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#1066299 - 05/05/20 04:00 AM Aluminum radiator upgrade  
Joined: Apr 2006
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Andy85SS Offline
10+ Year
Andy85SS  Offline
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Posts: 254
Milwaukee, WI
Hello,
I'm looking to upgrade from a stock style radiator to a 3 or 4 row aluminum radiator and it seems like all of the ones I see online have 1.5" inlet & outlet sizes. My 85 SS has a 1-5/16 inlet and 1-9/16 outlet on the stock replacement radiator, part number xxx162 which is a 1 (wide) row aluminum core with plastic end tanks. It was bought and installed in 2010. Summit's website seems to confirm the stock inlet & outlet sizes in the specs of this item (not the same brand as the one I have, but otherwise identical):
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sgt-cu162/year/1985/make/chevrolet/model/monte-carlo
It works well under most conditions, but if the a/c is on and it's super hot outside, the temps climb a bit over the thermostat temp, so why not upgrade, right?
For those that have done radiator upgrades, did you find one with the right inlet & outlet sizes, or did you get hose adapters or different hoses, or ??
I was thinking about something like this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1978-1987-...-4-Row-Radiator-Shroud-Fans/111486477221
If it's not stupid expensive to order one with the right sizes, I don't mind waiting or paying for a high quality product.
Any and all thoughts appreciated!
Hope you're all staying safe!
TIA - Andy

#1066304 - 05/06/20 12:41 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Dec 1999
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86ttop Offline
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86ttop  Offline
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Posts: 11,911
Brooksville, Fl
JMHO, why not ask a local radiator shop or parts store, if you have a real one near you and not a chain store, Good luck!!


Leo Paugh
It's not an attitude, it's just the way I am.
POW*MIA
You are not forgotten
If things improve with age, I must be approaching magnificent. thumbs
#1066306 - 05/06/20 01:33 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 368
Bitflipper Offline
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Bitflipper  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 368
Las Vegas, NV
I'm running a Be Cool radiator here in the scorching hot Las Vegas desert. The fan cover doesn't bolt down all the way and I think I had to leave one of the bolts out. Other than that, seems to keep things cool. At least it did with the 305, still tuning my 350 to take it for a serious drive.

Ridiculously expensive would be my only complaint.

Be Cool Custom-Fit Aluminum Radiators 62018


[Linked Image]
#1066307 - 05/06/20 01:39 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,478
mmc427ss Offline
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mmc427ss  Offline
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Pottstown, Pa
Wow, Andy how are you doing?

Way back on the MonteList days John Shuster recommended Superior Rad when the stock rad in the Monte sprung a leak for the second time. I bought a copper/brass 4 core drop in from them for very reasonable then, it's still in the car today, Current engine got a little bigger and almost triple the hp and still using R12 in the A/C. Rad works great.

https://www.wwwsuperiorradiator.com/

It appears from their site to show alum rads but might be worth a call.

A friend who has an 86SS just going back together and was floored by the pricing of all the latest and greatest alum rads. He has a two core Modine he installed years ago before the car went to the paint penitentiary. He will be reusing that copper/brass rad.

Lots of guy in the interest of money will install a Spectre rad, plastic tanks.

Here's another expensive rad maker in alum or copper/brass. You can see how expensive these have gotten.
http://www.usradiator.com/chevrolet-monte-carlo-1980-87-v8-factory-3-row-radiator.html
Bob Morris

#1066310 - 05/06/20 12:33 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 2,742
200kSS Offline
20+ Year
200kSS  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 2,742
Bloomsdale, MO
I've been down this road recently and went 2 different directions with 2 different cars.

Car 1. My SS. For the last year it's had a 406 with alum. Dart heads, still running CCC system and a/c. When the 406 went in, so did a new GMPP serpentine belt setup and it was time to upgrade the 20 year old replacement brass radiator. I wanted something that would cool the car sitting in traffic, on a 90 degree day with the a/c on (aka wife friendly). I chose Cold Case, who I believe has the "thickest" radiator in terms of core tubes. Many of the alum. radiators on the market have 2 rows of 1 inch wide tubes. Cold case has 2 rows of 1.25 wide tubes. Had to modify the upper and lower mounting rubbers to fit the radiator, and used the zip tie method to attach the Intrepid/Ramcharger fans. Cooling wise I love it, no issues. 2 complaints. The upper hose port was larger than factory, so my original hose would not fit. After speaking with Cold Case, they claim they originally designed this radiator for a GN that uses the larger size. I ended up using an upper hose from a BB Chevelle. Complaint 2: The transmission cooler line fittings do no seal properly. No cracks, stripped threads, etc. But the upper line literally poured fluid out at initial startup. I had to wrap the fitting with pipe tape (I realized this should not be necessary) to slow the leak to only be active when trans line psi is high.

