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EFV-8 Club Forum / General Ford Discussion / Aluminum Radiators, 2 Row vs 3 Row vs. 4 Row?

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Posted By Discussion Topic: Aluminum Radiators, 2 Row vs 3 Row vs. 4 Row?

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11-23-2022 @ 7:02 PM
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2022
I have a 41 Tudor Sedan with an 8BA in it. An aluminum 2 row radiator was put in in the 80s or 90s I think. 3 and 4 row aluminum radiators are plentiful and affordable, is there a big advantage with 3 or 4 rows vs. 2? It’s not over heating now, but extra insurance is good if there is really an advantage.


11-24-2022 @ 6:49 AM
New Member
Posts: 182
Joined: Apr 2020
Aluminum radiator construction and performance is different from conventional brass/copper radiators. From what I understand its the size of the tube not the number of rows. To me it sounds like what you have is working so why change it? JMO

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11-24-2022 @ 7:06 AM
Posts: 454
Joined: Jan 2010
How wide are the tubes in your radiator? I'm no radiator expert, but have done a lot of reading on them. The fins attached to the sides of the tubes remove the heat. Some aluminum radiators have tubes 1" to 1 1/4" wide. This allows a long, flat space to attach fins. Cores with three or four rows must have more narrow tubes, so the core would be no more efficient than less tubes made wider.

1931 Flamingo
11-24-2022 @ 8:19 AM
Posts: 347
Joined: Nov 2019
If it's cooling OK and not leaking I would leave well enough alone. JMO
Paul in CT

11-24-2022 @ 8:38 AM
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2022
It does ok, I had an aftermarket gauge in each head and after finding a mouse nest, back flushing bothe the block and the radiator, replacing water pumps, adding a fan shroud and a burp tank, it was hanging around 195 at 60 mph indefinitely, it would get to 210 in town, stoplight to stoplight, cool back down at highway speeds. I put the stock switch and temp sender back in (I was becoming obsessed with watching the aftermarket gauges), it runs a little on the high side of center on the stock gauge at highway speed, close to 3/4 in town. The cores are maybe 5/8”, the radiator is at least 20 years old. I feel like I’m running on the ragged edge of not enough cooling. Even if it does ok with this one, if I could get some safety margin for $200-$300, I’ll do it.

11-24-2022 @ 9:50 AM
Posts: 375
Joined: Jan 2016
I agree with the others: you probably don't have a problem.

Perhaps your aftermarket gauges were not accurate. (I once had an inexpensive under-dash gauge that displayed too high by 25 degrees!) I would check the actual temps with an infrared thermometer gun (about $20). Maybe you never actually get up in the 210 degree range.

My '40 original gauge needle is straight up centered at 180 degrees. Your needle is not much above that, under hard conditions of high speed or slow traffic. I think I recall someone (TomO?) posting that original gauges will read full hot around 210 degrees. Based on your needle positions you are probably at 190-195, and under hard conditions that aint bad.

This message was edited by JayChicago on 11-24-22 @ 10:04 AM

11-24-2022 @ 10:01 AM
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2022
I do have an IR temp gun, I’ll give that a go next spring. I am thinking about adding power steering maybe next year, the arthritis in my shoulders objects to the Armstrong steering system, that was another reason I’d like to add a margin of safety.

11-24-2022 @ 10:20 AM
Posts: 375
Joined: Jan 2016
Another thought:
I read many posts about inferior products being delivered today. (partially our own fault; we shop price, cheaper price sells, so they make it cheap) Any aftermarket radiator you get today may not be as good as the one installed in the 80s -90s. If it's still working, don't fix it.

11-26-2022 @ 11:45 AM
Posts: 55
Joined: May 2022
I agree with not fixing it if it isn’t broke and I did some research and the consensus is that 2 rows that are an inch wide or better are better than 3 or 4 rows that are narrower but the the 2 rows in mine are about 5/8”, not 1” or more. I also agree that cheap import stuff isn’t always the the best value but being in the manufacturing world I have seen in the last few years that has improved considerably.

11-26-2022 @ 1:21 PM
New Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Nov 2013
If it isn't broke, don't fix it ! - F F

1937 Ford Coupe
1952 Ford F1 Pickup
1965 Falcon Sprint

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