My Cure for the Summer Time Blues, Tranny Cooler + GOOD Copper Radiator

Gerald Morris

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As many of you doubtless have seen, I found a second 2524984 radiator this past March, entirely without prior intent while extolling the merits of this particular radiator AND its rarity to my Better Half. So, I snapped it up instantly, then had it rodded and sealed. As the solstice drew nigh, I figured 'twas time to put the tranny cooler back on too. Despite the apparent small size, the B & M stacked plate aluminum cooler did a marvellous job pre-cooling the fluid before sending it to the radiator's transmission cooler, thus reducing the amount of heat that had to be removed by the engine coolant in contact with the hot fluid below it.

So, I started the job Sunday, a nice, unusually cool day near the end of an unusually cool May and June for Tucson. I had no thought of putting the newly acquired radiator on at first, but events would compel it. I opted for 5/16" steel tubing for the cooler this time, as it lasts longer than hose, so I recycled some from Mathilda. I got some cut, bent, flared and routed through the tight space between the lower tank and the radiator yoke, and, as the evening wore down near close, the Disaster occurred:

OLD-radiator-2524984.jpg

LONG a faithful servant, this radiator will be "recored" to wit, replaced save for the old tanks. I used this from March 2016-May 2018, then again after rodding and sealing
Oct 2021 until now. I replaced it with that Cold Case in 2018 because it leaked. Note the new leaks near the top, small, but present. Yet it only lost 2-4 oz weekly. Still.
its Time has clearly come. The fellow who sealed it up in 2021 advised me to recore it then, but I lacked time, and needed something that would cool that engine ASAP.​

I inadvertently twisted one of my freshly made connecting tubes the wrong way, placing undue stress on the bottom tank, and thus broke the solder bead holding it to the core! Have I not criticized copper radiators for the weakness of soldered joints in my former pro-aluminum radiator editorials? Yes and YES! I KNEW this fact, but, after some hours of measuring, cutting, bending, flaring, tightening, then taking it off to perfect the piece, I had tired and got stupid. My clumsy slip also raked across the front of the core, breaking a pinhole into one of the VERY OLD AND FRAGILE tubes. I epoxied that shut, not yet realizing I had busted the tank nearly clean off.

BUT, I would see the Truth after topping the damn thing up in preparation for a test run. I drained it again, saving the coolant in a clean pan and jug, and called it a night.

Monday again came blessedly cool, so I fetched out the freshly restored second radiator for use. It appears to be in better condition than the old one, though how much better only time and use will tell. So far, so Good. Have a look.

NEW-2524984-just-installed.jpg


NEW-2524984-number-closeup.jpg

There's the production #: 2524984. Nice to have it clearly legible.

New-rad-close-inside.jpg

Aside from a little new oxidation after getting it back, it looks nice and clean inside.

new-rad-w-FFD3600.jpg

FFD pusher back in place. I don't expect to use it so much now, but if needed, its there. Mine serves very well. It pushes air hard enough to rotate the clutch fan @ 180 F.

tran-cooler-front-view.jpg

The B & M transmission cooler. This particular bumper makes a SUPERB mount for one of these! No other brackets were required, and it gets PLENTY fresh air down there.

trans-feed-2-cooler.jpg

The line extension from the transmission into the cooler. I used a 5/16" inverted flare union with a pair of the old Mopar female couplers on each end to attach this line. It
leaks a little at the cooler. I had to neck down from 1/2" NPT via a 1/2" to 1/4" NPT MIP to FIP bushing in the cooler, then a 1/4" NPT to 1/8" NPT MIP to FIP bushing, for
the little 1/8" NPT to 5/16" MIP to male inverted flare connector Ma Par used for nigh 30 yrs to connect transmission cooling lines on both ends. I had some on hand, and
bought a couple more for this job. I expect I'll have to redo this fluid line, and am tempted to go back to a hose and barb, but hope to use a little trick with a brass trim washer
to stop the leak at the coupler. I might also change to the sort of elbow I had more success with on the line out from the cooler to the radiator, though I admit to using about
3" of hose passing right under the lower tank. NO MORE attempting ANY forcing a steel tube in proximity fo one of those soldered tanks!!! Even when brand new. that
sheet copper is THIN stuff; the better for cooling and more malleable too. Well, conductance is the Final Determinant in a hot climate like Pima County, AZ.
Anyway, ONE small transmission fluid dribble isn't enough to stop me running Gertrude. The damned old tranny sieves at the pan again also, and the octogenarian who rebuilt it, then freely sealed his work again when I took it to him a couple years later has passed on to the Great Shop in the Upper Spheres. I lose about 1 pint monthly at the current rate, when driving daily. I took Trudi around town Monday for over 20 miles in traffic, and saw no appreciable drop on the dipstick. which is good, as I'm going to need her. Our Newest Bundle of Joy has to see her baby doctor weekly right now, as she came a little early. She sleeps soundly and happily when rolling in Gertrude....

Temperature never exceeded 190 F Monday either, even though I hadn't yet fixed the shroud back on. Since the cool spell has ended, I NOW have plenty opportunity to torture test my work, and will. IF, for some odd reason, this setup should perform in a less than stellar fashion, I'll update you all about that. Otherwise, look on at how a nearly 60 yr old cooling system keeps a same vintage engine* under 200 F while the ambient temperature in traffic approaches 130F.

*The 383 in this car came out of our '66 Newport, and was built in Nov., 1965. This radiator and shroud comes from a '65 Fury, also running a 383, which I'm sore tempted to buy, but ALAS, DIAPERS and BABY GOODIES COME FIRST....... for now.
 
