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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

How To Choose A Radiator For Your Car

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

Whether it’s factory or an extreme high performance engine, it’s a valid question, but it can also be a tough one. The fact is, every application varies. It’s our primary objective to provide you with the best option for your street rod. However, there are a few things to consider before we single-out the radiator. The remainder of your cooling system should be in proper working condition; meaning the appropriate pulley ratios and thermostat, you have the correct timing and air/fuel ratio, the vacuum or mechanical advance curves are correct under all load conditions, and of course obtaining the maximum airflow across the radiator.

How Does a Radiator Work?

When we discuss radiators, it’s 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 proportional to that. If we take a look inside the core, the main source of cooling comes from the tubes. As the heat dissipates from the coolant through the tube wall, it’s transferred through a soldered 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 25F to 50F 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 Speedway's handy Infrared Thermometer under part number <a 728-55010.

You can also take a look at the difference between Downflow vs Crossflow.

The Importance Of A Fan & 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 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 you save horsepower, but an electric fan can be mounted directly to a fan shroud and can be automatically controlled by a thermostatic temperature switch.

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 worry about. All of our single and double pass radiators are extremely efficient and lightweight, designed with two rows of large 1” aluminum tubes.

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