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Radiator recore, fix with plug, or buy new?


Turbinator
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63 original radiator sprung a leak. Had the leak fixed. Radiator sprung another leak, I replaced with US Radiators 4 rows of core. The US radiator is about 4 years old. The US radiator has just sprung the second leak. I’m of the mind to have the original radiator rebuilt/ recore/ restored to new performance specs. I suppose the decision would’ve based on reliability of the new recore?

Turbinator

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I always opt to recore an original as long as the tanks are in good shape. I am fortunate to have an excellent old time radiator shop nearby. Not everyone is. If I didn't have one nearby, I'd probably drive as far as I needed to find one. They can still get Made in USA copper cores as original or for the budget minded, a China core for $100 less. No brainer on choice. A re-core is only as good as the guy doing the job so its important to insure competency. When done properly, a Made in USA recore is better than any aftermarket. I know some may argue that but its been my experience. Big block size rad recores are running around $400-$500 out the door.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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Man Turbinator sure am sorry to hear that! I always thought US RADIATOR was top notch. 2 leaks within 4 years is unacceptable. I still have the original radiator with original core in my 65. When i bought the car in 2004 the radiator had a leak. Had the core rodded out and leak repaired. Still holding up.I think recoring your original is the way to go. Good luck  

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Arnulfo, Sir are the gent that got the new Riviera styled wheels for you maroon 65. I thought I saw a  photo of yousr recently, ( I could be wrong) with US wheels (?) If it is yours it certainly looks good. For certain.

Thank you for your opinion to have the original recored through and through. It's kind of pricey and so was the US repro 4 row radiator. US Radiator is getting a letter from me expressing disappointment in their product. The US Radiator may be assembled in the US, but the materials US used to build the unit was weak.

Fortunately, I keep all receipts and log book of what is spent and done to the 63 I have.

Again thank you for your input.

Turbinator

 

 

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6 hours ago, gungeey said:

Maine Radiator Made in USA 4row Brass. Prepare to pay

rad1.jpg

Gungee, Heavy cake they charged for the job. I"m sure you got what you specified. Must be quite the radiator! Thank you for a source.

Turbinator

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3 hours ago, JZRIV said:

When done properly, a Made in USA recore is better than any aftermarket

Jason, thank you for your input. Quality workmanship and proper materials are always the key indicator what your product is going to be. I was in hopes Americans contracting with manufacturing overseas would make the specifications more robust. I really dislike buying aftermarket parts. I don't care where the part comes or what the guy looks like that made the part. I would like the part to have merchantability and reliability. The cost of the part is one thing. Installing some parts can be challenging for the best of us.

Turbinator

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Bob,

 

    As I mentioned to you "the possibilty that something got kicked up from the road is a very distint possibility".     It would have to come out & be tested by a radiator shop & could not be due to poor workmanship or the quality of the core itself.

    Just my thoughts.

 

Tom T.

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Tom T. you know that it’s the American thing to do to bash overseas made products.  Like a Lexus, a Mercedes, or a Volvo.  Those of us who are old enough remember buying that high end Japanese stereo at the PX when you got leave and sent it home. Chances are it’s still working now.  I wonder if Asians have the same complaints about quality that we do. Or are our big businesses just importing the low end stuff so we can spend less.

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I would go with repairing your current radiator.  It's easy to damage a radiator when working under the hood by dropping something or leaning on it.

The good thing with a brass radiator is it's easy to get repaired. 

I don't know if aluminum radiators can be fixed as easy.

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Kevin,

 

     Kinda hardly unlikely as Bob's '63 has A/C & I believe the leak is on the back side of the radiator.  It would most likely have the A/C condenser damaged 1st.

In the past, like 20 or so years ago, had an Ford Explorer in my shop for A/C repair.  Turned out the evaporator was leaking & upon approval replaced the part. When customer came to pickup vehicle I showed both husband & wife what was wrong & the reason it was replaced.

