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Old 05-02-2018, 06:45 AM   #1
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Radiator; no more recoreing locally!

My original radiator in the 84 MH is not completely clogged, but they are getting close.
I made another attempt to find a radiator shop to recore it. The guy came back with a price of $750 minimum! That is out of line so I am looking for alternatives and there are still brass/copper versions out there but they run a grand.
I guess I need to break down and find a aluminum radiator for my aluminum motorhome
I have one on order as a test off of Amazon in their "open package dept" for $125. It is the Spectra Premium CU850 which claims to be a proper fit for the P30 chassis. I can see some problem before I even get it.
First, both inlet and outlet are 1.75" which is close enough for the lower hose but to big for the top.
Second and more frustrating is the radiator cap is located on the top, not as a 1.325" port on the front for the external filler.
I can work around it by punching a hole in the framework for the radiator.

So, has anyone else made the switch to a aluminum radiator and what brand/model did you use? What did you do to MacGyver it to fit?

On a side note I justified a new toy to take photos for this project for $22:
Depstech USB-C & Micro USB Endoscope, Semi-rigid USB Type-C Borescope Inspection Camera 2.0MP


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Old 05-02-2018, 06:57 AM   #2
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I have only swapped an aluminum radiator into a project vehicle (Jeep Wagoneer). It is actually worth the effort put forth because the aluminum cooled so much better than the original. Crossflow cool style much better than downflow.
My guess is that you will have to order something that is relatively close in size and make up some brackets to hold it into place. It is going to be expensive. Did you look at Summit Racing or some of the other hot rod web sites?
If there is a fan shroud definitely put it back in as these really help the fan draw more air.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:59 AM   #3
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Wayne,

Here in Kentucky it cost $560 to re-core Peanuts vertical radiator. $750 in your neck of the woods seems about right. For whatever reason using an aluminum radiator in these rigs just scares me!

It will be interesting to see how your experiment works out

I also have a couple of those endoscopes. Very handy little devices.

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Old 05-02-2018, 08:07 AM   #4
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Have you tried soaking the radiator internals with white vinegar or phosphoric acid? It seems like either will disolve the solids that are inhibiting performance without damaging the metal.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:15 AM   #5
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Maybe worth seconding mprokop87 a message. He lives west side of NY state but had his radiator re-cored a couple of years back.

If I remember correctly, he bought a SOB motorhome with the same chassis as a donor, but the donor radiator appeared to be leaking, so he had his original radiator re-cored. He also had the donor one cleaned and tested by the same shop, so had that as a spare.....or something like that!!!!

Maybe he knows of a good shop?
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:29 AM   #6
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Have you tried soaking the radiator internals with white vinegar or phosphoric acid? It seems like either will disolve the solids that are inhibiting performance without damaging the metal.
That would work with a mineral build up, this is galvanic buildup from dissimilar metals. Even the radiator people cant remove it properly with all their chemicals.The only way is physical force or dynamite.

Martin, my plans at the moment are to see if and how well the aluminum version works, if it is good enough for regional travels, then I can search for someone willing to do a proper job on my original. It has no leaks, good end caps and other than the flow restriction, the core is in great shape.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:52 AM   #7
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I just had mine done here in central IL. (which does you no good except for reference in price) I was very happily surprised, $430 for the recore. Ive used this shop for many many years. He told me that he and one other shop are the only ones left in 45 mile radius. He said there used to be 10 shops.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:18 AM   #8
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You might reach out to wizard cooling, they make performance aluminum radiators and their prices are very reasonable, and they will custom build to any specs.

I dropped one of their radiators into my wifes 78 mustang and was very happy, perfect bolt in replacement, very high quality.

They say on their page a custom build is usually in the $650-900 range.

The mustang ii one I got was around $600
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:18 AM   #9
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Radiator; Encore, Recore, or New Plan

