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Hot Rods Fat fenders- is the radiator structural?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 63401nailhead, Feb 20, 2022.

  1. 63401nailhead
    Joined: Apr 4, 2008
    Posts: 164

    63401nailhead
    Member
    from DE

    Hi All,

    I have a 1940 Chevy truck that has a small block Chevy that was always running way too hot. I think it was mostly due to the way the small block sat lower and so the mechanical fan was only covering about 30% of the original 6cyl radiator’s surface, and also because there was no fan shroud.
    So last year I ordered an aluminum radiator and electric fan, but the width of the radiator was about two inches two short, so I cut two 3” wide strips and drilled holes to made brackets to run down the sides of the radiator to extend the mounting holes. The brackets aren’t welded, just held together with bolts. Also, and at the time it sounded good in my head, but I used thick soft rubber bushings with the bolts to kind of make the radiator a floating mount, thinking it would be less stress on the radiator and less prone to cracking if I mounted it this way.
    Anyway, the truck now runs much cooler and never overheats, but now going down the road, the whole truck kinda feels a little wobbly. It’s not a tire or wheel shimmy and you don’t feel it in the steering wheel, it’s like just the whole truck seems to shake while at speed.
    So I’m wondering if the radiator needs to be bolted directly and firmly because maybe it serves as part of the overall structure rigidity that keep the whole front end together? The more I think about it, I’m wondering if the radiator is an integral part of the whole front end.
    Now I’m thinking of removing the radiator and having the aluminum strips welded on and then bolting the radiator directly with no rubber bushings.
    Thoughts? Thanks!
     
  2. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 725

    bigdog
    Member

    Radiator is not structural. I can't see why rubber mounts on the radiator would do that, but it should be pretty easy to replace the bushings with a spacer of some sort (stack of washers?) to see if it makes a difference.
     
  3. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,258

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    On most aluminum radiators the shallow lightweight side channel (core covers ) wouldn't be strong enough to support anything & doing so would damage the radiator . If you feel you don't have support in that area , you need to fabricate. something adequate ..
     
  4. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,474

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When swapping the radiator it seems to me that you may have neglected to fasten the support structure to the frame.

    I have a 41 Chevy coupe that when I got it sounded like you're describing. A couple of bolts (holes were already there) and the problem was resolved.

    Chris
     

  5. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 4,058

    rockable
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The radiator CORE SUPPORT is structural. Make sure it has all of its braces and is bolted in solid. The whole front clip rides on it!
     
    ClarkH and gimpyshotrods like this.
  6. I have a fiberglass tilt front end on my 41, 2 hinges at the bottom grill area and the back side just rests on the cowl and running boards. There's no core support or inner fender panels, radiator bolted to frame and nothing shakes.
     
  7. hepme
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 304

    hepme
    Member

    I just sold a 40 coupe, but it had two braces, one from each side, from the cowl to the core support-bolted to a piece by the radiator. I took them out one time for looks, drove weird, put 'em in and no problems. Use all the factory bracing, core support bolting, etc and you should be fine-even with an alum. rad.
     
    ClarkH and rockable like this.
  8. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 3,091

    oldiron 440
    Member

    In my car the only thing shaky would be the driver.
     
    49ratfink and '28phonebooth like this.
  9. No experience with a '40 Chevy pickup, but I can tell you that it is on a '38-'39 Ford truck. The radiator bolts to the frame, grille bolts to the radiator, and the radiator support rods that run from the firewall to the bracket on the top tank of the radiator have to be adjusted to get the hood latch to work right.
     

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