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Old 02-25-2008, 04:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Weight saving of aluminum versus brass radiator?

My current 1955 project truck, "Red", has an original radiator that my professional mechanic friend describes as "brass" in its construction.

There are aluminum radiators available for these trucks, AND we may need to change ANYWAY just to get enough cooling capacity for the stronger LS series engine we will install.

Does anyone out there have any idea how much of a weight saving we might realize if we go aluminum versus steel versus the original "brass"?

Jim G
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Jim, I would venture there is at least 10 or more Lbs to be gained in this conversion even with additional cooling capacity. You may be able to find some comparable radiators on line and check out the shipping weights for an off hand guestimate.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thats a new one

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGnitecki View Post
My current 1955 project truck, "Red", has an original radiator that my professional mechanic friend describes as "brass" in its construction.

There are aluminum radiators available for these trucks, AND we may need to change ANYWAY just to get enough cooling capacity for the stronger LS series engine we will install.

Does anyone out there have any idea how much of a weight saving we might realize if we go aluminum versus steel versus the original "brass"?

Jim G
Where are you buying those steel radiators at a building supply
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Where are you buying those steel radiators at a building supply
Ha! He laughs now, but just wait . . .

Jim G
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Most of the old 50's radiators were copper core with brass tanks. If your original Radiator is a four core copper, then that is all you will need for the LS2. The upside is you can polish the Brass tank if it is not dented and ugly. By buffing and polishing a good one, you increase the beauty of your old sweety.

Frank Henson
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Weight savings vs heat loss

Cast Aluminum weighs 165 pounds per cubic foot
Cast Brass weighs 534 pounds per cubic foot
Rolled steel weighs 490 pounds per cubic foot
(American Institute of Steel Construction, Part 6-8)

Aluminum dissapates heat at a faster rate then brass or steel.

The cost of building with aluminum is higher then brass or steel due to the welding process used.

Any modified race car builder would use an aluminum radiator.
Walker builds radiators for street rods and they use brass.
Southern Rods had some that were aluminum centered with plastic ends.
Try "Speedway motors" they might list prices for each.
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Super Light Radiator

The stock SSR radiator has a few shortcomings, but it is definitely one of the lightest I've ever picked up. I'd wager there are a few spares out there that someone would be willing to donate.

You will save 25% to 40% in weight if you go to the aluminum radiator, but it is not as robust as the brass equivalent. The main factor in the weight savings is the thickness of the brass unit.

If you do the research, you will find radiator design that is optimized for the street, for the track, for drag racing or for off road. Each one has different design criteria and can use a different core material (tube design, fin density, etc) for each.

Aluminum radiators typically want to "float" in order to eliminate the twisting and vibration input that will crack the tubes from the header panel.

If you are serious about radiator design for your application, I suggest that you call and talk to Ron Davis Racing at 623-877-5000. Ron, Doug and Bill are a wealth of knowledge for application specific needs. They do everything from NHRA, NASCAR & Baja to Duesenberg, Cord & Ferrari.

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Old 02-25-2008, 07:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would imagine that an aluminum radiator with an electric fan would be lighter and free up some horsepower. A radiator from a Corvette was used in my S10 with a V8 conversion.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow, thank you ALL. These are some great comments, insights, contacts, and ideas. I will pursue them!

Jim G
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordtudor37 View Post

Aluminum dissapates heat at a faster rate then brass or steel.


Usually the limiting factor is the rate that the water (coolant) can dissipate heat to the radiator. SSR has additional issues..
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm assuming Jim that the truck is a Ford or am I laughing for nothing. Seriously though if you research the WEB, you can find very affordable Alluminum radiators for less than $300.00 and they are four an more core. I can't remember the site I bought mine from, it was for a 67 Camero. But I will do a search and see if I can find it again, just for you.
For some reason or another some people think you can't put an Electric Fan on a Copper Radiator. I have no idea where that comes from. I like copper Radiators. Walker Radiator is in OK now They were in Bakersfield CA. for many years. But CA. is not friendly to Businesses. Thats why we lose so many good Companys. Walker will build what you need for about $ 800.00 with Electric fan and shroud.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It would help if you gave an indication of how you are going to use this Truck. Eg. Drag, Street Rod, Show and Go. Modified Frame, Boxed or Tubing. Do at least box the frame anyway or the torque will be too much stress on an Aluminum Radiator. and an Aluminum Block. In this case TWEEK is a very bad thing. If you have the straight axle still under that 55, You may want to change it to IFS. This will take up alot of the Torque. and save Engine mounts and Blocks.

Last edited by MoodyBlue; 02-25-2008 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoodyBlue View Post
It would help if you gave an indication of how you are going to use this Truck. Eg. Drag, Street Rod, Show and Go. Modified Frame, Boxed or Tubing. Do at least box the frame anyway or the torque will be too much stress on an Aluminum Radiator. and an Aluminum Block. In this case TWEEK is a very bad thing. If you have the straight axle still under that 55, You may want to change it to IFS. This will take up alot of the Torque. and save Engine mounts and Blocks.
Usage will be strictly street. No drags. A daily driver.

Stock frame. No boxing. The boxing is only recommended for these 1947 thru 1955 Chevy AD pickups if you are going to run a big block - like if I had bought Tom Savini's 502 Ramjet! The tranny corssmember WILL be replaced by a very modern and strong one from Chassis Engineering (arrived yesterday), that serves also as a very effective additional chassis crossmember (its mounting method is very robust).

Stock straight axle, but steel 8 leaf springs replaced with mono composite springs at each corner! Manual steering and manual brakes.

Again, this is NOT going to be a street racer or dragstrip vehicle. This is a daily driver.

And, since it weighs only 3000 pounds AND is limited in the size of tires that will fit, it has a built-in "low amperage fuse": the tires will break traction long before we apply enough torque to tweask things!

Moody Blue: Ford????? No, no! This is a 1955 Chevy Advance-Design pickup - the grandfather of all our SSRs!

Jim G

Last edited by JimGnitecki; 02-26-2008 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGnitecki View Post
Usage will be strictly street. No drags. A daily driver.

Stock frame. No boxing. The boxing is only recommended for these 1947 thru 1955 Chevy AD pickups if you are going to run a big block - like if I had bought Tom Savini's 502 Ramjet! The tranny corssmember WILL be replaced by a very modern and strong one from Chassis Engineering (arrived yesterday), that serves also as a very effective additional chassis crossmember (its mounting method is very robust).

Stock straight axle, but steel 8 leaf springs replaced with mono composite springs at each corner! Manual steering and manual brakes.

Again, this is NOT going to be a street racer or dragstrip vehicle. This is a daily driver.

And, since it weighs only 3000 pounds AND is limited in the size of tires that will fit, it has a built-in "low amperage fuse": the tires will break traction long before we apply enough torque to tweask things!

Moody Blue: Ford????? No, no! This is a 1955 Chevy Advance-Design pickup - the grandfather of all our SSRs!

Jim G
Gotcha, and have fun, take some pics for us.
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