The crud in old radiators comes from residue from old/bad coolant, rust, galvanic reaction related to the multiple metal types submerged in a conductive fluid, etc. Your motor home is just a truck with a very small house on it. You would probably be happier long term with an all aluminum heavy duty aftermarket radiator. They are only expensive until you look at the cost of radiator repair plus labor, plus other parts, plus downtime, plus whatever else you break doing the repair job on an older vehicle. You can google or go through somebody at Summit racing to come up with a radiator that will actually fit. Be careful about number of rows and fin/tube structure, as well as any sub-radiators such as power steering, transmission, oil, or whatever to be sure you get what you need. Another source for parts that has worked well for me is Rock Auto parts, an online company that has been a 100% good results source for me.
Whatever you install for a radiator, check into running a better coolant. Evans makes a waterless coolant that is expensive, but kind to hoses, gaskets, cooling capacity, and metal parts such as radiators, water pumps, etc. They are not the only specialty coolant manufacturer. Be Cool makes a similar product. I have had excellent results running Evans in antiques to stop corrosion of cooling parts made of unobtanium or damnhardtogetium.
One more whatever, be sure to seriously flush out block, water pump, hoses, etc. and replace the thermostat. It's a sad thing to pollute a new radiator. It is amazing how much crud can come out of an old truck's cooling passages. Good luck.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Travel Pro View Post
Another source for parts that has worked well for me is Rock Auto parts, an online company that has been a 100% good results source for me.
I've used rock auto quite a bit, and usually they're fine if you get the right part, but if you run into any issues, their customer service is borderline non existent. It's impossible to talk to the same person more than once, and they will give you the run-around to try to make absolutely sure it is your fault and you pay for it as much as possible. And even if it's not your fault, it is your fault because you should have taken your part out and measured it and compared to the datasheet of the part they said would fit, and you could have clearly identified that the part they told you would fit your vehicle would not actually fit because it's off by half an inch, and that you should have ordered the other one instead. Then when you order other one their website told you not to order, but they told you you should have ordered, it also doesn't fit, but that's your fault because the website warned you.

And that other thing you ordered that showed up halfway out of its torn up box all dented? That looks like it'll probably still function, why are you bothering us and wasting our time. If you really feel the need you can pay the return shipping plus restocking fee and send it back to us. Just make sure you put it in a better box, if it's damaged on the way back, that's your fault.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:14 PM   #11
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Several online spots list new replacements for $300-400.


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Old 05-02-2018, 12:36 PM   #12
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Even in a pro-parts place , you are responsible for getting the right part - by suppling the correct info , check / compare when it is handed to you .
DIYrselfers want to buy at Amazon , get it done for the cheapest , and work - what could go wrong .
This is why it is getting to be a big deal to " qualify " to get wholesale pricing & servicing .
Now what's happening , is , at what use to be pro-parts houses , the younger , ignorant , lazy counter person gives out more wrong parts than correct .
Just clue-less , I dare anyone to open a storefront and think they can do better - it's called the chineezafacation of America - expect buying the cheapest and your ass .
This is a big part of why there are no more radiator shops around .
Aluminum is to make cars lighter , not better , and more profit - there cheaper , more room for profit .
The last new aluminum / plastic tank radiator I put in a customers car was from a pro. parts house Napa , came from a pro. manufacture Modine , it was defective and as a pro. shop , I was able to get Modine to pay for a new engine .
Again that is not going to happen with online junk .
Now everyone is getting screwed , even the pro.s , what few are left .
Glad I'm retired , chineeze parts costing more than ever .
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:37 PM   #13
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Several online spots list new replacements for $300-400.


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New replacements for the vertical or horizontal rads????
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:35 PM   #14
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Aluminum is to make cars lighter , not better , and more profit - there cheaper , more room for profit .
The last new aluminum / plastic tank radiator I put in a customers car was from a pro. parts house Napa , came from a pro. manufacture Modine , it was defective and as a pro. shop , I was able to get Modine to pay for a new engine .
Aluminum is more expensive than steel, and harder to work with, lowering profits.

A properly built aluminum radiator, tig welded with no glue or plastic, will cool significantly better than an equivalent copper radiator.

Aluminum body panels don't rust, and yes, aluminum is lighter, therefore better mileage.

We're on an airstream forum, why the hate on aluminum?
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Old 05-03-2018, 04:53 AM   #15
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My radiator should be here today so I can get a look at it and see what I need to adapt it.
I will do my best to document what I need to do to get it to fit.

BTW, the Spectra CU850 is the one sold by several major online outlets for the P30 chassis. I would rather have a total metal version, but at $125 and free 3 day shipping, this one was hard to pass up.

I know that at minimum I will need to cut a 2.5 to 3" hole in the frame for the radiator cap. It looks like the cap may be close to flush with the top of the framework, making for a PIA getting to it.

The upper hose will either need to be adapted or replaced to fit the larger nipple. Maybe put a 1.75" ported nipple on the thermostat housing and run a universal hose?

I also have extra ports on the passenger side to plug or make use of. I think one set may be for the heater hose and I may use one of them to mount the electric fan temperature sensor. I was wondering about using the other oil cooler pair to add in series with the transmission cooler?
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:05 AM   #16
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You might reach out to wizard cooling, they make performance aluminum radiators and their prices are very reasonable, and they will custom build to any specs.

