Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Is (Recoring) Brass radiators a thing of the past

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by blazedogs, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 532


    Years ago I had quite a few brass radiators recored.One was for a 40 Ford which was done perfect and lasted for years. I know the thing now is aluminum radiators but I still have some of the old radiators. Over the weekend a punched 2 holes about 2 inches in Dia in a brass radiator 5 row , I,m accident pron , assumed I could take it in and have it recored since the tanks were perfect & it cooled great. No luck here in Mn very few shops do it and if you find one you can buy a new radiator cheaper.Went to a few old honest mechanics around here and they said yup,might as well buy a new one. Is this the case here in Mn or is it all over ? Gene
  2. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,164


    Just had a new core installed in the heater for my '54 Ford. Full service shop. The new core install was more than a new off shore complete unit but I figured my original tanks were much better than the repop ones. One problem you might run into if you do find a shop that can recore your existing radiator is finding a core. The shop that did my heater had a hard time finding a core. Check with big truck repair places or AG dealers to see who they use for radiator repair.
  3. It's still done, but it ain't cheap!:eek:
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  4. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 4,207


    Find a shop that repairs truck radiators. They will likely still be doing a few auto radiators. That is what I have found here locally. All the automotive radiators shops quit doing it because they can't repair the aluminum ones and you can buy an aluminum one for what you can repair a copper/brass one.....or less.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.

  5. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 910


    I wish I could get a brass radiator built like the aluminum one I have in my hotrod...You can repair brass if you have a tube that starts leaking but difficult to do with aluminum ones...Mine has two tubes that are inch and half wide...Cools my blown hemi here in the Vegas summers...
  6. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 6,238

    from Berry, AL

    I don’t know if there is even a radiator shop left around here anymore, I know the closest one closed down several years ago. Even semi trucks have went to the aluminum with plastic tanks, when they start leaking you throw them away and buy new because nobody wants to try and fix them. Last brass and copper truck radiator I had was on a 90’s model truck, all the rest have been aluminum. Like everything else, nobody wants to fix anything, just replace it.
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 30,083

    Jalopy Joker

    do not know layout of Minnesota but, maybe one of these can help: J&R Radiator A/C & Exhaust = Hutchinson & Chanhassen or Dillon Radiator in Rochester
  8. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 532


    Plastic Radiators What has our world come to ??
  9. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 6,238

    from Berry, AL

    A throw away society. Use once, throw away and buy another. That’s why a lot of people look at you crazy for driving old cars, they think you just trade them in and the dealer disposes of them.
  10. jailhousebob
    Joined: Jun 18, 2009
    Posts: 832

    from Illinois

    About a year ago i tried to have my original 32 ford radiator recored. Took it to 2 shops and got pretty much the same response which was that it would be very difficult to recore due to the shape and construction of the tank.One guy was willing to do it but stated that he couldn't guarantee the work due to the age of the tanks and his price was around $800.00. I called the Brass works in California who told me the same.They built me a duplicate ,all new,for around $1,000.00 which i am very happy with and i would recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality brass radiator. I have had radiators by C.A.R. and Walker and the brass works radiator is higher quality by far.
    Baumi likes this.
  11. We still have 2 shops in town that recores copper/brass tanks and they are next door to each other. HRP
  12. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 4,092


    Having retired from the rad shop, I can say that rads are still being recored. A lot of time aluminum replacements aren't made for our cars. Your tanks need to be in good shape which is no easy matter since a lot of them have stress cracks from multiple heating and cooling cycles through the years and have been pressurized which hasn't helped either. As far as replacement cores, the old honeycomb style isn't to be found so those rads have to be adapted to the tube and fin style. Some older rad cores have bucket headers which aren't available so some creativity is required there also. Last week when I went to the shop, they were about to start building one for a '32 Cadillac with an OT engine. Last year they did a small run of Whippet rads which I posted a picture of. You need to find a rad shop run by gearheads. IMG_1350.JPG
  13. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,085


    We still have one in Spartanburg, they primarily do trucks and heavy equipment, but they did recore a Model A for me about 3 years ago. Wouldn't even discuss trying to fix an old one, which probably a good thing. Good luck.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  14. Kind of ironic, this is supposed to me a more ecological friendly era, and back in the day, many more parts were rebuilt or overhauled. Sadly now, if your new 2020 Whizbang Special car craps an engine before the auto mortgage is paid off, the engine job costs more than the car is worth.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    brad2v, VANDENPLAS and lake_harley like this.
  15. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,899


    The only radiator shop left here refuses to redo radiators. They tell me to go buy a new one
  16. bedwards
    Joined: Mar 25, 2015
    Posts: 276


    I just had mine re-cored here in Birmingham for 150$ about a month ago. It was well worth it as the aluminum ones I could find didn't fit and we half again higher.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  17. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,800


    I have a great one just two towns over. He even cleans out gas tanks. I know...I am fortunate.
    VANDENPLAS and kidcampbell71 like this.
  18. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 1,047


    @goldmountain the honeycomb cores are still being made on old original equipment. The Filling Station can get the cores if you need a honeycomb type. There are other sources for cores. It's just a little harder to find places to do the work nowadays.
  19. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,217


    Superior radiator in Michigan said if I provide the original tanks they could build me a radiator for my model A, several years ago another option

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  20. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,300

    stuart in mn

    "punched 2 holes about 2 inches in Dia in a brass radiator 5 row"
    That's some major damage, how the heck did you do that?