    Forward a couple of months later customer complained of NO A/C again???  How could this be as I was diligent re-checking my work with the nec. dye etc.  Of course the customer DID NOT want to pay more $$$ for an A/C repair they had already paid a good amount of $$$ to repair.  I dropped everything else I was doing & proceded to go through the system with them standing there & watching. Put more dye & freon in the system & after awhile I & they could see could barely see the dye & a very slight hissing noise/sound, barely/very difficult to hear or see.  Turns out a Pine needle had now punctured a hole in the A/C condenser, BUT it had to pass through the stock factory installed trans. cooler in the front of the condenser 1st.    How could this happen you ask??? Evidently they had been driving in unfamiliar territory at a rather high rate of speed, but the A/C was, at the time, working well.  They ONLY noticed not as much cooling as when it was  1st. done.  Who would have thought a Pine needle could peirce an aluminum A/C condenser through the oil coller 1st. but it did.  IF they weren't there & saw with their own eyes there would have been NO WAY I would be able to convince them otherwise.

     Stranger things have happened so it's not only quality parts & workmanship that comes into play it's also the unbelieveable that strange things do & will happen.

 

Tom T. 

 

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6 hours ago, Turbinator said:

Arnulfo, Sir are the gent that got the new Riviera styled wheels for you maroon 65. I thought I saw a  photo of yousr recently, ( I could be wrong) with US wheels (?) If it is yours it certainly looks good. For certain.

Thank you for your opinion to have the original recored through and through. It's kind of pricey and so was the US repro 4 row radiator. US Radiator is getting a letter from me expressing disappointment in their product. The US Radiator may be assembled in the US, but the materials US used to build the unit was weak.

Fortunately, I keep all receipts and log book of what is spent and done to the 63 I have.

Again thank you for your input.

Turbinator

 

 

Turbinator that photo i posted of a red 64 with US WHEELS on is not mine. It was on OFFERUP for sale. I posted a picture of my car with the newly installed BUICK RALLYS widend 1” on the POST PICTURES OF YOUR RIVIERA thread. My youngest and favorite son is in the photo also. 

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A number of years ago a tornado passed very close to my sister’s place.  We drove up to one house that had sustained a lot of damage.  My brother-in-law told us to look at the blurry window. The blur was small blades of grass imbedded in the glass. Never underestimate Mother Nature.

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Gents, not much surprises me any longer.

My nephew, a graduate engineer from RPI, said in his experience the Chinese build exactly as specified. So, if Americans spec out weak

aftermarket car parts and we buy it- we deserve what we get.

Turbinator

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46 minutes ago, RivNut said:

A number of years ago a tornado passed very close to my sister’s place.  We drove up to one house that had sustained a lot of damage.  My brother-in-law told us to look at the blurry window. The blur was small blades of grass imbedded in the glass. Never underestimate Mother Nature.

 

4 hours ago, kegart said:

put a screen in front of the radiator to stop big bugs a debris out.

Kevin, what size mesh would you use in front of the radiator?

Turbinator

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13 minutes ago, telriv said:
13 minutes ago, telriv said:

Tom, I quickly looked up screen effect on wind flow. This is what I found with regard to a good product to protect the radiator:

"nomex honeycomb panels to anyone looking for radiator protection." This is a quote from a dirt track forum. A racer wanted to see if some kind of screen would keep soil out of the radiator, but not block wind flow. It seems if you lay the screen close to the radiator not much wind blockage occurs.

 

13 minutes ago, telriv said:

 

 

 

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I just had to deal with this on my 73. There were 2 radiators for that year, one with the overflow on the passenger side by the cap, the other on the driver's side. The re-core person said it was best to just replace it as mine was in really bad shape (could have been looking for more $$, who knows?). So I did end up replacing with a US made aftermarket, which has been rock solid so far.

 

I would caution you to consider replacing the water pump and the thermostat at the same time, since they're all connected. My water pump seemed fine but I did replace the thermostat.

 

A guy I met at a show said that his water pump only lasted about 75,000 miles, but who knows how the car was treated before or while he had it.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/23/2021 at 4:01 PM, Golden73 said:

but who knows how the car was treated before or while he had it.

You are right. Replacing supporting parts in system deserves serious consideration.

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On 6/22/2021 at 9:22 AM, gungeey said:

Maine Radiator Made in USA 4row Brass. Prepare to pay

rad1.jpg

Gungeey,

 

Are you happy with the quality of the recore you received from Maine Radiator?  I'm looking to have my 71 recored by them as well and am looking for any feedback.  I'm leaning towards a recore vs looking for a new one from US Radiator.  Thanks!

