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Aluminum Radiator question- Trying to bring down the engine temp

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by robert_t_wallace, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. robert_t_wallace
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 116


    I have done searches in all the forums and the such..and..still can't get to an honest answer. I am looking for a sub $200 radiator that works better than my cheap 4 core radiator. The car is a supercharged 1966 Mustang with a Hipo and the engine compartment is running REALLY hot alough the gauges say it is not overheating. I was considering going with a aluminum radiator, but don't want to spend $500 bucks. I see brands on ebay such as Silla, Champion, Summit, etc that all say "All Welded", "No Epoxy", "best on the market", etc...etc....etc... I see people saying that it is cheap quality without owning it, but yet the people who actually do run one, say it is decent and works. I do want to get aggressive at the temp problem I am having was considering a 2 or 3 CORE Alumimum radiator..

    On the fan, I am looking to move some good air across the radiator. Currently, the car has a 6 blade aluminum fan.. I do have a low profile SPAL fan, but really wanted to stay with a non-electric fan if possible. I also have a "C" code fan laying around, but can't find the 4 bladed Hipo fan... Thoughts on a good Fan that moves a lot of air?
  2. yellow wagon
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 612

    yellow wagon
    from WI

    you get what you pay for. Buy a couple $200 radiators that don't work or buy one good one for $500 and be done....I'd opt for the more expensive quality one the first time. Radiators are a vital part to the drivability and reliability of your hot rod. So why skimp?
  3. big creep
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,945

    big creep

    you dont have to buy an aluminum radiator, just have one made. it should be under 500 bucks. or are you sure that you temp gauge is working right?
  4. I agree with Yellow Wagon, you get what you pay for. I don't get it....You have an expensive supercharged motor and you want to go cheap to cool it?? That $500 you spend on a radiator, could save you thousands, if you "toast" the motor.
    Remember the radiator is only one component of the cooling system (though the most important)
    But also need are>
    Hipo Water pump
    Fan Shroud (electric or belt driven fans work much, much better with a shroud)
    Try using Water Wetter, this alone can reduce temperatures, 10-15 degrees. More water used the better it works!
    Also with a good radiator you can run a higher pressure radiator cap to raise your boiling temperature.

  5. Copper/brass radiator cores actually offer better heat rejection than aluminum (no, I didn't make that up), but they are heavier and more expensive to mfg. If everything is working ok and the (good?) gauge says it's not overheating, more radiator isn't going to help anything...

    A friend had a similar problem with a Plymouth Duster several years ago. The car ran right at 180 when driving, but the temp would creep up and up when he was cruising it. He went through every combination of HUGE radiator, electric fans, thermostats...nothing fixed it.

    Turns out the problem was that there was just nowhere for the hot air to GO after it passed through the radiator. Same basic problem with the Mustang...small engine bay stuffed full of V8, low ride height, solid inner fenderwells, narrow frame width. The solution is to create a path for the air to escape from the engine compartment. Hood louvers, vents through the inner fenders, something to let a large volume of air get away from the engine. It's tough if you don't want to cut on the car...
    Joined: Dec 1, 2006
    Posts: 594


    The rad you are old is it...The 4rw should cool your car.....if its older it might be plugged or if its old..check the fins between the tubes,if they are soft or they have come away from the tubes means that they are not dissapating the heat like they need to have as much outside air moving thru the is your shrouding? if u feel the need for a electric fan than have it come on at certain temps.
    the difference between the epoxy & welded is the way the tubes are sealed at the is a easier repair if needed..epoxy melts....I prefer the welded.there are less expensive options for the alum w/o a cooler is seem handy...can you put a cross flow style in?...those are alot less $$$....just my thoughts.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  7. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    Does it boil over? Have you tried a different mechanical gauge? Are you sure you have a problem or are you afraid of having one?

    I spent a lot of money trying to get my first trans plant to run cooler. The gauge said it was too hot but it never boiled over. I finally changed the sending unit to the gauge and realized that I had just wasted a bunch of money on fans and radiators that I never needed.
  8. Was it a water-cooled liver? That would be awesome!:p Sorry, couldn't resist...
  9. I had a similar experience a few years ago. My issue turned out to be the "under-drive" pulleys I was using, causing the water pump to spin about 66% of what it was meant to. I installed stock diameter pulleys, and the problem went away.

    Just my .02 cents.... ;)
  10. EW_
    Joined: Apr 10, 2008
    Posts: 82

    from DFW

    Do you have a fan shroud?
  11. fms427
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 864


    I regularly run sub-$200 Jegs, Summit, or Speedway racing radiators on my street and race cars with very good luck - often in high HP big block Corvettes, which have terrible airflow out of the factory. But, as previous posts say, radiator is only a part of the equation. Good shroud and fan is a MUST - particularly on a high HP street car , and I really think you need an electric puller fan , or two ! I like the Spal double fan and shroud combos - you pay a little more, but it REALLY cools! And check the junk yard - most modern V8 vehicles use dual electric fans with shroud.
  12. A Chopped Coupe
    Joined: Mar 2, 2004
    Posts: 1,133

    A Chopped Coupe

    I second the question from EW, you really need a shroud it you don't have one. Also what fan are you using. Has the radiator you are using been cored and tanked, or is it mostly stock.
    I've got a 10sec Maverick with the stock radiator (408ci 675hp motor using an electric fan and CSR water pump) and am having problems with it overheating on the return road. I built a shroud, had the radiator cored (it was 30% plugged) and am hoping that will solve the problem.
    Of the radiators you mentioned, Champion has been used by a lot of Maverick guys with great results...........all used an electric fan and shroud though. But there are very well built radiators. If I don't solve my overheating issues I will certainly buy one with 16" fan for $240+ shipping.

