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Custom or small radiator cores


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Does anyone know of who can make custom radiators or modify off the shelf ones for a certain application or of a small modern core that can be modified?

My Riley radiator would originally have been a nickel-silver shell with a special ribbon style core set inside it. The shell forms the outer parts of the radiator itself. Nickel-silver is not available in NZ easily (and it's not cheap!) so these days people use brass then have it plated. The cores are specially made (by Replicore) and those of the correct pattern aren't cheap as they are hand made. They would then assemble everything into the shell with the sides of the shell forming part of the tanks. The whole things ends up as one piece. The Riley is especially tricky as everything is curved and it has a circular cut out in the bottom to fit over the dynamo which pokes out the front of the engine. 

It is possible to have one made but cost is somewhere over 20k I think. They can't give me a full quote as it is very uncommon and mainly comes down to how much time it takes them. My car is only a replica so it's not worth spending that (now anyway).

So as a cheaper option to get the car finished and drive-able I have made a fake steel shell and want to put a modern core in behind it. Fake mesh will cover the hole on the inside and there is also a woven stainless steel stone guard that goes on the front to further disguise things. The shell gives me the shape I need to build the rest of the bonnet/body around it. It's a bit hard to see in the picture but the angle on the sides of the shell match the angle of the chassis rails where they start pulling in so the bonnet sides are flat but angled if that makes sense. I haven't made the hole for the radiator filler neck yet.

Main problem with the core is very limited space. You can only fit a core about 13 1/2" by 13 1/2" in there and there is only 3-4" space in front of the engine (340mm x 340mm x 75mm). Other complications are this is a thermosyphon engine (no water pump) but I might fit a small hidden electric booster pump somewhere. Also there is no cooling fan.

Eventually I might get a proper core and have it fitted into my steel shell which can be nickel plated. Does anyone know of a small modern core that might fit or can be easily modified to go into that space in the mean time? My original though was something like an original Mini one might work? It would be nice to run the engine for more than 30 seconds as that's all that is stopping me being able to actually drive the car.

Thanks,

Simon

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15 minutes ago, VintageSpecial said:

Oh, should add I am based near Levin/Wellington. Often it's easier to take things to show someone what you need.

There's an sold school radiator guy in behind the Caltex in Levin who I've used for recores.

 

Probably worth a chat with him. Be prepared for sticker shock if you want a copper/brass core.

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A half size radiator from an ek or ef civic is around the size you want. May be a good starting point for an off the shelf option

 

There was a honeycomb radiator in my commer parts, i recall it was made by somewhere that does heavy machinery radiators. Il see if u can remember where. It was expensive. 

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Honda half size radiator and someone handy with a tig is where I would start. (if you are OK with an aluminum radiator) 

I reckon top and bottom tank modifications to an old soldered together mini radiator would be trickier than a fresh new aluminum rad. 

 

https://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/car-parts-accessories/ford/radiators/listing/3660448327?gclid=CjwKCAjw_ISWBhBkEiwAdqxb9sva4Chwm4_JJmyJQRUWO6KiiF6-Z774J2LBSsC1B8pxR5gNWCEO9xoCqhwQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

Edit - clearly beaten by tori whilst I was finding a link. 

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You could buy the Honda rad, have it modified and buy a whole Morris minor for the price of just the copper core.

 

You can nickel plate aluminium actually

 

 

*thinking about it further 

You could easily make the top and bottom tanks (or covers to make it look right) from sheet aluminium at home and have them tig welded to the core. This would be a good option to make the header tank nice and big for the thermosyphon. 

Obviously the core itself wouldn't look correct, but you could get a radiator that looks mostly right after some home job bending and hammering and dressing of the welds, and it would be a decent price

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Thanks for the suggestions. For now I am OK with the internals not looking correct so these are all good ideas. I do have TIG. It's how I welded the steel parts of the shell together. I tried to do it with no filler and the few places I did need it I made my own rods from the base metal. I've never quite got the hang of ali with it though so this might be a good opportunity to learn! That link to the Honda one is most useful, it gives me a good starting point. I don't know much about modern cars so wouldn't know where to start without suggestions.

The originals didn't use honeycomb apparently. Well, according to one good source I have. But over the years people ended up using them as they are a 'vintage car' thing. The original saloon car one I have is long wavy vertical strips. Not quite a diamond core though. Hard to replica with fake mesh but one everything is painted black and the shiny stainless stone guard is put in front it does hide things to some degree. You can see the original saloon one in the pictures.

Any core making is expensive since it is very labour intensive and a specialised skill of course. I am looking at that in the future though. In which case I should have made my shell from brass to start with as it is far more corrosion resistant to steel. The Riley core is tricky since it's curved rather than flat too.

