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Thread: Aluminum Radiator Swap a Good Idea?

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    Default Aluminum Radiator Swap a Good Idea?

    Wanted to get some input. Doing a total modified rebuild on a 1971 240Z. Engine is basically stock. I could clean, paint and reinstall the original radiator which is in good shape. Or should I replace it with a new aluminum radiator? Will it make a difference going with a 2 or 3 row radiator? There are many around $130-$150 on Ebay. Is there a difference in quality or are they all basically the same. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. Kevin

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    Registered User sinnersahuayo's Avatar
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    I have done this on other car with good results. Aluminum radiator dissipate heat faster, any extra row will help any radiator aslong cooling system is working correct, and also look nice. The down side heavy xx fluid, and mental is softer. It great for city driving/tracffic, stop and go. I would stay away for ebay stuff but that my idea opinion. If you do replace any radiator I would take the radiator out and turn the car on and flush the system with a hose (bottem). Fan is off/removed. I seen other friend replace a radiator in a 66 mustang when I open the radiator and see inside i could see metal debris on his new radiator.

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    Registered User grannyknot's Avatar
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    Kevin, some of those aluminum rads will be well built and some will probably be crap.The original 2 row brass/copper rad was well built and you have it in your hands.
    If you are not adding huge HP to the engine then the original should be fine.
    I have done two 240z rads now and 4L of vinegar is what you want. Flush out as much crud as you can with a garden hose then lay the rad flat on the ground and fill it with the vinegar. After 24-48 hours empty and flush with lots of clean water.
    Spray it black and install.
    Chris
    Last edited by grannyknot; 09-19-2014 at 04:29 PM.
    1970 240Z HLS30 01955 March/70

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Original radiators are good, especially a 3 row. Find a local radiator shop to flush and pressure test it. For the most part the aluminum radiator is bling and saving some weight.
    When i took my 3 row to a local shop that's been doing this stuff for decades said he was impressed how well that radiator flowed. You could spend the money else where.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    I put a ZX radiator in my 240, got it from Advance with a coupon code for $150. Brass and copper 3 row. Works great.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    I also believe the original radiator is fine. They don't make them like they used to. My only aluminum radiator experience is with more modern cars. Most notably, when the plastic tank on the side of my Miata radiator was showing that tell-tale mottled green/orange/brown camouflage coloration, I was advised to replace it before it blew up on me in the middle of nowhere. Not really trusting plastic components, I decided to buy a (yes, cheap ebay) all-aluminum radiator. It didn't fit right, and it leaked somewhere in the core. I had to file a dispute to return it. I then got an OEM-style aluminum/plastic radiator from AutoZone for about the same price. It came with a lifetime warranty. The first one I installed leaked, so I exchanged it for another, which has been working fine. I really wish I could have bought an old-school, brass/copper radiator instead. That would have saved me a lot of work. If you MUST go with an aluminum radiator, spend a few $$$ for a good one.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

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    Nova Scotia,Canada,Earth Blue's Avatar
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    Shock mount an aluminum rad
    There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
    The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey.


    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)



    ZCars in Eastern Canada seaport ready for shipment to Europe

    http://ZSportCanada.com


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    Thanks everyone for your input. Good news is I checked and my radiator is a 3 row. I'm taking it to be cleaned and pressure tested and will use it. Kevin

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    Although aluminum has better thermal conductivity then brass or steel, what makes one radiator more efficient than another, regardless of material used, is surface area exposed to air. More tubes, more fins means better heat transfer. Material choice is a lesser consideration unless weight is a concern.

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