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The Gentleman's Express: Tech-Tips from the JIOC

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Replace Radiator Core

Author: CFF

As the Jensen Interceptor ages, replacement of the radiator becomes more and more likely. A well-made American radiator is highly recommended. In mild climates, an Eskimo T C 4968 core would replace the original. In hot climates, an oversized 6-ply (triple core) radiator would be optimum. Original equipment is 4-ply. Radiator shops vary greatly in the quality of their materials as well as their craftsmanship. A cut-rate job may cost more in the long run if it has to be replaced within two to three years or malfunctions the next time you are stuck in a traffic jam in August.

Copper is the best material for a radiator. Heat dissipation is enhanced with the number of rows of tubes. The more narrow the diameter of the tube the better, with a 1/2" diameter tube giving the highest performance. The goal is to hold the water in the radiator for a time long enough to allow heat exchange. An additional factor for radiator efficiency is the number of fins per inch around the tube. Eleven fins per inch is standard, fifteen fins per inch is heavy duty. Fins are arranged in a cheaper ‘tubular’ pattern or ‘continuous’ construction, the latter being stronger and giving longer life. Each core’s row of tubes can be aligned identical to the one in front or staggered at higher cost to allow maximum circulation.

In summary, a 6-ply, triple core radiator made up of 1/2" all copper tubes with 15 fins/inch in a continuous pattern is the most efficient radiator money can buy. This is the kind of radiator cooling your 18-wheeler rigs. Outside of California, I would advise finding a custom radiator shop specializing in racing applications or heavy duty trucks. As has been previously recommended, it is best to reroute the transmission fluid to a separate air-cooled trans cooler, bypassing the water- cooled radiator. The reason behind that is that the transmission fluid runs at temperatures in excess of 200 degrees and will only serve to boil the radiator water more quickly. A 160 degree thermostat is optimum for a hot climate.

The approximate cost of such a radiator is $500 with $100 for installation. Holman Co in Los Angeles did my installation, subcontracting the core work. My temperature gauge has not seen the mid-point yet!

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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