Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Mopar Aluminum Radiator Install
The article featured on this page is from the December 2010 issue of Auto Enthusiast Magazine
Dart Swinger Aluminum Radiator Install - Project Swing ’N Sting
Hey, everything’s cool now!
STORY John Stunkard
There are some things you need to know before you become a full-blooded Mopar man. First of all, when you buy your first Mopar – especially one that sat for a while like mine – everything that you thought wasn’t going to be a problem or wouldn’t break, will.
Right after we did our header swap and were getting ready to install some gauges, the radiator split. The top tank just simply separated from the core.
Beyond all the hard times that you will face, make sure that you have quality products to put back on your car so you don’t do it twice. That’s why when my radiator decided to puke, I wanted a company I knew I could depend on.
We turned to Be Cool radiators in Michigan. I don’t think there could be a better match than these two. The Be Cool radiator is of all-aluminum construction, so like my Hot Rod City gas tank, it saves weight (40 percent over the stock version). And, like the Mopar-engineered rad, it is a downflow design with an upper and lower tank and is a two-inch dual-core model with tranny cooler lines fitted into the lower tank. It’s hand-fabricated, with .080-inch wall tanks and a billet filler neck. But most importantly, it will take the OEM accessories and is a Direct-Fit model, meaning it was custom-made for my 1971 Swinger and bolted right in with no changes.
The model we ended up with was Be Cool Module #82283. This is for up to 700 horsepower and included everything in one package – the radiator, a recovery tank, brackets, and hardware, plus a matching electric twin 11-inch fan and shroud with wiring harness. Be Cool even includes the relays, which means we didn’t have to do anything beyond removing the old radiator and fan, bolting in the new stuff, and wiring the fans up. No trips to the parts store halfway through, either. The thing that is the coolest about it is the regulator; it only kicks on when it hits your preferred engine temperature, maintaining an optimum temperature range for your engine. The radiator has a guarantee to lower the temperature of your coolant by at least 20 degrees or your money back.
I do feel lucky because my Dart radiator split right up the road from Country Side Customs. It ended up sitting for a couple of weeks while we traveled, and Be Cool took my info and built the module for my car.
Be Cool also has a new super-duty antifreeze called Be Cool Coolant. It will not boil until 265 degrees Fahrenheit and won’t freeze until -25 degrees Fahrenheit. It will seal hairline cracks in aluminum parts and heads, and it will double the warranty on the radiator.
1 The first thing we did was drain and remove the old radiator, and then we set the new one in place to make sure it fit; everything lined up perfectly. We will bench-build the new radiator and fan assembly before installing it.
2 The old horsepower-robbing, belt-driven fan will be the next item thrown in the corner.
3 The kit has pre-bent, 90-degree, Z-shaped brackets; these will be bolted through the radiator core support and the welded-on radiator braces to support the matching fan. Like an Erector set, the fan package is added to the braces. Here is how the assembly that faces the radiator will look.
4 Before installing the fan for good, push these little bushings onto the fan support braces to keep your brace bolts from possibly stabbing the brand new radiator core.
5 Now the fan is set back on the radiator for one final test-fit. The radiator and fan is lowered into the car. Everything stays perfectly aligned since the holes in the Z-brace and the fan brace line up. The hoses are reinstalled, but we still need to wire up the fans.
6 We decided to use the area alongside the battery to mount the 40-amp relays, one for each fan. That inner fender is embarrassing; if we ever stop breaking stuff, we’ll do some bodywork! The wiring is color-coded to make this simple. TAKE YOUR TIME here, and you’ll be alright. You will trim some of it to fit.
7 Two grey wires will go to the provided sensor in the intake manifold. After the sensor was installed, we crimped on a pair of eyelets and bolted them up. These tell the relays when to turn on the fans.
8 Now the orange wires get routed though the firewall to the fuse box to prevent a meltdown. We used a hole already existing in the firewall for this.
9 For the main power to the fans, we put the wires right to the battery terminals. The red ones will go to the negative side, and the yellow ones go to the positive side. Be sure to fuse each fan separately at 5 to 10 amps above their normal operational current draw. Each application is different so the proper value will vary according to your application. The remaining connection is the final fan relay (orange) to fan (red); crimp and seal these.
10 The final step was adding the super-duty Be Cool coolant, which will double the warranty on the radiator and ensure we have no more problems.