THE PROBLEM: As many of you may know, ever since I rebuilt my SBC 383 (With an 8.5 CR) in my '68 El Camino and added a Procharger (With 15 lbs. of boost and an intercooler) I have had a difficult time keeping the temperature below 210°+ (With a 50/50 mix of antifreeze, no thermostat & a standard flex fan) in sunny Southern California traffic.
At 80° on the highway the temperature guage (Installed in the manifold) reads 185°. In constant stop and go traffic for more than 5 minutes, the temperature would shoot up to 215°+. Once the car began to move again, it would drop to about 200° and hold as long as I didn't stop for a red light or get stuck in traffic again.
THE FIX - After discussing this issue with many other muscle car enthusiasts at shows and online, I decided to purchase a Cold Case aluminum radiator.
The radiator arrived about a week later. It was neatly boxed & covered in thick plastic which was shrouded with about 2 inches of styrofoam. A careful once over confirmed the welds were clean and solid and radiator tanks were nicely polished.
Other than being aluminum, the two biggest things I noticed were: the center core was thicker than stock and the Cold Case had 2 row high flow cores as opposed to my old small 3 row core original. Although the new radiator was stouter than the original, it still fit effortlessly in its cradle.
The install - this install was a direct replacement. It went in fairly fast as I didn't have to alter or change anything to make it fit. A simple R&R was all that was required.
After a quick flush and a refill of 50/50 antifreeze, with my fingers crossed, I was on a mission to see how the Cold Case radiator compared to my original.
TEST DAY - The test weather was sunny and 90° outside. I drove around town (Including the highway) for a couple of hours. My car's highway temperatures were in the area of 175°. Now to the street with traffic. In stop and go traffic for about 5 minutes it hovered around 180° and then I came to a complete stop due to a dreaded train crossing. Another 4-5 minutes of just idling, the temperature rose to 190°. With the train's safety arms back up in the air, my temperature guage was back down to 179° in less than a mile (All testing was done traveling the posted street limits with the exception of 2 hard accelerations).
It was obvious to me the Cold Case radiator let my thermostat do all the talking. Not only did it keep my temperature down during hotter conditions, but as soon as there was a little bit of air flowing (Through the intercooler and then receiving secondhand air) my temperature dropped drastically. I couldn't ask for anything more.
THOUGHTS - At the end of the day, it did exactly what it promised to do, but at a substantially lower price and polished at that. I recommend this product for anyone wanting a classic Muscle Car or Hot Rod look, and the efficiency of a high dollar aluminum radiator to match. This was money well spent. Remember, heat is an engines worst enemy.
NOTE - Due to the radiator being a tad thicker than stock, make sure to check your radiator hose clearance in relationship to the fan belt when installing. Yes, I speak from experience and a loose belt. Yikes!
Feel free to DM me if you have any questions.
Former Drag Racer and Muscle Car Enthusiast.
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