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Gents, I’d heard from a knowledgeable source an aluminium radiator with 2 rows is very efficient in cooling. I could find 3 row Aluminum radiators, but two row aluminum. My science is not science is not so good so I don’t know 2 rows is better than three other than the tubing in the 2 row radiator are much larger.

Turbinator

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The more the water can contact the fin surfaces, the better.  Two and three row radiators probably flow the same volume of water but the three row provides more cooling surfaces. Kind of like cooling a soft drink with crushed ice or cubed ice. The crushed ice has much more surface area and cools the liquid more quickly.

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11 hours ago, TheTaxMan said:

Gungeey,

 

Are you happy with the quality of the recore you received from Maine Radiator?  I'm looking to have my 71 recored by them as well and am looking for any feedback.  I'm leaning towards a recore vs looking for a new one from US Radiator.  Thanks!

 Tax Man, the core it replaced was done in 1995, the transmission cooler line in the bottom tank let loose so I had to fix that and as long as I had it out it was bulging a bit and some green seepage in the corners so had it done. So thats 25-30 years per core. Buy right, cry once. As opposed to 6 $200 radiators that last 4 years if lucky, the cost is cheaper and who wants to keep checking for corrosion in a radiator?

There are other USA core suppliers that are fine, the Maine cores are HEAVY. Your local radiator shop can do the work as opposed to sending it to Maine and spending two way shipping, though they do the work also. They do high end stuff and I don't believe out cars warrant the artistry of a honeycomb radiator etc.

But when it comes to a recore, let's put it this way: I don't drive around with gallons of spare antifreeze in my getaway cars LOL, plus made in USA cars deserve made in USA parts as opposed to soda can AL.. I try to keep my cars as original as reasonably possible. Steve 9236

 

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Steve, I’m in agreement with you. The radiator that sprung a leak the second and sides were separating was known as a US Radiator. I paid what I thought was a lot of money at $550. For the thing.

I decided to have my original radiator recore at the radiator repair shop in the city. The owner of the shop showed me he buys only American made cores. Who knows? The recore original was quite heavy and is now back in the car doing just fine.

Turbinator

 

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13 hours ago, gungeey said:

 Tax Man, the core it replaced was done in 1995, the transmission cooler line in the bottom tank let loose so I had to fix that and as long as I had it out it was bulging a bit and some green seepage in the corners so had it done. So thats 25-30 years per core. Buy right, cry once. As opposed to 6 $200 radiators that last 4 years if lucky, the cost is cheaper and who wants to keep checking for corrosion in a radiator?

There are other USA core suppliers that are fine, the Maine cores are HEAVY. Your local radiator shop can do the work as opposed to sending it to Maine and spending two way shipping, though they do the work also. They do high end stuff and I don't believe out cars warrant the artistry of a honeycomb radiator etc.

But when it comes to a recore, let's put it this way: I don't drive around with gallons of spare antifreeze in my getaway cars LOL, plus made in USA cars deserve made in USA parts as opposed to soda can AL.. I try to keep my cars as original as reasonably possible. Steve 9236

 

Yeah, the price tag is a bit steep but not looking to go the plastic/aluminum route.  I will probably just pull the trigger as I need the radiator in good shape before I start working on the AC.  Thanks for the input!

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Part of the equation in the cooling system is the radiator cap. I was using a 16 lb pressure Stant radiator cap on my 63 Riv. When I had my original radiator recore the radiator man told a 6 lb cap should be used instead of 16 lb. Radiator man said 16lb is too much pressure on old “iron.” I put the 6 lb pressure radiator cap on and the car runs cooler. ( I have water temp gauge). 

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On 7/6/2021 at 9:17 AM, Turbinator said:

Gents, I’d heard from a knowledgeable source an aluminium radiator with 2 rows is very efficient in cooling. I could find 3 row Aluminum radiators, but two row aluminum. My science is not science is not so good so I don’t know 2 rows is better than three other than the tubing in the 2 row radiator are much larger.

Turbinator

I've heard alluminum can be manufactured thinner compared to copper/brass offering more possible tubes in a radiator package. Regardless, I always recore my original radiators but my last two radiator "guys" are gone (one literally) so I don't have anyone at the moment to recore a radiator if I had to. 

