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Recore or replace?

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  • Cool/Heat: Recore or replace?

    I flushed all the Stop-Leak out of my radiator. It’s at the shop now and he’s working up a quote to recore. What are my replacement options? Are there good brass radiators available? How good are the aluminum ones? Good vendor?
    The car is a ‘52 Champion.
    thanks much
    Brian

  • #2
    Aluminum replacement radiator is money well spent...

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    • #3
      About 4years ago I recorded mine with the brass, if I had to do it over I would go aluminum. Cheaper and IMHO keeps the car cooler.

      mark

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      • #4
        There was quite an interesting thread on this subject on the AACA forum regarding the subject. I was/am in the recore side of the discussion. Some take aways:
        1)All aluminum radiators are not the same. There is some real junk out there, you really get what you pay for. Most should work OK, but they won't last as long as a good recore will. Try to get a warranty, and try to find one close to home so you don't have to pay for shipping when if fails. A really good aluminum radiator can cost almost as as much as a good rocore.
        2)If you are just wanting something cheap, don't care how it looks, and are willing to take a chance on failure, aluminum may be what you are looking for.
        3)You can expect to get about 5-10 years out of an aluminum rad.
        4) If you are trying to do a proper restoration it's a no brainer, go with the recore.

        I have to chuckle when I think about using an aluminum rad, which I use in my daily drivers that are all 25 years old. It's almost like getting something for nothing, until it fails, but I use what's out there. Almost all of my drivers have had to have their rads replaced. For my collector cars the job is always going to be done right. I have cars that go back to 1931 and all <1956 cars still have their original radiators, with their original cores still in place. From 1955 on radiator quality seemed to go down hill, but I still have some fifty five yo cars with their original core intact. Ninety years vs ten years, the choice for me has always been an easy one. The question is what are your standards, and will you be most satisfied with. The car's next owner will no doubt love you for doing the job right.
        Bill

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        • #5
          I reread Bullet's post, and respectfully disagree. You can get cores that have 1-3 rows of tubes. Just like when the cars were new, it takes more cooling capacity to cool a larger engine. I have a 1960 V8 wagon with a two row core, except for the hotest days, I use a piece of cardboard to block some of the airflow. It simply runs too cool.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Brianbo View Post
            I flushed all the Stop-Leak out of my radiator. It’s at the shop now and he’s working up a quote to recore. What are my replacement options? Are there good brass radiators available? How good are the aluminum ones? Good vendor?
            The car is a ‘52 Champion.
            thanks much
            Brian
            Yes, there are good brass one's. They will cool great, IF, they have the same capacity as the old one, AND all other cooling items are good. Such as, REALLY flushing the block. I went to aluminum because I went to a different engine. It was designed with a higher pressure cooling system, and needed more capacity. You say your car is a 52 Champion. If it has an original engine, and you want it to look original, use copper. If it don't matter about looks, use aluminum. This is kinda like the 12 Volt conversion option. There are reasons for it and against it. I don't know a vendor in your area. I got mine at Brice Thomas Radiator in Gadsden Alabama. I think they are one of the best in the Southeast. JMO GOOD LUCK.

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            • #7
              If you choose aluminum, for heaven sakes, hold on to the original radiator. Aluminum radiators are not reparable, and with their rather rapid propensity for failure, someone is bound to have to go through this procedure again, during your lifetime.

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              • #8
                Thank you all for your responses! While the local rad shop is working up a quote to re-core, I’m shopping around for a replacement. Anyone have experience with Champion Radiator in California? They look well made on the inter web and with a name like Champion, they must be okay, right😉 They can work up an aluminum replacement for about $300.

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                • #9
                  You can probably find an Al radiator for <$200. My last recore took 9 mos and near $800

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                  • #10
                    Just got the quote for recore, $584. Yikes! Does anyone have a recommendation for an aluminum replacement? I have been looking at Champion Cooling, but open to others. Thanks. Brian

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                    • #11
                      I used an aluminum radiator for a Jeep with chevy engine conversion in my Hawk; $125 on ebay. Works well, just some minor trimming of its mounting flange needed to fit. I'm not sure if it will fit in a '52 or not. Just measure your radiator and look for one the same size with inlet and outlet in the right place. It doesn't matter what it was intended for if it fits. I also have a Mustang radiator in my Model A, a Ford truck radiator in my '54 Chevy and had an Opel GT radiator in my Model T.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        I got the same ebay radiator in a 3E7

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                        • #13
                          Plus 3 on the aluminum jeep/chevy radiator. I got this one, because of the top tank design. http://www.kksmotorsports.com/show.asp?id=698

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                          • #14
                            Put one in Ceci's 62 GT and it probably runs too cool now. Will need to put a thermostat in it.

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