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How To Choose A Radiator For Your Car

9/14/2016
Our technicians are often asked: “Will this radiator cool my engine?”

No matter if it's a factory or an extreme high performance engine this is a valid question, but it can also be a tough one to answer. The fact is, every application is different. It is our primary objective to provide you with the best option for your street rod, muscle car or race car.

There are a few things to consider before we single out the radiator as a cause of the cooling issue. The remainder of your cooling system and engine should be in proper working condition; meaning the appropriate pulley ratios adequate airflow, proper thermostat, correct ignition timing, air/fuel ratio, vacuum and mechanical advance curves, etc. need to be addressed.

How Does a Radiator Work?

When we discuss radiators it is helpful to understand exactly how they cool. A stock engine can produce around 42 BTU per horsepower, and it's the job of the radiator to remove an amount heat proportional to that. If we take a look inside the core the main source of cooling comes from the tubes and fins. As the heat dissipates from the coolant through the tube wall, it is transferred through a joint to the fins. When air passes over the fins it carries the heat away from the radiator. Depending on the air temperature and speed moving across your radiator, it should remove about 25°F to 50°F from the coolant. You can check for proper function by using an infrared temperature gun on both the inlet and outlet of your radiator. Check out Longacre's handy Infrared Thermometer under part number 47550612

The Importance of a Fan and Shroud

You can purchase the most expensive radiator money can buy, but if there isn't any airflow across it, it doesn't do you any good. Whether you're running an electric or mechanical fan, you should always install a fan shroud that will cover as much of the core as possible. A fan shroud will not only help shield the radiator from the engine heat, but it also increases and directs the airflow.

There are many advantages using an electric fan vs. a mechanical fan. Not only will an electric fan save horsepower, it can be mounted directly to a fan shroud and can be automatically controlled by a thermostatic temperature switch. This will reduce fan noise and current draw when the engine is running cool enough that it doesn't require additional airflow from the electric fan.

Speedway Aluminum Radiators

We offer a multitude of direct bolt-in and universal fit radiators that are 100% TIG-welded, which means there is no epoxy to fail. All of our single and double pass radiators are extremely efficient, lightweight and designed with two rows of large 1" wide aluminum tubes in the core.

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