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Hot Rods Aluminum or Copper/Brass Radiator?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hnstray, May 17, 2016.

  1. Uh buy aluminum and paint it black? :rolleyes: :D :D
     
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  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793

    tfeverfred
    Member

    That would be faking it. Wouldn't it? Either all in or....... what ever.
     
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  3. :D :D
     
  4. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,866

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    What you're referring to is a chemical reaction that occurs in the coolant, that breaks down the compounds in antifreeze into acidic and corrosive compounds. This occurs in all cooling system, to all coolants, and it negatively effects all cooling systems, not just aluminum, though aluminum may be more susceptible just due to its nature as a soft metal (slightly softer than Copper, Brass is even harder yet). Like all chemical reactions, the rate of degradation is increased due to heat. Arrenius rule says for every 10 degrees C increase in temp, the rate of reaction doubles. You want you system to reach operating temperature, but excessive temps will break the antifreeze down quicker.

    An additional issue is that some coolants use nitrite additives to combat cavitation erosion, and those nitrites can break down in use to nitrates, which can be aggressive against aluminum, so I always recommend the use of nitrite free coolants in systems with a lot of aluminum. Check the label, or google it, and read up on it. Nitrite free coolants tend to be a little more expensive, so if you're buying the cheapest crap house blend from somewhere, it's not likely to be nitrite free. They will usually advertise it on the label or on the product data sheet if you google it.

    Electrolysis has been mentioned several times, and electrolysis occurs in cooling systems when there is poor or no electrical ground for the electrical system on the engine. In that case the electricity takes the path of least resistance to ground, and without a good ground that is usually the coolant. When this happens the breakdown of the coolant occurs very rapidly and the acid level in the coolant rises and it starts to attack the metals in the cooling system. Due to the soft nature of aluminum I already mentioned, the aluminum corrodes quickly.

    There are test strips you can use to test your coolant that monitor the ph level, that can alert you to acidic conditions in the coolant.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  5. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida


    My experience with Walker was exactly like V8 Bob's. I tried to get Walker to build me a radiator for my 27 years ago and they rudely said "No, a radiator that chopped will not cool a sbf......goodbye !" The Brassworks did build me one and the motor never gets over 170 here in Florida, and they were superb to deal with. That is why I just plunked down another $1000 a few months ago to buy a new one from them. The radiator is a work of art.

    Same experience with PRC. Chris out there is a super nice guy, we exchanged emails and phone calls, and he was only too happy to build the radiator exactly how I needed it........move the neck over here, make the bottom mounting plate longer, etc, etc. He also responds right back when I call or email, and is always extremely pleasant to do business with.

    I wouldn't send Walker a dime of my money because I hate doing business with people who don't know how to treat a customer.


    Don
     
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  6. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 666

    flux capacitor
    Member

    Not traditional but, a double pass / crossflow alluminum works nicely too as it allows the fluid more time to actually stay in the radiator passages. My a Dad had one built for a 57 hardtop years ago to help mask the ill heating effects of a 3500 stall converter in traffic. Did the job. Flux
     
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  7. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 362

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One of my cars is a 1962 Cutlass with a very warm 215 aluminum V8. This car was notorious from the factory for over heating. About 12 years ago I purchased from US Rad a brass/copper triple core with the triple pass option. I also bought their shroud with twin 11" low profile fans. At my request, they also moved the upper inlet to the opposite side. Since installing this rad, even in the hottest of weather, the car runs all day at 180 degrees. They were really easy to deal with and their pricing was on par with aluminum and way cheaper then Griffin. Also, it fit like a glove.

    Warren
    DSC00935.JPG
     
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  8. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,253

    Gman0046
    Member

    The biggest drawback on cheap Chinese aluminum radiators is the cooling tubes are epoxied rather then Tig welded. If problems occur, they are unrepairable resulting in a throw away radiator. There's a reason Chinese radiators are cheap. The worlds greatest truism is you get what you pay for.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  9. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,141

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Huh? Aluminium is well known to react with steel, this is why brass/copper was used to begin with.

    All sorts of problems, with dissimilar metal corrosion aka galvanic, is well evidenced in the trucking industry and everywhere else. Special coolants are recommended and the rest of it.

    Modern radiator construction techniques mean smaller radiators cool better than old school rads, but brass has twice the cooling capacity of aluminium all things being equal. Unfortunately it's about twice the price, or more. Finally while they work well, the el-cheapo AL rads cannot ordinarily be repaired.
     
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  10. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,111

    jimmy six
    Member

    US Radiators made the one for my 56 Ford Victoria. I called and also research their website. 4 different grades were available in the brass/copper style. I wanted it to look original so I choose their original style tank. I added a lower auto trans cooler too. I bought their 3rd highest grade. They will make one stock looking with the hoses any where you like. These guy were great to work with and I was lucky and could drive up to get it in Vernon Ca.
    We do use an aluminum double cross in our 1/2 mile dirt car built for 600 hp and never heat up. Just looks funny with the bottom and top hose on the same side. Good luck
     
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  11. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. HRP
     
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  12. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,866

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    That's not correct, it's actually reversed, aluminum has about twice the heat transfer property as brass, but copper has about twice the heat transfer capacity as aluminum, and the core of brass/copper radiators is made of copper, so they will transfer heat to the atmosphere better. The advantage of brass tanks is superior resistance to corrosion vs Aluminum, and far easier repair if/when they need it. So with the combination of the brass tanks and copper core you get the best of both for a much better radiator.