    I'm not sure if they're still in business, but I've had radiators repaired/rodded out/recored in the past by Freeway Radiator Service in St. Louis Park. I found their contact information, you could try calling to see if they're still around.

    Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
    (952) 926-6029
    6460 Oxford StreetSaint Louis Park, MN 55426-4432
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 32,648


    There is one actual radiator shop that repairs and recores radiators in the area and they are so busy that it takes about three days wait just to get one checked to see if it is repairable. When I was in there with the 4 core for my 71 and told it was't repairable they were working on a bunch of heavy truck and equipment radiators. They do do hot rod work though.
  22. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,289


    I just went through this. Radiator in my '40 it turns out was unflushable. I had taken it to the area's best radiator shop, they do all the work for the Navy shipyard here locally. So we talked about recoring but he could only find a place in the midwest that would do it and price, given freight to and from and repair cost, was to much. So I ponyed up and bought a new Walker Cobra series, at my age the last one I'll buy. And to the subject of throw away radiators, the shop told me that if they didn't have all the heavy equipment radiators at the shipyard for a customer base, they would be out of business given the toss and replace aluminum/plastic ones in the new cars.
  23. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,271

    from Alabama

    bedwards, who did you use?

    Mc Nuts Radiator north of Pinson, about a mile north of the Blount-Jefferson county line does recoring and repair. It’s in Blount County on AL hwy 79.
  24. Blade58
    Joined: Mar 5, 2012
    Posts: 360

    from apopka ,Fl

    Electrolysis is your enemy especially for Aluminum Radiators ,need to make sure it is properly grounded , I have seen Brass Tractor radiators reworked being used in some applications you would have never know it.
  25. Mitchell Rish
    Joined: Jun 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,633

    Mitchell Rish
    from Houston MS

    Jimmy Wilder in Pontotoc MS - (Wilders Welding Shop) still does it all. But he isnt cheap - but he is Good. He did the Radiator in my 55 LCF pull re-cored and /bottom tank. He still does work for almost all the farmers/industrial in our part of the world .
    He does a lot of architectural metal fab now ( think expesive houses). He's know to weld completely bare footed. In the early days of the shop it had a sign that said we can weld /fix anything even a broken heart - had a picture of a welder welding up a heart painted on the door. Hes a hoot- you'll like him. 662-489-2772
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. I had my radiator Recored in Tucson, AZ 35 tear's ago & it still going Strong!

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
  27. Stueeee
    Joined: Oct 21, 2015
    Posts: 275

    from Kent, UK

    It's still possible to get radiators recored or repaired here in the UK, although there are far fewer companies doing this work nowadays. This is the rad from my '28 Chevy Touring after it was repaired. It had been leaking from somewhere between the core and the bottom tank.

    Honeycomb cores are still being made here, but the company which manufactures them on a custom basis do most of their work for vintage aircraft where regulations mean that the original specification of components can't simply be changed.


    It's great that these parts are available, but you definitely will need to be sitting down when you ask the price; probably seems cheap if you are restoring a Spitfire or Hurricane, not so much for us. Anyway, my rad was stripped down, the core flushed through and flow tested before the rad was re-assembled and pressure tested; I was really pleased with the result which worked out cheaper than recoring with a modern style core.
  28. bedwards
    Joined: Mar 25, 2015
    Posts: 276


    F-ONE likes this.
  29. Jeff34
    Joined: Jun 2, 2015
    Posts: 719


    I had my ‘34 PU radiator recored here in CA. Cost as much as a new one from Brassworks, but should hold up better. Haven’t had any problems, and the new core technology is way better than the old. Keeps the engine cool even on the warmest day. [​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    waxhead likes this.
  30. nutter_street_rodder
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 93

    from Nevis MN

    Farmington is too built up now, so find a neighboring small town old shop that fixes big trucks and farm tractors. I had to ask and found a guy just down the road from me, but expect to wait until they have a few to do, as they don't want to start up everything just for you. He repaired a leak for me very reasonable. I had a near new '40 Ford core in hand and he wanted more than a Chinese radiator to install onto my old tanks. In the end (after 2 attempts) I just broke down and bought a Chinese radiator. Seems the old tanks had flexed for 80 years and just kept cracking.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.