Are thick radiators overrated? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 8:43 PM Thread Starter
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Are thick radiators overrated?

While researching a C7 fan, noticed thier stock even larger HD radiators are still very thin


So a strong enough fan can really pull tons of air through maybe easier than a thicker radiator?
The typical aftermarket fan has to work hard wiht these larger aluminum radiators today.

IF one used a larger pulley and slowed the coolant flow down (not speed up)Id think one would have a apretty stout cooling deal with cheap radiators to boot!

Seems the old thinking was a huge radiator, flex fan and hi flow WP speding the water up.

If the water spent more time in the radiator really getting coooled wouldnt this be a better approach?
Heck if it worked Id have no problem using a 150 GM radiator with plastic tanks

THoughts?

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post #2 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 9:18 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

I would say yes

A good 2 Row 1.25 inch Tubed Core Alum Rad is what I have in my Car
and it is only 2.75 inches thick which is a full 2.5 inch of fin to tube patch

A Good Mech Fan/Shroud has no problem Pulling Air thru a Trans Cooler / AC Condenser / 3 or 4 Tubed Row Core Rad at Hwy speeds

However they do not do so well in Stop & Go City Traffic since they are usually Turning at a to Lower RPM

A Good Dual Efan/Shroud Unit working at it's Max RPM has no problem Pulling Air thru a Trans Cooler,
that is located low down & away from in Front of a 2 Tubed Row Core Rad, in Stop & Go City Traffic
but adding a AC Condenser also will increase the Restriction of Air Flow

This is where picking the right Efans Manufacturer comes in to make sure you get the Best Efans Pulling the Most Air Flow thru Multi sets of Fins

See my " 9 Rules for Improving Engine Cooling System Capability in Hi-Perf Auto " in the Heating & Cooling Forum
Rule # 1 is Increasing the Coolant Flow eg. in Hot & Muggy Weather do not have a Thermostat installed, run open, without one
Rule # 2 is Increasing the Air Flow eg. the less Units with Multi Fins the better
ETC......
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Last edited by Kirk's67SS; May 7th, 19 at 9:36 PM.
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post #3 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 9:43 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

One of my worker vans is a 1986 Safari, 4.3 V6, factory 5 speed. Previous owner installed a 4 row all metal radiator eons ago, and 8 years ago, it went toast. Everything else, including fan, pulleys, shroud are dead stock, engine ran at consistent 195 degrees, just right for that setup. A stock radiator is one that is single core, plastic tanks, what most would take one look at and run away. I decided to just get one until I could have a nice 4 core copper radiator built.

In those 8 years, the $110.00 stock EBay single core radiator has been simply great, engine temp is still 195 (EFI emissions engine), winter and summer, no leaks, no problems, no adverse issues, and no problems in the hills, just works like the 4 core did.
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post #4 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 9:50 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

If the coolant spends more time in the radiator wouldn't it be spending more time in the engine too?
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post #5 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 9:56 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

C7Z radiators are WAY undersized...and that's why they overheat on the race track. The 2019 C7Z radiators are thicker then the first 4 year models by a good stretch.

I think a good bet is to always stay with the equivalent to a 4 core radiator. Most modern aluminum radiators are only 2 core, but are usually 1.25-1.5" thick on each row. My Dewitts radiator is dual 1.25" rows, its the same dimensions as a GM 4 core externally, it fits and works great.

I'm not even sold that the C7Z 600 watt cooling fans are that good honestly.

I'd lay odds that a Lincoln MKVIII fan will cool better then just about any other fan combo that will fit on a regular 27" radiator or less.
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post #6 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 10:01 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

Friend had a 327" in a T bucket with small radiator and had cooling issues. tried a lot of things and then decided to put a smaller lower pulley on it.
That fixed the hot issue.
Sometimes slowing them down does work. You just need to try for yourself.
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post #7 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 10:40 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

This thread talks about a few people (me included) having success with a single core aluminum radiator with plastic tanks. In my case it was a cheap experiment that has panned out so far.

There are other threads about others having success with this same radiator as well.

"So far so good..."

https://www.chevelles.com/forums/32-...radiators.html

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post #8 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 10:43 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

Believe it or not, I had a single core, two electric fan junk yard radiator out of a 2002 Honda Accord that I used for nearly a year while I was testing my LS engine installation. Paid $65 for it and it ran great until I scrapped it for leaks across the bottom tank - plastic. I did not do any high speed hot day driving but it never overheated on the few test drives that I did do. Pretty much stayed around 185-190 F.


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post #9 of 82 (permalink) Old May 7th, 19, 10:55 PM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

I ran a 350 small block in a 39 Chevy coupe with the stock old 39 radiator and it never ran hot BUT on the highway, the water pump would pump more volume than the radiator could handle so it would blow coolant out the overflow.

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post #10 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 12:21 AM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

Just about any radiator will work efficiently if it is installed correctly and with the proper associated components. A good fan system with matching shroud is absolutely necessary, a thermostat should be installed (a low temperature unit with some bypass holes drilled into it), a good quality water pump with a good impeller that will circulate water efficiently, even at high RPM.

It has been my findings that the cooling system will work more efficiently if the flow (circulation) is slowed down, thus the coolant has more "dwell time" through the radiator.
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post #11 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 12:59 AM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

thicker radiators can reduce airflow. That can be a good thing if you are running very high speeds where you actually want to slow the air through the radiator.

I think a 2 pass radiator would be more effective compared to a 4 row vs 2 row.

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post #12 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 1:51 AM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -SS454- View Post
thicker radiators can reduce airflow. That can be a good thing if you are running very high speeds where you actually want to slow the air through the radiator.

I think a 2 pass radiator would be more effective compared to a 4 row vs 2 row.
I've never been impressed by the 2 pass deal. Actually less than impressed.

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post #13 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 3:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

Interesting reponses guys keep them coming
Wondering if there isnt something to a thinner radiator/poweful fan.

Maybe with new tech the old thinking of a huge rad./cheap fan is not what we hoped it would be.

Would make sense to me the thinner radiator, if getting cooled real good would do tyhe job better
ie 2000 cfm fan pulling 1800 on a thin rad. vs 1500 through a real thick one.

Where is DeWits when ya need them

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post #14 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 9:21 AM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

I have the BeCool aluminum 1000 HP package in my Malibu. 32 inches wide, 2 row, big tubes. Twin 13 inch fans.

https://becool.com/pages/direct-fit-...ries-radiators.

I drive my car quite a bit. In Houston, it really gets hot and muggy. No problems cooling the 540..

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post #15 of 82 (permalink) Old May 8th, 19, 10:45 AM
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Re: Are thick radiators overrated?

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Originally Posted by WHT/73 View Post
If the coolant spends more time in the radiator wouldn't it be spending more time in the engine too?
Yes, since it is a closed loop system. So if it flows slowly thru the engine, it gets hotter. Ideally, you want the water as quick as possible thru the engine, but as slow as possible thru the radiator. About the only way to do this is with a high flow water pump (or a sped up stock pump) and as large a radiator as practical. With an enormous cross section radiator (tube or water flow wise, not air flow or fin wise) water flow will be slower. So you need as many tubes and as large as possible.

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