Looking for opinions on finding a good used radiator vs. getting a new reproduction radiator. Model year is 1923. Obviously the new one is new and much more money, but the used one would be less money...Am I asking for trouble and is the new one the way to go? Thanks in advance for the input. Ted
The old one is also old. Even if it doesn't leak, the fins may be separating from the tubes so heat transfer isn't efficient. Get the new radiator and that is one less think to worry about.
My opinion on buying a used radiator is that if were any good they wouldn't be selling it but keeping as a back up. Yes new radiators are more money but you won't be breaking down and costing money later.
The old radiator can have several hidden flaws that could bite you. loose fins will not allow the radiator to cool properly scale inside the radiator would need to be cleaned. For my sanity I would go with the new one JMHO
Its a bit of a crapshoot with used radiators. If the fins arn't making good contact with the tubes, the radiator may look good and be clean inside, but cool poorly. The only way I would buy a used radiator is if I could install it in the car and test it first.
Radiator and overheating problems are one of the things that can make owning a T less enjoyable. If there's any way you could swing a new one, you won't regret it.
Yes and yes. For a brass era radiator, if the tanks are good I would go with a recore to keep the original look and save a few Benjamins. But for a black era car like 1923 I'd get a new Berg. In fact, after wasting a lot of time and effort on cleaning and patching a bad old one, that's what I did.
WOW ! 4 replies in 1 minute! Hoes that for service!
Seems John, Dennis and I were all typing at the same time How's that for service!
Wise advice. My gut was telling me to get the new one, but it is always good to get a second opinion. Thanks for all the input. New it is!!
The same answer four times in two minutes must be some sort of record.
Was burned on a used radiator once - never again. It is a long term investment in the health and dependability of your vehicle (and, conversely, your enjoyment of that vehicle). Berg's makes a FANTASTIC radiator and Gery's customer service is second to none. Four of my Ts have new radiators - three of them are Berg's (and I'll be buying another Berg radiator for my current project this spring).
So, we all agree on NEW. Which brand...Bergs, Brassworks...???
If you can find a good local radiator shop who has the patience to work on old stuff, then reusing an original radiator may be a viable option.
I have an original honeycomb radiator that I had cleaned and repaired. I have driven my car in Independence Day parades without even the slightest hint of overheating.
Buying a new radiator is not the only way to ensure trouble free operation, but it is the most expensive.
My dear departed friend Bud Scudder used to tell everyone within ear shot that the first thing any Model T needs is good tires and a good radiator. If you have those things life with a T is a lot easier.
Ted, an original T radiator may 'look' good but the bottom line is that it may not cool. After 90 years the fins get loose from the tubes and decrease the cooling efficiency.
When you say used is it an original used or a radiator that was recored.
I was lucky and bought a used T radiator that was recored with a flat tube core 8 years ago on Ebay for 225.00.
I was the only one that bid on it. I put it my 21 Touring and it works great. Those kind of deals don't come around very often.
But I did buy a new Bergs T radiator for my 24 Coupe and its makes the Coupe a different car!
It cools great here in the hot summers in Texas.
I had bought 2 used radiators and spent time, money and frustration trying to repair them and getting them to cool.
If you plan to have fun with your T and drive it I would buy a new one and not have to worry about leaking and boil over after you drive the car for more than 45 minutes.
You can have a original radiator recored if the tanks are still good and save a little money and it will cool OK. A recore would be in the 400.00 price range plus whatever you paid for the radiator to start with.
When my radiator showed it's rearend on my TT years back someone in Florida I think it was, sold me a nice tall radiator for 75 bucks. I wish i could remember their name but I can't. I have thanked that man in my mind every since because i have never had a minutes trouble. Good used 1's are out there. But if a man can afford it,a new 1 will be 1 less thing to worry about for a long time.
Similar to gas tanks. I bought new for both projects. But gas tanks are in comparison,alot more affordable than new radiators.
For the life of me I can't understand why the foreign makers have not came up with a reasonable aluminum replacement.
"If you can find a good local radiator shop..."
Aye, there's the rub:
Whether 'tis better in the end to suffer
the leaks and boiling of futile fixes,
or by purchasing end them.
Both, a "good used radiator" or a "good local radiator shop" is getting rather difficult to find - around here anyway !
I completely agree, Royce but I'm going to add a new gas tank also, if available.
Either one will cool your car, however, you cannot determine whether the used one is "good" until you try it on your car. If the source is local and you can get the seller to agree to let you install it on your car and do a reasonable test which would include such things as idling as in a parade in hot weather, driving fast in hot weather and climbing hills in hot weather. If you can do all those things without the use of a water pump, and the radiator doesn't leak, then pay for it.
I think your typical seller will sell as is. Let the buyer beware.
You can get a good reproduction and if you keep your cooling system cool and use rust inhibitor in it your radiator will last many years and is well worth the price.
If your car is just a show car and not a driver, then a good used radiator might be just fine for a car which is trailered into a show and home.
One of the reasons for the decline in the number of radiator shops is the "replace it" syndrome which is the current method of repair and the number of aluminum radiator now found in cars. Both reason are causing the shops to disappear, at least that is what I have noticed in the San Diego area.
