 7-blade fan and shroud keep my Charger nice and cool. No need for an aluminum radiator. The stock rad is fine, as long as everything else is configured correctly.
 

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If you can get copper, it will work better, as its thermal conductivity is 40% better than aluminum. But copper is very hard to find because of the high cost. Copper also seems to be less susceptible to road salt corrosion.

Nearly all new car radiators today have plastic end tanks and aluminum cores, due to cost.
 

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The price of aluminum radiators has come way down the last few years. You can pick up a nice 26" double row aluminum for under 300.00. The fan shrouds for aluminum are pricey. I used them on a couple of C bodies (1966 Polara vert and 1963 Dodge Custom 880) they did work well. Traditional radiators (tube style) work well, and are pretty heavy duty. Modern radiators were never made out of just copper. radiators used what was called Red Brass. It was maninly brass with some copper mixed in. The tubes were brass and copper coated with zinc. The tubes were actually a huge roll of flat stock that was put through a "folder" that would bend and seam the tube together. The continuous tube was then sent through a zinc bath to be coated and sealed, then through a water based bath to cool, then automatically cut to a certain length depending on the height of the radiator. This was all done in one assembly process and the cutter would cut a tube every 1 second. The tubes were taken and put into the top and bottom headder plates and the fins were put inbetween, this was done on a "table" which was a tilted table with a jig on it. The entire set up with the top and bottom headders and fins would be put in a frame, the frame was hung on a conveyor and sent through a vertical oven. The oven would heat the zinc up to a point that it would just start to melt and effectively solder the fins to the tubes. When the assembly exited the oven it cooled enough to harden the zinc. The frame was then transfered to another conveyor and the bottom headder plate would run through a bath of liquid solder, then air was blown through the tubes while still hot to expell and solder in the tubes. This would also cool the tubes enough to harden the solder. The assembly was flipped over and the opposite (top) headder was run through the solder bath. The basic radiator core which was the tubes with fins and top and bottom headder was then sent for top and bottom tanks and fittings to be soldered on. All very hot, smelly, dirty, and fascinating. I worked at Fedders radiator for thee years making radiators for Chrysler and Checker, and International Harvestor.
 

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You do know that brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, right? So to say that the brass has copper mixed in is redundant. Red brass just has a higher copper content to the mix.
 

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Bob Lincoln said:
You do know that brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, right? So to say that the brass has copper mixed in is redundant. Red brass just has a higher copper content to the mix.
Gee thanks you are always so much fun on this site. Refer to my earlier post regarding why I very rarely post on this site in the forums. I am done with Allpar. It never fails someone will always show up to crap on someone.
 

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covertopps said:
Gee thanks you are always so much fun on this site. Refer to my earlier post regarding why I very rarely post on this site in the forums. I am done with Allpar. It never fails someone will always show up to crap on someone.
I actually enjoyed reading your story on how radiators are made. It's hard to find people who tell the stories of the assembly lines of the old days. So I appreciated your post. The internet is full of all kinds of personality types. Some come off (intentionally and unintentionally) rough. Others come off as crazy. The nice folks (or folks hunting for information) never seem to say anything. So that's why you often see more negative posts on forums in general. Eh, don't sweat it. Folks have to kinda "grow a set" to use forums. Doesn't mean that the nice folks who are just reading (and not necessarily writing) don't appreciate the valuable information (assuming the information is valuable).
 

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I agree with Charger383. Not everyone remembers everything, or forgets to type something, so the extra added little tidbits are always good for the brain, whether a person takes it personally or not is up to the individual, kind of why my Dave title says Posts coming out in encyclopedia form soon. Sometimes it's the little things that are missed help with the big things typed.
 
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