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Which radiator would you go with?

  • Factory plastic tanked aluminium core

    Votes: 15 13.8%
  • Aluminium tanked aluminium core

    Votes: 33 30.3%
  • Brass copper unit

    Votes: 60 55.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 0.9%
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nissan patrol
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Discussion Starter #1
I believe its time we start locking up threads and converge all threads of a similar topic in one. Finding information is hard due to dribs and drabs all over the place, and with new and old members asking many of the same questions over and over a simple redirect to the relevant thread and then there question deleted would be very helpful and save on multiple threads on the same topic.

Anyway I know this question also has been asked but i'm hoping to find an answer as its difficult to decipher so many different threads, but I'm wanting to replace my radiator and after first hand experience people have had with both aluminium and brass copper radiators.
 

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Sydoforumsuperfan :)
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Aluminium for me. All forms of vehicle racing use them so good enough reason for me
 

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nissan
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are we talking welded ally or ally with plastic tanks?
 

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Premium Member
nissan
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Advantages of aluminium radiators
1. Slightly better heat transfer for a given size
2. Slightly lighter for a given size
3. Cheaper than an equivalent copper unit (usually)

Advantages of copper/brass radiators
1. Corrodes slightly less readily than aluminium
2. Often field repairable with soft solder
3. less likely to have stress fractures
4. Some aluminium units have plastic tanks which are a weakness

My stock aluminium/plastic radiator began leaking, was suffering a bit from corrosion and I was looking for an excuse to buy a larger radiator to improve cooling. I chose a copper/brass unit simply for the fact that I've sealed leaks in such radiators before with ordinary soft solder. There is nothing that can be done to reliably repair an aluminium radiator on the track but with copper you stand a good chance. I can't give a fair comparison between the new and the old radiators because the new copper one has an extra row of tubes and as expected, does a better job of cooling than the old one did.

Cheers,
 

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nissan
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i have a fully welded adrad 2 core in my 400hp kingswood, is street car only, the radiator guy i bought it from is very knowledgeable, and made most of the points over board made ie people say that the copper has better head transfer than all but its the solder that holds the fins on that slows down the heat transfer, making the full ally ones better, while i have not had much to do with radiators in 4x4 i have been in the performance scene for a while and most big hp cars a kept cool with 50-60mm 2 core ally radiators, at the same time if your not careful and have stray current in the coolant they can be chewed out in as little as 3 months,

as for a fully welded tank im not sure how long they would last doing long distance on corrugations i would be worried about cracks down the welds, if not welded with a filler that suits it which i doubt the china ebay ones are, a good quality PWR or adrad might be a different story
 

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nissan
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Mungrel. Do they use brass copper in comp trucks ?
Do I comp my "truck"? No
Nor do I run 35"+ tyres..

What's good for some isn't necessarily good for all which is why I typically avoid the whole "which is better" threads (and I regret commenting in this one already but oh well) cause what's good for the OP may not be good for me, and vice versa.

At least I took a moment to briefly outline the why behind my decision, not just "comp trucks use em"

What is the OP looking to do with his car?

Anyways, I've got my radiator, I've done my own research and made my own decision, personally I'm not really interested in what decision anyone else makes :)
 

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nissan
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A industry opinion, which I agree with.

What makes the better radiator;
Aluminum or Copper?
I get asked this question so often that I feel like a broken record telling the pros & cons over and over. I am not a scientist, chemist or engineer but based on my 28 years in the radiator business here is my opinion on which is better; copper or aluminum radiators.
So which is better, aluminum or copper? My opinion is neither. Each one has advantages over the other in different areas. The decision over which to use in your particular case comes down to what is more important to you. Weight, appearance, originality and cost all need to be considered before you make your decision. From my own experience on my own vehicles I have found that a properly built high efficiency copper radiator will cool the same as a well made aluminum radiator. Like I said at the beginning, I am not a scientist or an engineer but this is my opinion and I’m stickin’ to it.