Interestingly something similar is happening with distributors, most vehicles use electronic flywheel ignition and the supply of new distributors is drying up. I understand that only Performance Parts is the only new device currently being manufactured and rumor is they are ceasing production. All this came from private responses to my Birdhaven thread.
Tony is right. About 5 years ago I brought a '28 Model A radiator (the one I got burned on and mentioned above) to a very old, well-established radiator shop that I had used in the past. Despite it's nearly NOS appearance, they said the radiator was plugged and they could not get a rod through the tubes. I then asked about a recore and they hit me with a $600 quote. At the time, that was the going price of a new one, so I went that route. So, to a certain degree, a lot of these places priced themselves right out of business with repairs and recores.
Yes, I suppose good repair shops are getting harder to find. The last time my father was in our local shop for repair work, they were working on a radiator for a WWI biplane.
As Dan B said, if looking for a used one, I would look for an old after market honeycomb style. But don't spend much, thirty bucks is my limit on a used radiator. Disadvantage they can't be rodded out but you don't have to worry about loose fins. many like myself can't afford new so I do my own repair, many ways to skin a cat without spending a fortune. Also the honeycomb is up to six times more efficient to begin with. My 2 cents worth. KGB
I also have a flat-tube Berg's. The original round-tube was clean and didn't leak and the car would overheat in 15 minutes. I replaced it with the Berg's and you now cannot make it overheat. Not cheap, but some of the best money that I have spent on the car.
Bottom line is this: if you want to have fun with your T you need a good radiator and good tires.
Buy them new and be done with it.
I would buy the new one if it were me. Most of the originals have seen their of driving. I bought a used one that looked great for a model A about 6 years ago and as good as it looked it left me stranded. I always buy new now if i am gonna be on the road in a car of any year. Just my thought Tim
I'm a bottom feeder with limited funds, do all my own work on rebuilding and maintaining my T. After I flipped my T back in 2001 I got an old honeycomb after market radiator to replace the crappy original tube style I had used for years. I had always used a vintage water pump (sorry) and continued with the honeycomb radiator. Seemed to be working fine.
Last year I put an earlier low head and took off the water pump. Filled the radiator to the top every morning before driving to work or a long drive. It always dumped about half gallon about ten minutes after starting out .. always dumped the water when I made a sharp turn. I guess it "found its level" from what I've read here on the forum. Have never been comfortable with just letting it stay at that level since I can't see how full the upper tank is from looking in the neck.
Honey combs work great when they work
I have been using a well used radiator for years both with and with out a water pump ( ). Never really have had any real issues with it. (now I will ha ha) There are some other things besides loose fins to think about. What kind of water has been run in for it's working life? We are blessed with very good water here in western Oregon in general that doesn't leave a lot of deposits. Knowing how to use the spark and adjust the needle valve help too, and running a 50/50 mix helps. Just because someone is selling a used radiator does not mean it was bad or they replaced it with a new one. There are a lot of radiators out there that just got stashed away in someones hoard.
I will agree that the two best things you could ever do for a T is install a new radiator and a new gas tank.
If this helps I replaced my original with a new flat tube from Bergs,I think the last brass he made, on my 14,it dropped the operating temp by eight degrees. The biggest drop in temp was installing an aluminum head.
A good used radiator is one of those oxymoron words.
They do not exist!
Some of the early replacement radiators only had two or three rows of cores and would only be fine for a short run test stand.
The new Brassworks radiators have four or five rows of tubes, depending on whether they are round tube or flat tube, unless there has been a recent design change.
The round tube one I bought held three more quarts of water than the one I removed from my T.
The vintage Peerless honeycomb radiator on my car holds a lot more water than the standard radiator that was originally on the T. Never had a leak and the car runs fine. Once we have better weather I'll drive my car to and from work every day, which is what people did back in the model T era. Then on weekends I generally drive a few hours at a time out and about.
Maybe there is some gray area in the concept that all old radiators are "bad." Sometimes "good enough" is fine as long as there are no recurrent overheating problems in general use.
Ted, see comments on "Brass Works opinion". I would get the best original if it were brass and take my chance. Since it is NOT brass, I have bought two radiators, one for a 20 and another for a 24 from Brass Works and had a great experience. Just want to b fair with my comments on a company that supplies parts to us. I don't have experience with Berg's but have only heard good things.
I'll agree with Ed Fuller. I wish that I could have found a new gas tank for my '27 Touring. I probably spent more to have my old tank cleaned and coated then a new tank would have cost. Unfortunately, the cowl-mounted tanks seem to be made from Unobtanium.
I have used three "old" radiators on both of my T's. They were/are era correct flat tube radiators, and they all work(ed) great, never any problems. I have tested them in slow moving parades at 90 plus degrees and plowing through six inch mud that I had to back up and hit it again and again many times to just get two or three feet at a time at around sixty degrees. The only reason that I had to change out one of them, was because it was a low radiator that was on a high radiator car( my '25 coupe, long story). As far as I'm concerned, any flat tube radiator will work just fine, as long as it is clean. No water pump is needed, nor is a new radiator needed, IF you do your homework. One of mine was found on ebay at about 1/3 price of a new one. Just keep your eyes open and don't get in a hurry. JMHO. Dave
I am not a fan of Mac's (prefer Lang's) but see that Mac's have new flat tube radiators for about $730 instead of $799.
Shipping and small print add-ons might make a big difference in delivered cost but $60 is $60.