My radiator decided to give up the ghost this weekend. I took it to a local shop that I trust and he was pretty confident they could fix it at first. That changed once they got into it. He said he can have one built for a more than reasonable price, but it wouldn't have the support running through the radiator; only mounted to the outsides. It would be a flat tube core (I'm fine with not being completely accurate). My question is would the absence of the full support bar cause any strength problems. Would it be enough to support everything attached to the radiator and not rattle itself apart? Or should I bit the bullet and get a Berg's or Brassworks replacement? Thanks for your help.
I don't know if it matters, but it's a 24 Roadster
Ford didn't introduce the support bar until 1911 and many accessory / replacement radiators has also been made without the support bar. Today's roads aren't as tough on your Ford as back in the day, so it may well work fine - just make him give you a sum total before he starts - maybe the difference isn't so much to a full repro?
And make sure he has all the important measurements - and your radiator shroud so it certainly fits afterwards..
Check the front frame crossmember for cracks while the radiator is off - and check the distance between the radiator mounting holes. Should be 21-1/2", but a sagging crossmember may have increased it.. Fix with a chain all around and a hydraulic jack.
I bought a Berg's radiator a month ago and it's great!
Berg's. 1 It has the built-in support. 2 It works.
Heed Roger's advice about the frame.
If it were anywhere close in price to what a repro through one of the vendors costs, I wouldn't hesitate and just get one from them, but this shop is quoting me $450 to have one built.
The other thing I don't understand (and this is more a rant than anything) is how a custom built radiator can cost a little more than half what ones in regular production cost? Is it because they're most likely using aluminum rather than brass? Doesn't make sense to me.
Berg's high radiator $825 plus $60 for shipping
The local firm reuse your upper and lower tanks and buys the core in between quite reasonable, I suppose. Don't think the core is aluminum - shouldn't solder well to the tanks? Those who produce radiators has to make all the parts including cast water inlets and outlets and their production of cores isn't as mechanized as the cores from modern suppliers - the costs adds up with a lot of expensive manual work at Brassworks and Berg's too.
Yeah, that makes sense, Roger.
Berg's. Three of my Ts and one of my As have Berg's. If any of the others require a radiator some time down the road, it will also get a Berg's; would not buy from any other source (and prior to my first Berg's purchase, I had). Superb product, outstanding customer service.
Living in Canada I've just had my rads recored locally. Affordable quality and now going on 40 years of driving. It's your car and your money!!!
I'm using 3 re-cored radiators with no support plate. Never a problem in tens of thousands of miles.
Bergs or Brassworks are the best. Problems with having a radiator built by a shop, which is usually a recore, is that they don't always fit properly. On a modern car, it is only necessary to get the radiator to fit under the hood and line up the hoses, but on a Model T, the fit of the radiator also affects the fit of the hood.
A recore is likely to cost less than new, but that's not the only reason to consider it. For a brass era car I prefer it. But for black era I go with Berg's. More here: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG96.html
We, as in Australia can still get new cores with the support bar but some in our club have no bars in re-builds, I quizzed some on that some time back and found that they are fitting them with a steel plate from mount to mount following the bottom tank shape and some just bolting them in as is, no one has reported any problems either way.
Come on, spend the bucks... Your T deserves it.
You don't spend the money on gambling booze or women so it is Ok to squander it on a radiator.
My 1925 coupe is running a non-supported re-core that my grandfather had installed more than 40 years ago. It's still going strong.
If the lower tank is still good, no cracks and upper tank too, then a re-core for the amount of $$ noted isn't a bad deal.
Had a Ford original re-cored years ago, and it lasted 20 years 'til it sprung leaks in the tubes, likely from lack of the lower reinforcement bar as my guess.
...but 20 years of life was good I think.
Now the T has a new Brassworks, and it should last as long or longer.
On my speedster Im going to build a shell and stuff the biggest modern custom alumin radiator I can fit in there.
Berg's - flat tube unless your car is primarily for show.
If you buy a Brassworks radiator, be prepared to make alterations to make it fit. My filler neck had to be moved 1/4" forward before the shell would fit. The thread in the filler neck would only allow an original cap to be screwed in 1/2 a thread. The steady rod fitting was way out of kilter too. They didn't want to know about it and offered no help to get the problems fixed.
Allan from down under.
Berg's. Berg's. Berg's.
I've had the necks come loose on a couple of bergs and side pieces come loose on a couple of brassworks rads. That is not bad considering I drive my cars hard and long. I've also run recores with no issues except the initial fitment in some cases. With or without the lower bar has never been an issue. Lately I have started using T bucket radiators with much success and reduced cost. Of course these are Go cars and not Show cars.
Jeff - please show what you do to modify the T bucket radiators to fit an original car?
Do you start with any of the eBay aluminum radiators like this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Full-Aluminum-Radiator-for-Ford-Model-T-Bucket-Ford-Engi ne-3-Row-Auto-1924-1927-/182263596861
Jeff - are you running Motometers on your radiators? Wings or dog bone styles?
There have been some more suitable radiators than the ebay one listed above. The last one I did was for a low rad car and it had a functional neck on it right out of the box. I blanked off the hose connections in the wrong spot and placed some scrounged aluminum tubing in the proper spot and angle. I have a friend that welds aluminum enclosures all day everyday so getting it welded right was easy.
As for the motormeter question. Yes I do run motormeters of all types. Not running one on a tour car is kind of out the question for me.
If you have wings or a dog one on the Motometer, that could very well be why the neck on your radiator broke off. The combined effects of vibration and the weight of Motometer wings/dog bone on the radiator neck have been covered often on here.