I see you can even buy them on Aliexpress. I am not likely to do that but it is handy since the ads give you the overall dimensions which give me something to work on: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002393547729.html?_randl_currency=NZD&_randl_shipto=NZ&src=google&memo1=freelisting&src=google&albch=shopping&acnt=708-803-3821&slnk=&plac=&mtctp=&albbt=Google_7_shopping&albagn=888888&isSmbAutoCall=false&needSmbHouyi=false&albcp=9594012230&albag=94205055490&trgt=313429380675&crea=en1005002393547729&netw=u&device=c&albpg=313429380675&albpd=en1005002393547729&gclid=CjwKCAjw_ISWBhBkEiwAdqxb9jC0d4n8eHZ_UZEbnBBbwDUg5dbsOkouipsqzbJUoAC1EFAjfuu0ehoCEjAQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&aff_fcid=a3ee814f5d6e459290cf19f8821ce9c9-1656885162622-08229-UneMJZVf&aff_fsk=UneMJZVf&aff_platform=aaf&sk=UneMJZVf&aff_trace_key=a3ee814f5d6e459290cf19f8821ce9c9-1656885162622-08229-UneMJZVf&terminal_id=83a9b45af66c49758d39670c867fb18b&afSmartRedirect=y

Simon

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Have a look in a bike wreckers. The size you quote is close to a lot of the 250/400 fours. The alloy tanks can have the fittings moved quite easily.

Please do put in an electric pump. A couple of years back I was asked my opinion of a cylinder head off a Riley being used in VCC competition. The builder thought the color variation front to rear was mixture....I told him it was temperature gradient. It was still using thermosyphon. Even a second supplementary rad under the first would be worth looking at. Better to overcool and fit a thermostat than do damage when it overheats.

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The other thing would be just practice my aluminium TIG welding, make top and bottom tanks to suit from sheet and weld them to a suitable core as people have suggested. It seems cores are available and able to be cut down and looking at the pictures of the radiators suggested that's how they are made. I am sure I can get pipes/filler necks ready to weld in too. I've got this far not knowing what I can't do and just trying it anyway so might as well continue in that way! 

Simon

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Unless you are a very quick learner I'd suggest that a first attempt at aluminum tig on a radiator with made from scratch tanks, variations in thickness and the slightest pinhole likely to cause a major irritation is going to be tricky to say the least! 

Best of luck for whichever route you choose. 

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Can always make them up and tack them for out sourcing. 

Good thing is, a sheet of aluminium is cheap and it's nice to weld a new radiator and new sheet rather than used stuff

(Road signs are real cheap though :thumbleft:

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I am in the VCC but that doesn't help in this case. The problem is this isn't a simple core in a shell like an Austin 7 say. The entire shell forms the outer part of the radiator and the core is soldered in. It's all one piece. There are no originals of this kind around as the car was rare in the day. Somewhere between 100-200 made. The last one I heard of that came up was a while ago in the UK, needed re-coring and was 12000 UK pounds! And I have an original saloon one but it can't be simply cut down as they need to be totally deconstructed, then cut then an new front piece welded on at the bottom to go over the dynamo. The metal you need (nickel-silver) to patch it isn't easily available and doing all that is as difficult as building a new one anyway apparently. I did ask the experts about that option and it isn't really viable.

I have talked to A1 Automotive cooling who supply aluminium cores and can also make top and bottom tanks to suit. So I am prototyping something up later (with cardboard and hot glue!) to see what fits then I can send measurements/pictures to them to see if they can make something. Following the advice above and that from someone I know in the UK who restores pre war cars letting the experts do the welding is probably wise! Cost I imagine is still several thousand dollars but that's better than several tens of thousands on an accurate replica for now.

Funny thing with this car when done is it needs to be inspected by the VCC for them to issue a DOMAS to say it's a true replica. Only by the time I have done it I will be one of the most qualified to make that determination! I have already checked that for certification having a modern core inside a replica shell is fine. It's not changing the form or function of the car I guess.

All good fun, but don't think I will do another!

Simon

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I got a recore of my Fiat 1100T radiator, which is small dimensions but thick.

Radiator Services in South Dunedin, who were recommended to me and would now reccomend to anyone.

They ended up cutting down an old Patrol core which was 3 layers (as per oem) and soldering onto the original upper and lower brass tanks and added a bung for a fan switch

Ended up being about $450 all in. Saved about $150 over using a new core (that they couldnt end up sourcing during covid).

Probably a bit far from you but gives you an idea on a ballpark price to weigh up.

 

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