Had ali , ali and plastic, and lots of copper brass , in everything from fj45,s , bmw,s , xk , xl early falcons , wj grand cheros, etc etc the lot!
And purely as a prefrence for 4wd , in remote spots , and with using the Gq as a tow vehicle on beachs and tracks, around WA, ( think corrugations , twisty tracks, salt air)
I go copper /brass.
 

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What, no factory rad option?
 

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Sydoforumsuperfan :)
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Yeah i'm still sticking to whatever is used in racing as they would be under the most extreme use. Pretty sure comp trucks would be aluminium is someone could verify this. Couldn't get any tougher 4wding than this. Hole in radiator chuck in pepper :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah can of worms, thanks for the replies so far. Trying to keep it based around what the forum was started with in mind. The TD42 motor turbo or non turbo, GQ or GU with maximum cooling efficiency in mind.

Doesn't matter Comp truck or what ever as I believe we own Patrol because we take them off road and corrugated roads chassis twisting the like are found no matter what. Yes we can Include factory plastic tank, which is what I want to replace due to mounts snapped off but its still holding on, for now.

Read a lot of good and bad feed back with alloy radiators and also copper brass, it seams if people have a dud they are quick to let everyone know, how many people have had good runs with either with out issue ?.
 

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Sydoforumsuperfan :)
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I've always had aluminium. Never had a problem except a top plastic tank cracking that's why all aluminium is better. Would also be good to know how many have actually had to patch up their copper radiators in the middle of nowhere
 

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Speaks for itself

I haven't fixed a copper /brass in bush personally , but , I have never had one fail in the bush either.

Had 2 x bmw , plastic tank ones crack and fail around the hose connections , a Cherokee ALI one rot and leak at the join of plastic tank , luckily in the metro area, and had a cheap ALI one ( not purchased by me) , in a fj45 with 308, crack and leak , on the way back from down south, at Mandurah,WA.

Got a mate to bring some devcon ( liquid metal) from singleton, and fixed it enough to get home.
Then the next day got totally ripped off by some radiator mob in joodalup, whom charged me a weeks wage ( or more) for a copper /brass , h/d 4 core fj45 one.

No more probs after that , but swore to stick to what I know works after that.
 

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Had 2 x bmw , plastic tank ones crack and fail around the hose connections
The E46 radiators & expansion tanks are always leaking. The automatics also have a thermostat at the base of the expansion tank for the transmission which tend to break apart when you're replacing the tank as well. Pretty much all the plastic hose fittings go on those :lol:
 

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Anger management pi$$es me off
nissan
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I have gone a brass/copper unit simply to be able to mend it if the case should arise. Not a fan of alloy units that we buy in australia
 

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I've repaired leaks myself in a copper radiator twice but both times were in the garage, never on the side of a track, but I know if I had to I could. I first noticed the stock aluminium radiator in mu GU1 was leaking when we stopped at the punt across Cooper's Creek on the Birdsville Track in 2011. That was a long way from anywhere but fortunately the leak was only slow and caused no real grief before we got the radiator changed in Wyalla. I was a little nervous about the fact that there was little I could do if the leak increased. I saw a guy camped on the bank of Palm Creek on the OTT in 2012 who had put a stick through his radiator and was waiting for a replacement to get shipped up. He had removed the unit and I had a good look at it and was certain I would have been able to seal it up it if it had been a copper unit.

Apart from the difficulty of repair, the other two issues I have with aluminium units are corrosion and stress fractures. Both these issues are most likely to manifest themselves after many years and hundreds of thousands of kms. Competition/race vehicles just don't achieve these sorts of figures without major rebuilds. Just because something performs well in a racing environment doesn't mean it will perform well in the real world. They are different environments with different requirements.

Cheers,
 

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Glasshouse Bogan #1
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Aluminum radiators are easily repaired with areldite or devcon along with a bit of squashing of the tubes. Ive done it on mine and customers cars and it works well.
 

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Aluminum radiators are easily repaired with areldite or devcon along with a bit of squashing of the tubes. Ive done it on mine and customers cars and it works well.
That's great info. I'd thought of epoxy before but was told it wouldn't work. Nice to see someone has tried it with success.

Cheers,
 
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