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Pre 1905 cross flow radiator questions


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I am looking to build a cross flow radiator based on 5/8" copper tube with approx. 2" OD copper fins.  I am thinking of using .010 copper sheet to form the fins with.  What are the thoughts of this Brass era group that meets here?

Al

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The fins used on cross flow radiators were discussed many years ago on another site. If my memory is not mistaken these fins are still produced today. They may or may not be copper however. Brassworks radiators can still fabricate early, round (coin style), versions. Modine also has the round style fins. To take a sheet of copper and cut or punch out individual fins would be very labor intensive and costly. Depending on how many rows of tubes you are making this could mean quite a few fins. The fins that I found years ago would slip over the copper tubing and were corrugated just like the original radiator on an early Cadillac. Bending the tubing was the hardest part (180 degree return bend with a 3" diameter), slipping on the fins would have been easy.

Try to locate pre made fins. Copper or brass are fine.

Just my opinion of course, good luck. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Caddyshack,

You are certainly correct on the "labor intensive" aspect of the early radiator building process!  I have purchased a kick punch press to cut out and shape all the "coins".  I am choosing to build my own as I just do not like the looks of the modern round fins and tube.  To me they just do not look the part.

Regards,

Alan

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It seems to me there was an article about this process in the HCCA magazine several years ago. Possibly what Caddyshack is referring to. Thousands of discs { fins } for a radiator of much size. And at least a 2 step process, punch the blank disks, put the blanks into a two part die that stamps the corrugation's and the innermost turned up flange where the disks solder to the tube.

You must have some long cold evenings on the farm that need make work projects. 

One of my Packard truck rads use similar tubes and fins. Except the tubes are straight and solder into a top and bottom "tube sheet " Then bolted on top and bottom cast iron tanks. Very similar construction to some older bull dozer radiators. Some of my tubes have fan blade mash. But there are 4 rows of tubes so I can unsolder the tubes and move the undamaged inner tubes to the outside.

Still lots  of work but nothing like what you are facing.

 

Greg in Canada

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21 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

It seems to me there was an article about this process in the HCCA magazine several years ago. Possibly what Caddyshack is referring to. Thousands of discs { fins } for a radiator of much size. And at least a 2 step process, punch the blank disks, put the blanks into a two part die that stamps the corrugation's and the innermost turned up flange where the disks solder to the tube.

You must have some long cold evenings on the farm that need make work projects. 

One of my Packard truck rads use similar tubes and fins. Except the tubes are straight and solder into a top and bottom "tube sheet " Then bolted on top and bottom cast iron tanks. Very similar construction to some older bull dozer radiators. Some of my tubes have fan blade mash. But there are 4 rows of tubes so I can unsolder the tubes and move the undamaged inner tubes to the outside.

Still lots  of work but nothing like what you are facing.

 

Greg in Canada

Thanks Greg, that very well could have been the article. The innermost turned up flange on my radiator was not soldered however. They were a snug fit over the tube, and they were all facing the same direction, creating a uniform spacing. I still believe that someone out there is still supplying these discs.

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Thanks for the thoughts.  Yes, this particular project would be considered a labor of love for sure.  I have determined that the appearance of the new finned tubing available simply looks too "new" to set right on the front of a car built in 1903.  There is a source for copper fin "coins" over in the UK and maybe also here in the US, but I do not know the source.  An early Cadillac restorer, Patrick Herman, used to build the radiators or just the fins but no longer available.  I have bought the proper punch press and associated punch and dies so I can set up and knock out a bunch of the fin coins in a hurry.  Depending how these turn out for my own use, I may leave the set-up in place and do this operation for others in the hobby that wants to build a radiator for that early project laying out back in the weeds.

Al

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Al, it seems to me that Don Boulton or one of the Oklahoma guys had a set up to do these. Few years ago I made a radiator for an 03

and he offered me the use of them. John Kelso

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