  13. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478


    install a gauge you trust first, or maybe your floor is getting REALLY hot making your interior REALLY hot because you have no heat insulation, if your engine is not boiling over its not hot.

    "the engine compartment is running REALLY hot alough the gauges say it is not overheating."
  14. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus


    It was a 383 Chrysler in a 58 Plymouth. I hooked the Plym gauge up to the Chrysler sender and it worked but it read hot. I figured if it registered it must be working right. I was 20 YO. I put a radiator out of a Chrysler Imperial in it and it still registered hot. It never boiled over but the gauge said I had a problem. Eventually I swapped the sender out of the old 318 and the gauge read normal again. I never had a problem at all. It was a wild goose expensive one for that time period.

    He never said what type of gauge he has or why he would not trust it and was so sure he has a problem when the gauge reads normal. I sure couldn't tell from under the hood if it was too hot or not.
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,327


    How do you know it is running really hot? have you used an infra red temp unit on it or does it just feel hot to your face when you open the hood?

    You say the gauge doesn't read hot and it doesn't act hot such as puking water but you think it is hot.

    So in reality how hot is the engine actually running? I'm like Budd and Tommy, if it doesn't puke coolant either running or after you stop it isn't hot.

    What are the exact symptoms that you are experiencing with the engine and car that make you think it is running hot. All of them please.

    Case in point, my buddy was having a fit a few years ago because his sbc powered Model A roadster with a Walker radiator was showing 265 degrees on the gauge. But he could undo an remove the radiator cap without it puking live steam or coolant at all. The engine was running right at the designated temp of the thermostat that was in it when the Walker Rep at the rod trot we were at stuck a temp gauge in the filler neck. That was a Stewart Warner Electric gauge that was at fault. Mechanical gauges even cheapies tend to work more accurately than electric ones from my experience.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  16. DirtyJohn
    Joined: Sep 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,065


    x2 on shroud and curious about the thermostat. If it sticks it doesn't matter what radiator you have it will still run hot. Not a fan of aluminum either.
  17. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,507


    Hmmm. Lots of good points. You need to know how hot it's running before diving off the deep end, but, in general, the stock Mustang radiator is hard pressed to keep up with a 289 2bbl, let alone a blown performance engine.

    I had a stock aftermarket copper/brass '65 'Stang radiator in my '36 with a mildly massaged Cad 472, and it was totally undriveable. If you're interested in the gory details, I have lots of posts about this, but I'll cut to the chase and say that the addition of one of those ebay purchased, 2 row aluminum, 200 dollar Oriental replacements was the ticket. The car NEVER runs over 200, even idling in 90 degree temps.

    The core is 3/4" thicker, the tubes are closer together, supposedly increases capacity 30%. The quality looks good, the appearance is great, one year warranty. Mine has welded tanks, look for one that the filler is NOT recessed into the upper tank.

    For $200, I'm impressed, and can drive my car without worry. Do it. The guy I bought mine from is from Chicago. I ordered it at 5 pm, it was on my doorstep at 3 pm the next day. Best thing I did for the money to the car, hands down.


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  18. davis574ord
    Joined: May 21, 2009
    Posts: 785


    Do you have a thermostat in it? Cus if you dont, the water will flow through it to fast, and it wont have time to cool down, sounds goofy but it happened to me once i put a thermostat in it it solved the problem! It was a ford 351 cleveland. And make sure that you have a shroud on it also, hope that helps some!
  19. robert_t_wallace
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 116


    Lots of good information. My engine is a stock Hipo motor (block and heads) with all the Shelby goodies (manifold, T Pan, valve covers, etc). The Tri-Y headers were Jet Hot coated.. The Supercharger is an old sytle Paxton SN93 with a Holley 650 inclosed in a Cobra Bonnet so the carb is pressurized. The fan is an aluminum 6 blade fan and the radiator is a 4 core (non aluminum) after market, but I think it is of cheaper quality. The ignition is a Pertronix and MSD Master Blaster

    Below is my current Engine Pic

    One Theory I have is that My fuel mixter is way off causing it to run real hot.....

    Below are my wideband numbers at idle with 2 raps on the throttle..


    Numbers after 30 minutes of warm-up

    When things get real hot, car shuts of and hard to start... Trying to get the heat under control...
  20. robert_t_wallace
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 116


    Forgot to mention..No Fan Schroud, but will add one tomorrow.. Also going to solid fuel lines incase I am boiling the gas..

    Car never boils over in an overheated situation, but it is way hotter than I would expect or comfortable with..
  21. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    your plenty lean, you should have afr #s near 15!
    Joined: Jan 22, 2010
    Posts: 13


    That engine bay looks pretty crowded. You say that the engine bay is really hot? You may not have a cooling problem, but a problem with moving hot air out of the engine bay. Just like when you run a Model A with a hot small block and hood sides. I have seen cars with small fans mounted to the underside of the hood to push the hot air out of the engine bay and under the car, when running hood sides. Maybe you could re-route some hoses or make some room somehow to allow the air the escape? Just a thought.
  23. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,844

    from trevose pa

    Fan shroud will fix the problem ....

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