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NMcKe97

Free radiator what should I get?

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Hey everyone I have a quick question as to which radiator I should get.

I just went in to have my tires changed and long story short my radiator got damaged and they are going to get me a new one.

They quoted me a new radiator at 500$ so I started looking around.

I saw 3 different radiators. The first I saw was the Champion radiator. It's a 3 core polished aluminum radiator for 280$, its core is 16 1/8" tall and 24 1/2" wide and its overall dimensions are 23" tall and 26 3/4" wide. (Unknown weight)

The next was from ZCarSource, it was also a aluminum 3 core. The website didn't specify any specs so when I called and asked about it they said it was 30" tall and 40" wide(I assume that's overall) at 20lbs, this one costs 480$.

The last radiator is from MSA and is also a aluminum 3 core radiator. Its core is 16.5" tall and 23.75" wide and overall 23" tall and 26 3/4" wide at 11.4lbs. It is currently out of stock though.

I searched around and saw folks liked the MSA radiator,  but overall thought a upgraded radiator wasn't needed, seeing as it's of no exspense to me I might as well get whichever is best so I'd appreciate your input. 

So of these radiators, or other ones, which would you guys recommend?

Thanks

Noah M

Edited by NMcKe97

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I'm happy with a 3 row brass and cooper 280z from Advance in my 240Z. It's black and looks good, more original than those aluminum ones people run.  If your high performance then you may need the aluminium, but that's like K&N cold air filters, not needed on a Z.  The only question was it sits 2" deeper than the OE.  But after reading a bunch and physically measuring before I bought it I realized its even with the cross bar under the radiators. If I hit bottom it'll hit the cross member first.  Cools about 173 degrees without air flow sitting in my garage.  Another plus is a full shroud from a ZX will fit.  $139 I think it was and runs cooler with more coolant capacity.

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The shop originally offered me a CSF brass and copper rad but I currently have an aluminum rad and thought that might be a downgrade. Is that not really the case though? I was under the impression that brass/copper rads were weaker and didn't cool as well.

I do like to drive my car very spirited and in the upper rpms and plan on slowly upgrading it so I imagine the extra cooling wouldn't hurt. 

If it were my money I wouldn't worry about such a minute upgrade but seeing as it's at no cost to me I'd like to get the best I can.

On another note if I were to get electric fans for the radiator what would any of you recommend, single or dual, sizes, brands? I'm going to look up and read about it after I post this but I always like to interact with you guys and here your outlook on things.

Thanks again,

Noah M

Edited by NMcKe97

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Imho electric fans are overkill unless your car runs hot.  They're a pretty big pull on the electrical so you'd need to upgrade all that first. Luckily mine is in a good temp range with the larger 280 rad and a full shroud.

There's some guys on here that live in a lot hotter climate than I do and others that get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for extended amount of time.  So the big aluminums are good with fans for some driving conditions, just not mine.

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I guess I won't go with electrical then.

It can get somewhat hot here in San Diego but it could be worse.

I'm thinking I'm going to order the aftermarket radiator from zcarsource, it comes with mounting hardware, new hoses, and is a larger core.

I need to have the car back asap for work so I'm gonna order it in the next few hours unless I here any real objection in the meantime.

It looks like a really nice one jsm but it looks to be only for 240 and 260zs, and I forgot to mention that mine is a 280zx.

Thanks,

Noah M

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  • I bought a Champion with a desire to convert to electric fans for (A). To take the weight of the fan off the water pump (lost at least ome pump due to the weight of the original metal fan), (B). I have read that it reuslts in a few more horses, (yet to be confirmed). Champions fan attachment is not the best and in addition you have to buy the control circuit seperately. I live on the east coast of central Florida and there are some days when unquestioned cooling is essential. When I get it all installed I will give some first impressions. I painted the tanks on mine just because ...................I'm cool like that! :cool:

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I almost ended up going with the champion radiator because of order issues with ZCarSource's website but last minute cancled the order.

ZCarSource called me on Monday, having seen my failed purchase over the weekend, and wanted to see if I was still interested. After a few questions and a bit of talking I ended up buying their radiator instead.

I hadn't really thought about how the fan weight might affect the water pump. I imagine the oem plastic fan blades from later models might help with that if you were still taking the fan clutch route. Would that be something that is swappable or worthwhile on your application or are electric fans your best bet?

What did you need to upgrade in your electrical system to run electric fans? Did you go with a larger battery? I have a battery with 800cca and a 1000cc I'd imagine it would be able to power a couple electric fans no problem.

I've heard and read similar things in regards to the hp gains, throw an electric water pump and electric power steering rack on there too and the hp might start to add up. I think it's a pretty small gain but freeing up the rotating mass of an engine will result in gains, probably only a hp or 2 if that but hp is hp. 

So with the champion you're cut out with a little more work to get it all setup, good information to have if I ever get a champion down the road. I ended up being able to install the radiator I got with the oem fan and fan shroud, from my previous radiator, without a problem.

So far I'm really pleased with the new radiator. It ended up being a Koyo rad with crossflow design, 3" thick 3 row core, increased coolant capacity, and a mirror finish. It's been keeping my engine real cool, at operating temperature it sits a half a centimeter to the left of the middle. If I start my car after recently driving it it will be a centimeter, or less, past the middle and almost immediately the radiator will adjust the temperature back down.

Living out in SoCal I think I might have an idea what you're talking about, the summer can get quite hot at times!

Please do keep me updated, it will be cool to see your finished product!

I wish I was as cool as you, I just have a mirror finish haha. I really like the paint choice you went with, it's a nice contrast to the aluminium, black, and turquoise.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and time with me!

-Noah M

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i have the champion radiator and electric fans. i think that alternator output is going to be your biggest concern. when my fans kick on, engine rpms drop 50-75. there is definitely a load on the alternator.

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That's good info to know if I decide to go the electric fan route. Is there a way to overcome this problem like a higher output alternator?

I think for the time being the radiator and stock fan clutch setup provides me with ample cooling. 

Seeing as you're running electric fans sweatybetty what do you like and not like about that setup?

Thanks for your input!

-Noah M

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i like that fans well enough, no real dis-likes. when they kick in, they move a lot of air, cooling the engine down fast. basically, they only come on in stop & go traffic or at idle. i did upgrade my alternator to a 90 amp so i have plenty of power, even at idle.

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Just remember there are no free lunches. It takes horsepower to turn that alternator. The more power you need the more HP it takes...

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14 hours ago, Patcon said:

Just remember there are no free lunches. It takes horsepower to turn that alternator. The more power you need the more HP it takes...

Technically the greater the AMP's, the greater the number of winding's in the alternator and the higher cost of manufacture. The resistance of the commutator is negligible and should not cost "more HP" to turn. The magnetic interference on a newer style alternator should actually be a HP "win" in the long run. I plan on running a modern 3 wire 10SI GM style alternator in my resto-mod. 100+ AMP style...

The bottom line is the draw from the car. A stock configuration won't consume that much power at all, however if you add a big sound system and speakers, electronic niceties like power steering, power windows, hi power lighting.... you will need the modern higher amp alternator. Losing 1-2 HP for that is worth it.

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