 

Here is a FAQ page with #1 and 7 addressing our topics. 

https://www.griffinrad.com/general_faq.php

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12 hours ago, Turbinator said:

Part of the equation in the cooling system is the radiator cap. I was using a 16 lb pressure Stant radiator cap on my 63 Riv. When I had my original radiator recore the radiator man told a 6 lb cap should be used instead of 16 lb. Radiator man said 16lb is too much pressure on old “iron.” I put the 6 lb pressure radiator cap on and the car runs cooler. ( I have water temp gauge). 

Could your leaks be from too much pressure then? I hadn't heard about the cap being too high pressure, interesting. 

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Here in the desert, we have tumble weeds in the fall, they can really wipe out a radiator. I planned on putting steel mesh on the backside of the grill, and in the openings on the bumper. Farther away those long sticks from the radiator, the better.

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7 hours ago, jsgun said:

Farther away those long sticks from the radiator, the better.

JS, I’m in central MD in a metro area. Interesting point about the pressure being too much and causing leaks and the sides of the radiator beginning to separate. The radiator that leaked twice and was beginning to separate was 4-5 years old. We would the manufacturer would advise of pressure of radiator cap. My science and technical knowledge is not as strong as I’d like. There is quite of science in automotive world I’m learning. 
I use a shroud, one ton severe duty truck fan clutch, and 160 degree thermostat. No overheating with 16 lb cap OR 6 lb pressure radiator cap.

thank you

Turbinator

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On 7/6/2021 at 7:22 PM, RivNut said:

Kind of like cooling a soft drink with crushed ice or cubed ice. The crushed ice has much more surface area and cools the liquid more quickly.

Ed, JSGUN provided a FAQ section link from Griffin a real radiator manufacturer. Here is what Griffin had to write about cooling.

What makes a radiator cool better the number of rows in the core or the size of the tubes?


The larger the size of the tube the more the cooling capacity. With a larger tube the volume of fluid is increased, displacing more heat thus increasing cooling capacity.

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The 'explanation' above is simplified to the point of being borderline false.  If taken literally, I should replace my radiator with a length of 6" copper pipe.  Required cooling capacity is dictated by the amount of heat the engine is capable of producing.  The amount of heat the radiator can shed is determined by the flow rate through the core (as mentioned above) AND the surface area exposed to the cooling airflow.  Round tubes would maximize flow (minimizing the required number of tubes or rows), however, the flattened/oblong cross section increases the exposed surface area per unit volume (the older 'honeycomb' cores used in radiators and heater cores was better yet, but more expensive).  So, additional flattened tubes are required to achieve the required flow rate.  Adding a '3rd row' increases the radiator's maximum flow rate which compensates for additional heat load from the engine, such as would occur in an A/C equipped car that increases the demand on the engine (and therefore BTU output) and would generally operate in a hotter climate.

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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

The 'explanation' above is simplified to the point of being borderline false.  If taken literally, I should replace my radiator with a length of 6" copper pipe. 

EMTee, Your explanation has meaningful substance I can chew on. My natural curiosity is really getting my intense factor. My science is fair on a good day and weak most everyday. I suppose that’s why I studied more life science(s) than physics, chemistry, and the hard stuff.

Thank you for your contribution in helping me understand more about cooling principles in an automobile.

Turbinator

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    Copper/brass radiators largest tubes can be a MAX of 3/8ths. because they are NOT very strong. One of the reasons for 3/4 row cores. More area to dispate heat into the fins. The diff. between an A/C 3 row radiator & a 3 row non A/C radiator is even though they are both 3 row, AND don't forget the tubes can be a MAX of only 3/8ths, the number of fins between A/C & non A/C the A/C has more fins per inch over non A/C & being able to disapate more heat to the fins & being identified as Max Cool or H/D, Desert cooler & a whole bunch of other names the manfacturers can come up with to make you think one is better than the other. 

    Now the diff. between copper/brass & aluminum.  Copper/brass is an excellent conductor of heat & IF built differently could pass more heat disapation into it.

