What's The Best Radiator?
Brass, Aluminum, or Copper? Top flow or side flow? Single, Dual, or Triple pass? If you’re confused with all the options regarding radiators, you have a good reason to be. There are many options out there and there have been improvements over time too. Plus everybody knows somebody who has that bulletproof setup that they guarantee won’t overheat your car until it does.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
If you’re having overheating issues, it isn’t always the radiator. It’s one component in a complete system that’s designed to keep your engine running nice and cool.
Other issues can include having a faulty or wrong temp thermostat, wrong pulley sizes on the water pump, a bad water pump, ignition timing, proper airflow, air/fuel ratio, and even the proper shroud. As you can see, a multitude of things could be wrong and all need to be checked before purchasing a new radiator setup.
Let’s say everything else is checking out and you’ve determined it’s time for a new radiator. There’s a bit of a debate as to whether aluminum or brass actually cools better; it depends on who you ask. Both are proven but the most popular direction is aluminum. That’s what all the OEMs use. Aluminum is cost-effective and much lighter than a brass/copper radiator. The cooling efficiency between the two is negligible or OEMs would continue to use brass.
How Does A Radiator Work?
This may seem like a bit of an obvious question – air flows over the radiator and it cools, right? Yes but let’s explain.
The radiator has a set of tanks. Between these tanks is a series of tubes. The coolant flows into one tank, then through the tubes to the other tank. Attached to the tubes are fins. When the air flows through the radiator it’s pulling heat off these fins to keep your water temperature in check. This process removes somewhere between 20-50 degrees.
A Shrouded Answer
One of the biggest mistakes we see with cooling systems is a lack of or improperly set up fan and shroud set up. If you have the biggest and best radiator but no airflow goes across it, you’ll overheat.
Just like brass or aluminum, there’s debate over whether electric or mechanical fans are better. Which one is better depends on the application and who you talk to. But let’s go over a few points with each one.
Simply put, you need a shroud. If you have an electric fan just bolted to the radiator, it can only pull air through where it’s mounted. If you have a mechanical fan with no shroud, it’s going to have a hard time pulling the air through the radiator instead of sucking air from the engine side.
A shroud allows the fan or fans to pull air across the entire radiator increasing its efficiency. A fan with no shroud simply won’t handle very much and it’s dangerous as well as the fan is exposed to your fingers that might accidentally touch it.
The Right Radiator
If you’re running a bone stock engine, then a stock fan and shroud should work just fine. But the second you start adding horsepower, air conditioning, or changing anything else that system can quickly be underperforming. If you’re staying stock and want a stock radiator set up, we offer those here.
However, if you’re needing something lighter weight and more efficient – then an aluminum radiator with electric fans is the way to go. We have several options for just the radiator or even the complete radiator with electric fans ready to bolt on. We also offer radiators with different port locations depending on your engine and hose needs.
If you’re still confused or want to discuss your options further, then give our friendly techs a call at (203) 235-1200 and we will be happy to make sure you get the right set up for trouble-free cruising!