Aftermarket radiators

I thought I had seen a few post on here about the pros and cons of aftermarket aluminum radiators but didn’t show up when I checked.
Anyone had any experience with either the Chinese imports or the couple of high end units being sold through Moss/SNG Barret?
I still have my original and its a choice to find a reliable radiator shop (getting pretty hard to find these days with all the new stuff pretty much unrepairable) and have it rebuilt with as thick a core as I can or go aftermarket Aluminum, What a spread on cost and I presume quality on the aftermarket radiators. On some of my “hot rod” blogs there’s a lot of discussions about the quality of the “bottom end” Chinese imports being close to the “Name” units but not sure I want to chance that, On the other hand it seems $2K+ for an aluminum XK150 radiator and fans is a bit out of line with what top line units for most muscle cars run. I know, economy of scale but I can’t figure the Chinese are making a whole lot of units for XK’s either,
The aluminum units cool better as they do get more water through and more surface area to exchange heat but I’m in coastal CA not Mississippi so don’t think ill run into that kind of heat,

Where in coastal California? I’m in San Jose and have used San Jose Radiator in the past with no issues on two XK120s. Cost was far less than repops and the two brothers have a real enthusiasm for old cars. They were able to add an extra row of cooling tubes to the core while maintaining the same dimensions. I’ll add I’ve never had cooling issues with mine and '120s are famous for it. Turnaround was about a week.

Edit: I see you’re in the San Francisco area. The above outfit is only a few minutes off 280 on Lincoln. I have no affiliation with them – just a satisfied customer.

I had my radiator rebuilt by a local radiator shop in Seattle but he sent it to Maine Radiators to be recored. (Restorations | Maine Radiator) According to him, MR was the only (or one of the few) sources which could put in a new core with the same style construction as the original. I perhaps went a little overboard on originality, but the radiator is as prominent as the dual cams on an XK when the hood is up so I wanted it to look right.

3 Likes

I have a ‘high end’ aluminium radiator in my car, made by Radtec in the UK. It is pretty much indistinguishable from the original later 140 rad, with the flutes in the top tank. It came with a built-in shroud on the rear surface for a ‘puller’ fan placed between rad and water pump. It works beautifully, feeding into an aluminium overflow tank, with both rad and tank powder coated black. I also run zero pressure but that’s not really relevant.

I have no doubt that the couple of high end aluminum radiators for sale through Moss/Barrat etc are a good choice. I have two quality aftermarket aluminum radiatorss in other cars, both have been put through many track days and also some long extremely hot (115 F) road trips. Unfortunately they were for Restomods with multiple suppliers after that business so the last one I bought will cool 700HP and came with two large fans for 1/3 what seems to be the cost for one for my XK150. I’m sure that “small production runs” are a part of the cost and also limited suppliers.
I’m still trying to find a reliable radiator shop to see just how much they can upgrade my stock radiator There are a LOT of the cheap Chinese radiators running in cars I see at the local car and Coffee events and they seem to be well worth looking into for a low buck build, something that is impossible with a classic Jag LOL. The cheap ones are all over the internet and if things are “as usual” in that type of business they are all being made in China/Vietnam by one company but sold by 3-4 different outlets as “their own” product. Aluminum radiators are almost impossible to repair so quality is an issue.
Either no one has used a “web deal” radiator or if they have they aren’t commenting :slight_smile: !

I bought one from XK’s about ten years ago, Made by SC Racing in California. It’s been perfect and solved some cooling problems on the XK140MC.

Hi there,

My original radiator was in need of refurbishment, so i kept it and in the meantime got the SNG one, full aluminium.

I was really pleased with the perfect fit and even at 36c ambient and in a traffic jammin the needle never goes beyond 70c.

Best,

Ll.

2 Likes

LLuis, what coolant are you using?
My old cars generally all run with Evans (Propylene Glycol used undiluted), but on a run this week the temperature gauge crept up to 90-odd on a long stretch (30 miles) of motorway at a sustained 70mph. In traffic it comes back down, which suggests to me that the water pump may be struggling with the slightly increased viscosity of the Evans (and the slight rise in running temperature). Shame if so, as I’ll have to go back to an Ethylene Glycol mix. I love the total lack of any corrosion over 20 years of Evans in the other cars.

Hi there Roger,

Standard Glycol-water 50/50.

I cannot commit on this, but I think that my car was all refurbished very few km before I bought it and the engine and the pump must be new.

Best,

Ll.

Or maybe a fan belt that is slipping at sustained higher RPM? Even my early 63 MGB sufferd those exact symptoms until I tightened the belt a little bit.