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53 Special Radiator


sweetpotato
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During the fourth of July parade my radiator sprung a serious leak. My local radiator shop said he is not able to repair it because it is a heater core type and not a tube type. I have found on ebay an all aluminum three row radiator for a 47-54 chevy truck which has stamped tanks and looks somewhat like mine. The measurements are close and the inlet and outlet are relatively close to being in the right place. I think I can make it work with some modification of the mounting fins.
I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with one of these?

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The shop that did mine offered the option of big $$$ for original type core (special order ) or Aluminum for  $500 or so. I went with the Al since my car wasn't going for any awards. The Al is about 2/3 as thick, but it works just fine. Not sure if this site still shows my location. Tucson, AZ with regular use above 100F air temperature. 

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Sweetpotato,

Where are you ? Close to a big city ?

Have you tried Summit racing ?

My radiator shop in Denver can repair anything.

They could even do a tube/fin changeover using your  tanks.

I agree with old tank, keep looking.......

 

Mike in Colorado

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I'm in a little mountain town in east-central Arizona. No big city within 200 miles so not a lot of options on radiator shops. He did say he could re-core it but just the core would be over $500. I can't afford that so, since this is not a show car but more of a daily driver that's why I was looking at adapting a $200 alternative.

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The radiator on 53 series 40 (Special) cars had an extra nipple on the bottom tank to take a 5/8' heater hose for the heater/defroster return line.   The hose routing for 1953 differs from the earlier straight eights in that the Dynaflow heat exchanger is cooled off two nipples on the water pump.  The 1952 and earlier cars used a different hose routing employing a "T" in the hose routing.  Check the bottom tank on your car and if you have a standard transmission you may not have the 5/8' nipple on the bottom tank.  If you do not have one then the 1952 radiator might be a close fit.   I will check my parts book and get back to you.

Joe, 33493

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Joe,  I do not have the nipple on the bottom.  This is a standard transmission series 40. The stampings on the top tank are:

             Harrison    3130075  53f    R-21

The mounting flange on the passenger side is 4 inches wide and the flange on the driver side is 2 inches wide. This setup moves the radiator over to the driver side enough to center it on the fan.

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3 hours ago, HoboBuick said:

Can you share more info about the radiator? I am running a 55-59 Chevy truck radiator. Bit of a bear to make it fit, but same deal-$200, not a show car and it was close in fitment.

Do you mean my orig. radiator or the aluminum '47-54 chevy one?  It is on ebay at radiators4less.

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Sweetpotato,

Have you called " Red Eye Radiator" in Flagstaff ?

Is yours a cross flow or up/down ?

 

My little 3 row up/down is marginal at best, but my local guy says he can fit a 4 row "bus" core to my upper and lower tanks this fall.

Already got a quote of $350, but he needs to do it in his "slow " season this fall.

 

Mike in Colorado

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58 minutes ago, sweetpotato said:

Do you mean my orig. radiator or the aluminum '47-54 chevy one?  It is on ebay at radiators4less.

The one you are looking to buy.

 

After digging on ebay, the one you are looking at is Champion brand. Mine is also champion brand. You can make it fit, but you will have some issues is my guess.

 

One, I'm 99% sure your upper connection is off center as mine was. The both the one I bought and the one you mentioned have center connections on the top. I had to change to a vertical water neck/thermostat housing and  very short hose. 

 

Also, look at the mounts. If you look closely, the mounts angle the radiator inward at the top, toward the radiator. I had to pick up a low profile fan from Summit so I wouldnt have to run an electric fan.

 

Look at the dimensions on Champion's website. I believe the 3 row is also thicker than stock. 

 

These are all things that were hiccups for me. I can give you some pictures if you want.

 

I had to do a bit of fabwork to make mine fit, but it really keeps it cool now. 

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Yep, the mounts are at an angle.  I'm leaning more toward getting these tanks re-cored or going to the 50-52 Buick one (brass and copper) which has the inlet and outlet in the right place and at the right angle.  Re-plumbing for the upper which is centered on the Al one and dealing with the straight rather than ell lower and then maybe not having good fan clearance sounds like not worth the "savings".