Car 2. The other SS in the family. This car only has a mild 350 but still a/c, same fans and the same cooling expectations. We went budget on this one and picked an alum/plastic replacement. This was also a p/n 162 as you'll notice multiple companies use that number for G-bodies. Install was a breeze, I believe the inlet/outlet ports were the same size. Upon install however, the freaking trans cooler port leaks on this one too. Wrapped the fitting with Teflon tape and so far so good. Again, this radiator cools properly with a 180 t-stat driving down the interstate the fans are not needed, factory coolant temp gauge stays on or below "the dot". (this is the middle non-numbered dot, not the 220 dot).

Car 3 is being assembled this summer, the Malibu in my signature. It's been on hiatus after donating its drivetrain to the 2 other cars listed. Probably should replace the radiator too, looking forward to seeing others input/experience.


88 SS Black/Oxblood. Power Tour car
80 Malibu 2dr. Drag Week car
#1066311 - 05/06/20 02:58 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 5,045
Buick Runner Offline
10+ Year
Buick Runner  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 5,045
Dharma station 1 the Hydra
I have one of those aluminum/plastic radiators for my Regal. So farit has lasted 12 years without leaking, including the ATF cooler fittings. It does have an extra barb for a heater hose, so I had to move the heater line from the water pump to the rad, and replaced the water pump's hose barb with a pipe plug.


SBC powered 1987 Regal with TES headers, ZZ4 intake, ZZ4 PROM chip, mini starter, THM2004R, 2500 stall converter, 2040 cam, CCC system, and 3.73 posi rear.

2008 ex NPS P71 Crown Victoria, cop motor, cop shocks, cop brakes, and Jmod.

Never argue with an idiot.
They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
#1066313 - 05/06/20 04:30 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 6,550
SSLance Offline
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SSLance  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 6,550
Peoria, AZ
I put an aluminum plastic radiator in my car when it went together for the first time 12 years ago. That radiator stood up to a ton of abuse and always kept the coolant right at the T-stat temp. The zip tie holding the electric fans in place finally caused it to spring a leak couple months ago...I replaced it with another aluminum\plastic OEM style replacement.

This car idles in traffic in 115 degrees temps with the AC on with zero issues...


Lance
1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car
#1066314 - 05/06/20 06:09 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 2,012
Richie Cat Offline
10+ Year
Richie Cat  Offline
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Joined: May 2009
Posts: 2,012
Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
I use one from Advance Auto from a 79 Nova.
93 Dodge Interped electric fans. Made tabs on it so it bolts where the fan shroud use to
One row aluminium core with plastic tanks.
Works just like an OEM should.


83 SC, 355 w/TPI
#1066315 - 05/06/20 09:26 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 5,045
Buick Runner Offline
10+ Year
Buick Runner  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 5,045
Dharma station 1 the Hydra
With aluminum radiators, you generally want two row. 3 and 4 row aluminum radiators are gimicks that restrict airflow. The big advantage with aluminum is that it is stronger than brass, which allows for bigger tubes and smaller tube gaps. Tube gaps restrict airflow and because aluminum is stronger, you can have have fewer tube gaps and more airflow. 3 and 4 row aluminum radiators will have excessive tube gaps and poorer airflow and cool worse than a 2 row aluminum radiator. Basically you can't judge aluminum radiators by brass radiator metrics. A typical brass radiator will have a 3/8th tube gaps while aluminums will have 1/4th tube gaps.

Last edited by Buick Runner; 05/06/20 09:30 PM.

SBC powered 1987 Regal with TES headers, ZZ4 intake, ZZ4 PROM chip, mini starter, THM2004R, 2500 stall converter, 2040 cam, CCC system, and 3.73 posi rear.

2008 ex NPS P71 Crown Victoria, cop motor, cop shocks, cop brakes, and Jmod.

Never argue with an idiot.
They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
#1066363 - 05/10/20 07:42 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Andy85SS Offline
10+ Year
Andy85SS  Offline
10+ Year
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Milwaukee, WI
Hey guys!

Thanks for all of your replies! I'm going to try upgrading to the 98-04 Intrepid fan assy and see how that does before upgrading the radiator.

I'm assuming different brands of this OE fan assy vary somewhat in quality and appearance. Are there any preferred brands found to be of higher quality than others?

TIA!

#1066368 - 05/11/20 02:55 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,478
mmc427ss Offline
20+ Year
mmc427ss  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,478
Pottstown, Pa
How are you going to control the fans? Lots of option for standalone, or simply a switch.

Managed to get 12 years from a SPAL PWM controller before water damage took out the pc board. A smart unit, mine was very early in the production before they "exported" it's manufacture. Reliability was then an issue, they stopped producing what was a very good controller design. Had several conversations with the USA SPAL design engineer for the PWM about wiring the PWM to meet my needs, ended up with two diodes in the harness. To bad profit got in the way of quality.

