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What are the differences between a 2 and 3 core radiator?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Brooding Swede, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Brooding Swede
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    Brooding Swede Member

    What are the differences between a 2 and 3 core radiator? call me stupid?

    So, I need to get a new radiator for my 35-ford truck. I was looking at the 65-66-mustang radiator. So, I went to Advance auto where a student of mine works and he let me look threw all the radiator books. I found a Ford rad. that has the correct inlet and outlet for my sbc. It’s a little different then the mustang rad. But the radiator is a 2 core. Want does that mean…?
    Here is what I working with sbc, electric fan, electric thermostat with a clutch sensor.

    Is a 2core a Bad choice?

    Thanks for your help

    Oh. The rad. I’m running now is a 3-core aluminum. That was made for a flathead and I plugged the other two outlet. Thus voiding the warranty.
  2. Deuce Roadster
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    Deuce Roadster Member Emeritus


    3 core ( row ) is thicker than a 2
    4 is thicker than a 3 ....the more rows..the better cooling and the more fliud it holds.....BUT when you get past 4 .....the radiator gets so thick....it is difficult to move the air thru it.....and cooling suffers...

    Whenever GM or Ford put in a larger engine or need better cooling....they add thickness to a radiator......

    BIGGER is almost always BETTER ....in Radiators...
  3. Brooding Swede
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    Brooding Swede Member

    Thanks, For the answer.....Now one more thing do you think a sbc will need that extra row? If I go with the 2 core?
    The mustang is 17by16inches 3core that small
    the other is 18x18.2 core....is bigger better when it comes to sq. inches
  4. Deuce Roadster
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    Deuce Roadster Member Emeritus

    Whenever GM or Ford add a " Heavy Duty " rating to one of their vehicles.....it always has a larger, thicker radiator.....

    I would install the largest, thickest radiator I could........but then I have a Z series 4 row Walker in my 32...... ( the BIGGEST one... :) )

    .
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  5. roadstar
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    roadstar Member

  6. nrfleming
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    nrfleming Member

    whether or not the two row will cool it depends on how much you have modified the engine. if its not a "race" engine you will probably be ok. if its not new you might want to flush it.
  7. Comet
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    Comet Member
    1. south carolina hambers

    Depending on the application, I think it's true with some 4 row rads. If I ever have the need to go with more than 3, I think I'd go with a 2 row alum. at that point. As you probably know alum. rads can use larger dia. tubes and therefore cool better than an equivalent brass rad. with the same no. of cores.
  8. Frank
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    Frank Member

    In this case since its listed in a book, go with the 3 core. That means it has 3 rows of the thin tubes.

    However; when I had a radiator rebuilt at a shop last year I told them I wanted a 3 row. They advised me that they had what was called a high-efficiency core but it only had 2 rows. The tubes were larger so it was as thick as a 3 row core. It has worked fine for me so far.

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