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The 53 Buick Special w/o  Dynaflow radiator is listed in the Buick parts book in Group 1.219 with Part # 3130075.   According to Hollanders Interchange Manual the core should fit 1950-52 series 40,50 w/o Dynaflow and 1955 series 40 w/o Dynaflow.    Note that the parts book does list different radiators for the 1950-52 series 40,50 and the 1955 series 40 w/o Dynaflow however, Hollanders indicates the cores interchange.   So it would seem that there are slight differences in the upper and/or lower tanks for the 1950-52 and the 1953.  Of course I cannot guarantee that these will interchange but the Hollanders data is encouraging.  

I was able to get my 53 Buick radiator with Dynaflow re-cored by a local radiator shop some years ago, but it was not cheap.  Looks original and has worked very well.

Joe, BCA 33493

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14 minutes ago, Joseph P. Indusi said:

The 53 Buick Special w/o  Dynaflow radiator is listed in the Buick parts book in Group 1.219 with Part # 3130075.   According to Hollanders Interchange Manual the core should fit 1950-52 series 40,50 w/o Dynaflow and 1955 series 40 w/o Dynaflow.    Note that the parts book does list different radiators for the 1950-52 series 40,50 and the 1955 series 40 w/o Dynaflow however, Hollanders indicates the cores interchange.   So it would seem that there are slight differences in the upper and/or lower tanks for the 1950-52 and the 1953.  Of course I cannot guarantee that these will interchange but the Hollanders data is encouraging.  

I was able to get my 53 Buick radiator with Dynaflow re-cored by a local radiator shop some years ago, but it was not cheap.  Looks original and has worked very well.

Joe, BCA 33493

Thanks for the research Joe.  I wish someone was building the 3130075 but I guess it's supply and demand.  The 3123756 ('50-'52)  shows a core size of 22X22.  http://classicfordradiator.com/1950-52-new-buick-3-row-radiator-regular-core-design-313-1.aspx

My OEM core is 22 1/4 high by 18 3/4 wide.          Bob

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Bob:

Measure the opening along the side of the existing radiator to see if the 50-52 radiator will fit.     The reason I say this is because my 53 Special with  Dynaflow radiator core is 22" wide and there was no problem fitting the re-cored radiator in place.   I doubt that Buick built the front end with different dimensions, one for the cars with Dynaflow and another for cars with conventional transmission.  The side brackets may be different for each radiator but the opening in the body should be the same.  You may have to fabricate narrower side brackets or possibly cut yours to be narrower to fit a 22" by 22" core.   You will also get somewhat better cooling capacity as the 50-52 core is slightly bigger.

I will check the parts book to see what they list for side brackets.

Joe

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52 minutes ago, Joseph P. Indusi said:

Bob:

Measure the opening along the side of the existing radiator to see if the 50-52 radiator will fit.     The reason I say this is because my 53 Special with  Dynaflow radiator core is 22" wide and there was no problem fitting the re-cored radiator in place.   I doubt that Buick built the front end with different dimensions, one for the cars with Dynaflow and another for cars with conventional transmission.  The side brackets may be different for each radiator but the opening in the body should be the same.  You may have to fabricate narrower side brackets or possibly cut yours to be narrower to fit a 22" by 22" core.   You will also get somewhat better cooling capacity as the 50-52 core is slightly bigger.

I will check the parts book to see what they list for side brackets.

Joe

Joe,  It looks like the opening on the car is probably the same as a Dynaflow car.  It is 23 3/8 inches.  That is why they attached the wide (4 inch) mounting bracket to the passenger side of the 18 3/4 inch wide conventional transmission core.  Definitely should get better cooling with the 22 inch radiator.  I might have to do some creative fabrication on the mounting brackets and hoses.

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  • 9 months later...
On 7/11/2016 at 9:09 AM, sweetpotato said:

Joe,  It looks like the opening on the car is probably the same as a Dynaflow car.  It is 23 3/8 inches.  That is why they attached the wide (4 inch) mounting bracket to the passenger side of the 18 3/4 inch wide conventional transmission core.  Definitely should get better cooling with the 22 inch radiator.  I might have to do some creative fabrication on the mounting brackets and hoses.

What did you ever end up with on this?

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