 

The thing that KILLS heat disapation is the solder as it's a very POOR heat conductor bringing the cooling effiencency down considerably to approx. 50-60% of it's cooling effiencency.  There is LOTS of solder connecting the tubes to the top & bottom tanks as well as all the solder to solder all the tubes to the fins. AND the weight is an additional factor.  ALL the white you see when you open the top of the radiator when you remove the cap is called Solder bloom. This is a sign of the solder being seperated from the tanks where the tubes are attached to the top & bottom tanks.  The solder is being eaten away from the anti-freeze mixture. One way to help eliminate this is by installing a sacrifisal anode in the top tank which helps to eliminate some of the process which is why the system should be flushed every two years wether the car is driven or just sits there.

     An aluminum radiator can have much larger tubes of 1"/ 1-1/4"/1 1/2" tubes as the aluminum is stiffer. Even though it's thought of aluminum as being weaker it is not as weak as copper/brass. The reason the tubes can be larger.  The bigger tubes have much more area for contact with the heat disapating fins & a good aluminum radiator is all aluminum. Tanks, tubes, fins & aluminum welding. Not only is it stronger, it's also much lighter, has more area for cooling & which for myself is a plus. Weight is HorsePower.

 

Tom T.

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5 minutes ago, telriv said:

    Copper/brass radiators largest tubes can be a MAX of 3/8ths. because they are NOT very strong. One of the reasons for 3/4 row cores. More area to dispate heat into the fins. The diff. between an A/C 3 row radiator & a 3 row non A/C radiator is even though they are both 3 row, AND don't forget the tubes can be a MAX of only 3/8ths, the number of fins between A/C & non A/C the A/C has more fins per inch over non A/C & being able to disapate more heat to the fins & being identified as Max Cool or H/D, Desert cooler & a whole bunch of other names the manfacturers can come up with to make you think one is better than the other. 

    Now the diff. between copper/brass & aluminum.  Copper/brass is an excellent conductor of heat & IF built differently could pass more heat disapation into it.

 

The thing that KILLS heat disapation is the solder as it's a very POOR heat conductor bringing the cooling effiencency down considerably to approx. 50-60% of it's cooling effiencency.  There is LOTS of solder connecting the tubes to the top & bottom tanks as well as all the solder to solder all the tubes to the fins. AND the weight is an additional factor.  ALL the white you see when you open the top of the radiator when you remove the cap is called Solder bloom. This is a sign of the solder being seperated from the tanks where the tubes are attached to the top & bottom tanks.  The solder is being eaten away from the anti-freeze mixture. One way to help eliminate this is by installing a sacrifisal anode in the top tank which helps to eliminate some of the process which is why the system should be flushed every two years wether the car is driven or just sits there.

     An aluminum radiator can have much larger tubes of 1"/ 1-1/4"/1 1/2" tubes as the aluminum is stiffer. Even though it's thought of aluminum as being weaker it is not as weak as copper/brass. The reason the tubes can be larger.  The bigger tubes have much more area for contact with the heat disapating fins & a good aluminum radiator is all aluminum. Tanks, tubes, fins & aluminum welding. Not only is it stronger, it's also much lighter, has more area for cooling & which for myself is a plus. Weight is HorsePower.

 

Tom T.

Tom, interesting to hear your perspective on the strength of the aluminum radiators.  Do you have any experience with a distributor that produces a quality aluminum radiator for our Riv's?

Thanks, Damon

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Damon,

 

    I don't know of any bolt-in/direct fit rads.  I'm sure they are available.  I know some have used Ford, mostly Mustang, as the inlet & outlets are a match for ours.

I at one time I had been contacted by a manufacturer to supply him with a rad & told him I would do so but I never got a back up call or e-mail. I could try & make contact IF he is still around.

    I know on V8Buick a guy put one in his '63 Riv. with A/C & loved it but I never got any particulars.  I guess I could talk to him to see what he had to do to make it fit. I know in pics it looked OK but there was never any close up pics.

 

Tom T.

 

 

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Are the Ford radiators perhaps cross flow rather than down flow radiators?  I thought that I read somewhere that in a cross flow radiator that the water went across the fins three different times - in at the top, across the upper third in one direction, then back across the middle third in the opposite direction, then again across the bottom third in the direction it first took to the outlet.

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