Last edited:
G'Day,
Sorry to be the Bearer of Bad Tidings But You Were Right About the Disaster!
Not a Single Photo is Displaying.
You May Have to RePost!
Regards Tony.M
 
G'Day,
Sorry to be the Bearer of Bad Tidings But You Were Right About the Disaster!
Not a Single Photo is Displaying.
You May Have to RePost!
Regards Tony.M

Fixed that! Damned permissions issue.

This second old fossil radiator combined with the little stacked plate trans cooler cools marvelously. Today, I pounded Gertrude through hot city traffic with our new daughter, aged 3 weeks, and Daughter #2, aged 4 5/6 yrs, watching the temperature rise as high as 187 degrees F.

On the Down Side: Had to fortify with some K-Seal copper stop-leak. Seems to work. Not overjoyed to have to resort to this ****, but neither am I surprised. May yet buy another ECP radiator for this summer, if this one disintegrates. Would be a pity, as it cools REALLY well, but only if it can hold coolant.
 
gerald.....was going to ask why no shroud, until I saw your later note. But, I think the separate tranny cooler might be helpful in my case, not for cooling but for the add of a shroud, which my 383 does not include. Also, my radiator seems to have no side mount flanges, so has a makeshift plate at top, and sits in flange at bottom. So, am wondering if you have found source for radiator of new, and copper not Aluminium. My early setup has no thermostat and runs at about 175 when hot, in moderately warm temps here in Va, so am happy about that tidbit.
 
gerald.....was going to ask why no shroud, until I saw your later note. But, I think the separate tranny cooler might be helpful in my case, not for cooling but for the add of a shroud, which my 383 does not include. Also, my radiator seems to have no side mount flanges, so has a makeshift plate at top, and sits in flange at bottom. So, am wondering if you have found source for radiator of new, and copper not Aluminium. My early setup has no thermostat and runs at about 175 when hot, in moderately warm temps here in Va, so am happy about that tidbit.

Shrouds are the LEAST important element in a cooling system now that we have cheap electric fans to rig as pushers instead. $ for heat unit, a cheap pusher fan does a FAR better job of enhancing one's cooling than even the best sealed shroud. Now, if one runs electric PULLER fans, shrouds become ESSENTIAL, if the fan frame itself isn't a shroud for the radiator it pulls air through.

I assume that on our old C body Mopars, folks don't run too many integral electric fan and radiator combinations, though these can be had for around $500+.

Given how it reached 112F in Tucson yesterday, while Gertrude never got engine coolant temperature over 189F, I'm pretty sure that a transmission cooler makes a CRUCIAL difference in drive-train cooling! BUT, the placement of the transmission cooler must be correct to achieve the desired result. Make damned sure you use the external cooler between the transmission OUT line and the radiator transmission cooler IN port. This permits the hydraulic oil to shed CONSIDERABLE HEAT BEFORE contaminating the engine coolant with it. For this end, I advise you to use a stacked plate type oil cooler, which provides the greatest cooling surface area per unit engine compartment volume. I have my "little" B & M right behind the aperture above the front license plate, permitting air flow in over the plates, to the pusher (if running, now seldom), then on through the radiator, which, being shrouded, pulls efficiently all air in front of it.

The flanges came with the shroud, though the radiator has 4 little square holes in the side for 4 clipped 1/4-20 nuts placed exactly for those flanges, and NO OTHERS. I suspect the mid-1960s stuff was made thus: if shrouded, it came so off the Line, otherwise, nix. I admit that the later, non-metallic shrouds appear to have been arranged more flexibly w.r.t. shrouding.

I recommend US Radiator if you want a GOOD copper radiator made for your Mopar. I WILL use these fellows myself, unless I find some local shop employing
Wise Old Dwarves or Gnomes who know Elder Moparian Lore, COViD seems to have done for the last of the known ones down here, so I will bet on US Radiator for now.

GET A THERMOSTAT! Your engine is SUPPOSED TO HAVE ONE, period. Don't bother with the cheap sino-trash here. Get a RobertShaw from FlowKooler, and rejoice. It will be a 370-160,180 or 195, those being the three temperatures Ma Par designed her Big Blocks to run at. I run 180 myself.

Chill out bro. :)
 
Shrouds are the LEAST important element in a cooling system now that we have cheap electric fans to rig as pushers instead. $ for heat unit, a cheap pusher fan does a FAR better job of enhancing one's cooling than even the best sealed shroud. Now, if one runs electric PULLER fans, shrouds become ESSENTIAL, if the fan frame itself isn't a shroud for the radiator it pulls air through.

I disagree with this statement....a good rad with a shroud, good 7 blade fan and a properly spaced fan will have no issue keeping a motor cool, adding a pusher fan to the front of the radiator just adds an element of air flow disruption before it passes through the radiator. Then there is the costs of the electric fan and wiring for the fan...which are considerable when compared to a fan shroud and a couple simple brackets.

I prefer to keep my cooling needs mechanical and simple and have never had any cooling issues on any of my vehicle over the years with a properly set up rad/fan/shroud combo.
 
I disagree with this statement....a good rad with a shroud, good 7 blade fan and a properly spaced fan will have no issue keeping a motor cool, adding a pusher fan to the front of the radiator just adds an element of air flow disruption before it passes through the radiator. Then there is the costs of the electric fan and wiring for the fan...which are considerable when compared to a fan shroud and a couple simple brackets.

I prefer to keep my cooling needs mechanical and simple and have never had any cooling issues on any of my vehicle over the years with a properly set up rad/fan/shroud combo.

Try driving in Arizona this time of year, in stalled traffic. I think you will see how well a properly installed shroud cools an engine vs a pusher then. I have, which is why I will always spend my first dollar on the pusher before a shroud.
 
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