After much looking at all the different methods and controllers bought one of these to replace it, the 85 PWM at the bottom of the page. It's worth reading everything on his website if you need a controller for the fans.
https://www.autocoolguy.com/product-page/auto-cool-85-pwm-controller

They recommend and sell a temp sensor to install into the lower rad hose to monitor temp going back into the engine, novel idea but works great.
Unit is pricey and adding their rad hose fitting and sensor will add to the cost. Worth it, yes.

I run an R12 stock system and added a R12 high pressure switch to the system at the high pressure test port. This turns on the fans when the pressure is high, not cycling off the low pressure switch now. If running a 134 system then a 134 high pressure switch could be used. When in Defrost mode A/C and HEAT are used to clear the windows. The fans don't run much because usually ambient air temp is cold, condenser stay cooler. compressor will cycle off the low pressure switch, fans will run less now cycling off high pressure. Also with a high pressure switch instead of the low pressure switch cycling the fans they don't run as much for condenser cooling and running down the road the fans don't run much at all, lots of air across the condenser. The compressor can cycle all it wants, fans don't need to run.

You will read about a buzzing coming from some of Darrly's controllers. He actually sells a Buzz Box to eliminate the buzzing, it has a huge capacitor in it's box. There is a video on his website with a BMW install. I thought that buzzing would be a problem. When this engine is running certainly it's not noticeable. The 85 PWM runs for about 60 seconds after the engine is shut off and has a low pitched buzz. At first I thought a purchase of the buzz box was necessary but redoing the standalone fan wire harness to install the box become thankfully unnecessary because the noise no longer annoyed me, you hardly notice it.

On the console next to the line lock switch and reverse lock out switch is an overide for the controller. Have used it often on hot nights at the track sitting in the lanes. Turn the fans off before I'd stage the car. The 85 PWM has a port for that.

Fans are Spal dual 11", lower amps than most other duals. With plenty of cfm through the SS's grille/airbox when the car is moving, fans run little. Twelve rubber flapper doors on the Spal duals allow good flow through the radiator entire surface and prevent the fans from turning when not being powered up. When under hood temps are high the fans will cycle rpm off the sensor in the lower hose. Even after an engine beating on a hot day engine temps remained very stable. The controller does it's job to hold a steady temp.
On the face of the controller is a rotary switch with about 10 clicks, makes it real easy, and reliable to change the set temp point. Only touched that once in the past year. An infra red temp gauge is used to measure coolant temp at the inlet to the rad. Previosly on the SPAL setup a Fluke temp probe was placed under the thermostat in the intake manifold to set up the SPAL controller HI-LOW points. Very reliable. Taking the temp at the hottest point on the metal of the rad inlet I feel is just as accurate for monitoring hot engine running temp using the infrared. Can't get a good consistent reading off the thermostat housing and neighborhood.

Waterproof, weatherproof, who knows. The Spal was waterproof and lasted 12 years. Needing to have the controller close to the fans a weather proof 5 sided steel box was made and mounted in front of the battery, facing the battery on the rad support. The dryest place in town with some fresh air. Autocool say weaterproof, time will tell. To do a dual fan install you end up with several fat wires, being as short as possible is plus, another reason for the controller's location..
HTH
Bob

#1066377 - 05/11/20 09:57 PM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Andy85SS Offline
10+ Year
Andy85SS  Offline
10+ Year
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Milwaukee, WI
Thanks for all of the PWM info Bob. I'm not yet certain if I'm going to stick with the simple temp switch & relay setup I used with the current fan, but if I go to PWM, that info will be priceless, much appreciated!

#1066378 - 05/12/20 12:08 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,478
mmc427ss Offline
20+ Year
mmc427ss  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,478
Pottstown, Pa
It's 15 years or better since we met in, maybe Cleveland. Glad you still have the car dedication to keep play with the toy.
Bob

#1066416 - 05/15/20 02:55 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Andy85SS Offline
10+ Year
Andy85SS  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Milwaukee, WI
I think it was the 2004 Monte Nationals in Cleveland. Man, time flies! I started working for IBM a little more than 3 years ago and it's worked out well. Last fall, I bought a much nicer place and moved out of Milwaukee, to the 'burbs. Now that I'm pretty much settled into the new place, I have more time for Monte fun! Glad to see some of the old timers still offering words of wisdom to all the gear heads that come n go!

#1066545 - 05/24/20 12:01 AM Re: Aluminum radiator upgrade [Re: Andy85SS]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Andy85SS Offline
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Andy85SS  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Milwaukee, WI
Just an update on the Intrepid - Ramcharger cooling fans. They fit the stock radiator pretty well and certainly move a lot of air. I was curious about the amperage draw, so I could wire them up safely, so I did some testing. The initial draw was over 30 amps for all 4 tests, but only the last test drew enough amps on startup to blow a 30 amp fuse. The values below are the steady current draw once the fan(s) are up to speed:
1 fan on low: 11.4 amps
1 fan on high: 12.6 amps
both fans on low: 18.8 amps
both fans on high: 22.1 amps

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!


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