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Technical Use stock 1946 Chev radiator with SBC?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 8bbl427, May 2, 2017.

  1. What would I need to do to use my stock 1946 Chevy radiator with a SBC and auto trans?

    I am on a tight budget and schedule. I bought other toys and bargained with my wife that I would sink no more than an additional $2k into this car and list it for sale by the end of August. I want to drive it before that happens. I am looking to get it on the street without butchering it and without breaking the bank. Not buying a $500+ radiator would really help close that gap.

    Can I get away with using the stock radiator and tacking on a trans cooler? Can I add a pressure cap? Can the existing radiator be modified to work for less than buying new? What would need to be done to the radiator?

    If none of these options work, can anybody recommend a decent radiator that will bolt in and cost much less than a Walker? (I don't want to cut up the car to fit a Summit Racing one-size-fits all. I don't want to do that to the next guy.)

  2. Use the stock radiator, a 7 pound cap and an overflow. It should work just fine. You may have to play with a fan shroud and fan setup a little bit.

    Oh make sure that the rad is clean, maybe back flush it.
  3. Thanks porknbeaner. For the auto trans, I assume I need to add a trans cooler. Should this be mounted in front of the radiator to get the benefit of the fan?
  4. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,414


    Yes to the cooler question. I had a 48 Chevy, ran a 250/th350, drove it in the Texas heat for two years, never a heating problem.
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  5. ...use a small trans cooler mounted on the framerail next to the trans, easier, no long lines, no extra heat added to radiator,...just mount it so it's in an air path,..
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
    39cdan likes this.
  6. Yep stock rad here with sbc in my 47 - no mechanical fan just a front mounted electric fan so its hidden. The temp stays at the level it was when once the fan comes on.

    No issues :)
    39cdan likes this.
  7. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    as long as it has the same area as the new style ( which it should ) and its clean flowing , use it and a trans cooler with a themostat so it will get up to operating temp and mounted on the front , running a auto trans too cold is as bad as too hot . some guys I know mount them behind the radiator to help keep them in the proper tempature range .
  8. MMM1693
    Joined: Feb 8, 2009
    Posts: 484


    Yes sir! Flush the radiator or have it cooked and pressure checked. Have a good fan and shroud, tranny cooler on right frame rail and go have some fun! P.S. No A/C
    39cdan likes this.
  9. Thanks for the input everybody. Saving me lots of money to put other places. I have never heard of a transmission cooler with a thermostat. Am I reading that right? I will search Summit, etc. for such a unit. If you have a recommendation on a specific unit, I am all ears.
  10. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,159

    from Wa.St.

    Be forewarned, if it's a stock original 71 year old radiator, hot tanking and flushing out can cause more damage than good. It doesn't matter if it a tube type or cellucore, but if it is cellucore you will be chasing pin hole leaks that will just keep running on you even with a good radiator surgeon. Most radiator shops won't guarantee any work on it other than a recore.........................
    Just checked the auction site, lots of off shore Aluminum radiators with trans coolers for under $200 (free shipping), since your selling after the season buy one paint it black and move on. They are listed as bolt in for your application.............................................
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  11. Yea I just use the stuff from the autoparts and a hose. A good back flushing with a garden hose works wonders.

    Last rad I took to a shop for boiling and pressure checking had no leaks until they boiled and applied the pressure to it. Then it needed a new core. Not sure which damaged it the most the chemical bath or the pressure.
  12. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,159

    from Wa.St.

    The scale inside acts like stop leak till it's cleaned than all hell breaks loose!
  13. malcolm1943
    Joined: Sep 28, 2011
    Posts: 239


    I think the person who mentioned thermostat meant for it to be in the coolant return to the radiator. In the thermostsat housing.

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