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Old 01-21-2019, 02:52 PM   #1
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Question looking for advice on radiator replacement

After putting new coolant in my system and I found it leaks; sure wish that had shown itself when I checked before doing a complete flush and coolant change.
but anyways:
In my 1992 ford E350 bus:

The radiator in there is a four core copper/brass. I have measured the core,23-5/8 high, 30-1/2 wide and 2-1/2 thick.
When I look online I can find the exact size, with all the right holes but I have been unable to find a 4 core version. Most are 1 core 1-7/16 thick and one 3-core 2-1/4. There are a lot of aluminum ones.

I'm wondering that the current thinking is:
Is this radiator some kind of special version made for the bus, but not made any more?
How important is the cu/brass vs al issue?
I will be driving AZ deserts for the foreseeable future and cooling is important.

I also broke the fan shroud, It cracked apart in one spot. Any ideas on patching that.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:52 PM   #2
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images

Here is a couple of shots of the corrosion. This is under the upper tank.
After i knew what to look for, I noticed that after just sitting for days, there was a small drip off the bottom of the radiator and coolant collecting on top of the bottom tank.
When I started I guess I convinced myself that the small amount of moisture was not a problem. I thought it was from me spilling during the refill.


At the school auction they said this bus sat for 10 years. I guess these things just rot out. But would copper and brass rot? Is it actually the solder alloy that corrodes? I'm guessing the green is copper-oxide but I thought that stuff is not like iron rust, its doesnt flake. Copper roofs turn green and last lifetimes.
If I can find a replacement would a real radiator shop unsolder it, ream out the cores and resolder?
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File Type: jpg raw157__rad1-corrosion-0.jpg (139.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg raw159__rad2-0.jpg (302.5 KB, 2 views)
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:44 PM   #3
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Call a radiator shop. As long as your end tanks are ok, you should be able to recore it cheaper then you can purchase new. If not, they'll be able to find you a replacement.

If they can't find you an exact replacement, I would hope they'll advise you on the best option forward.

Copper/brass conducts heat better then aluminum, but is about double the cost.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:32 PM   #4
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Looks like "solder bloom", Google that. Solder fails over time. Recore is your best bet
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:13 PM   #5
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I vote re-core too. And it is very likely that someone added a core somewhere along the way. I have done it on several vehicles over the years (I have a great rad shop here that can make just about anything).
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Looks like "solder bloom", Google that. Solder fails over time. Recore is your best bet

Thanks, I just looked it up and yea it looks like that is what has happened. I was told that it sat for 10 years.

I guess the lead in the solder changed to lead-oxide.


I'm learning a lot with this project.
Now I'm debating between switching to Al or staying with the cu/brass.
any thoughts.
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:12 PM   #7
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Recoring is still the way I would go. Then you know you have what you need. Aluminum can work well however are you going to be able to the same capacity in a stock radiator? I expect it might be sized for a van not a bus. Might have to go with a custom radiator to get the same capacity in Aluminum. I did aluminum on mine because I could not find anything else, and Griffen was able to build just what I wanted. The oil cooler was the big problem for me.
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:06 PM   #8
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recore....

I just did a rebuild on my 1954 heater, ended up more expensive than buying a new one, however, I think this will out last a new one by 20 years.

I would recore, even if $50 more than aluminum new one.

but, yea, a good radiator shop should be able to source new four row, core.

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Old 01-26-2019, 10:22 PM   #9
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I bought a new radiator for my bus. I found one web site that described a radiator that was close to what I had. It was Thermal Solutions mfg.
The problem was the web site did not give any way to order one. I called them and after chatting with them to confirm that it was what i needed said they will not sell me one. I had to go to a local dealer and buy from them.

There was only one in the bay area. And boy was it expensive. but i sorta lucked out. The manager had been there over 30yrs and knew about the older vehicles.
It seems that the radiator for a E-350 was way more expensive that the radiator for the F-350 but he knew that they were the same radiator; exactly the same. The difference was the mount brackets.
I brought my old one in and he moved the brackets over.
So the tip is: find a real radiator shop with a soldering bench and tank etc and they can unsolder the old brackets and put them on a new F-350 radiator. or maybe they were just blowing smoke and had a old F-350 radiator in stock, the box did have a lot of dust I dont really think so, everyone i spoke with seemed like very honorable folks. that goes a long way with me. When you find a shop that has been in business along time and the folks have been there a long time, its easy to believe that they are good folks and a good company.


Now I have to fix the fan shroud that I broke getting the radiator out.


does anyone know what kind of plastic the fan shroud is made from. That will help a lot because then I can "weld" it. I need to know what kind of filler rod to get.
The triangle gap is where the lower clips go, the two broken parts are less than 1/2 inch wide by my fingers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg raw164_9862_fanShroudBeak-0.jpg (105.7 KB, 2 views)
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