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Technical Model A radiator mounting

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 46international, May 10, 2018.

  1. How do you all mount your model A radiators? I have mine mounted with stock type mounting bolts and springs and it seems to bounce around a lot. Not up and down but side to side. would I be better just bolting it solid? I was just watching a video of a model A driving and the radiator seems to be mounted in a way that it does not move around much.
  2. i would bet that if the frame is boxed you could get away with it bolted solid, on a rubber pad. i believe they spring mounted them so the frame could twist on rough terrain and not split the radiator.
    flatford39 and 46international like this.
  3. I hope you are running the stay-rods back to the firewall... DO NOT MOUNT RADIATOR SOLID..
  4. If you bolt it solid, and there is any deflection in the frame it will eventually crack the mounting brackets off on the bottom. seen one where it ripped all the way off. you do have the support rods on the top right?

  5. Top rods are on, and that is what I have been worried about, cracking the firewall around the mounting area where the rods mount. And also worried about breaking the mounts on the radiator if I go solid. The frame is boxed all the way.
  6. This car has been on the road for 6 years or so and I have tightened the bottom mount bolts to compress the springs more but it still rocks back and forth. If I compress the springs much more it will be just like a solid mount. I do have the rubber pad on top of the frame/ under the radiator flange.
  7. I have the spring loaded mounts and Stay Rods to the firewall on my 29 roadster. you have to be going off road for the radiator to move at all its on a boxed 32 frame, no flex at all. Try putting a Little more preload on the springs with the nuts. It you have the original type bolts with cotter pins, you can switch them out to ny-locks and crank them down a little more. might stop the side to side shimmy...
  8. Thanks, I'm using lock nuts so I can go all the way down.
  9. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,777

    from So Cal

    Standard spring & bolts on mine, w/ the stay rods to the firewall, really no movement of the radiator to mention, no rocking side to side for sure! The stay rods may flex, particularly if the tension is not even between them, the "loose" one will wobble while driving. But the radiator stays pretty well put.
    46international likes this.
  10. Sounds like you shouldn't be having a problem. How about a couple of pictures to see if someone can spot anything?

    Charlie Stephens
  11. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,262


    I'm with Charlie, whats making the radiator move around?
  12. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,080


    What kind of center X member do you have? If it is just a simple straight across tube, the frame will still rack even if boxed. Not as badly as unboxed, but it will still rack. Take a ladder and hold one end off the ground. Give it a twist while your biggest buddy stands on the legs at the other end. Try that with a stronger ladder and I bet you still get flex.

    The center X designed in 1933 is the real answer to keeping a frame from racking back and forth. Your radiator is probably just following the front crossmember it's bolted to. It's not bouncing off the crossmember.
    46international likes this.
  13. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,272


    That's what I have -boxed '31 frame, rubber pads, angle iron mounts, stay rods to the firewall. Can send you PM photos if you want, OP.
    46international likes this.
  14. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,556

    mike bowling

    If you've got all 4 points tied down and it's still moving around you better check your front X member??
    There's only so many things that can move.
    Good luck figuring it out.
  15. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,480

    Model A Gomez

    I've ran Model A's with the stock mounting and support rods for years with no problem, I have had to fix cracks on the firewall at the support rods when I was building them. Had flathead V8, warmed up banger and stock engines in in-boxed frames I wonder if you are seeing frame flex, You shouldn't have to tighten the mounting bolts all the way, takes the flex out of them.
    46international and mike bowling like this.
  16. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,309

    Barrelnose pickup

    6 yrs or so! If it ain't broken why fix it.
    I made some small alloy plates to fit either side of the fire wall, no more cracks and the plates are subtle enough not to be to noticeable.
    mike bowling and 46international like this.
  17. Solid on rubber pads on 3 Model A's for over 50 years. No problems.
  18. Maybe it is the frame moving not just the radiator, I'll have to see if I can make sure of that some way. The cross members are all stock but I do have a bolt-in cross member for the trans mount. The frame and front cross member was in very good shape when I built the car, guess I should have another look now but this is not a new problem it has had a lot of movement from day one. Maybe I'm chasing something that is no problem, I was just watching a video and that radiator did not move at all.
  19. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,556

    mike bowling

    Almost every A Ive worked on had minor damage at the firewall, especially where the support rod brackets are. You can always add new metal to the BACK of the firewall to stiffen it up- out of sight

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  20. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,080


    If you don't have any sort of K or X in the center, what you are seeing is the frame racking up and down on the front corners. Not the radiator coming loose.

    I drive my 32 sedan with stock frame, and can see the grille shake side to side on bumps. I know the radiator and grille are not loose, it's just the way the frame moves. I have all the stock stay rods and spring mounts on the radiator pads.
    46international likes this.
  21. I think you are right, in fact it is worse when the tires are cold and still a little out of round. Bias ply tires. Guess I'm worrying about nothing.
  22. Do you have it assembled in the right order? I ask because if you have the spring under the radiator it would move a lot. Below is the correct order
    Rubber pad
    46international likes this.
  23. yes that is the way it is set up. thanks
  24. Went out for a ride yesterday, the headlights don't move at all and they are mounted to the frame right about where the radiator mounts. I'm going to re-balance the front tires and tighten down the radiator mounting bolts a little, maybe that will help.
  25. Are the bolt holes too big allowing it to lean or move?
  26. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,022


    The radiator mounts to the front crossmember on both sides so frame flex would have nothing to do with it. I'd be looking to be sure the steel framework surrounding the radiator core is still securely soldered and hasn't worked loose. That was one of the problems I had to correct when I had my coupester apart this last time. Aftermarket radiator - a good name brand - had come loose in three of the four areas of attachment. No big deal for a qualified radiator shop to fix.
    studebaker46 and fourspd2quad like this.

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