I dropped one of their radiators into my wifes 78 mustang and was very happy, perfect bolt in replacement, very high quality.

They say on their page a custom build is usually in the $650-900 range.

The mustang ii one I got was around $600
Wizard makes fantastic radiators. They stock a new aluminum one for a sports car I own for about $500. It's twice the price and ten times the quality of the foreign ones on eBay and Amazon.

We still have an old school radiator shop in town, but his price to recore my 45 year old radiator was about the same as a new aluminum one from Wizard.
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:43 AM   #17
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Aluminum is more expensive than steel, and harder to work with, lowering profits.

A properly built aluminum radiator, tig welded with no glue or plastic, will cool significantly better than an equivalent copper radiator.

Aluminum body panels don't rust, and yes, aluminum is lighter, therefore better mileage.

We're on an airstream forum, why the hate on aluminum?


1st off no hate , just one of the things your making up .
Tell where you found a steel radiator - they do not exist .
Past radiators , that were typical to re-core were copper / sometime some brass - more expensive .
In a typical [ non race / or custom ] , you will not find all aluminum radiators - they have plastic tanks , either side or top & mount .
Then there is something called the galvanic chart , aluminum it more reactive that copper or some brass , so if well maintained , last longer and is easier to repair .
And that is besides the high failure rate of the plastic tanks & seals .
I would not say hate is not the same thing , but watching what the auto industry [ and others ] have done to screw us in the name of profit - does piss me off .
Having been in the auto industry over 40 yrs.
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Old 05-03-2018, 07:57 AM   #18
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Radiators: Recore?

I agree with John TF on several points. Plastic tanks on radiators are eventually going to be a failure point. They are not as durable as aluminum, copper, or brass. OTC aluminum radiators do typically come with plastic tanks and are a less than ideal choice for a repair you want to be long term. If I had a old piece of motorized equipment that I cared about, especially one that is expensive and difficult to repair away from home, I would take the route of a custom, built-to-fit, better than OEM all aluminum radiator. Further, I would use one of the better coolant fluids that are designed to reduce corrosion and run cooler at the same time.
If a person would rather work on a vehicle on the side of the road at night with a flashlight instead of enjoying a reliable ride, enjoy the savings of cheap parts. Without a doubt, some people luck out and the el cheapo part)s) they installed beat the statistics and last forever. The tooth fairy really is out there somewhere (probably having a cold one with Peter Pan), but will he (or she) be available at 9 PM on Sunday night to tow you from the breakdown site 120 miles from the nearest shop for no charge? Cheap parts for critical function components such as radiators more often than not wind up costing more than you "saved".
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:22 AM   #19
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1st off no hate , just one of the things your making up .
Tell where you found a steel radiator - they do not exist .
Past radiators , that were typical to re-core were copper / sometime some brass - more expensive .
In a typical [ non race / or custom ] , you will not find all aluminum radiators - they have plastic tanks , either side or top & mount .
Then there is something called the galvanic chart , aluminum it more reactive that copper or some brass , so if well maintained , last longer and is easier to repair .
And that is besides the high failure rate of the plastic tanks & seals .
I would not say hate is not the same thing , but watching what the auto industry [ and others ] have done to screw us in the name of profit - does piss me off .
Having been in the auto industry over 40 yrs.
Haha, didn't mean to start anything here, i was just confused about the anti aluminum comment. I read your comment of aluminum in cars as more vaugeley against all aluminum in cars than i guess it was intended. Im aware there is no such thing as a steel radiator. I know lots of guys that love to gripe about aluminum body panels for no good reason, that argument was primed on the top of my head.

I think most all of us can agree plastic on radiators is terrible, gluing plastic to metal just isn't a great idea for something that sees severe temperature swings!

And it's not just the auto industry, it's all of them. Given the option to make a cheap buck at the consumers expense, most companies will always take the money
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Old 05-03-2018, 03:59 PM   #20
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Easy come, easy go! Got the radiator at 4PM, and it is waiting for UPS at 5PM
First, Amazon said it was used and in Very Good condition, maybe that was in a past life?


Even the box has seen better days

More photos at the bottom of the page here: http://theouterlimits.ws/projects/ai...e_cooling.html

Beside the gorilla handling, they must have pulled on it real hard because my radiator is 36 inches wide, this thing is 40.5" wide!
DON'T buy a Spectra Premium CU850 for our machines!

Back to the search, I have an event at the end of next week so I may have to put mine back in for a while.
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