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  #1  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:11 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Default Aluminum radiator

Hey gents, I'd like to get my car to run a little cooler. Right now it's about 50 outside and the gauge reads 190 - 200 depending if I'm going uphill or cruising flat.
So, does anyone know of a decent aluminum radiator that will fit a 59 bird. I'd also like to keep it inexpensive if I can. I plan on removing the expansion tank anyway so I thought this would be a good time to look at radiators.

And, does anyone have any idea on what I can expect cooling wise? Percent gain, etc.

Thx in advance, Dave J

PS; I got my toploader rebuilt to a wide ratio using David Kee's 1 3/8 shaft kit. It's awesome. Eric, your speedometer works perfect too! I checked the speed with my GPS and my plastic gear choice was spot on - yee haw.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:28 AM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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David, when your car left the factory it ran cool. There were no shrouds, six blades, aluminum radiators, none of that.

Engine cooling depends on all components of the system to work well.

Here we are fifty years later. Many folks didn't keep up their antifreeze which inhibits rust. The head gaskets are the thinnest steel, engineered to divert coolant to correctly flow to the back of the engine first, then pick up heat and exit the front. If your head gaskets are rusted through, coolant bypasses the rear cylinders causing your engine to overheat.

What do you do? Remove your head gaskets and block core plugs. Flush the block's water jackets with a garden hose, replace the head gaskets and replace the core plugs. Fill it with antifreeze. Now check the radiator for plugged cores by using an infrared sensor (gun) or simply by feeling the cores. Cold ones aren't flowing. If you only need a few, replacing is much cheaper than buying an inferior aluminum radiator. Yep, aluminum transfers heat about half as fast as copper and aluminum is much more difficult and more expensive to repair. A good radiator shop will save you money and make your cooling system run like new.

Most OEM and rebuilt water pumps work just fine as long as they don't leak. Most thermostats work well, too. If you plan on running the engine at low speeds for long periods, install an electric fan and a 100-amp alternator. Then you can leave your car running while you go shopping, like a modern car can.

When done restoring these components, you can run your car across the Mojave, like when it was new, and your engine will not overheat. - Dave
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:09 AM
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Dakota Boy Dakota Boy is offline
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have you tried a coolant additive like Water Wetter yet?

Do you know if your current radiator is in decent shape inside? I'm not 100% sure if the reproductions sold by the parts houses are aluminum or copper, but you can get a new one of those for 400.

Also, a late 90's Ford Contour electric fan will fit the stock radiator perfectly.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:31 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Hm,
My engine and 4 speed transmission are both rebuilt. The engine was completely vatted etc and has coolant running everywhere as it should. However the radiator is the original, it sat for 15 years in a field and probably has clogs and rust. I had thought (from reading) that the newer aluminum ones worked better? Jegs, etc have 19 inch by 26 inch ones for ~$170.

A couple of things; I have a 6 blade fan with a shroud. Years ago I put an electric fan on a jeep cheerokee, it didn't work worth a hoot - overheated and I had to go back to the original. Are electric fans all that good? Would that be better than my 6 blade shroud set up?

Also, what is a normal running temperature for these FE motors? I've read that they run hot, but I don't know what "hot" means temperature wise.

Also, my motor is hotter at 55 miles an hour (2600 rpms) than it is at residential speeds and stop and go traffic.

regards, Dave J
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:08 AM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default Aluminum radiator

Like you, I am running a six bladed fan and a shroud. I had my radiator taken off, sent to radiator shop, and re-cored. It is like a new radiator. It has not given me any problems since. You might consider doing that to it, especially since it sat so long.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:40 PM
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My car also runs warmer at 75 mph (3000 rpm). By "warm", I mean between 200F and 210F. It could sit and idle all day at 180F though. Before I installed the electric fan, anytime I was stuck in traffic made me pretty dang nervous.

My radiator is "original" just like yours, Dave.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:57 PM
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Dave - glad to hear the speedo works.

You might want to consider an original replacement from Carl Heller (partsetal). Very good quality and working fine so far (through the end of last years hot summer). It was also cheaper than a re-core and much cheaper than having the same shop build an aluminum radiator.

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...light=radiator

Eric
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:26 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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When I had to replace my radiator, I looked at new, recore and aluminum. The aluminum was about the same price as getting my original recored, so I went with the recore. They also offered me a 4 core vs. 3 core for about another $50. Went with the 3 core. I have been told the 4th row of tubes really only adds coolant capacity more than cooloing. Haven't gotten to drive mine with the new core, but I have idled it for long periods in the garage. Also I only have the 5 bladed fan. I had a 6 bladed flex fan that I had installed, but when I bought and installed the new shroud, it wouldn't fit with the flex fan. Also, one word of caution if you get your radiator recored. The shop was a little sloppy when they soldered the top brackets to the tanks and didn't get one side centered. I didn't think that would be a problem until I had to install the cover plate to the front of the body. Had to do a little trimming to get it to fit.
Nyles
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:06 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Thanks everyone.

From what I'm reading on other blogs the FE's can run a little hot. Mine seems to be pretty average so I think I'll wait and see how it does once the weather warms up. I'll also see if I can find a buddy with a infrared temp sensor to see if mine is working correctly. Definitely will try the "water wetter" too.

I found this one for a cheap fix if I decide I need one once the weather warms up. It doesn't have a drain, but that shouldn't be that big of a deal.
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Speedw...ator,7347.html

Dave J
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:52 PM
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Default Aluminum radiator

I have been following the posts on this thread. Let me review a few things. Aluminum radiators might look nice, but as was said, they do not cool as well as our OEM radiators do. So why, if you are having an overheating problem with an OEM radiator, would you want to install an aluminum one that does not cool as well? Perhaps your OEM radiator is not cooling as well as it used to when it left the factory because if it is the original one, it is some 50 years old! And it was sitting in a field for 15 years! It seems to me that you have two good choices, especially if you want to keep your engine bay looking original. Yank that OEM radiator and have it re-worked. Or PM Carl Heller ~ partsetal on here and see what he charges for a replacement OEM type radiator, like others on here have done! They are satisfied with them and they do the job!
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