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/thermal-conductivity-d_429.html
     
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  13. Powder coated Satin Black ($40) and they look like a high dollar copper one!!
     
  14. UNCLECHET
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 1,117

    UNCLECHET
    Member

    rad.jpg Last winter I took the leaking original rad out of my 40 Ford to my go to rad guy. He said he thought he could fix it. A few days later he called and said he'd misspoken. It could be repaired but it'd be about 600 to 700 dollars. I don't have that kind of jack so I ordered a Champion aluminum rad from Bob Drake. It works great and while I guess it's not trad I like the way it looks. I really wanted to polish the upper tank on the original rad but it wasn't worth 700 bucks to me.
     
  15. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,141

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Well I should have mentioned the copper part I guess. I used brass as shorthand. Isn't brass mostly copper anyway, like 95%?

    Curious, that chart says Zinc is higher conductivity than Brass? I think there's a big typo in there. Brass should have a heat conductivity rating very similar to copper. One would think. I'm prepared to be wrong, I often am.

    At any rate the old school radiators from a materials standpoint cool far better than aluminium, all things being equal, except for today the improved internal designs means modern radiators can be physically smaller.

    Copper itself is reasonably inexpensive, but for some reason anything made with it is usually off the charts expensive. Not just radiators. Buckets and kettles for example, all kinds of things. Never understood that.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  16. joe clotfelter
    Joined: Apr 8, 2016
    Posts: 58

    joe clotfelter

    Why do you believe it cools better than copper and brass it may look better
     
  17. jeffd1988
    Joined: Apr 12, 2016
    Posts: 537

    jeffd1988

    I guess im compareing to the old original one. I notice my temp guage is down about 20 degrees.
     
  18. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350

    Tony
    Member

    I use and prefer copper/brass every time unless its physically not possible to get one.
    Single and only reason for ME..
    Road side, or on the road repairs.
    Yes, both meterials can be repaired by a quality shop, but i can and have soldered, repaired a copper/brass rad in my truck, on the road.
    I cant tig an aluminim one on the road to get me home, and i put a lot of miles on.
    So its just my strange forward thinking i guess.
    Thats genuinly the only reason.

    Tony
     
  19. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,583

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Thanks to everyone who has replied. It has been a great discussion and provides worthwhile things to consider. From material choice, longevity and repairability to 'best vendor'.......much appreciated.

    Ray
     
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  20. I believe the main reason behind the use of aluminum radiators in new cars is cost,they are cheaper and the auto manufacturers don't always think about longevity of a product so much as the price of quantity.

    More product for the same dollars spent equals more profit.

    Example,I purchased a new Chrysler Town & Country mini van for Brenda to use for deliveries for her flower shop,the van now has just over 104 thousand miles and we have never had any major problems with it except I have has to replaced the aluminum radiator twice in the last 7 years. HRP
     
  21. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,866

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Another consideration is weight, with the need to meet CAFE standards the OEM's scratch for every little improvement they can get. A lb here and a lb there add up to weight savings that translates into MPG increase. AL radiators make a win/win for the OEM's, as long as the warranty coverage doesn't kill them.
     
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  22. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    302aod
    Member
    from Pelham,Tn.

    I worked for dealerships ( Ford 25 Chevy 1) Any time we sent a radiator to the shop to get a leak fixed they would say it was too rotten to fix (All Aluminum)and we had to buy a new radiator. They said everytime they fixed one place it would start leaking nearby. In my experience, when they get old aluminum can't be fixed or it was their way of selling new radiators
     
  23. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,141

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    What is the failure mode. Maybe the wrong coolant, or some kind of corrosion, either stray voltage, dissimilar metals or a combination?

    Everybody gets spooled up about using distilled water these days too. It won't break the bank, but. Water with no minerals is likely to draw ions into solution? I dunno. I recall the Champion rads have a warning right on the box about using distilled. Nothing about the coolant itself.

    I do know we used the Green stuff and filled with a garden hose and never had much trouble over the years. Hm.
     
  24. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,607

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Ray, I've got a Walker in my 37. No over heating ever. I change out to a "new" Walker about 9 years ago. Sold the "old one" (Just thought after 17 years, it would be worth the peace of mind) . Your mileage may vary.
     
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  25. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,591

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    The above Radiator is triple pass? How as its not a crossflow...
     
  26. wuga
    Joined: Sep 21, 2008
    Posts: 362

    wuga
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The original rad was a down flow with both necks on the passenger side. The coolant entered the rad and took the easiest route to the exit which was straight down thereby really utilizing about half the cooling capacity. The only original looking rad I could find was the US Rad and with the walls they put in it, the water is forced to go past the entire face of the rad. I also had them put the upper neck to the other side. With the original rad style (actually a new replacement) even with the twin electric fans, the bulk of the water was going straight down and only half the rad was being utilized. http://www.usradiator.com/cores

    Warren
     
  27. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,583

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    ^^^^^^^^not sure that physics would support that theory. Seems to me the water pump creates a pressure differential and in effect, pressurizes the water entering the upper tank and creates a suction on the lower tank, in addition to gravity. Unless some portion of the radiator was restricted more than other parts of the core, the water would flow equally through all of the tubes.

    That is not to say multi-pass cores are not functional........only to say single pass should flow equally no matter which side of the tank the hose connections are located.

    Ray
     
  28. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,721

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Agreed !!
    dave
     
  29. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,253

    Gman0046
    Member

    How much quality could anyone expect to get out of a cheap Chinese aluminum radiator built by small children that sells for $100 - $150? You don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that one out.

    Gary
     
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